Thinking in the New Year
Another year, and another round of resolutions. Last year, I traveled 150,000 km and was on the road more than 100 days. And the year before, and the year before that. In November, I moved to the Hague for a new job and am looking forward to having more time for all kinds of projects, and inevitably, started the year with a resolution to update this blog more often.
This year, I’m interested in exploring the future: what impact will demographic change have on libraries 20, 50 years from now?
Race around the world
I have been known to joke at times that my life feels a bit like The Amazing Race, but the past few weeks have not been too far off. 6 weeks, 6 countries and 60,000km later my evaluation visits have ended on a very bright note in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Lithuania has taken every opportunity in their path and made the most of it: Libraries for Innovation has modernised libraries and built partnerships with government and industry.
20 years into the post-Soviet era, Ukraine continues to transition to new attitudes and practices. Libraries are not immune to the massive impact this change has had on every aspect of life in the country. Some still look to the state to solve every perceived problem. Others described how laws and regulations make it difficult for libraries to buy books, not to mention the restrictions on buying econtent which means people are already turning to downloading unauthorized copies of books in massive numbers because the titles they want aren’t readily available for sale or loan at libraries.
One of the outcomes I’m looking for in this series of visits is unintended consequences. Did things happen that we didn’t predict, or plan for in the project? Did things change for the better, or worse? Here in Peru, I’ve been surprised and impressed at how the project has spun off across the country. A small pilot project to visit schools to promote libraries and librarianship as a profession. Collaborations with municipal governments on the development of new regional libraries.
Collaborative librarianship - working smarter
Tomorrow, I will travel to Peru for the third BSLA review meeting. I’m looking forward to hearing what they’ve been up to (a lot!) and sharing what’s already come out of Botswana and Cameroon. One of the best things about this project has been how enthusiastically everyone has embraced working with colleagues in their own region, and across the world when we meet. I’m sorry to say it, but far, far too often at home I encounter that all-too-familiar syndrome: Not Invented Here.
Metadata and trust
Journalism.co.uk (Via ACM TechNews) is reporting that Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the Media Standards Trust in the UK have won a major grant to develop a metadata system to improve search and trust in news information -
It received its award for plans to design a way for content creators to add information about sources and context to their reports in the form of additional meta data.
This sounds like an incredibly useful project, not only for people who search for news articles, but for journalists themselves.
One protocol to rule them all?
Data seems to be the hot topic right now. It’s all about how we store it, share it, and make it play nice with other data. There is an enthusiasm for openness and a move towards standardisation of data and the ways we share it, but there’s a also a worrying trend - competing standards and protocols.
Ross Singer at Panlibus discusses a draft recommendation from the Digital Library Federation ILS and Discovery System Task Force and notes that while it’s certainly a welcome move, that -
My interest in the Semantic Web and Libraries
If you are finding your way to the blog via the Talking with Talis podcast, hello! I wanted to expand on why I am interested in the Semantic Web as I only briefly touched on this in the podcast.
eResearch and Data A couple of years ago, I attended a conference where the theme was eResearch. Librarians described how they have responded to the challenges of managing datasets, ever-increasing amounts of raw information and data, as well as grey literature, preprints, and other publications.
2009 Predictions and Trends
e’re well into 2009 now, but there’s always time for trends!
Kathryn Greenhill at Librarians Matter recently compiled a few of the trends that have been making the rounds on library blogs last month.
Cloud, Semantic Web, and Linked Data abound in predictions and in posts emerging through the first two months of the year. It’s looking to be a big year for the Semantic Web in libraries. Add this to the growth in data curation, digital preservation, and eResearch in libraries and there are interesting times ahead.
A database of data
Last week there was a flurry of comments around a post by Bret Taylor, We need a Wikipedia for data. Taylor describes a model for a wiki that would aggregate common data in one database that could be cross-searched. Great idea.
One interesting thing about the types of datasets he mentions are that they are all copyrighted - stations own TV schedules, exchanges own market data (the free stuff is usually 20 minutes delayed) and a variety of companies own publishing rights over telephone numbers.