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This morning I got rained out of a long run in SLC but did get to hear the incredible sound of thunder as it reverberated across the valley. As I finished up my run on a treadmill I saw a few lighning bolts hit the mountains to the west and was very happy to be inside.

I attended a session from Los Alamos National Laboratory for the one open session of the day and heard about a service oriented approach to creating a large indexing/discovery/service information system. While we are struggling with 1.7 million records, LANL is indexing 95 million! The presentation had lots of technical details but one fascinating standard that they used is the Information Environment Service Registry.

The final keynote by Elizabeth Lawley at RIT discussed a city-wide game that RIT developed in conjunction with the newspaper. The slides are available at slideshare. The game included a number of neat activities including photosynths, quizzes, recipies, photography, and a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt was developed using scvngr (a commercial text-message based scavenger system).

Some themes that proved to be interesting this weekend:

  1. Library technology solutions continue to push towards more complex systems. XC/RIT, the LANL system, and Vufind were all a few steps further this year. There were lots of libraries who are actively using small scale open source systems and experimenting with open source systems.
  2. Libraries are increasingly thinking about their data. I saw a number of small and medium scale projects built on use or resource metadata that historically would not have been heavily used. Likewise, the systems that got demonstrated all had a focus on how to index and manage large datasets. There is an interesting contrast to this trend in the push towards cloud and hosted data/service platforms.
  3. Electronic books continue to nudge the marketplace of print books. The GoogleBooks settlement came up several times and there were some interesting ideas surrounding how ebooks could be more heavily used including the adoption of a netflix model (no due dates, automatic queues, intelligent suggestions), the need for more ubiquitous e-book readers (yale research), and the growing comfort with online reading “we spend more time reading information online than we ever did with books but it is still thought of as different.

On the E-book theme there was a great article on the impact that piracy is having on the e-book platform. I also stumbled across the florida orange grove http://florida.theorangegrove.org, a k20 site for open access textbooks. While both of these recent experiences are on opposite side of the same idea (free books!), seeing them both in mainstream media on the same day makes me wonder how central E-books are becoming.