One of the great things about getting away to any conference or symposium is that it takes you out of your day-to-day environment, and gives time for big-picture views. Beyond the Hype : Library 2.0, which has just finished in Brisbane, was one of those events. For me, a time to look at the last two years or so and think about what we’ve talked about in that time (I’ve done presentations in 2006 and 2007), and what we’ve actually achieved. The 2008 presentation actually points to some of the reasons we haven’t achieved as much as we’d like – but now it’s time to accept that as reality, and work out what of this technology we want to push on with.

Perhaps my greatest excitement of the two days was hearing that UQ has implemented Encore, a partnership between Innovative and Endeca. It’s great to see these things finally being put into production. AND that they are somehow searching proprietary databases as well as their catalogue. But the big thrill of the two days was hearing consistently high quality speakers talking about using (or not using) 2.0 tools, the upsides, the downsides – considering where and when the tools are less relevant and less useful. And thus, moving beyond the hype of novelty and “must try it because it’s there” to “what works for my clients in my space?”

While the “big hits” like Encore are great; it’s the small-but-highly-relevant things that attract me most: people able to have a two-way dialogue with their clients via blogs, and finding it works; people using a blog or wiki to organise a conference, and finding it’s easier; people discovering that google docs is actually a good way to write a collaborative paper; people finding a YouTube clip can be a great promotion tool for their library. Small steps, but each a building block towards libraries being part of the new information world (economy?), and not being left behind.