I've just returned from a trip to Seattle for the ALA Midwinter Conference. In addition to having some great coffee and enjoying the beautiful views of the Cascades, I also attended some very interesting programs and meetings.
Some of the highlights included:
New Members Roundtable Meet & Greet, Orientation, All Committees Meeting and Social Hour where I was able to talk with other new librarians from all over the country. During introductions, I was often struck by how many attendees were working as digital projects librarians or on some aspect of digital libraries. This was encouraging and made it particularly fun to network.
LITA Top Technology Trends hosted a panel discussion with four experts (Clifford Lynch, Marshall Breeding, Karen Schneider, and Andrew Pace) to discuss trends in library technology. A few trends were no suprise; the next generation catalog, RSS, web-based services, Second Life, the rise of personal catalogs, and social networking are all very "hot topics" at our library and beyond. Other topics mentioned were digital rights management and targeting content to the ubiquitous (proprietary) iPod, full-text vs. surrogate indexing, the suggestion that a protocal for object reuse and interchange be developed to deal with issues associated with harvested metadata, and RDA and the future of cataloging. Mass digitization was another top technology trend and several of the speakers gave opinions on a future concern for libraries: the hosting and stewardship of large data sets and national strategies for data curation.
CONTENTdm hosted many events; including a Developer's Meeting, a Success Stories session to showcase projects, a social hour at the Pike Pub & Brewery, and the User Group meeting. Conversations focused on the new version 4.2 release and presentations highlighted the CONTENTdm API and the new features and functionality (customizations carrying through collections, ability to copy the cdm4 directory for test/upgrade, and new search functions). DiMeMa and OCLC were also present to listen to our comments and suggestions for further enhancements and improvements (UNICODE-compliant, expanded PDF support) to the software . It was great to see my colleague Glee Willis from Reno and others in the CONTENTdm community.
On Sunday night, I attended the Innovative dessert reception at the Space Needle with some co-workers and thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate, the view, and the company. All in all it was an informative and enjoyable trip!