Libraries and our changing world

Over the weekend I was in Perth with my husband and had the opportunity to meet up with people involved in blogging and Web 2.0 thanks to the organisational efforts of the remarkable Sue WatersJane Lowe, Tomas Lasic, Kathryn Greenhill  and Jo Hart and her husband were there also. There were others but I didn’t catch everyone’s names so I apologise for not mentioning you if you happen to be reading this. Thanks Sue Waters for making the effort for me – I very much appreciated it.     

The discussion was lively and my husband was very tolerant. (He was surprised that he could keep up with the discussion; that comes from him listening and being interested in what it is I’m doing. I’m very thankful for that.) It was wonderful that Kathryn Greenhill was there. She is a Librarian working at Murdoch University and she has a great job  working as their Emerging Technologies Specialist.  Towards the end of the afternoon we shared some ideas about the future of libraries and I was very interested to hear her thoughts.  I’ve been mining her blog since my return and am very impressed with her insights. This to do list of Kathryn’s echoes some of the things I have been planning to investigate this holiday break;

WHAT TO DO?

On my own “to do” list?

  1. Find out more about new publishing models and licensing structures.
  2. Find out more about reading-dedicated devices – kindles and illiads and Sony readers and screen technologies that make it easy to read in bright sunlight.
  3. Find out more about the “reading” functions on converged devices (like the iPhone and mobile phones). Is it really possible to comfortably read a whole book on one?
  4. Educate myself more about Digital Rights Management and which e-books can be read with which e-book reader software on which machines.
  5. Investigate models for academic texts that involve library-provided materials that can be read off-line.
  6. Find out more about what the University of Michigan Library is doing with their Espresso Book Machine.
  7. Think even harder about “last copy storage” projects  and whether they make sense for Australian academic libraries.
  8. Think about preservation / archive vs accessibility issues with e-books.
  9. Ask some people under 30 what they think about books vs e-formats.  (If you are under 30, please let me know in the comments ).
  10. Try reading a fiction e-book from start to finish. (I have bought two that use the Mobipocket, and have been irritated that I can’t flip the screen to portrait so I can hold my eee 1000h like a “real” book. Fuddy Duddy me. )

There are things on that list I know very little about -obviously I need to know more! I can see Kathryn’s blog is going to be a must read for me, especially considering she has received funding to visit the United States and Canada  in April and investigate alternative discovery layers and open source library management systems. Open source library management systems are very interesting and I’d love to know the viability of having them replace the systems we are using today.  Looking at Kathryn’s blog she seems to share so I will be watching with interest.

Thank you Kathryn. Already I am learning from you. That’s the wonderful thing about this network. Connections are formed that impact on your ability to understand new ideas. You don’t need to learn in isolation and you can help one another navigate new territory. As far as Libraries go, the new territory has been laid open. Time to discover what lies within. 

School’s out Friday

Yay!! I really am out from school this week. Holidays are here in Australia for some of us. Sorry Govt. school teachers- I know how hard that last week is – you have my sympathy although I don’t think that will count for all that much! 

And yes, I realise it is Saturday and I am late getting this up. I’m in Perth with my husband and we’re having a great time in this wonderful city. We’re meeting up with Sue Waters and Jane Lowe and possibly others this afternoon. I met Sue last week in Melbourne but I’ve never met Jane. Both of them have provided me with a lot of help this year- if not for them I wouldn’t have been posting from China. They both directed me to Posterous and Jane suggested Blogger as the platform that would be accessible in China for the blog I wrote for parents while I was there.   

Anyway, enjoy Charlie Todd and the improveverywhere crew as they entertain us once more. I’m looking forward to a Christmas extravaganza from them – hope they have something planned.

Enjoy your weekend.