What I liked in 2008


2009 starts in an hour’s time.

In no order, here are some of my library / techie / bloggy highlights from the past year.

I was going to include a list of events I’ve enjoyed this year – but most of them are in this blog already.

I was also going to do a list of cool people I met this year, but that just sounded all name-droppy.  I am grateful to have met so many people that I previously admired from afar – or met for the first time and now admire…If I’ve hung out with you, or even just stood shyly in the same room as you trying to think of something to say – thanks for all I’ve learned from you.

A handful of thank-yous for 2008

  1.  Con for being a fabulous co-conspirator in many schemes.
  2. The Thali members for their hospitality when I have landed in their cities.
  3. The people at MPOW who encouraged me to aim higher than I would have otherwise.
  4. The Perth library unconference unorganisers – the most organised unorganisers ever.
  5. Organisations who have asked me to present at their events. I’ve loved going to new places and hearing from new people about a corner of libraryland I didn’t know about before. (and each time I was terrified that the organisation would discover I had nothing interesting to say, and then because I didn’t want to let them down, I discovered that I *did* have something to say…)
  6. My family for giving me space and stability
  7. People who have engaged with what I am writing here – either by reading, commenting or continuing the conversation elsewhere.

Tools I tried in 2008 and am still using:

  1.  Google Chrome
  2. ASUS eeePC 1000H
  3. Logitech WAVE wireless keyboard and mouse combo
  4. Ubiquity Firefox extension
  5. Twhirl
  6. FriendFeed
  7. Zotero – toes in the water with this, as I don’t like using portable Firefox on a USB stick to keep my references all in one spot.

Work I’ve admired in 2008:

1. What John Blyberg did. Finished and released SOPAC2 into the wild, but also his talk in Singapore at Bridging Worlds helped me understand how the idea of User Experience should permeate both a library’s online and offline presence.

2. What Dave Pattern did: Often made me laugh in delight at his creative use of data visualisation…but  I’ve been very impressed with his release of anonymised circulation and recommendation data  under Open Data Commons/CC0 license. And his recent resurrection of his “Hot stuff” in the biblioblogosphere. Check it out to see the most popular new term today.

3. What Stephen Abram did: I wasn’t at the Australian Library and Information Association Conference in Alice Springs mid-year , but I’ve heard second-hand about this bloke who set a cat among the pigeons when he “said to us that if we aren’t keeping up-to-date then we should get out of his profession”.

3. The OLE project:  Having the vision to apply for a $475,700 grant from the The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation   to create a design document for an Open Source Integrated Library Management System aimed at research libraries.

4. National Library of Australia :  They are continuing to respond quickly to the changing information environment, with innovations like the full text Australian Newspaper Index , the launch of the Open Source VuFind front end to the library catalogue in May and their Library Labs wiki .

5. National Library of New Zealand: The leadership by the organisation in the New Zealand Digital Strategy and projects such as DigitalNZ – designed to make New Zealand content easier to find, share and use. 

6. National  and State Libraries of Australasia:  The  Re-imagining Library Services Strategic Plan   is a great blueprint for the way that state and national libraries can work together to create a consistent experience for our users.

What I’ll be keeping an eye on in 2009

1. Second Life – If it’s so useful to libraries and education, why are there so few mature widely-used projects there? If it’s so useless for libraries and educational organisations, why are they still there and why are some of the smartest people I know still putting in time and energy after several years?

2. The crazy, dumb scheme to filter Australia’s internet access.

3.  Twitter. Despite predictions that “it will go mainstream this year”, I still think that you need to have the right personality type to use it well. I’d be interested in whether the service can scale or make money if numbers swell

4. Library responses to the economic crisis. Will our role as storehouse for print objects be further challenged as our buildings become a meeting place for people with less money for outings – and as we need to decide whether to spend our more limited budgets on more print or on more digital collections.

What I want to find out about in 2009

  1. E-books – my list is here
  2. Drupal. I want to create a test-installation to store notes and references when I study next year.
  3. Skills and organisational change needed before libraries can adopt Open Source systems.
  4. I want to install Koha, Evergreen, SOPAC2 , Vufind and a bunch of other Open Source applications on a portable hard drive so I can understand how they work.
  5. APIs. Application Programming Interfaces – the way data can be sucked in and out of applications, and remixed and repurposed. 
  6. Yahoo Pipes. I want to try doing more than just translating this blog’s feed into French, then German and then back into English.
  7. Write a simple WordPress plugin. I’m told that they are simple to write and I want to understand how to do it.

Pre-booked in 2009

I’m going to be busy next year. I’m practising saying “N-O”, but please ask me about that exciting opportunity/event/dinner out/chance to chat. I will probably try “N-O” on you, but it’s nice to be asked.

I have enrolled to do an extra six months of study to convert my current qualification into a Masters of Information Management. I’ll be writing a thesis only – all about what I find out on my travels on the VALA Scholarship between mid- March and the end of April.

I’m also committed to a few presentations already:

  • 6 March 2009 LocLib Conference. (session time TBA) Perth, Western Australia. Session on lifestreaming, podcasting, vodcasting, machinima, microblogging, screencasting, slidecasting.
  • 31 March 2009  Unconferences . 1:30 – 2:15pm Panel with John Blyberg, Steve Lawson and Stephen Francouer . Computers in Libraries Arlington, Virginia, United States of America
  • 3-6 May 2009 (session time TBA) Reasons why emerging technologies are  part of every librarians’ job Educause Australasia 2009
  • 3-6 May 2009 (session time TBA) Personal Learning Environments for Librarians Panel discussion with Con Wiebrands, Peta Hopkins and Penny Coutas . Educause Australasia 2009

4 thoughts on “What I liked in 2008

  1. Sorry snail. I was umming and erring … and then when I found out about the VALA travel, I decided that work and home would appreciate me staying put instead of taking a week or so out to go to Online.

    Hope to catch up at VALA 2010, if not before?

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