Access 2012: Conference Reflection

Honestly, my mind is still reeling from the conference. There were so many thought provoking ideas that my brain seems to still be processing them all.

Solving Practical Problems

One of the difficulties I frequently have is when people talk about great ideas, but they’re big ideas. Not that we don’t need to start these discussions, but on the more immediate front, I like to be able to take something practical back to my workplace to say “here’s how they did it, I think we can do it too.”

In this respect, one of my favourites was dchud’s Social Media Feed Manager, especially with the code available on github. I use this example first because it’s something simple enough that if you’re familiar with this sort of thing, it wouldn’t even take a day to set up. Pulling in social media feeds is something many researchers have trouble with and on top of simply solving a problem, this would be a tool that we can use to reach out to more faculty.

While I’m not sure how we might integrate the use of it into my workplace, I got really excited over Lisa’s talk on CWRC to build a connected, linked data environment and repository. Definitely one of the biggest issues of getting metadata the way we want it to be is the amount of work that is usually involved, and frequently involves technical knowledge, but the CWRC tool definitely makes it look easy to do.

New Perspectives

Another set of talks I really appreciated was looking at an existing concept in a vastly different way. A good example would be Hugh’s Keeping Books Open talk. While I have considered the definition of a book to be changing and somewhat fluid, Hugh spoke about a different model in publishing and interaction with readers that made me wonder at the possibilities.

Another good example would be Alistair’s talk on Civil Rights in Big Data and Answers. Who knew there would be connection? I have always thought of big data as just that, a lot of data. I considered big data to be a great way of becoming informed and exploring different connections. I never thought about the possible impact that it has already had on our society.

Doing Both

While roaming services and a deskless reference service are not new ideas, Marc’s Reshaping Service Delivery talk added a layer beyond simply providing roaming services within the library. I (and I’m certain many others) was very impressed on how he took the library’s circ desk out into the community.

Taking It Back

As I said, I think one of the most valuable things about Access is hearing about the new things that other libraries are doing that I can then take back to my workplace. While we have already implemented (or in the process of implementing) some of the things presented (such as a more integrated, one-look mobile site), I have definitely gotten a better idea of how to tackle other issues we haven’t even begun (like collaborative digital collections).

Final Thoughts

Another great Access. While a couple of the presentations were a bit too technical for me, I liked that once again, there were people pulled in from outside of the library and academic area.

I am definitely putting Access down as my must-go conference. Next year is in St John’s though which is rather far especially if I return to the West Coast, so I hope I can make it, but we’ll see.

Now to Get Some Rest

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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