October 05, 2007

LITA National Forum 2007 -- Day 1 Sessions

Future of Libraries Discussion

This session posed a few key questions to the group and asked us to think about hte year 2023. We were asked to ponder --
-- There were 100,000,000 free full-text books
-- Copyright legistation were completely rewritten to more reasonably reflect real world practices
-- Star Trek-level reference were really available

What I found most interesting was how difficult it was for a room full of librarians to think beyond today's technology. Any mention of information implants or anything close to AI was immediately poo-poo'ed. The conversation focused on how we stay relevant despite a couple of non-librarians in the audience trying to explain that we may not be already.

Topic Mapping

I didn't get to stay long for this one as I had to hit the session below, but I found the intro highly interesting. It is essentially a way to aggregate index information instead of focusing on full-text and create new access points. This is an area I'm going to have to look more indepth at when I get home.

Tagging the Catalog & Keyword in Headings

This session showed two concepts. First it demonstrated how heading data could harvested and allow keyword searching to actually pull a relevant list of subjects back. IE. User does a search for Civil War and instead of getting "no hits", they get back a list of all of the subject headings that include the words Civil and War. Second, it showed the value of allowing users to tag their own items. "Users are no longer passive." This allows an additional access point. Tags allow for "changes as language changes". One unique implementation of this was providing students of a method of finding all items from a specific professor.

LITA National Forum 2007 -- Preparing

I'm at the conference this weekend and preparing for our presentation on Plinkit Sat afternoon. In the meantime, I've also stumbled upon the opportunity to publicize our upcoming book on Federated Searching. We hope to provide a practical guide to reviewing, selecting, and implementing a federated search tool to librarians of all kinds.

There's a Five Minute Madness session which affords people like me to ramble on about projects they are currently working on. I hope to get the word out that we need participants in our survey to make sure that we are addressing all of the concerns of the field.

If you have time, please fill out our survey AND pass it along to your colleagues. Our publishing deadline is January and every response helps!