live from rotorua

Just chilling out in the lovely Rotorua, in town for the annual LIANZA conference. Flew into Auckland Saturday arvo and drove down with the team on Sunday…a very lovely drive. The smell of sulphur is strong, stronger still near the convention centre. Seems to be about 500 folk here including vendors. Already the odd controversy with vendors being refused access to the papers…or at least those vendors that aren’t sponsors. First time I’ve come across this and I’d been really looking forward to attending some of the sessions, particularly Roy Tennant’s keynote. With that said, I managed to beg my way into one session and walked into another unchallenged, fingers crossed that this continues on Tuesday. I had planned to attend this conference as a delegate, paying my own way. However one of our sales reps gave up her spot so that I could attend given my keenness. It will be bloody disappointing if I can’t make any more papers as Tuesday is the best day.

That being said, I attended two sessions today, both of which were awesome. The first session was entitled “Library X.0 Beta by Brian Flaherty & Paul Sutherland. Both had far too many slides and plenty of humour; Brian began with a cynical approach to the hype of 2.0 and presented an intelligent session on skipping the excess and focus on what our communities might actually want. Paul spoke with his usual, laidback style and looked and some of the interesting things happening, with references to worldcat, librarything and a few other things, as well as emphasising the importance of NZ librarians taking responsibility.

The second session, “Web 2.0 – Library 2.0: Myths and Realities” sounded ho hum, probably because I’m not a kiwi and hadn’t heard of Paul Reynolds. This dude rocks and the kiwis love him. He takes laidback to a new level and really knows his stuff. Communicated 2.0 schtuff in a way that everyone got it. Talked about the bigger stuff, working toward outcomes and things he’d like to see. Also discussed projects his company was involved with such as The Fitch, which is a a sort of collaborative database system for librarians at various libraries (5 in the beta) to add stuff about reference interviews. Think of it as a sort of supercharged help desk for reference questions combined in a wiki sort of thang whereby as questions are asked by patrons, they’re added to the fitch, answers are added, etc and you start to get picture of what questions are asked when, combined with librarian selected websites and so on…it supports RSS, tag clouds and just looks pretty damn cool.

PS I had hoped to add a few photos to my flickr account covering this week but packed the wrong cable…looks like the port on my Olympus 770SW isn’t as standard as I thought it was, which means the generic cable I brought with me doesn’t fit.

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