Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Tanned, rested and ready

I’m flying back from four talks in four days—Computers in Libraries (twice), the Library of Congress, and Digital Odyssey in Toronto.

The Library of Congress talk was videoed, and will be public in a couple weeks.* It was great fun to do. (Who could pass up the chance to discuss the tag vampire smut with some of the world’s top catalogers?) And as a long-time user and admirer of the Library of Congress, it was quite an honor. I pushed them hard on openning up their data, and the shortcomings of the LC subject system, but they were good natured about it. And my anti-OCLC feelings drew no fire. As one of them put it, only half-kidding, “They wouldn’t be anything without us.”**

Derik A. Badman’s cartoon of Roy Tennant (left) and me (right) giving talks. Actually, Roy’s example was about murdered midget gypsy prostitutes. Well that’s three conferences he won’t be invited to!

At CIL I got a lot of opportunity to show off LibraryThing for Libraries, our new push to put LibraryThing data into library catalogs. Response was positive, even fevered.*** Demos went well, showing book recommendations and tags in a large public library. (“Chick lit” and “cyberpunk” are great examples, but I have to size people up quickly to know which one to use.) There was a certain amount of disbelief about its coolest feature–no back-end integration and working with any system. But anti-system-vendor sentiment is so high that this was welcomed. The first round of libraries should be at least a dozen strong, with both academics and small and large publics.

The highlight of all three conferences was the chance to puts faces to names, often names of blogs. My Google Reader feed is suddenly full of people I know! (But if I start listing I’ll surely forget someone…) I had a couple good meals, one good argument, a great lunch conversation at the LC and, as a coda, a stroll around Toronto.

(later) I’m off the plane now and in D.C., staying with friends for a few days. There’s a lot left to do for LibraryThing for Libraries, but the big initial push is over, and we can throw time back into building new features for LibraryThing. A number of them will revolve around JavaScript. Altay, our new JS guru, will be rolling out some serious magic.

*Among other things they need to synch it up with the “slides.” But I do my talks live, driving around at breakneck speed. The staffer assigned to coordinate the synch looked positively frightened.
**I owe a blog post revising my post about OCLC and MIT. Apparently OCLC didn’t stop them, but MIT legal.
***I came back from one talk to find the booth table littered with business cards. I felt like an NBA star at a nightclub.

Conference coverage:

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