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Tuesday, December 20, 2005


It's not just about the code

Richard Akerman makes a great argument (with a diagram!) about why "librarians 2.0 don't need to be coders 2.0." He paraphrases an IBM article on service-oriented design that shows nine different roles as part of any project lifecycle. Sure, application development requires some hefty coding skills. But non-coders could be all over the business and architecture roles:
I just think "coder" represents such a small component of successfully delivering systems that meet your goals - think in wider terms about how to
  1. Capture your goals (Business)
  2. Translate those goals into sets of functions that make sense for the organization (Architecture)
  3. Build systems that meet the business goals while fitting into your architecture (Applications)
His post reminds me of issues that arose during the OLC Futures Initiative. Quoting from the Technology Task Force Report:
The overall consensus of the committee was that, while all services should be examined for improvement by a specific technology, the services should drive the use of technology; technology should not drive the services.
Akerman suggests that maybe the reason library development seems so hobbled is that we have a communications gap, not a coding gap. (Still, it wouldn't hurt if more of us knew how to write code, or had the vision to hire staff who can).

Thursday, December 15, 2005


It's time for "Library 2.0: the Conference"

This morning, I decided that I want to see a "Library 2.0" conference in Ohio. I want national speakers (from St Joseph County, from Anne Arbor, from Seattle Public, from Salt Lake City Public) to talk about the transformation of their buildings and services to meet their patrons where they are. I want gaming demonstrations. I want OCLC to come and talk about their findings regarding user perceptions and the library brand. I want an art/design company to create avatars for librarians to use on their blogs, their IM clients, their Skype accounts. I want someone to talk about Wiki subject guides, library Flickr accounts, and RSS feeds from the catalog. I want a panel of ILS vendors to talk about what they're doing regarding graphical navigation systems, user alerting, and the dis-aggregation of their products (I want to hear them say that their products offer better resource discovery than Amazon.com, and have an audience "boo" them).

And while I started hammering the IT button pretty hard at the end of that last paragraph, it's not about technology. It's about vision, services, and tools. It's about building the willingness of Ohio's libraries to imagine what they can do next.

I'm impatient. October 2007, the date of the next statewide OLC conference, seems too far away to make this happen. But knowing how the OLC planning cycle begins rolling as a tiny snowball, already with unstoppable momentum by the time I notice it's happening, I thought I'd put my plugs in early. "Library 2.0" is a conversation that is happening among the visionaries now, and I think it's a conversation that Ohio libraries should want to be a part of...even if it takes us 22 months to get there.

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