Run, don’t walk to check out the Darien Public Library’s awesome new Drupal-based website along with the John Blyberg-designed new-and-improved SOPAC 2.0. I, for one, am totally impressed with the site and the catalog. One of the biggest things about SOPAC 2.0 (short for Social OPAC) is that its component parts are going to be released as open source software, meaning that other libraries can also capitalize on John’s terrific achievement! It also was designed to work with any ILS, not just Innovative’s. In doing this, John has made a significant contribution not only to his own library, but to the profession. Too many library administrators only think about the welfare of their own library, so good for the folks at Darien for supporting John’s larger vision for SOPAC 2.0. Go John and go Darien PL!!!
Interested in learning more about SOPAC 2.0? Check out this new Talking with Talis podcast with John himself. There’s also a brief article on SOPAC 2.0 in Library Journal.
Thanks for sharing the interesting news about SOPAC 2.0. However, I’m not sure why you’d use this opportunity to say something negative about library administrators. Your post would have been equally effective without commenting that too many administrators think only about their own libraries (are you suggesting that all front-line librarians are always thinking of the good they can do for other libraries? – not the case in my experience). Most of the library administrators I know are extremely open to sharing resources and expertise. Most don’t have the resouces of the Darien Library so they’re not creating open source software.
Sorry if I’m sounding a bit nitpicky here but it seems to be a growing trend to express negativity about library administrators – many who are good folks making fine contributions to the profession. Sure, there are some lousy ones too, but you could say that about everyone who works in this or any profession. Your posts are always informative and often inspiring so I hope you’ll continue to accentuate the positive and refrain from the negative – except when it’s well deserved (and I will try to do the same).
Steven, I think this time you might be reading a bit too much into this. I don’t think it’s JUST library administrators who are much more focused on their own library than the profession — most LIBRARIANS are. However, library administrators are the ones who make policy and make decisions about staff time allocations. I’m assuming that making SOPAC 2.0 ILS-independent took more effort than making it just work for III, and that some administrators might have said that it isn’t important to do that since they just need it to work for III. So I think the administrators at Darien deserve props for supporting John’s vision. Not every administrator would have done that, and not just because of limited resources. Good for them for making it a priority.
I don’t have a negative view of administrators at all. I think in general in our profession we tend to be a bit overly focused on our own libraries. And that’s a shame, because there is so much that can be gained from coming together to make things better for all of us. In my own state, I’ve seen people working to bring academic libraries together to improve the situation for all of us, and we just don’t seem to be making much progress. It’s frustrating.
If any administrators are only thinking about the welfare of their own libraries, that’s too many. I have no idea if that’s the case — I’m not sure I could name any administrators who think this way — but there are plenty of administrators, and plenty of other library employees, whose actions aren’t contributing much, if anything, to the greater good.
All of us should be asking ourselves what we can do to promote open source software. There are plenty of very good projects, and new ones are showing up consistently. We need to train ourselves to make use of this software and, if we’re not ourselves capable of contributing improvements, we need to hire people who can.
Well maybe I’m getting a bit sensitive about remarks about library administrators not doing this or not doing that. I see your point though. But do keep in mind that it could have been worded differently – just pointing out that the Darien administrator makes for a good case study for other library administrators – showing the value of sharing a resource with the larger library community.
Yeah, I probably could have worded it better, Steven. I was definitely not putting my “A game” into the post.
I totally understand that. There are certain topics/viewpoints that set me off too, where I’m less likely to take a charitable reading approach.
Excuse me if I seem to be missing something important, but I don’t seem to get why someone would bother to post a review on the OPAC when you could post your review on Amazon instead and a lot more people could see it. I guess I’m not seeing the community buy-in very clearly, namely what you as a user would get out of it. There’s the mini-fame of Amazon, or the personal interface of something like the Facebook app iRead (where you can tell all your friends how much “Breaking Dawn” sucked). I guess I don’t see people seeking out other people’s opinions electronically within the relatively small pool of people being serviced by a library or library system.
Also there is the matter of creating a certain critical mass that such a feature is useful. I think that I would tend to go to Amazon because there are more reviews to compare and you can weed out the outliers more easily.
I’ll be interested to see how the tagging goes and if it actually catches on as a taxonomic strategy in catalogs. I know I was all for it when I first started library school in the Fall of ’05. At the very least hurrah to them for attempting to take a big leap.
Responding to Suzanne’s comment about people preferring to see reviews on Amazon:
I disagree. If I look up a book on the library’s SOPAC, I’d prefer to see reviews right there, on the same site, rather than exiting to Amazon and going back to the library site. Okay, call me lazy, but I think a lot of people are similarly time- and attention-stressed these days.
I tried it out–even though I don’t live in Darien, I was able to register on the SOPAC and enter a review. Wow! This is true to the spirit of Web 2.0–gathering together a collective voice to create a valuable database.