The theme, “Providing Access to Information to Everyone,” drew participants from across the globe. Most attendees were European, although the U.S., South Africa, & Australia were also represented. My biggest take-away was a huge increase in my awareness of the variety of library models and services across the world. I realized just how easy it is for me to become stuck in a U.S.-centric mindset of librarianship. At the same time, overarching issues – such as struggling with change, discerning how to best utilize new technologies and moving more toward user-centered library services – were concerns we all shared. As with any conference, perhaps the best aspect was the friendships, the networking and (hopefully) life-long professional connections that I now hold dear.
While this is a departure from my SL project, I feel compelled to share a bit on this blog because it was such an amazing experience. A Web 2.0/3.0 panel discussion did take place, focused mainly on social networking sites, blogs, tagging, and the ever-present privacy issues with some discussion of the semantic web. Opinions were wide-ranging. As one Hungarian library science professor stated, “Social networks can do in 15 minutes what the secret service could do in decades” concluding that web 2.0 technologies were not worth pursuing because of privacy implications. A German student on the panel spoke about the role librarians may be able to take on as creators of the more complex metadata necessary for the success of the semantic web. A reference librarian from the U.K. talked about the success at his institution in using del.icio.us to create dynamic, portable, where-the-users-are-at reference lists.