One of the initiatives is a Find Your ALA campaign to encourage membership growth and involvement in ALA. The idea is to make ALA less daunting and confusing and to make it more welcoming
Another initiative is for ALA to develop a plan to help with the problem of the school-to-prison pipeline that plagues many underprivileged communities, and particularly communities of color. The school-to-prison pipeline is a process that pushes children from schools into prison, by criminalizing young people of color and treating them with harsh and disproportionate disciplinary practices at a young age. This problem is felt particularly acutely in our own community, as Wanda pointed out that Forsyth County was rated the 3rd worst county in the United States for social mobility (that is, the chance of people born into poverty to move out poverty in their lifetime). This is an important issue and I’m glad to see ALA addressing it.
In between those two big events, I did general conference stuff and found out some interesting things. At the meeting of the MARC Format Transition Interest Group, Terry Reese of Ohio State talked about a massive experimental project they are pursuing where they are trying to aggregate the metadata from multiple sources (MARC cataloging, EAD, Drupal, etc.) and reconcile them, and allow the reconciled, compiled metadata to be searched. Seems wildly ambitious to me. Good luck on ’em.
I also went to a Bibliographic Conceptual Models Interest Group meeting, where Tiziana Possemato from Cassalini Libri discussed the Share-VDE Initiative (a cooperative group working to develop linked data in libraries). She said that while BIBFRAME has a three-entity model (Work, Instance and Item), Share-VDE’s conceptual model consists of four entities: Super Work, Work, Instance and Item. This presentation caused a bit of a stir and has some cataloging bigwigs wondering if BIBFRAME needs to introduce a fourth entity (which would put it in line with FRBR).
In addition, I attended a panel-discussion called “Discussing Social Issues Through Speculative Comics,” where comics creators Greg Pak, Ezra Daniels, Sanford Greene, and Delilah S. Dawson talked about using science fiction, fantasy, or horror themed comics to explore real life social issues. It was very interesting and I got some good suggestions on comics titles to check out.
I also went to the ALCTS President’s Program, which featured Marcia Chatelain, professor of history at Georgetown University, discussing her upcoming book, “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America.” She presented a fascinating history of the complex relationship between McDonald’s and the African-American community, which in part stems from McDonald’s being the first major fast food chain to have black franchise owners and locations in black neighborhoods. I was lucky enough to win an advance reader’s copy, based on where I sat in the auditorium. Carolyn has asked to borrow it when I finish it, so there’s already a waiting list.
All in all, it was an interesting, albeit somewhat odd, ALA for me. I may get back to something more normal next time.