Tuesday, July 03, 2012

RBMS 2012 highlights

I attended the 53rd Annual RBMS Preconference from June 20-22. Held in San Diego this year, the conference theme was "Futures" - in the broadest possible sense of the word.

My favorite session was a plenary on linked open data. Before the session, I understood the concepts of linked data but wanted to know more than the buzz about its vast potential for libraries, and specifically special collections. The first speaker, Jon Voss of Historypin, did a terrific job explaining linked open data to a non-specialist audience, along with inspiring examples of how it could be used for research with primary materials. Then Michael Panzer of OCLC provided examples of how linked open data could be incorporated into existing content management practices.

Another great session focused on mobile technologies, with speakers who each presented very different solutions that their libraries had developed for mobile access. All three stressed the need for access to top-notch app developers, the need to understand what users want and don't want, and that development is an iterative process.

The closing plenary included the visionary critic, artist and theorist Johanna Drucker, who posed provocative questions about the future of the book as an object and an idea.

Next year's RBMS will be in Minneapolis, and I look forward to attending.

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