OCLC Blogger Salon

This has been covered by a lot of people, so if you want more details, the posts were all pulled together at the ALA Chicago Wiki. I, for one, haven’t been to such a fun party since college (except, of course, for my wedding). What a pleasure to hang out with a whole bunch of passionate, forward-thinking librarians! It was like a meeting of the mutual admiration society. I met so many bloggers who’d inspired me to start my blog in the first place, and many newer bloggers whom I will definitely be adding to my Blogroll. I discussed some of my ideas for future collaborative projects and people thought they were good (now if I could just find someone to do this stuff with)! Sometimes I feel like bloggers are largely-ignored by most people in the library world, but that party (and the Library Journal Bloggers’ Roundtable I took part in) made me think that perhaps our influence is growing. There are so many people blogging now, from all sectors of librarianship, and that is going to continue to grow. In spite of the grumblings of a few loud people, I think blogging is gaining legitimacy as a medium for sharing information within the profession. And I think our influence will grow within the profession as well. I’m proud of be part of such a vibrant community of bloggers who are questioning the common wisdom and are passionate about making libraries better.

All in all a rockin’ party. If you want to see some great pics, check out Michael Stephens’ flickr page, Jenny Levine’s flickr page, or the great pics of Steven “Zelig” Cohen (and a few others) at It’s all good. Michael Stephens even snapped a picture of me and my hubby, Adam (a sometimes contributor and commentor on this blog).

Me and Adam at the Blogger Soiree
Me and Adam at the OCLC Blogger Salon (photo by Michael Stephens)

ALA Day 4

Since the rest of the sessions I went to have already been covered, I won’t bother going into detail. Monday’s Google and Libraries session, left me feeling a bit concerned with how in love with Google John Price-Wilkin from the University of Michigan seemed. While the representatives at the other Universities expressed legitimate concerns about working with Google, Michigan didn’t seem to have any (see their contract with Google for more details on the deal). While the others did not see Google Print as a “preservation” project, the Price-Wilkin said that the initiative was about preservation for the University of Michigan. Unfortunately (or unsurprisingly) no one talked about how they were going to preserve these digital surrogates. Contrary to Mr. Price-Wilkin’s statements, digitization is NOT preservation. It’s about providing access. The average lifespan of any file format is approximately three to five years, making it impossible to access the files on contemporary machines without some preservation measures being taken. There are a variety of methods for digital preservation, however all are expensive or time consuming, and all are incomplete solutions. Without employing some form of digital preservation, however, the files will quickly become obsolete and inaccessible. And researchers have suggested that preservation could end up costing a good deal more than the original digitization effort. I’d just like to hear that these schools have some sort of plan for preserving the digital surrogates, because there is no guarantee that Google will stick with it. In addition to the copyright issues and the fact that none of the schools seemed to know what they will do with their own copies, I still have some concerns about this whole thing. Like Roy Tennant, I wonder what impact the Google Print project will have fair use and the funding of other non-Google digitization projects.

That evening, David Sedaris made me laugh so hard I thought I might break a rib.

All in all a great conference, more for the people I met than the sessions I went to.

Sorry it took me so long to cover all this, but I feel like I’ve been sleeping off ALA the past week. :) Or maybe it’s a job search hangover. Or a home-buying hangover. It’s so nice to know I have a job — and a fantastic one at that — but once I got it, then the relocation stress started. I’ve never owned a house, so I feel like I’m learning a whole new language between the realtors and the bankers and the lawyers. On a positive note, it looks like we’ll have our first very own house by the middle of August. And I couldn’t be happier. Things are finally coming together!