3 February 2007

Information Online 2007

A summary of things I noted from Information Online 2007.

  1. Tony Boston and Alison Dellit outlined some functionality they have been experimenting with to enhance the Libraries Australia interface. At present these are available at http://ll01.nla.gov.au for people to play with and provide feedback. Features they would like us to try are relevancy ranking, clustering, spelling suggestions and augmented catalogue records. Please DO NOT provide feedback on the design of the demonstration site as that is not the focus. I like the "In the news feature" on the site. News headlines are displayed along with links to relevant items in this copy of the Libraries Australia database. What a great way to promote a collection based on news headlines updated every 20 minutes.
  2. Ross Ackland's opening address on where the web is heading included an overview of the W3C and how it operates. He also discussed the semantic web, mobile web and sensor web. Web 2.0 he sees as an important grass-roots approach to information integration, while development of the semantic web is a top-down approach. A challenge he identified for librarians in relation to the mobile web is how to get content to the iphone and other mobile devices. He contends that iphones will be a much bigger market than desktop computers - so that's where the action will be. With the sensor web and its live streaming data the challenge will be in managing the data that is collected. Not just in terms of storage, but in integration, analysis and synthesis of new meaningful data.
  3. Christine McKenzie spoke about how Yarra Plenty Regional Library took up the 23 things program from the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County for staff development. Yarra Plenty Regional Library is also hosting an unconference on Learning 2.0. You can read about it on the blog, but I think it is fully subscribed.
  4. I wrote about Damien Conway's presentation at LINT, but there are a few other little gems from it. 4 doomed technologies : Ignorance (ubiquitous computing, ambient knowledge, ultra-storage) ; Publishing (death of print-runs, unlimited catalogues served by print-on-demand eg. espresso book machine at the Library) ; Dewey (in the future call numbers will be replaced by IP addresses - IPv.6 will cater for every word in every document to have its own IP address ; Infostocracy (this is where the librarians will rule the world ousting the likes of Rupert Murdoch, newspapers will be the loser).
  5. Gary Hardy (plus another presenter) from Swinburne spoke about using EBL (ebook library) to let the customers choose what should be in the library collection. They uploaded MARC records for the entire EBL collection to their catalogue and then looked to see which titles were being "loaned" before moving the popular ones from "loan" to permanent electronic access status. This resonated with Damien Conway's presentation where he mentioned the espresso print-on-demand machine. Tying these two ideas together, the library could not only broker copies of books to their customers, but also print copies from the electronic version where there was a clear indication that high levels of demand dictated a hard copy be put on the shelf. They just need to figure out the licensing details.
  6. The case of the stolen books featured in Teresa Horn and Bronwyn Matthews paper Sabotage and Salvation. In 2004 a book theft operation from open access collections in university and public libraries in New Zealand was foiled. The paper focussed on the response from the University of Canterbury to prevent further loss of significant books. Some tough decisions there about access vs. security. Some open-air balconies ended up out-of-bounds. Seems a shame that the majority of library users who are honest end up disadvantaged due to the actions of the criminal few. Interestingly the paper looked at how existing security technology had facilitated the theft.
  7. A few points from Joanne Lustig's presentation.
    At present there is a 31% search failure rate of Internet users. In our DIY culture how can libraries assist with this problem? information needs analyses, information audits, provide input into search interface development, information literacy programs.
    The trend in the US is that information workers tend to stick to traditions.
    ActiveWorlds - used to create a virtual library used for student orientation. Later the community was asked to help build and develop the virtual library. This could be a useful strategic planning tool.
  8. Bobby Graham (NLA) discussed the launch of JASAL (Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature) using OJS (Open Journal Systems). This is an open source product for managing and publishing journals. Looks pretty good. The NLA is working with a few other journals also.

Well that might do it for the papers. There were more I'd like to report on, but a girl can only attend so many and when she's preparing for her own presentation there is some preoccupation to overcome. If you are interested in institutional research repositories, you might like to read the paper that I presented. "Open source or off-the-shelf : establishing an institutional repository for a small institution" was co-written with Mark Sutherland. The full text is available along with the powerpoint from Bond University's research repository, e-publications@ bond.

I plan to write another post about some of the products/systems I checked out in the exhibition hall and at vendor demonstrations, but it will have to wait for another day.