Music Library Association Annual Meeting 2010, Day 1
This morning I got a late start, with a rather alarmingly large plate of corned beef hash for breakfast, followed by answering a bunch of emails re: my last conference, followed by some time at the gym, which is very nice here. After lunch, I went to a session entitled “Weaving the Web: Best Practices for Online Content,” which I mentioned in the preview post (see previous). This panel, which was chaired by Jame LeFager, featured Jeanette Casey, Carolyn Smith, Verletta Kern, and Misti Shaw as panelists.
The session was largely focused on the four institutions that the panelists represented (UW-Madison, Texas A&M, University of Washington, and DePauw University, respectively), and their solution to establishing a web presence for their music libraries. The session proceeded in an orderly fashion, with LeFager asking first about the past, then the present, and then the future of their respective solutions to distributing information to their patrons and users. A few interesting things popped out:
1. First of all, it was refreshing to hear one of the panelists agree that the technical considerations were secondary to the political ones while integrating their web site with the many other libraries on campus. This is indeed a reminder of the uneasy institutional momentums that can prevent exciting web based work from being done in college campus (I have examples of my own, but won’t mention any names.
2. I was happy to see that Plone continues to thrive as a content management system. I had used it briefly for various blogging projects but then moved over to wordpress when it became clear that Plone was too much technology for the relatively simple things I wanted to do. Nevertheless, it is a fabulous piece of software that I hadn’t checked in on for a while.
3. Another interesting observation that two of the panelists made was the need to find a serviceable solution for mobile devices as part of their overall public facing web-presence. While I’m interested in the development of iPhone applications and Android-specific stuff, it seems that the mobile phone delivery system still presents a set of challenges to those who might benefit from it but don’t know what their users will be using – in other words a rehash of the browser wars of yesteryear. So I’ll be interested to see how libraries, as institutions which have a vested interest in open standards of accessibility, handle this brave new world.
I also have to say that I am interested by the use of twitter as a tool at these conferences, something I have been experimenting with since AMS last year. I’m not exactly sure what I’m trying to do, or what I’m seeking to learn, by checking in and posting on twitter at this things. Does it extend my eyes and ears? Do I feel like I’m hearing more than one session at a time? I’m not sure. But I’m interested.
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