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Wow! Nearly a month between blog posts! And this one’s going to be a bit of a cop-out… An update on the things I’ve been doing that have kept me from blogging 🙂

Voices for the Library
The VftL campaign has been steadily gaining momentum! As we’re losing two of our members to CILIP council in the new year (congrats Katy and Phil!), we’ve been having a think about how we can sustainably take the campaign forward, without losing our agility, or burning-out any of the team… With this in mind, we’re having our first in-person board meeting in Jan. While we failed abjectly to find a date that everyone could make, we are going to have most of the team there, and I can’t emphasise enough how utterly fab it’s going to be to have people together! While we’ve done fantastic jobs (yes, I’m biased!) working together online, a face-to-face sit-down-and-have-a-good-chat-then-go-to-the-pub is going to be really constructive and energising – and, knowing the VftL crowd, an awful lot of fun too 🙂

SLA Europe
We’ve recently announced the calls for two SLA Europe awards: the Early Career Conference Awards (ECCAs), and the European Information Professional award (IP). There’s still pots of time to get your applications/nominations in for these, and I’d really recommend you do so! Having won an ECCA in 2009, I can wax lyrical about the brilliant opportunities it gave me – if it wasn’t for the ECCA, my career would have been very different! (and probably a lot more boring).

A book!
I’ve been talking to Facet publishing recently about the possibility of producing something for them for their 2012 catalogue. It’s all a bit at the ‘eek!’ stage at the moment, but watch this space for updates 😀

Mimas
Yes, I do have a day job as well ;p It’s so easy to get caught up in all the other professional stuff I’m doing outside work, and to forget that I have a fantastic job, which I love doing! Some really exciting stuff going on at the moment, too. I’m learning all about linked data for the LOCAH project, and am just about to start converting the diagram of the proposed Copac linked data structure into a proper specification. This makes my head hurt a lot of the time, but fortunately we’ve got a good team on the project, who are helping me through. Discussion appears to be one of the key things in working this stuff out – I can sit and stare at it for hours without getting anywhere (except tied up in knots), and then make loads of progress on the basis of a short discussion. I’m really pleased to be involved in the project, and hopefully at some points the moments of revelation will come to equal the moments of *headdesk*.

We’re also finalising the new libraries load list for Copac for 2011, and there are some corkers on there. We try to have libraries at all stages of the loading process, so we can keep the work flowing nicely, which means I’m always talking to libraries to arrange loads, processing data, and preparing information pages. I do content development for the Archives Hub as well as Copac, so at any given point I’m likely to be elbow-deep in MARC, EAD – or both!

When I’m not wading through data, they occasionally let me leave the office. I was down in London for the Online conference, working on the Mimas stand, trying to attend some floor sessions, handing out VftL flyers (thanks Credo!), doing fun things with SLA colleagues, networking, smiling, and drinking wine. The conference was a bit quieter than last year, but I’m still very glad I took a long weekend to recover.

ooh, and although I haven’t been blogging here, I did do a guest post for the utterly-fab Librarians with lives blog. I’m finding all of the tips for fitting CPD into an overstretched time-budget really useful 🙂 Now I just need to figure out how to fit more blogging in too!

I’ve not blogged for a while, having been far too busy with the wonderful Voices for the Library project. If you haven’t seen it, go look! If you have seen it, go look again! We’re adding new content all the time – stories, blog posts, events, and forums.

A combination of thinking about forums and libraries and debating, and the recent slew of blog posts discussing the value of a professional post-grad qualification gave me a seed of an idea: wouldn’t it be great if there was somewhere we could go to thrash these things out in an ordered manner?

Now, I don’t just mean discussion forums – we have those – but something more like a formal debating society. This is where I have to admit that I’ve never done any debating, and only have the vaguest idea of how it works, but my current thinking is thus:

  • Get togther some people as volunteer debators. Make a list of proposed topics, and allow people to sign up to choose a topic and a side. Teams of one.
  • Have a specific place for the debates. My first thought was to have each person argue their side on thier own blog, but this a) excludes non-bloggers and b) makes it more difficult to follow the argument in one place.
  • Each debator argues their side – I think simultaneous post writing, rather than advance and riposte. The post is open for comments for a set period (comments from debators as well as observers? I don’t know).
  • Winner is chosen by a poll on the blog.
  • Next pair step up, and the next debate begins!

Frequency would depend on how many people were interested – I think twice a month might be a good frequency, with no one person debating more than once every couple of months.

So, down to the key thing: topics! I’d love a wide range of topics, ranging from the worthy to the frivolous, from never-before-discussed to new takes on old ideas. A few suggestions plucked from the depths of my brain:

  • What the library profession needs for pop culture acceptance is a librarian at the centre of a great novel vs What the library profession needs for pop culture acceptance is a reality tv show
  • Within a generation, paper books will only be kept for historical research value vs Within a generation, ebooks will only be kept for curiosity value
  • Ranganathan’s 5 laws have no relevance in the digital society vs Ranganathan’s 5 laws have more relevance than ever in the digital society

So, what do you think? Is this a goer? Do you want to lock minds with the finest information professionals from across the globe, and do battle on the glorious field of the Library Debating Forum? Also, anyone fancy thinking up a snappier name? 😉

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