Ohio State's "technology for the rest of us" seminars

Just a quick note, because I may or may not get around to writing this up elsewhere:

I spent last week at Ohio State University (or getting there and back), participating in three of four days of a remarkably well-designed and worthwhile event, "Technology for the rest of us: What every librarian should understand about the technologies that affect us."

Each day offered two two-hour sessions, one from 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., the second from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Continental breakfast was available before the first talk (which was preceded by a few minutes of welcoming comments).

Monday--which I missed--featured Robert E. Molyneux (NCLIS) on networking and Bill Drew on wireless networking. I'm informed that both did a great job. (Had dinner with Bill and a few OSU people Monday evening; first time I've met him F2F, I believe)

Tuesday, I talked about OpenURL in the morning; Thomas J. Lynch, III (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) discussed Internet2 in the afternoon. My presentation was my first use of PowerPoint (outside RLG) in five years, was more work than any speech I've done in years, offered something I'm apparently uniquely qualified to do (a middle section showing 20 variations on how libraries use OpenURL), and was great fun to do. I'd love to do something similar elsewhere...

Wednesdy had Peter Murray (U. Connecticut) on security and Ron Gilmour (U. Tennessee) on XML.

Thursday had Sarah Shreeves (U. Illinois Urbana-Champaign) on the Open Archives Initiative Protocol and, in the afternoon, MacKenzie Smith (MIT) and Charly Bauer (OhioLINK) on institutional repositories.

I went to make a presentation. I stayed because I thought I could learn some things. I was right: The presentations were enormously informative. The timing and balance were such that I--and I think the 100-odd librarians who attended--had time to let material sink in and gain insights without being overwhelmed.

A first-rate event, one that might usefully be emulated (with a LOT of effort!) elsewhere.

I believe most presentations are or will be available at the conference website.


So far I've heard from 3 participants, 2 speakers, and several of the folks who ran the show and everyone had rave reviews. I really wish I'd been able to make it. When they were first putting it together last year I thought it'd be a great idea, and I was sad to leave before I could see it come together.

Rumor has it there'll be a book coming out as well.

The rumor is correct...assuming that we all get our 5,000-word-or-less book-oriented versions done in time. I believe the book will include chapters on additional technologies: my only involvement is to agree to a modified version of the contributor contract. (Non-exclusive license.)

Which reminds me that I'll have to schedule a few days to DO that version!

A presentation is needed on the public documents, public records, grey literature of our cities' public libraries. As municipal entities subject to freedom of information, many librarians ironically censor public information from one another and from civic minded citizens.