Day one of the Library Technology conference

I’m home from day one of the Library Technology conference at Macalaster. Thus far, I’m very impressed – well run, minimal glitches given the number of locations, types of technology, and other things going on, and a great size (350 people) to be able to feel like you can actually talk to people. Also, there’s something really nice about being with mostly other librarians, rather than TIES (which I enjoy, but which is a) a magnitude larger and b) some librarians, some tech folks, some principals, some teachers, etc. and so a wider variation in what they already know and what they might want to do with it.)

Today’s topics:

A keynote address by Stacey Greenwell on the Information Commons, based on their design of one at the University of Kentucky. Lots of interesting bits of tips and ideas (Whiteboards! We could use larger whiteboards in all sorts of ways! Portable whiteboards!) and nice confirmation that we’re already doing some things right (we do a lot of first tier tech support in our library office – password changes, printer problems, basic software questions – and a bunch more with other staff in the media area for more complicated program use questions.

A presentation about Greenstone, a digital library open source software package – nifty ways to manage (and search!) digital materials. Really good comments about what’s easy to use, what’s hard, and what kind of technology skills it ideally wants. (Not only do I see some places this might be handy for work, but it’s a great fit for a personal project I’ve been contemplating for a while, so I’ll play with it there.) It runs on pretty much every OS, and it’s got a very lightweight footprint which is particularly nice.

Another keynote, this one by Eric Lease Morgan, who is the head of the Digital Access and Information Architecture Department at Notre Dame. I’ll be honest and say there were fewer things that were directly applicable to what we do in this one – but some really interesting discussion of upcoming trends, and what some of the background on them looks like.

A session on using videos for library orientation (also from Stacey Greenwell). This – despite a few technical glitches – was incredibly useful, as we’ve been tossing around the idea of doing something with video for library orientation and instruction. She walked through what they did for three different projects (an orientation video, four instruction videos, and an advertisement for their information commons space) and what kinds of time were involved, and what they wished they’d done differently. Our own ideas seem to be on the right track (in terms of scope, time needed, etc.) but getting suggestions and “Think really hard about doing this.” are always great.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow a lot. The one thing I regret at these sorts of things is not having a laptop to do notes with. (Though today’s chairs were not ideally situated for it, either.)


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