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In what was a quick two-day abbreviation of the ALA Annual conference (my first), the same observation kept recurring: there are a lot of librarians here. For every session I attended, there were more librarians than the chairs (and walls and floors) could accommodate. Erik’s Saturday morning cloud computing session was a case in point: chairs stolen from adjacent rooms, concerned librarians checking the fire code room capacity, other concerned librarians threading narrow fire escapes through the throng, and still other librarians spilling through the doors into the hallway.

Saturday afternoon and Sunday: different sessions, same story. After two full days of extended tech sessions, it was clear: there are a lot of librarians here and there are a lot of librarians here interested in technology.

Some of the sessions I attended discussed rich internet applications, emerging technologies, cloud computing, digital experience design, and top technology trends. More specifically, we discussed:

  • application screen design (e.g. Should I use a dashboard or a spreadsheet layout?)
  • usability heuristics (e.g. The system status must be visible.)
  • the disjunction between vision and beta (e.g. Your imagination exceeds my resources.)
  • the role of experience design (e.g. What kind of experience did you have with this website? What kind of experience do we want you to have?)

Overall, an important theme emerged: for all these considerations, there must be balance between the handcrafted and the industrial, between creativity and scale, between care and control.

Sunday morning was the LYRASIS awards breakfast. As one of three winners of the NextGen Librarian Award, I feel very honored and am very grateful. It is a good feeling to be recognized for one’s hard work. Thanks, Susan!