Friday, April 25, 2008

OLA - i wuz there

Well, the OLA annual conference has come and gone. And as always it was good to see familiar faces that I hadn't seen in a while and it was especially good to see some familiar names face-to-face for the first time.

The Keynote speaker from OCLC, George Needham, had some nice things to say - and wasn't too much of a doppelganger to last year's speaker. I agreed with a lot of what he said - but perhaps the best thing that stuck out in my mind was his opening quote:

It is not necessary to change. Survival is optional. - W. Edwards Deming

Pretty much sums it up doesn't it? He also mentioned several reports - most which I've read - but still they are worth bookmarking or downloading to your e-reading apparatus.

One of those new faces for a name and voice I've interacted with was Nathan - who conducted a very nice table talk on Podcasting.

I then went to the break out session for the Keynote and got to ask about when OCLC is going to embrace all that cool OSS, Creative Commons, GNU type stuff he was talking about. You'll be happy to know they are in the thinking and talking about it phase - which I think it translate into "When you retire we may be in the writing phase" - so perhaps my grandchildren will reap the benefits. ;-)

I then attended Adrianna's (the spelled with 2 n's) presentation on Focus Groups. And learned that if I do a focus group - I should not be the moderator.

After all that I decided to drive home and get ready for the next day.

The next day I got there bright and early so I could hear one of the authors of Books on Trial speak. I was very excited to attend this presentation -as you may remember I really enjoyed the book. It was a great talk and the only thing that upset me was it was scheduled at the same time as the SLIS Student OSS presentations - but I heard from through the grapevine that the students did a great job.

Before lunch I attended the Amigos Tech Year in Review by Christine Peterson and if only I could remember the URL for her presentation I would share it. [ Update: Thanks Christine! Here slides are here ]

I camped out in the room for Virtual Worlds presentation - so I could heckle my ODL buddy Michael's 2nd Life presentation. I even got a special introduction as heckler prior to Michael's talk (thanks Bill!) As you may remember I don't like it that much. And I've stated after trying it.

But I couldn't heckle too much because he did a good job and did a nice little presentation video. Unfortunately he ran out of time so he couldn't take them into the 2nd life world to show them it in real time. Which left me to hang out on info isle bored - I mean what's the point in turning into a furry with whips and "bling" if there isn't a crowd of freaked out librarians to watch in real time?

(I keed - actually the Marriott crashed their wireless to give Michael a wired connection to the internet so I wouldn't have been able to do that anyways)

I will say the one down point of the entire conference was the exhibitors - not that I don't adore harassing EBSCO salesreps (who were kind enough to sponsor the Keynote) - but there was such a poor turn out of vendors I walked through the hall once and never went back in. It was in a nice location/room but there was absolutely no one new - and I even heard a few folks complain there wasn't even the library clothing folks around to buy cheesy library t-shirts from. The number of vendors was sad and has me concerned about future conferences.

So that's my quick summation - what do you all think? Do you have tales to share? I did stumble across a few other posts out there as well about the conference


Christine Peterson said...
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Christine Peterson said...

Adri -- The handouts for the "Last Year in Tech" presentation are on the Amigos website:

Chrissy said...

Thank you for your comments on my blog( Excellent points, all! I had not thought about how serving the virtual customers in your area is important to the passage of bonds and such. I was sitting on my cloud of idealism again, just thinking about connecting people with information, no matter where they are in the physical world.

I wasn't really thinking that using Second Life would help bridge the digital divide. As you say, those using Second Life clearly have technology within their reach and a good grasp of basic operation. I was thinking more of those in the gaming community who think the library is outmoded, dull, and not user-friendly. Trying to lure in those who think the library has nothing to offer them.

The presentation video also mentioned some physically challenged individuals who use Second Life as a means to escape the confines of their disabilities. I don't know how common such usage is, or if it will increase in the future, but in the case of customers with limited mobility, it seems Second Life could in the forseeable future offer a means for serving that population.

I think you're right that Second Life may have value as a field for staff development training. Certainly other businesses seem to be finding it useful as such. You offer an interesting idea as to libraries establishing a presence in WoW or MySpace. If librarians need to go where the people are, well, they are certainly there. I'm not sure I personally would relish working in any of these virtual venues, but it's worth thinking about.

As Michael said, these virtual worlds are barely out of their infancy. It's hard to say how many people will use them in 20 years, or 50 years. At this point, I'm not ready to write off virtual worlds--whether MySpace, Second Life, or WoW--as an invalid means to provide customer service. Nonetheless, thank you for your comments and perspectives! You offer valid concerns, and they are greatly appreciated. :)