Olivetti typewriters, funk music and a sexy voice @ Information Online

Attending the ALIA Information Online has been a truly mind-opening experience for me. It has made me realised that there has never been a better and more exciting time to be part of the information industry than right now! It has not only given me the insight on what is happening with digital information in regards to its use, dissemination and technology but also to its future implications to our profession, society and education.

I enjoyed all the keynotes but the ones that made the most impression were:

Charles Leadbeater who (showed us a really cool Olivetti Valentine typewriter) presented remotely from London where he discussed Systempathy. This is the idea of combining systems with high empathy in order to produce the best learning places and experiences. So an example of a high empathy and low system is the Farmer’s market, where systems are not complex and lack structure, but there is a lot of social interaction with people getting to know each other. On the other end of the scale, an example of high system and low empathy is like RyanAir meeting Facebook. So what Leadbeater is saying is that as systems and relationships merge together, the technology will visually disappear and will become less bothersome in order to support and enhance relationships. How cool is that?!

Roy Tennant, Jon Voss & Ingrid Mason presented a topic on Practical Linked Open Data. This was really heavy stuff but something I could really get into as it underlies all  library and information services. Things like schema.org, mashups, the OCLC linked data and the HUNI project are just a few of the things I’d like to get involved in. I really like the idea of moving towards linked open data for bibliographic records rather than static records – from cataloguing to catalinking. Fantastic!

Note: I also enjoyed Roy Tennant’s inspiring talk about acquiring new skills – I particularly liked the part about not dying on the plain of suckitude.

Dick Rijken ~ Wow! Talk about some funk in da house. Great presentation from the man who is currently the director of STEIM. The title of his presentation was called ‘Swing is the Soul of the Groove’ and yes we heard some funky music and we even learned what funk is all about: It’s music that makes your neck and hips move in ways that you can’t practice – but for the life of me I can’t remember who actually said it, but do check out the history of funk and let me know who the cool dude was.

But how does this apply to the library/information profession world? Well he discussed how intuition (like the way you move your body to funk – you don’t learn it – you just do it) could be applied to libraries and education. So we use intuition all the time and it’s not something that can be trained or taught. Anyway, he could have discussed this at much greater length but as he was running out of time he left us with the message “What kind of Bildung do you want for your society?” Yes something to ponder about.

John Birmingham ~ My laptop was running out of power when John Birmingham came onto the stage so I sat next to the ONLY power point in the whole auditorium, which was at the back where I couldn’t see the stage. So all I really experienced from John (yes we’re on a first name basis) was his voice and it was the most heavenly and sexiest voice I have ever heard. He can tell me stories any time.

Christopher Cheng ~ I love this guy and I don’t think I’ve heard of him before, although I do remember his name popping up at the Tasmanian library e-list invitations. If I had known who he was then, I would certainly have seen him when he was in town. So anyway, this author has the most amazing long hair tied up in different segments, although not a match to Garry Conroy-Cooper’s beard but I do believe their egos are on par – which is a good thing if used for a higher purpose.

Anna Troberg who is the pirate extraordinaire from Sweden left me with this message: Raise Hell! Need I say more?

Raise Hell by Anna Troberg
Raise Hell by Anna Troberg

So that was an amazing first time Info Online experience! As a virgin attendee, I found it had a more serious and formal overtone than NLS6. Not that NLS6 was un professional, it just had a casual and fun feel to it. Luckily I dressed up because most of the delegates were beautifully attired. It certainly felt like you were going to work everyday.

I do believe that the presentations were recorded so I will tweet or blog about it once it’s been publicised. In the meantime, check the conference proceedings for papers and powerpoint presentations. Oh and if you come across a video of what looks like me talking incoherently, just remember it wasn’t me!

I would like to thank the Tasmanian State Library and Archives Trust (SLAT) for their financial support in enabling me to attend this worthwhile conference.

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