To help you review what you learned at the conference, Bill Spence, our CTO, has already posted a few speakers’ presentations on the Internet Librarian web site. Many more will be up shortly.
Hundreds of Internet librarians returned to offices around the country this week, energized and challenged by what we heard at Internet Librarian 2005.
It’s impossible to capture the conference buzz in a few short notes (you’ll have to read this blog and all the others for that), but here are just a few random stand-out thoughts:
- Google was present and part of the conversation, unlike past events where they were talked about and not there. Adam Smith accepted all the Google-bashing with good humor and shared some thinking from inside the Googleplex.
- Continuous partial attention, mentioned by Liz Lawley in her Tuesday keynote has come repeatedly to mind as I multi-task my way through the work on my desk this week.
- Young, enthusiastic librarians who are proud and excited about what they are doing! The cheers and spontaneous rounds of applause during various sessions were contagious.
- Connected attendees, speakers, and bloggers as evidenced by people perched with open laptops all over the place; often the most prized seats were near the power outlets and having wifi was terrific!
- Keynote speakers, beginning with Lee Rainie and ending with Stephen Abram, were awesome and though-provoking. Those who left early and missed Stephen will know better next time!
That’s it — your Internet Librarian fix for the year. Mark your calendar for October 23-25, 2006, again in Monterey!
Just noticed that a continuing discussion on the topic of "the long tail", mentioned by our Internet Librarian 2005 keynote speakers Lee Raine and Liz Lawley, is happening online at the Long-Tail Camp.
The Monterey Airport was the place to be at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday morning following the conclusion of Internet Librarian 2005! As the long lines snaked toward the check-in counters and then security, waiting librarians mused about how much more quickly things might move if people who really know how to organize things were in charge, i.e., librarians! But at least the skies were clear, not foggy as earlier in the week, and the flights departed on time, carrying newly challenged and inspired Internet librarians back to libraries around the country.
What a week! We’ll be posting some wrap-up comments over the next several days.
Visionary and funny man, Stephen Abram first set the scenario with all the things that Google’s announced lately and its MANY initiatives – scary stuff! The company has bought 6 social networking companies. We let them read our e-mail and tell us what we want. Soon, Google will control all the ads, all the wallets, all the broadband,etc… So, in the closing keynote for the event, he provided his Top 10 Strategies for competing with Google. Sage advice in my book.
1. Know your market. He mentioned the Normative Data Project that aids market understanding. Know what’s circulating. Understand geographic use.
2. Know your customers better than Google – or you’ll lose. He mentioned the “Personas” project that helps in understanding needs, preferences, and desires of users. Check out the article in the latest Computers in Libraries. Educate yourself on the characteristics of “millennials” (“They can think rings around us.”) and also other populations, like older folks. Google does “satisficing” where librarians meet Real Needs.
3. Be where your customers are. How much of your usage is in person? What about IM?
4. Searching for the target… Federated search should not look like Google. Build compelling content – in CONTEXT!!!
5. Support your culture. Get your texthead to “nexthead.” Move beyond vinyl recordings. Adapt to video and streaming media. Podcasting. Start learning now!
6. Position libraries where we excel. Google does who, what, where, when, who, how questions really well. Google sucks at how and why questions. Libraries’ core competency is not delivery of information. Libraries improve the quality of the question. The question is what’s important. Libraries are an “exploration space” not a collection space.
7. Be wireless. The next massive wave of innovation will start in 2006/7.
8. Get visual. Explore visualization technologies, like Grokker. (Most librarians are text-based learners and it takes us longer.)
9. Integrate. Build community context first – learning, research, neighborhood, workplace, culture/entertainment.
10. For Pete’s sake, take a risk.
And, his last word – focus.
We, as librarians, have to learn that when we study something to death, Death was not our original goal. Pick something, do it well, and move on.
A panel of engineers from A9.com, Google, and Yahoo! gave attendees a look at recent developments and some future plans for the search engines. DeWitt Clinton of A9.com, which is a subsidiary of Amazon, focused on the OpenSearch feature, introduced in March 2005. He says it basically offers a common format (currently RSS but in the future Atom and others) for information sources and engines to become searchable via A9.com. The company likes the vertical search concept, and, as an aggregator site, now offers searching of more than 200 content sites—sources like Wikipedia, PubMed, and even the Seattle Public Library. Clinton said that Microsoft is building OpenSearch 1.1 directly into its next version of Internet Explorer.
Peter Norvig of Google talked about some of the recently implemented direct answers within Google, such as stock quotes and weather, and answers to fact-based questions (like “population of Japan”). Currently being developed in the Google Labs is a statistical machine translation product. “It’s not perfect yet, but it’s certainly very usable,” he said. He also talked about the satellite maps in Google Local and how people use common APIs to add data to the maps, such as the 911 call locations in Seattle.
David Mandelbrot of Yahoo! explained that FUSE reflects the company’s vision for search—Find, Use, Share, and Expand. He said one recent example of finding and using content is Yahoo!’s partnership with Creative Commons. The recently introduced My Web 2.0 is an example of social search. It lets users save pages, tag and annotate, and share with others. Finally, the company is Expanding with its involvement in the new Open Content Alliance—the digitization project that I blogged about earlier.
I found this Flickr picture of Groxis pins, in case anybody didn’t know what I was talking about in my Beyond Search Engines post earlier.
Editor, ONLINE: The Leading Magazine for Information Professionals
Many of us were disappointed last night during the Google-brary panel that Barbara Quint’s telephone contributions were so faint. So, she obligingly sent me some notes to post with her take on the topic at hand—here’s her year 2020 scenario.
Way back in 2006, Google — irritated at those lawsuits from the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers — set up Google Press. It then urged the authors of the world to check their publisher contracts, find the books that had gone out of print with publishing rights, come back to the authors and send copies of the books (or the ISBNs to match with Google library holdings) to Google Print. In return, Google would promise to delivery saleable e-books back to the authors and direct all interested users to them for sales — no royalty percentage, ALL the money for the sale.
Five years later (2011?), Google Press had become Google Full Court Press with imitator services available from the Open Content Alliance, Amazon, et al. Print-on-demand services and outsourced editorial staffs had made Google a major new avenue for book authors. All libraries received one free access seat for all books in the program, plus one free P-O-D copy on request. Book publishers were scrambling to hang on to their authors and re-negotiating royalty payments as all authors gained leverage from the developments.
Here’s Steven Abrams deep in thought as he trims his slide deck from 45 to 19 or so, around 2:00 this afternoon. But last I looked he was listening intently to yet one more conference session, so he’ll probably re-do the deck another time or two before his closing keynote begins at 3:45. See you there!