CiL2009, Day 1: A retrospective

31 Mar

This retrospective was supposed to be written and posted last night, but while delicious tapas and a pitcher of sangria have many virtues, the facilitation of effective blogging lies not amongst them. Instead, I’m typing this while waiting for the second day’s keynote (an interview which seems to involve at least one individual that I played RockBand with on Sunday) to begin.

Saw a number of interesting presentations yesterday; the two most interesting involved sharing code from your library and learning about academic library users, respectively. The first half of the latter described a study of students at the University of Maryland that, among other findings, happily noted that 54% of students used UMD’s ResearchPort system in their last batch of course-related research (with 35% using it first), while only 36% used Google (18% using it first). And they even put all the tools necessary to run a similar study in the conference materials, and put their prototype up on the web for us to look at. The second half involved an interesting discussion of user-generated social tagging of library resources.

The first presentation that really struck me, though, was from the University of Colorado’s Nina McHale, who talked about building widgets and other chunks of sharing code based on library resources, and allowing people to take that code and do with it what they will. It was one of those presentations that turns your brain inside out in a good way, because while we’ve snagged other folks’ embeddable code — most notably Meebo — we haven’t thought of building our own widgets for others to use. It’s an idea that I think may find a lot of traction back home, and I’m excited about exploring it.

Another fun note: I had a question for Nina, but I watching the clock told me that having to leave for my lunch committment would prevent me from asking it. On a lark, I looked for her in Facebook, found her, and — apologizing for the possible presumptuousness — asked my question via Facebook message. She not only answered it, but friended me… which made our accidental face-to-face meeting later that day all the more interesting.

I love living in the future.

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