May 23, 2007

Interesting Conversations and Disruptive Ideas: What Thought Leaders are Saying about Libraries and Librarians

A square cropped version of J. W. Waterhouse's The Crystal Ball
By mira d'oubliette via flickr (Creative Commons license)

Here are three events that I'd like to attend where there's bound to be some great conversations and new ideas about the role and future of libraries and librarians. All three events examine libraries within a wider context. The great news is that one of these events is free to attend just by signing in on your computer: the OPAL interview with David Weinberger.

#1. Will technology replace the research centre? How will the corporate librarian's role evolve?

Panel Discussion by the City Information Group, June 7, 2007. Location: Balls Brothers at the Minster, Mincing Lane, London.

The panelists are Euan Semple, former head of KM at BBC, Mike Angle CEO of Alacra, one of the EContent's Top 100 companies, and Mark Chillingworth editor of Information World Review.
Big questions will be asked about the changing world of research and information and the discussion is likely to take us from Enterprise 2.0 through to managing knowledge and finding sources of knowledge. In fact, we will take a look into the future of our work and what we must do to evolve in order to play a part in it. (Excerpt from program description)
(from LI Issues by James Mullan)

#2. What is the role of University in cyberspace? - Internet & Society Conference 2007

University: Knowledge Beyond Authority at Harvard Law School

The theme of this upcoming conference is "UNIVERSITY – Knowledge Beyond Authority". This Harvard university-wide event is open to all who care for the future of University. It is expected to attract a diverse audience including scholars, students, entrepreneurs and librarians. The speakers and facilitators are a diverse and interesting group and include (at least) two librarians: Jessamyn West and Cathy Norton.
We will ask how University should relate to the world of intellectual property with respect to what we use and what we produce, and how interconnected the “library” of University should be. We will consider how the corporate worlds of search and content might thrive by supporting networked Universities. (Excerpt from program description)

#3. Live Online Interview with David Weinberger about his new book, Everything is Miscellaneous - OPAL, June 6, 2007

In his new book, David's heads right in the realm of library and information science and shares his thoughts about the way organize things in physical world and how we need to and are applying new approaches in digital realm to support research and knowledge.

In a recently recorded Google TechTalks presentation, David Weinberger states that:

"We've gotten really good at organizing physical objects. The fact that we are able to fluidly divide up stuff is quite new, especially if you compare to what we had to do .. in the physical world, we had to come up with a set of categories. One person gets to come up with them or a committee."


"We had to come up with one "right" way of ordering things because we had a physical world but that's no longer true.

Better to be able to slice and dice along many different attributes ... so many to cluster and dice. Every attribute (facet) is a joint.

Love to organize things into trees: animal kingdom, laundry, ...

But we don't need to organize thoughts and knowledge based on the physical containers.

Digitizing everything changes what we do." (Transcription of excerpt of Google TechTalk presentation)"

Watch the whole Google TechTalk presentation:

OPAL (Online Programming for All Libraries)'s description uses a quote from Karen Schneider to send home the message that this is a not too be missed event:
This is the book that Karen Schneider described in the ALA TechSource Blog as "...dangerous. [It] takes all the precious ideas we are taught as librarians and throws them out the window." (excerpt from program description)

The session is free and there's no need to pre-register. Find out how to install the software here and join the room.

(Link from LibrarianInBlack)

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