One thing I love about Code4Lib – I find out about projects that are complex, neat, well outside my technical expertise range, and every now and then, something that I can’t wait to play around with. I decided to spare everyone the gritty details from Tuesday & Wednesday – if you want to see them the session descriptions are on the code4lib wiki. But – a few common themes emerged (for me) through during the long sessions, lightning rounds, breakout sessions, and accidental discussions.
Code management, continuous integration, agile development and development frameworks were a recurring theme. People are seeking, and in some cases have found, good tools and methods for helping them develop more efficiently and effectively.
System integration – I heard several presentations that talked about using central platforms to show/manage/produce digital repositories, online catalogs, and website content. One platform used Fedora/active-fedora/Blacklight to bring together digital/book collections into a single discovery system. The eXtensible Catalog project has made a lot of progress with their drupal tools & there was some interesting talk of Islandora (a drupal plug-in for fedora).
Open source, open content, open solutions – It was nice to be in an environment where the ideas, tools, and projects focused on open source ideals. Ian Walls gave an interesting talk about his experience migrating from a proprietary ILS to Koha, countless presenters showed how open source solutions helped them do things not possible or too expensive in proprietary environments, and it was common to showoff ideas for solving problems in lots of different ways.
If tecchies are the canaries of technological change – the future is connected, cloudy, not based on a single client or operating system, not based on a single approach to solving complex problems, and not based on a single form of interaction. This conference included a wide mix of presentation formats (including an open Q&A session, a very active IRC channel, multiple lightning rounds, and one great screencast), featured virtual and real-world methods for solving common conference problems (coordination, events, spontaneous planning), and included a wide array of devices, platforms, and approaches to problem solving (e.g. virtual bookshelf browsing at NCSU, Univ. Wisconsin & Stanford).