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December 02, 2008

Charleston Recap

Now that I've finished up a couple of other projects and had a chance to tidy up my office, I am taking some time to review my notes from the Charleston Conference and list the top ideas and thoughts I took away.
  1. Just because we can store every possible thing, doesn’t mean we should, or that we will do it well. We need to link data, add value to data, and provide access to data.  We should make judgments on what is worth keeping, what has value now, what will have value later.  We can do much better than that, and duplication costs money. Knowing what to throw away is part of the professional skills of librarians.
  2. I love this one: "We spend tons of money and space on filing cabinets – why?" Amen!
  3. Why don’t we have a logo for “peer-reviewed”? Why no meta-data for peer-reviewed stuff that can be mined by search engines? Could click on the logo and find information about what has been done to the article, versioning, "Version of Record", etc.
  4. There is no such thing as a FINAL version of something.
  5. We are still building "digital incunabula" – trying to make it look like the old stuff that we’re used to seeing.
  6. Adding this whole bit from Greg Tanenbaum's presentation (ppt):
    • All I really need to know about scholarly communication I learned in Kindergarten
      • Share everything – web 2.0 behavior of commercial internet. Professionals want access to everything, free, easy, quick, any format, customized.
      • Play fair – what’s fair for authors may not be considered fair for publishers may not be fair for libraries. Use your words, talk it through.
      • Don’t take things that aren’t yours – copyright is complex, not completely understood by everyone involved. Do we need to provide better & more simplified information to the authors, etc.? How do we most efficiently establish what’s yours and what’s not?
      • When going out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together – organic social networks. How does this affect scholarly communication?
      • LOOK – see what’s going on in the world around us, how can we equip ourselves, share experiences
  7. Keep the directions simple. (I think this had to do with scholarly communications, but I think it should be embraced in all aspects of librarianship).
  8. Readers? Browsers? Users? Consumers?  Refer to them as collaborators – new publishing systems should be people-centric not paper-centric.
  9. Libraries spend 70% building systems and infrastructure, 30% focused on the ideas that move a service forward. We need to reverse this.
  10. Here's a good question: "Are the digital documents we create today becoming the microfilm of the future?" We're really just starting to be more aware of permanent digital archiving.
  11. Every single thing doesn’t need to be done in every single library.  We will see more collaboration between libraries across the spectrum in the future, individual institutions can specialize more and become experts.
  12. This is completely true, I can't tell you how many questions we get about this: Faculty & students want to mine books and documents, no longer good enough to just have access to full-text.

In general - I heard a lot of talk about reviewing workflows and increasing collaboration to reduce redundancy.  The fact is, we will NOT be getting more staff, and libraries have been slowly bleeding positions for years.  The Role of the Library in a Fully-Googlized World (powerpoint 1 and 2) was very interesting, imaginative, and I think presented some very likely scenarios.

Many of the concurrent sessions I attended were on collections assessment, and purchasing on demand (particularly e-books).  Hopefully, I'll be able to make some practical use of the information I gathered in these areas.  I have some ideas percolating in my brain about possible projects for the coming year, so we'll see how that works.  All in all, it was another positive experience, and will be even more so once I get reimbursed!

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