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Lita 2008 started off with a interesting set of presentations on Friday. The opening keynote by Tim Spalding on LibraryThing contained an interesting lookat the data that LibraryThing is beginning to aggregate on books. Tim suggested that the use of a FRBResque model to link book editions along with user-supplied topical tags yields good prototypical models of things. Second, Tim talked about his concept of social cataloging and really demonstrated how rich some of the data in LibraryThing is getting as users contribute to the site. One particularly effective demonstration showed how topical analysis combined with aggregation of user libraries helped generate automatic reading lists and suggest ‘primary topicality’ of resources in at a much more granular and current level than LC. A good example of this is Neuormancer by William Gibson. I have to admit that I left the presentation wondering how far LibraryThing could go towards replacing traditional bibliographic description as a primary representation of books.
The last session of the day was a fascinating presentation by Maurice York from NCSU about managing IT departments in libraries. His talk included a model for balancing support for core systems and introducing innovative development to support library services. It was interesting to see how a larger IT department approached technology service management and made me wonder how smaller organizations could use those models to standardize and improve service.