Magazine article American Libraries

Technology in Tennessee: Library and Information Technology Association National Forum

Magazine article American Libraries

Technology in Tennessee: Library and Information Technology Association National Forum

Article excerpt

ALA's Library and Information Technology Association's ninth national forum, held October 26-29 in Nashville, Tennessee, opened on a literal high note with a bit of local flavor in a keynote by John Rumble, senior historian for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Some 370 participants tapped their feet to an audio clip from a 1939 broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry, courtesy of the museum, whose mission is to preserve the evolving traditions of country music. The museum identifies, cleans, and creates high-quality analog and digital copies of the most deteriorated and rare recordings.

Indiana University's Thom Gillespie opened the second day with a look at libraries and the growing phenomenon of citizen-created media. While there is a growing interest in educational gaming, he noted that the real learning takes place among those who are creating the games. Gillespie said libraries could provide a place for users to create media and learn at the same time.

Stephen Abram, vice president of innovation at Sirsi-Dynix, closed the forum with a Web 2.0-packed bang of a keynote. Stressing that libraries are rapidly changing because their patrons are embracing interactive aspects of the Web, he advised looking at how users choose to learn, where they look for information, and what kinds of community networks they join. His point packed a punch: The future of the library means stepping into the users' world and helping them learn the way they learn best.

Online catalogs. The future of the library OPAC was a hot topic at several of the concurrent sessions. Gregg A. Silvis from the University of Delaware generated spirited debate surrounding the "impending demise of the local OPAC." Highlighting the inefficiencies of maintaining local bibliographic data and online catalogs at institutions around the country, he suggested a possible future with centralized services available through organizations such as OCLC.

David Lindahl and Jeff Suszczynski of the University of Rochester approached the topic from a different angle, highlighting their Digital Initiatives Unit's CUIPID (Catalog User Interface Platform for Iterative Development) project. Now a database containing 3-million-plus bibliographic records, CUIPID offers faceted browsing, spell check, book covers, links to related articles, and a streamlined process for recalling materials. Library staff interested in using new tools will want to keep an eye on this multiyear project that seeks to develop an open-source online system that can unify access to traditional and digital library resources.


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