This would be the Super Secret Project #2 that I’ve been alluding to for a few weeks now. Full press release and information available on LITABlog, and much, much more to come on the official Showcase site.
Why do this? Well, the guiding hands of BIGWIG (Michelle Boule, Karen Coombs, and myself) had grown increasingly frustrated at the formal requirements for “official” ALA presentation, especially as they relate to technology. A paper-based, formally structured, face-to-face conference is just not the right answer for the majority of librarians anymore. I have taken part in multiple virtual conferences (HigherEdBlogcon and Five Weeks to a Social Library), and I prefer them for actual content to the sorts of things that ALA puts on. That isn’t to say that F2F isn’t valuable…its just a different measure of value. Witness that we included F2F as something that enhances the content of the presentations, but I would argue no more than having open communication channels virtually. It’s all about conversation…that’s the heart of the social web.
Combine the above with the ridiculous timeline needed for presentation topics…12-18 months out for a technology presentation? I can list at least 4 things that have happened in the last month that would be interesting. Trying to predict what might be interesting in technology in 12 months is a losing game, and it does nothing to actually serve either librarians or our patrons. We gave our presenters a deadline of a week before the conference to give us their content….a week. It is possible to be timely and flexible with this stuff, if its done well.
Join us in the experiment! Follow the conversations on the wiki, join us at ALA to meet what we think are the cream of the crop of current library technology people. We’ve got movers & shakers, we’ve got OCLC award winners, we’ve got radical metadata pirates and the guy who made LibraryThing. Why wouldn’t you want to come along for the ride?