CIL 2006 – Dead and Emerging Technologies

I’ve been reticent about posting my reaction to this late night session. It’s usually lots of fun and you can get a good sense of library technology trends on the bleeding edge. More of the same this year. The theme was library 1.0 versus Library 2.0. It’s all fair game, but I have to agree that some of this 2.0 stuff is pretty familiar. I’ll let you be the judge. Read on for commentary after the brain dump…

Michael Stephens
Provided a quick look at current 2.0 trends
Gamers are entering our workspace
Remix Culture – Remixing library data
37% of library have blogs – “Our work is not done.”
Dream, plan for your users and have fun.

Amanda Etches-Johnson
Presented a survey of old library technology plans; a fun juxtapostion because the old stuff reads like the new library 2.0 evangelism
“It’s nothing new; it’s an evolution – new tools to fulfill our visions”
subject guides becoming wikis
newsletter becomes blogs
html becomes rss
virtual reference becomes IM
RSS – repurpose our content
* bring out the social

Aaron Schmidt
Painted a picture of web 2.0 – reimagining the social fabric of the web
Revitalized OPACS – WPopac
Google Office – Writely, Gmail
Questioning Google policies in china – threat to the social web?
Digg – votes for best content
Mashups – Google Maps api
Bluetooth Watches
Origami project (MS) mobile computer
Myspace.com – meeting teens where they are
Yahoo Messenger – new version
2.0 – people in our online libraries

Bill Spence
Very funny piece; used humor to point out that what’s old (1.0) is not necessarily dead
2.o vs. 1.0 – Is it really better?
USB is dominant format (He did not see a floppy used during first day of conference)
OS – DOS is not dead
Notepad – “I use it every day!”
Pine is not dead
Browsers – had a demo of Mosaic

Darlene Fichter
Framed discussion of library 2.0 with Tim O’Reilly definiton of Web 2.0
Web 2.0 = small pieces loosely joined, read/write web (from O’Reilly)
content development – participation from our users
long way home to an article – music interlud from Supertramp showing awful process of finding an article (played to big laughs…)
“embrace it (new web 2.0 technologies) – become a digital native”
Digital Read/Write Participants
Learning with others outside the field (sociality of what we do)
tolerance for “not in control”
library 2.0 = books and stuff + radical trust + participation

Marshall Breeding
Sobering take on current library applications
OPACS – our search technologies lag, new user expectations
Don’t count on users starting with us – this is a Google World
Libraries must build own search and retrieval interfaces – effective, elegant interfaces
Push library content into other information spaces – SOAP and web services
New interfaces – AquaBrowser library, Endeca Guided Search
Library adoption of new software occurs at glacial pace….
Web 2.0 – beware of Gartner Group hype cycle of new tech (http://www.riarlington.com/hypecyc.html)
Fundamental mission of libraries is at stake – what is role for libraries in discovery process?
Focus on the strategic, not the cool.
“There are many Del.icio.us side courses, but focus on main course.”

Stephen Abram
Always a lot of fun and this was a call to act and live in our user’s information environments
Get out of the box!
Live in user’s environment
“Libraries are about the experience, not search.”
Build some intelligence into the interface
Keep systems open (canning wireless example…)
Become part of MySpace and Facebook communities

Food for Thought (because I didn’t livebog this):

It is what it is… I’m down with some of the program, but I think we have to know our channels. Are communities like MySpace receptive to a library component? To me, it feels like approaching a group of kids playing on a street corner and asking them if they need to use the library. It’s about context and recognizing the expectations of the community. Yes, libraries need to be active in places outside of our traditional settings, but intruding on a space where we are not expected could and will have negative consequences. Maybe library 2.0 is about informed participation in our user’s spaces.

Another reaction… I think Marshall is right on in calling for “building our own library applications.” Andrew Pace and Emily Lynema of NCSU took it upon themselves to reinvent the OPAC (http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/catalog/). Thanks to both of them for giving us a new vision. But, I think we also need a grassroots effort. I’m talking about building simple apps and sharing the code. I’m talking about introducing web development approaches (Read AJAX) and finding ways to teach others how to do it. It won’t always be easy and sometime our heads might hurt. At the same time, I feel we have to start learning this programming stuff somewhere. CIL seems like as good a place as any to introduce difficult concepts and start to tease out the “how tos”.

And one final thought, each of the panelists spoke about the importance of “becoming a digital native” (Darlene Ficter). Calling for librarians to experience the common applications of our user’s digital existence – FaceBook, MySpace, Yahoo Music, etc. This a a great, solid concept. I would add that as we immerse ourselves in these environs, we should start to look for web conventions, interface design choices, classification models that we can apply to our library applications.