Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Digitization 101 Year in Review: Influences

This is the first of several posts looking back at 2006.

Those things that influenced me during 2006 left an important mark on the year and -- directly or indirectly -- on Digitization 101. Things? Well...people, places, events, and news items...some related directly to digitization while others were not. Yet all changed my perceptions and what I deemed important as an information professional and blogger.
  • iPRES -- iPRES opened my eyes to the number of people who are not only concerned about digital preservation, but are also working on the problem. What I saw were groups forging ahead, developing strategies and implementing plans. Clearly just thinking about preservation is not enough. It was interesting, though, to realize that not everyone agreed on the methods to be used. There were whispers in the halls about what direction was "best."

    So iPRES forced me to talk more about digital preservation. It is something that projects want to ignore, but it is clear that what a project does upfront will impact its preservation efforts. So we need to ask ourselves -- and those involved in projects/programs around us -- how they will preserve what they are doing? Do they think that they will do it themselves or will they turn to someone else for the service? Do they understand what preservation really means? (Like digitization, it is not as easy as it sounds.)

    Relevant Digitization 101 postings:

  • Copyright -- Although copyright has been a forte of mine for a long time (and I know I've digested documents about copyright -- green papers, white papers, etc. -- that many others haven't), this year I learned more of the subtleties of copyright law that can impact a digitization program. That learning really influenced my workshops as well as how I talk about material selection for a digitization program (more granularity). It can, however, be quite difficult to get others to understand how the law impacts them because they see one law, rather than many subparts that are separate and distinct, yet sometimes impact each other.

    K. Matthew Dames has talked and blogged about the need for more people to understand copyright law. Unfortunately, most people -- including librarians -- can go through college and graduate school without a firm grasp of copyright law. Fortunately anyone -- who takes a class or workshop with me -- will become more aware of the law.

    Relevant Digitization 101 postings:

  • Computers in Libraries (CIL) -- At CIL, I got more jazzed (excited) about social networking tools, Library 2.0, new library catalogues, and how it "all" can be tied together. Yes, digitization was discussed at CIL, but what stood out to me was how the tools can be connected and even mashed up.

    CIL is also where I met a group of people that I had been reading or talking to online -- Michael Stephens, Paul Miller, Roy Tennant, Christina Pikas, Meredith Farkas and others. Yes, face-to-face does still matter, even if it occurs only once! Since we knew each other from online, we didn't need to stop for the normal pleasantries. We had already connected and could quickly move onto important matters.

    Finally, CIL was a reminder that we need to get out of our silos, stand in the barnyard, and tackle problems together.

    Relevant Digitization 101 postings:

  • Working with clients -- Working with clients is what I do for a living. I help them think about, talk about, plan for, and implement digitization programs. I tackle the details that give them headaches and give them the answers/solutions that they need. In some cases, I work with a small team who are leading a program, while at other times, the client might be a large committee. I am always influenced by and learn from the client's perspective. What words are they using the describe their wants and needs? What is their stumbling block? What can they learn from the other programs I've been involved with? Each program is unique, yet each is the same. Each forces me to talk about digitization in a way that makes sense to them, using words and examples that are natural for them. And each program provides new lessons that can passed along.

  • Second Life -- If at the beginning of the year, you had told me that I would be involved in an online digital world called Second Life, I would not have believed you. Yet now Second Life (SL) is an important part of my thinking. And, yes, I can relate SL to digitization.

    First, digitized materials (e.g., photos) can be used in SL to build educational and cultural exhibits. Earlier this month, the Alzheimer's Society of Ontario (Canada) opened an exhibit in SL that contains photos of people who are dealing with the diseases as well as digital views of a MRI, and more. This exhibit is what I think many people have envisioned for the Internet (photo). Perhaps Second Life will spawn technology that will allow people to walk in virtual exhibits easily on "normal" web site. (BTW walking through the MRI -- and thus layers of the brain -- is very cool!)

    Second, Second Life, for me creates concerns of preservation. Should we preserve this digital environment? Or perhaps what should we preserve from this digital environment? And if we should preserve, then how? Answers to these questions are not easy, yet I'm sure more people in 2007 will be asking them as SL continues to grow and important work (i.e., work you want to save) is done there.

    Relevant Digitization 101 postings:

  • Teaching -- I conduct workshops and teach a graduate class at Syracuse University (IST 677). All of the teaching I do keeps me on my toes! There is a saying that those who can't do, teach. Well, not in digitization! The components of this topic called digitization are evolving, so teaching about digitization means constantly learning (a theme that will re-occur below).
  • My other blogs -- Unbeknown to many people, I actually have been blogging in several places. (See below) Early on, I realized that blogging was not just about writing, but about learning. All of the blogs I contribute to force me to keep learning, to rethink what is important, and to be able to talk about those things coherently. They have also given me a place to "put" what I had learned, so I could find it again.
    • Besides Digitization 101, for more than a year, I have written for two blogs owned by Syracuse University's Michael J. Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship. Both blogs -- Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship blog and the South Side Entrepreneurial Connect Project blog -- provided an outlet for talking about business, entrepreneurship and Central New York. They helped me focus more broadly on business and forced me to think about other things besides digitization, competitive intelligence and social networking. As 2007 begins, my efforts with the Falcone Center and its programs will change (I'm now on two boards related to new initiatives) and others -- I hope -- will take over the blogs.
    • I also blog for the Special Libraries Association annual conference and for its Information Technology Division (Blogging Section). Again, these blogs gave me outlets for other thoughts and ideas. They ensured that I stuck my head "out of the sand" on a regular basis and took account of what else was happening.
You may look back and decide that you don't see these influences when you look at Digitization 101. That may be true, but these things have certainly influenced the person behind the blog.

Well, that's the first view of 2006. We'll look at the year from a different perspective tomorrow.

12/29/2006: Copyright blog posting URLs added.

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