Serials Solutions breakfast this morning (very good croissants but not enough coffee.) As the digital library has grown SerialsSolutions has grown to be our other integrated library system(ILS). As our users shift from print to digital it is perhaps more important than Sirsi.
SerialsSolutions is really on a roll at the moment. The knowledge base they maintain is impressive. It's interesting that they maintain it and their users report issues with journal coverage etc., they edit the knowledge base. Everyone wins. It reminds me of OCLC's WorldCat. But Serials Solutions is owned by ProQuest, OCLC is a not for profit member "collaborative" (a word much bandied about by OCLC leadership these days). There has been a real cultural shift since 1980. What once would have been structured as a public good, a result of collective action, is now structured as private property.
Then onto a program organized by the ALA Washington Office's OITP about the future of libraries in the 21st century. The panelists were Jose-Marie Griffith, Stephen Abrams, and Joan Frye Williams. The most interesting speaker was Frye Williams (she also spoke at the FLA Conference, where some other Rollins' librarians heard and liked her). Some of the things that struck me: "stop being the grocery store and start being the kitchen", the library in the 21st century should be about ideas, the thought process, about relationships with people, our "members" (not users or patrons) . All this reminds me of the learning commons idea. Finally she said we need to begin "modeling predictive behavior" (what our "members" are going to want to do next. All good stuff.
Stephen Abram was his usual combative, Buzz Lightyear self. I am a little sick of a VP from the company that is one of the largest brakes on innovation in our library (admittedly mostly the fault of our expertise gap, not their software) telling me I need to stop hanging on to the traditional ways of doing things and embrace the new -- how about we ditch Sirsi and go with WorldCat for description, Aquabrowser for the OPAC, and Gobi and Banner for acquisitions and fiscal control? That leaves Circulation of the print library. I am grossly simplifying, but you get the point.
Other points of interest: lay librarians (think students), the increasing importance of library as place, BiblioCommons (think LibraryThing).
Then another session, "No catalog like no catalog" questioning the role of the local OPAC, or any OPAC for that matter. Again with the Stephen Abram! Can no one stop this man? Joe Janes said something interesting though, "How does a library get better every time it is used?" It is not a riddle, but a question about how to use information about how our libraries are used to inform improvement and increase value.
After that the SPARC forum on the Harvard OA IR policy. There is still no there there, but there will be.