Evergreen Keynote 2012


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This are my speaking notes for the keynote presentation I gave at Evergreen International 2012. Here's a link to the Prezi Presentation: http://prezi.com/hdnwdkgqrd-7/evergreen-keynote-2012/

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Evergreen Keynote 2012

  1. 1. Evergreen International 2012, Indianapolis, INKeynote, April 27, 2012GreetingGood morning!Im delighted to be here with you for thisyear’s Evergreen International, and I would liketo thank Emily Kruse Schaber, Shauna Borger,and members of the conference planningcommittee for the invitation to join you and fortaking care of all the little and big logistics tomake sure that I am here right now.IntroductionOn this, lovely April morning, I would like toinvite you to join me on a short adventurewhere we explore the importance of opensource systems for libraries.But before we venture too far down the path,and so that you wont be following a strangerinto these woods...Who am I? And why am I such a proponent ofopen source systems for libraries?As a technology user, I use open sourcesystems and software such as Ubuntu, LibreOffice, Open Office, GIMP, and thanks toConnecticut’s largest library consortium –Bibliomation – I use Evergreen at my publiclibrary.But, my work with, and realization of theimportance of, open source tools for librariesbegan with ERMes - an accidental open sourcee-resource management system that I co-developed in 2008.I say accidental, because ERMes began simplyas a home-grown e-resource managementsystem to help me manage the University of
  2. 2. Wisconsin - La Crosses e-resource collection.I gave a blue print for a relational database toBill Doering, and in a month he had the initialversion of ERMes functional.Then, at the request of another e-resourceslibrarian, we put ERMes up on the web, wrotedocumentation, and now, two releases leater,ERMes is used by 60 small-medium sizedlibraries around the world.While ERMes helped other libraries managetheir e-resources, ERMes also built acommunity of e-resource libraries that helpedme with my work.Last August I became the e-resourcesmanagement librarian at the University ofConnecticut, and as I pursue options tostreamline my e-resource management workthere, I again focusing on open source e-resource management systems such as ERMesand CORAL.Why? Because e-resource managementworkflows change and evolve daily if nothourly, and I need systems that are flexible andeasily to adapt on the fly.Plus e-resources are expensive, and it is betterfor my library’s users to invest library fundsinto information resources instead ofproprietary systems to manage them.In short, my experience with open sourcesystems for libraries is analogous to a sapling inthe forest of evergreens.So why is open source so important forlibraries right now?Lets begin our adventure and investigation ofthis question with a few definitions of ourworld...
  3. 3. What is a library?Library as collection of physical items...Let’s focus on this part of the definition; theidea of a library that renders informationavailable to those who need and want it…Now, let’s grow, mature, evolve thisdefinition…Organism = Society
  4. 4. ...into a habitat of information representing oursociety.And now, what is a librarian, and by librarian Irefer to those that work in libraries, schoolmedia centers, etc....A keeper of libraries.Librarians as a SpeciesLibrarians are a class of individuals havingcommon attributes and designation of beingspecialists, keepers, custodians of libraries.{Library users too!}So, we have a library as a habitat and thenlibrarians *AND* our users as species relyingon this habitat…Which begets questions:If a library is a collection of material that must bemaintained as a representation of oursociety and such a library is charged with thecare accessibility of such materials,And if a librarian is the specialist, the custodianof a library then how do we make sure we arerendering materials accessible?And…What is the state of our habitat?
  5. 5. Threatened HabitatRight now, the library as a habitat for librariansand pursuers of information -- is threatenedwhich is a bit of a problem for our species but ahuge problem for the long-term existence of asuitable environments – libraries – asrepresentations of the organism that is oursociety.If our means of acquiring materials increasinglydiminishes, and if our means of making materialsaccessible isa. costing an increasing amount and/orb. not fulfilling the obligation of accessibility,then the environment is no longer a healthyenvironment for the organism that is society’sinformation,…than libraries as a habitat, librarians and usersas species depending on said habitat all suffer.Thus our society is suffering.Does this mean that librariansare endangered?
  6. 6. What does this mean?Some might say we are endangered, and at thevery least were feeling the effects ofinformation evolution.How will libraries survive?Weve all heard Herbert Spencers adage"survival of the fittest." that he used to describeDarwins natural selection. [image of robust,strength].What does strength mean in our economy, oursociety? [money]Well, we know that money is a perpetualproblem for libraries.But what if survival of the fittest doesnt meanthat the library with the biggest budget wins?
  7. 7. Let’s take a side path for a moment and lookat survival of the fittest in the non-humananimal world for a moment….Marc Bekoff...  Quote  White Pelicans  Three Quotes  AntsWhat about human animals?  Quote from His Holiness the Dalai LamaAnd Libraries…Competition or CooperationFor our species, the importance of cooperationshouldn’t come as a surprise for cooperation isintrinsic to libraries….They have a long record of cooperating when itcomes to the sharing of their collections.However, with our emerging definition of alibrary, survival of the fittest throughcooperation necessitates more thaninterlibrary loan and shared collections.It means that the infrastructure of our libraryhabitat needs to be built by cooperation,community need and support, as well astransparency.
  8. 8. It means open source systems to make theinformation we steward accessible.It means coming together to create, share, andmaintain the fundamental systems that are ourlibraries because such systems will be lessexpensive, have scalability, and reflect theessence of our habitat so that the library as anorganism – not just a place - will be accessible.For when I compare my experience in otherindustries to that of librarianship, I know thosethat work in libraries to be fiercely passionateabout their work; a bunch a talented folks thatare good at sharing, good at cooperating andhave the ability to keep changing the world –the world of information access.I believe that having the right tools to do ourjobs will helps us survive, and that if the peoplewho work in libraries create the systems andthe tools they need, then we’ll end up exactlywhat we need to not only survive, but thrive –This means becoming a big fish made of manylittle fish in the sea of information just likeSwimmy suggested.