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I attend the SOLINET Annual Membership Meeting each May mostly because I am a Board member and I am supposed to, but whenever I go I am pleasantly surprised at how strong the programming is and how glad I am I came. So while I’m at the airport waiting for my flight, I’ll share what I learned.
The opening keynote was by Michael Stephens, Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University in Illinois, and just a little over-enthusiastic for me. His theme was The Transformed Library and he had some great slides from libraries around the country to demonstrate how involved (or remote) libraries can be with their respective communities. Interestingly, he quoted from the OCLC Perceptions study that BOOKS are the universal library brand. It is interesting to me because Rosann Bazirjian and I did a replication study at Wake and UNCG last spring and one of our findings was that books is NOT the library brand at Wake Forest. Can you guess what is is? I’ll keep you in suspense until Rosann and I finish writing up our paper and present it at a staff meeting sometime. All in all, Michael’s talk was a lot like Karen Schneider’s which was the closing talk. Lots of 2.0 from all angles, flickr all over the place, tagging everywhere you can stand it, and good advice to let go the role of gatekeeper and encourage the role of the heart.
The next session I went to was about Next Generation Library Management Systems, with speakers from Duke, Georgia PINES and Villanova. Susan, Erik and I are cooking up plans to implement Villanova’s VuFind as an OPAC replacement for WebVoyage. The open source movement for library management systems is very exciting and these three speakers embodied my own feelings that we cannot stomach the thought of paying more big money to corporate vendors for user-hostile systems built on antique architecture. I don’t know how far we will get, but we have to try. More on that later.
I did my librarianly duty and attended the session on the Future of Bibliographic Control with Olivia Madison, co-chair of the Library of Congress Working Group. I have not stayed as abreast of this report as say, Erik has, so I was glad to get a briefing. The working group did yeomen’s work and recommended 102 action steps that the rest of the bibliographic world should be grateful for. It has been a controversial report but I believe it turns the big boat of bibliographic control more in the right direction.
There was a two hour business meeting with a discussion of the proposed merger with PALINET that I won’t detail. The merger is very exciting and a lot of smart, dedicated people are working hard on it. It is a privilege to participate in the discussions and I have learned a lot about the business side of the information profession because of it. There is a bright future out there, with or without OCLC, and we can hardly think too big.
This morning, I went to a delightful presentation on the Civil Rights Digital Library at the University of Georgia. It is a phenomenal resource (you know what a sucker I am for all things related to civil rights) and they have done it right. There was some discussion at the recent ASERL meeting of making this a project to which all ASERL libraries could contribute. It seems many local news affiliates across the South are looking for a home for their historical film footage and there are civil rights treasures within them. Maybe we should talk to WXII?
As previously mentioned, Karen Schneider closed the conference with a lively talk on library blogging. We already do many, if not most, of the things she mentioned here at ZSR. Current typing to the contrary, I am not a blogger at heart but resolved to try to blog my upcoming bike trip so that the family can enjoy the trials and triumphs of Barry and Lynn’s Great Adventure. I saw how valuable that could be to the folks back home during our South Course trip last summer. The most interesting thing in Karen’s talk was her mention of twitter and one of the posts that appeared live on the screen was our own laurenpressley’s twitter comment, “tree down in neighborhood – photo.” Actually, Lauren could have given the exact same talk as Karen as she is known nationally as a blogging/twittering guru!
OK, my flight is getting close to boarding so I’ll stop now and look forward to seeing ZSR under construction. I loved Craig’s photo of the busts from the Current Periodicals Room being loaded onto book trucks!