By Meredith Farkas | September 30, 2007
I got back from Denmark last night and I’m still pretty exhausted from the whole trip. I don’t even want to contemplate the pile of e-mails I received over the past 8 days. It was a wonderful trip though. So nice to be back in the city after nine long years. I got to see old friends, visit my favorite shops and restaurants (and bakeries!), and attend a really cool conference. Other than my talk on social software, the entire conference was in Danish and Swedish. While I can read Danish fairly well and understood a bit of what people were saying in that language, the Swedish was a lost cause. I hope to blog this week or next about a really cool project I learned about involving eliciting user feedback for Danish public libraries. They’re doing some great stuff up in Scandinavia!
I was amazed to find how little had changed in Copenhagen in the past nine years, which only served to highlight how much I have changed. I remember living in Denmark at 20 and how hard I tried to fit in there. I was so unsure of myself, so I basically changed to fit whatever group/person I happened to be with at the moment. I’m sure lots of people in their late teens and early 20′s are like that. Danes are nice people, but they’re incredibly reserved. They’re not emotive around people they don’t know well and they will not go out of their way to be friendly to anyone but their close friends (yes, this is a generalization, but visit Denmark and then tell me it’s not accurate). I knew all that then too, but I remember feeling like people’s reticence around me was caused by a failing on my part and tried very, very hard to be like everyone else. Now, I see things differently. I didn’t care if I stuck out like a poorly-dressed sore thumb in Denmark. When hardly anyone talked to me at the conference other than the organizer and the person assigned to keep me company, I didn’t take it personally. I was my usual emotive and enthusiastic self during my presentation and hopefully they were ok with that. I’m happy with myself now and I don’t think I realized how much that had changed until I went to Copenhagen.
I hope to finish posting all of the data from the Survey of the Biblioblogosphere this week or next. I’m sorry it’s taken so long, but life really has gotten in the way. Before my pro account in Survey Monkey bit the dust, I created PDFs of the results as seen through a large number of interesting demographic filters. I plan to make all of that available for download.
This coming Thursday, I’ll be speaking at the Readex Digital Institute on the possibilities for user-generated content in digital collections. You can actually see a rough draft of my slides here (it doesn’t look great b/c I transferred it from Keynote and Powerpoint didn’t like a lot of my Keynote-y fanciness). I think I will need to edit my slides because the talk is simply too long. I’m looking forward to giving it though; it’s a new topic for me and I’m feeling like I need a change. I’m particularly excited to meet Peter Brantley of the Digital Library Federation who is giving the keynote at the Institute. It’s also great to attend a conference that is less than a two hour drive from my house!
Right now, I’m just happy to be back home. If I’ve learned anything over the past two years it’s that I love speaking, writing and teaching, but I hate travel. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t jump to speak at certain conferences or gives talks in certain locations (hi Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Alaska, Arizona, UK and Spain!), but I’m not like some people who can fly around the world every few weeks. I really enjoy being at home and I miss everything about home every time I go away. Especially in autumn — my favorite month (update: I meant season, but month is pretty accurate in this area), when Vermont is truly heaven on earth — it’s difficult to justify leaving. I’m going to try to focus in the future on things that don’t involve leaving home so much.
Off to eat the lentil soup my husband just made. Did I mention how much I love home?