Any librarian that thinks that libraries move at a slow pace should try standing outside them sometime. In the past two years alone we’ve seen the the eBook market grow from virtually nothing in non-US markets to dominate conversation, a huge increase in the amount of legal streaming content (and simultaneous geolocking), copyright term extensions, new organisations like Library Renewal spring up, attack and defence of libraries whether by word, or by physical will.
It’s been two and a half years now since I last worked in libraries (I now work ‘for’ libraries and rejoined IFLA in 2009), and roughly that span of time since posts have been more sporadic on this blog. Not for want of issues to discuss, but rather for space and time to consider what to say, since Twitter tends to take most rapid thoughts, and in-person meetings the rest. Perhaps some blog fatigue – I had to smile when a post elsewhere said I had started blogging recently. It’s now been 12 years since I started my first blog (and had the dubious distinction of being the first Australian library blogger). Now everyone has an (abandoned) blog. In my current role, I’m fortunate to travel, visit a number of libraries and to discuss issues in the profession with a broad group of experts and professionals. While I remain interested in the Semantic Web, and Linked Library Data, it’s become just one of many things that I’m monitoring these days in both the library and development communities. Yet Semantic Web as an idea remains important – if not only because it harkens back to fundamental principles of standards, openness, transparency, and the role of ICT in development. Much that I have learned from the development community – crisis mapping, aid transparency, and developing flexible services for multiple platforms including mobile is deeply relevant to libraries too. There is growing awareness of this in many developing countries, but perhaps not so much in libraries elsewhere, in a twist on old information flows. Open Access, and the way countries can collaborate cross border to advocate for increasing access to information, remains on my mind.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to watch and discuss these topics in person in a lot of countries from Australia to Ukraine over the past two years, and I’m looking forward to bringing it back to the blog. Thanks for sticking around.
Originally published on the semanticlibrary.net blog