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Paul Miller on Web 2.0 / Library 2.0 -- CIL2006

Paul Miller, Talis’ Technology Evangelist, spoke Friday afternoon to a packed audience in the Jefferson Room at CIL 2006.  Paul, who I was surprised and impressed to learn holds a PhD in archeology from the University of York, is a very engaging and humorous speaker – his fluid interaction with his content made for a very good presentation.  Paul’s program on the technological benefits of Web 2.0 / Library 2.0 was very well received by a group that had probably been hearing more about Library 2.0 this week than they ever expected.  

I think many of the attendees were viewing the possibilities that APIs/mashups can provide in relation to the library’s catalog for the very first time.  Paul highlighted some of the great work coming from John Blyberg at AADL, along with Casey Bisson and Superpatron Ed Vielmetti.

Paul’s discussion had, at its core, the idea that library ILS vendors need to craft very user-friendly data mashing applications that can, at various levels, function openly regardless of ILS platform.  He highlighted many Talis initiatives that have at their core the furtherance of data usability mining library data and mashing it with Web 2.0 company information – Amazon, Google, etc.

I am, perhaps, a bit more pessimistic than Paul regarding the willingness of various ILS vendors to share, under Creative Commons license (as Talis is now doing) new applications that will allow cross-vendor ILS system data sharing.  This, to me, represents a huge and fundamental shift in the business practices of these companies, but one that I think can, as Paul pointed out, be brought about by market forces – namely, pressure from libraries.  To achieve this level of shared platform interoperability will require a library vendor détente, which would be a remarkable thing, but one that I agree must happen.

Paul also spoke to the library’s relationship with Google, and basically asked, “when did they go to Google”?  I’m not sure I agree that they “went” to Google, because I think that assumes that libraries “had” them to lose, which I don’t think we did when it came to internet search.  I’m not sure internet users ever saw their library’s search capabilities as anywhere near the top in relation to Yahoo and MSN, etc.  

Also touched upon ever so slightly was the issue of library change – a component of Library 2.0 that interests me greatly and, in my opinion, is key to our future success.  Much of what we want to do requires some rather fundamental changes in organizational cultures, and an open willingness to be more responsive and willing to change.

This was one of my favorite sessions at this year's CIL.  Paul is an excellent speaker and very fun to watch.

Finally, I have a question for Paul, “Does all of this mean that we will see a Talis booth at next year’s CIL?”

Paul's slides are here (PDF File)

cil2006Library 2.0