Day 3 of #cil11 (I don’t *feel* tardy)

28 Mar

I’m not even gonna pretend this isn’t almost a week late.

Wednesday started with a lot of logistical stuff: checking out of the hotel, packing the car, bidding Nina farewell as she drove down to Virginia to the home of the folks we stayed with post-conference. I followed much later, via Metro.

Then I went to one of the best presentations I’ve seen at a CiL. The semantic web is a concept that I’ve only had the vaguest grasp of previously, but Lisa Goddard and Gillian Byrne of the Memorial University of Newfoundland explained it thoroughly and engagingly. Did you know Drupal 7 incorporates RDF as a core functionality? I didn’t.* Don Hawkins over at breaks the whole thing down damned well; go give it a read.

In the afternoon, I was up again. First, Mitzi Cole and Jeremy Gottwig discussed the great repository work they’re doing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.** Then Amy Buckland rocked the mic, cutting through some of the rhetoric surrounding repositories, and exposing many of the inherent assumptions that underlie their perception and planning.

Finally, I got up and ranted for a bit. My thesis statement, presented almost immediately so that folks could tweet it and run were they so inclined: “Digital projects in libraries are chronically understaffed; as librarians and digital projects staff, we must become advocates for changing that situation if we want these projects to succeed.” I consider myself quite lucky when it comes to the staff hours my library is willing to commit to our work, but even we’re stretched pretty thin… and you rarely go to a presentation about digital projects without hearing about how the presenters wish they had more people.

The rest of the presentation included funny pictures, the insulting of Disney, and the tweaking of Google. Many folks tweeted the bit about how technologies go obsolete, shiny gets dull, but people will last.*** Some folks dug my reference to the 1893 World’s Fair. Thank the gods for Twitter; how else would I have known how it went?

I think there may be a blog post at some point to render what I said into text. But it was an enjoyable presentation to give, despite the difficult topic, and I’m glad folks seemed to dig it.

I may have one more post left in me, on the conference as a whole. We’ll see.


* Hell, I don’t even know if I said that right.

** No relation, I think.

*** I think the images helped; if you check the presentation, that line starts with the picture of the Apple IIe. How can you not love that machine?


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