I’m kicking myself for having turned down the opportunity to take part in this, but I was (and am) way too swamped to take on anything else. My delightfully subversive friends Michelle Boule, Jason Griffey and Karen Coombs have come up with a brilliant reinvention of the conference session, which makes it possible to benefit from the session whether you attend ALA or not.

The Social Software Showcase is an online unconference occuring around and during the time of ALA Annual 2007. On this wiki, you will find eleven wonderful presentations on cutting edge technology and social software by librarians and leaders in the field. Regardless of where you are in the world, you will have the opportunity to discuss the presentations here in this space. We will also be having a face to face roundtable discussion with some of our presenters at ALA Annual in Washington D.C. on Saturday, June 23rd, from 1:30-2:30 in the Renaissance Mayflower Cabinet Room. If you are in D.C. please come and join us.

There are a lot of really amazing presenters who are creating online presentations on various cutting-edge social software apps for libraries. There are only a few presentations up right now, but all of them should be up soon. If you will be at ALA, I’d strongly suggest attending the discussion on Saturday, as you’ll have the opportunity to chat with some luminaries in the field about new technologies.

Probably the only thing I’d love to see added to something like this is a discussion board where people who can’t attend (or even who can since there’s rarely enough time to discuss everything) can ask questions and continue the discussion online. The discussion section of a wiki can get rather disorganized since it’s not structured as a threaded (or even chronological) discussion unless you want to fool around with the wiki code as some other MediaWiki users have done. There’s still time to create a discussion board though. No pressure! ;)

This is a great model for future conferences. Planning a technology session over a year in advance is often disastrous, considering the pace of technological change. I’m on three tech-related panels at ALA (plus the Top Tech Trends, which I will be posting to the LITA Blog soon — with a surprise in store!) and I’m amazed that these topics are still even relevant. Certainly, though, what I am going to focus on now, versus what I would have focused on when I was asked to give these presentations, are far different. I think it’s a good idea when planning this far ahead to really build some flexibility into the topic to allow for change to happen.

Congratulations Michelle, Karen, Jason and all of those involved in the BIGWIG Social Software Showcase on subverting the dominant paradigm!