It's Trend Time Again

With my mind distracted by a new job, I feel my trends are a bit watery. However, a few readers have vastly improved what I will bring to the table, and I encourage you to keep putting lipstick on my piglet. The one trend of mine I would underscore is the fledgling emergence of the open-source ILS, which is part of an interesting emergent trend of OSS for libraries–at last. Most of us are aware that open source software is more like “free kittens” than “free beer.” It still needs to be maintained and updated, and I grit my teeth whenever a substandard, time-sink OSS product is explained away by someone saying, “But it’s free.” My time isn’t free, and my users’ time isn’t free, either. But an open-source ILS has the potential of being the Apache of library software: the common-sense choice, maintained by a vast community. In fact,…


Program: Next Stop Blogging

Despite the crowded Monday 10:30 a.m. time slot, this program was packed to the gills, with over 160 in attendance and many more possible attendees who wandered up and then away as they saw how full the room was. My notes are spotty as I ran out of the room a couple of times for extra forms and for AV support (the microphone was squealing mightily). The presenters were Jason Griffey, Karen Coombs, and Steven Bell. Jason talked about BIGWIG’s selection process for the blogging software we ultimately ended up with, Karen talked about useful add-ons, and Steven provided the “marketing and strategies” angles. Jason began by explaining the major differences between hosted and installed software, pointing out that LITA selected the installation route because we’re LITA and we wanted the geekier approach, but that an organization’s “technology comfort zone” might point to another solution. He emphasized the need to…

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The ALA Cone of Confusion

This is the part of the conference where someone usually says, “Well… not too many posts yet on the LITA blog, ay?” And I usually mumble something like “soon you’ll see more,” and then the posts do indeed show up. My own reality is that within hours of arriving at ALA I am flying over the cone of confusion, rapidly losing radio contact with the tower. I am in the event… and trying to encounter it. Even if I thought I could blog and run, most of the time I can’t. As Michelle Boule noted, outside of the convention center and in the hotels where we do most of our programs, the free wifi mesh network drops off and our laptops become 4-pound notepads. So I try to translate what I’m hearing into near-real-time coverage, the talk ends, I gather up my stuff and go to the next event, with…


My Trends… I know I put them somewhere

I did a rather belated, cryptic post on my personal blog, Free Range Librarian, but though it refers to something Eric brought up–a certain welcome restlessness with the state of “library automation,” to use an icky phrase, or an acknowledgement that the OPAC sucks, to be more direct–it doesn’t quite snap to the grid of what I’m trying to get across. I’d quote from Buffalo Springfield–“Something’s happening here/What it is ain’t exactly clear”–except whenever I get to the part where “there’s a man with a gun over there,” my practical librarian mind kicks in and begins worrying about guns in libraries, evacuating the premises, ducking for cover, etc. So let me force myself to disgorge a few more random blips that might begin to frame some of my discussion this Sunday. * An intentionally naive observation: the Web continues to increase in importance for people’s lives. (Alternatively, I think I…

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Flickr with LITA!

Ladies and gentlemen, charge your camera phones! Any erstwhile bloggers, LITA Exec/Board types, sundry LITA members, or staff who would like to post to LITA’s Flickr account, give me or Michelle Boule a holler. We have a special email address you can use for posting (good for cameraphones), or you can send pix to the group, below. The Flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pix4lita/ Consider adding it as a contact… The group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/litapix/ Consider joining the group… Someone on another list raised the question of Flickr’s privacy policy. Is this an issue? Should we discuss it here and/or at ALA? If you are a Flickr-a-go-go type, the Flickr account could use some prinking–a graphic, etc.–and we would love it if you gave the Flickr account some TLC!

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Big Thanks to BIGWIG Machers

Michelle Boule, LITA Blog Scheduling Maven, has again done a great job (and keep those Midwinter posts coming fast and furious, folks!). We had dozens of high-quality posts which serve as info-tainment for current LITA-lubbers, lure for LITA wannabes and maybes, and a convenient archive for ensuring that usefully incriminating evidence such as past guesswork of the Top Tech Trendsters can be exhumed and chuckled over for decades to come. I also feel I know more about LITA IGs and committees from the voices on this blog. I heard a passing comment at Midwinter that made me realize that some of the LITArati may not know how many people have been involved in the founding and ongoing work on maintaining the blog. Quite a bit has gone on behind the scenes–and will continue to do so, as this is no mere hosted blog, oh no, but a living, breathing, open-source,…

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LITA Blog Combined Feed

Sing ho for Kevin, Kevin ho! Last fall, Kevin Clarke set up a combined RSS feed for the LITA Blog that updates when a comment is added to a post (as well as when a post is added), and it’s truly RSS-alicious. If you want to follow the various comments and kibitzing–and let’s face it, that’s what makes LITA great–point your RSS reader to: http://litablog.org/wp-withcomments.php


Web Advisory Committee, the Dues Increase, and TANSTAAFL

Michelle Frisque, ALA WAC chair, will no doubt have far more fulsome coverage of this meeting later on, but as a WAC member, I wanted to share that we said our piece to Jim Rettig, ALA Executive Board member and WAC liasion, regarding the importance of ensuring that the ALA dues increase would support ALA’s technology infrastructure, and Jim strongly underscored that funding IT for ALA was indeed a priority. I buttonholed Keith Fiels on the same topic after our ALA-APA Council meeting this morning, and Keith pointed out that 25% of the strategic plan is technology-related. The real question boils down to whether ALA members can give up three lattes next year to help ALA catch up after a decade of no dues increases. Many of us have informally voiced our concern that ALA needs to make a strong case for what we won’t be able to afford if…