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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.

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I could write a very long post about this, as there’s so much to comment on, but the first thing must be the excellent organisation. And attention to detail. The things I loved most were the “Bright Ideas” boards around the room, which encouraged everyone to write up things they would like to do (or see done); and the fact that we were not just talking about 2.0 anymore, but we were discussing putting things into practice, what we’d done, how we’d done it, and how it had gone. Given that all of us are from small, time-poor libraries, this was very exciting. Especially where the result was a resounding success in communication or marketing. And very replicable, if we want to do the same.

Just before I left, I was reading Meredith Farkas’ comments on going to two conferences back-to-back where she comments on the need for people to be good and enthusiastic presenters. I concur totally, especially for vendors who are trying to sell us their product. In this context, I was most impressed by the presenters in the Poster Session I chaired, where a couple of the presenters were clearly nervous, and new to presenting – but were clear, interesting, and kept to time. Well done!

Now comes the hard part – getting back to an overflowing in-box with little things to be completed before we can set out on the journey of new ideas from the Forum.  My genuine hope is that we can look back in a year and see more things that are happening, and that these two days will kick start some more interesting and clever ideas.

Well, it was a great weekend in Sydney! The sun was shining, the beach beckoned … and we were inside a small room, but it was worth it. The presentations of the Health Libraries Forum on Saturday were great, challenging, and thought-provoking. More discussion on that later, but here’s the presentation that Graham Spooner and I did on Libraries 2.0 and health. We’ve already had people email and ask for specifics about the tools, so feel free to do so, if you’d like to know more. And if you’re reading this, I presume you’ve subscribed to the feed!

Gillian Wood

(NSW Health Department Library)

L2.0 and Health

Lone time no post … Xmas and losing the login details to the blogs (er, whoops) doesn’t help!

One of the contributors to this blog will be presenting at Information Rx – Health Libraries Australia, and another will be attending! This is a satellite event of Information Online 2007, to be held at Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia.

Currently there’s just a flyer about the event (link will open PDF), but I know it’ll be focussing on the “new technologies” and how they relate to the field of health/medical libraries. I’ll be there, by the looks of things! hope to see others there too!

Dates: 2 – 3 February 2007
Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location: Darling Harbour, Sydney.

More details on the flyer.

Interesting to see how many of the papers are talking about L2.0 topics – things like, “Using a wiki for information services: principles and practicalities” Peter Blake. Check out the programme at http://conferences.alia.org.au/newlibrarian2006/programme.php

Nothing like planning early … the International Congress on Medical Librarianship is running from 1 Aug 2009 to Sep 2009, in Brisbane, Australia.

The theme is Positioning the Profession and if we on this blog can’t have something up and organised by then, I’ll be greatly surprised. So, who’s the first to suggest a paper to present??

Medical librarianship … such an almost archaic sound it has …