Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Karen Schneider Keynote

The keynote had a few good points to it. She spent a lot of time talking about better ways to market open source projects. This seems like pretty obvious stuff.

One thing I liked was the concept of "rebuilding library artisans". The idea is that developers are the artisans of libraries. They build the systems that deliver library services. She argued that every library should have a developer--that this should be a given like a reference librarian, catalog librarian.

I tend to agree with this line of thinking. Libraries need developers to specialize their services to their local clietele. This is where they add value. At a place like L&C, we're really trying to put together a "rich" liberal arts learning environment. It's the micro-brew of higher ed (at least that's how we price it), so you really need the artisan to brew it up.

Another comment I kind of liked was related to library directors going to conferences and coming back determined to create a "learning commons." Funny how administrators attach so much importance to moving walls and furniture around when the revolution is happening online.

I got the feeling from this talk, and generally from this conference, that there's a lot of momentum building around the Evergreen ILS. The buzz is just starting over in III-land on the West Coast.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Athens, GA

Just checked into The Foundry Park Inn in Athens, GA for code4lib 2007. Initial impressions of Athens are that it is a laid back college town along the lines of Madison, WI. We'll have to get out and explore more. Our hotel is nice. Sort of a colonial/plantation style that you wouldn't find in the pacific northwest.

The lineup of presentations looks strong, once again. This conference is really an incubator for new digital library services. There's a lot of unconventional thought out there about things we could do with existing data and services and I'm looking forward to wading in deep.

My esteemed colleague Jeremy McWilliams and I are going to try to find some trails to run tomorrow morning before the action starts. We hope to get a lightning talk about our top secret project, code named "Sherpa."

Friday, February 23, 2007

Book Review

The book I co-authored with Kyle Banjerjee and Michael Spalti been reviewed in the journal: Program: electronic library and information systems, a British journal that I hadn't heard of before. Overall, it's a pretty good review, but unfortunately it's not open to the public.

Google Apps Premier Edition Released

Google released its Apps Premier Edition yesterday. It includes integrated GMail and calendaring for your business or education. It is great to see a heavyweight competitor to Microsoft in this space, especially one with something compelling to offer, and a software-as-a-service approach.

I think it only makes sense for colleges and universities to outsource generic services like email. They are really a utility that should be handled higher up the stack. Sure, there are concerns about having someone else be stewards of our data. But frankly, I think Google has a much better security infrastructure than we do around here. Hell, they even talk about "armed personnel":

Data security

Your proprietary data is protected by security measures that include biometric devices and armed personnel, special-purpose equipment and services that only expose the minimal required access points to serve their function, dispersed data in proprietary formats and redundant storage that ensures the availability of your data.

Don't think we can provide that around here at L&C...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

database vendors are the real libraries

Kyle Banerjee gave a dynamite job talk the other day for the Orbis Cascade Alliance's Digital Services Program Manager position. One of the lines that he used that I liked: "database vendors are the ones building libraries, we're just purchasing agents."