“Do Libraries Have a Future?” That’s the question which Bethan Ruddock will be attempting to answer in the Visionaries Views session which concludes the opening day of the ILI (Internet Librarian International) 2010 Conference. Bethan, who works for the JISC-funded Mimas service, will invite the audience to imagine a world without libraries a world of fragmentation and defragmentation, a world in which libraries may be facing dissolution. As the abstract for her talk states:
New professional Bethan Ruddock asks the hard questions about future libraries of all types. What can information professionals expect in academic, public, corporate and other types of libraries going forward? Given changes in technology, it’s more important than ever for librarians to talk with those outside the profession to garner support.
This seems to be a scary vision, but also, it seems, sadly a realistic one. But are there any reasons to be optimistic? Are there ways in which information professionals can be addressing these hard questions? I don’t know the answer – but I do know that as I’ll be chairing this session (which takes place on Thursday from 16.15-17.00 and will also include a talk from Tony Hirst) that it will be a fascinating session.
But why should this session be restricted to those who are able (and have the funds) to attend the conference? Assuming the WiFi works (which can’t always be guaranteed at hotel venues) we can expect to see lots of tweets with the #ili2010 event hashtag (and as there are three parallel sessions running there may be a need to use the session hashtag – #a105, to avoid confusions with, in particular, Owen Stephens session on Mashing Libraries to Build Communities, session #c105).
But event tweets can benefit from having a context. So Bethan has agreed to take part in an experiment. She has uploaded her slides to Authorstream in order that we can test the Present Live option. I, or someone else in the audience will display the same slide which Bethan is talking to and the remote audience, who are viewing the slides on Authorstream at a URI which will be announced on Twitter before the start of the talk, will see the same slide, thus providing a context for the talk. The only slight inconvenience is that, having tested this service yeserday I discovered that you need to be logged in to Authorstream to view the live presentation. So if you would live to participate I suggest you register for an Authorstream account in advance.
As I mentioned this is an experiment in on-the-fly event amplification. We don’t know, for example, how the technology will work or whether the chat facility provided on the Authorstream page will fragment the discussion which we would normally expect to take place on Twitter. I’ll also be interested in seeking views from the conference organisers on this experiment – will it be regarded as ‘bootlegging at a conference gig’ which should be stamped out or away of reaching out to audiences wo can’;t attend, or might be unaware of the ILI conference series, who may be motivate to attend next year’s conference after this year’s teaser talk’?
Of course the remote audience is likely to gain even more from the talk if they can see and her the speaker. And since I have installed a streaming video client on my Android phone I wonder if I’ll be able to try out that? Have a look at my UK Web Focus UStream channel to see if I managed to take any videos at the ILI 2010 conference.