Last week, I was back in Austin TX for a few days and attended the 2009 Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL). It was nice to be back at UT and have those formal and informal conversations with friends, former professors and other participants.
The conference had two keynote speakers: Christine Borgman and Gerhard Fischer. Borgman talked a bit about the Cyberlearning report from NSF as well as the benefits of a well developed network/system according to users’ expectations. Fischer talked about (among other things) the changing role of users -from consumers to producers. As users become more technology literate, they are more open and will expect to have a channel of communication and be able to contribute to the content. For some, one concern is the quality of contribution from the general public, perhaps this where educational/specialized institutions can balance/disseminate the information/knowledge being produced in those online communities.
There were two panels: What Should We Preserve from a Born-Digital World? and Google as Library Redux. The importance of continually revise file formats and run processes of importing/exporting metadata across multiple Content Management Systems was part of the talk. Another topic with some attention was the revision/customization of metadata schemas as a tool to support interoperability. Perhaps, our own flickr project can be a “basic” example of an external discovery layer for local collections as well as a content migration from a local to a web-based system.
Given our current work plan for the Scholarly Commons Project as well as the integration of a discovery layer of Digital Collections using the new library interface, I found and attended three related sessions: Large-scale ETD repositories: A case study of a digital library application, Models for Faceted User Interfaces, and What Do Exploratory Searchers Look at in a Faceted Search Interface? The first session was a good example of an existing repository based on DSpace and with multiple institutions as contributors. Many of the technical aspects of this project would be -is already- part of the DRC project at OhioLINK. The other two sessions covered issues that we will probably have to deal with when we integrate our digital collections to the new library website.
Other sessions I attended include: generating metadata by analyzing document code, trends in digital libraries, user interface for search and retrieval in video libraries, flexible content model for media repositories, enhancing social tagging for discovery, improving optical character recognition through efficient multiple system alignment, and improving historical research by linking digital library information on specialized sources.
In conclusion, it was very interesting and worthwhile –registration was kind of expensive though. The little USB with the conference logo and the conference proceedings is and will be valuable in the near future –I hope. Will I go to Australia next year? who knows, but I should be back to another JCDL sometime in the future!