A day at Ticer: lessons learned

It was a well packed day at Ticer yesterday. 4 presenters making five presentations. I have tried to blog the first impressions live, but network difficulties –had to install VPN and more difficult things- prevented to post the first presentation immediately.

Stephen Abram, as could be expected, urged us librarians to wake up. After he started to speak he seemed unstoppable. So now and then he posed a rhetoric question, but hurried on without awaiting any responses. Stephen used quite a bit of exaggeration but I think that was valid approach. He was quite sincere in warning us that it is really five to twelve, or perhaps already four. If we don’t want to become redundant in the future we have focus on our user’s needs rather than our librarian’s needs and adopt Web 2.0 tools in our roster. His list of 25 technologies is a good starting point. These we should master and preferably on a mobile device.

Marshall Breeding was perhaps the biggest contrast in presentation style to the Stephen Abram that you could imagine. Small and shy, but with a clear voice. He asked us first to complete his library web cats survey. The most important trend from his presentation was the increasing popularity of Open Source Systems. He presented very clearly the different shades of openness that exist. Open source is by no means a cheaper alternative than regular integrated library systems. The place to keep an eye on in the near future is the workgroup of OLE

Birte Christensen-Dalsgaard radiated library enthusiasm in her presentation. At first she she broke down the fallacy of library knowledge of our users, since most library users are perhaps the Drive in users, that really want to spend the least of time in the library or with the library systems. And this systems needs to be broken down and rebuild from the ground to offer more relevant and better information to meet users needs. That we have to datamine and model our user’s behaviour as closely as possible is not a problem to her. Privacy laws might be prohibitive, though. In her list of examples is Summa of course. Towards the end she pleads for standards, stands and standards of course, since libraries can’t go on this alone, standards will help to cooperate more fully.

The remainder of the afternoon was reserved for Herbert van de Sompel. Perhaps the most interesting presentations of the day, but about applications that are only at the horizon of practical digital libraries today. It is good however that somebody from the digital library research world came to share some of their research with library practitioners. It was Cliford Lynch who once wrote “Digital libraries”: this oxymoronic phrase has attracted dreamers and engineers, visionaries and entrepreneurs, a diversity of social scientists, lawyers, scientists and technicians. And even, ironically, librarians – though some would argue that digital libraries have very little to do with libraries as institutions or the practice of librarianship.“. His point was really to watch the pages of his research groups since a lots will be coming out the coming months.

This year the time keeping and discussion rounds were less strict than last year. A bit of a pity since I really enjoyed those last year. Sylvia van Peteghem did a beautiful round up of the presentations at the end of the day though.

Lynch, C. (2005). Where do we go from here? The next decade for digital libraries. D-Lib Magazine 11(7/8). http://www.dlib.org/dlib/july05/lynch/07lynch.html.