I’m having something of an odd time. A good time. A time as part of a larger community of shared interests. There’s people I know, with stories to tell. There is buzz and chat and depth and laughter and most of all, friendship. I have been looking forward to #VALA2010 for months and it is proving to be wonderful and everything I hoped for. I work for a vendor yet feel most at home in the library community; they are my peers, my friends, my colleagues. They made me feel welcome.
I’ve been in Melbourne town for a week, having arrived a week ago for the company sales conference. I’ve been careful and taken it slow; pacing myself. Admittedly all such efforts were cast asunder on Saturday and Sunday and Monday, as I caught up with various library folk.
Twitter too, has provided, or facillitated, conversation and connection. I finally got the hang of twitter mid last year, once I moved it from SMS to client-based on my laptop;nevermind the serious smartphone envying I’m currently experiencing. I work in an office mostly by myself, occasionally surrounded by sales reps; no techies to speak of. My twitter community, those who follow and engage, have provided me with a working environment of sorts. Utterly unexpected. I feel disconnected now without that access; disconnected without that community of friends and colleagues.
I am rambling.
VALA started properly yesterday with the OCLC API Mashathon Boot Camp. This was an all day session for coders, or rather, it turned out to be for folk who are code aware, much to the relief of at least half the attendees. It was led by one of my library gods: Roy Tennant. I’d even convinced my boss to send me to LIANZA a few years ago as Roy was giving a keynote. The boot camp didn’t have much time for coding but that was ok. There was plenty of time for ideas, for interaction, for exchange, for communication. For me, it was the first time I’d been in a room where most people were twittering including the presenters :-)
Boot camp was as much about sharing company as sharing data. Meeting new folk and new data streams. If there’s a theme emerging from VALA, it’s likely to be that of data streams. Exposing the data, developing access, and allowing others to re-purpose that data and create new tools, or enhance old ones. Create stuff, put it out there, and let other folk run with it. It’s about contributing to the community rather than keeping it to yourself.
VALA2010, for me, seems to be about creating a sharing, caring environment on so many levels.