I’ve been reviewing various commentary on last week’s Computers in Libraries conference and had to wonder, why does anyone bother going to this thing? Surely we all know by now that there are computers in libraries, and there certainly doesn’t seem to be anything new going on.
My favorite bit was from the keynote speech, quoted by the Librarian in Black: "Trust is based on character, competence, confidence, credibility, consistency, and congruence." To which I could only say, how coincidental! And convenient! Trust couldn’t possibly be based on anything not beginning with a "C"!
Actually, that might not have been as catchy as another acronymical offering from that speech: "FOCUS: Flexible, Observable, Courageous, Useful, and Supportive." Awww…things like this make it so much easier for librarians to remember important stuff like this, at least those of us restricted to a 6th grade education.
The strangest might have been a panel on "dead and innovative technology," in which I discovered that tape drives and floppy drives are "dead." Whew! I’m sure glad they got together some technological "experts" to tell us these things!
And innovative? "Things without hinges"! Now that is innovative, because we’ve never had any things without hinges before! Another "expert" offered "thoughtful design." It’s sure nice to know we’re getting some "thoughtful design" after thousands of years of humans designing things.
These experts are on the bleeding edge, people. Jump back before they cut ya.
According to the Library Journal wrap-up, the hot word was…wait for it…Twitter! Yay! It’s nice to know that a bunch of librarians that could be working and doing something useful for their libraries are hanging out in Virginia and talking about Twitter. But maybe they’re paying their own way and taking vacation time.
And it’s a pity I missed the preconference "videocasting boot camp" from the librarians who brought us "Library 101," because those guys sure know how to make an exciting video! With their help, your library could turn out that same quality of work.
From what I can tell, it sounds like they have the same ten speakers who have been speaking at each other for the past five years at every library conference and all over the Internet, and they’re not saying much that’s new. How many times can one recycle the same PowerPoint presentation and not fall asleep while presenting it? (Though one presenter did add pictures of cute animals dressed as humans. Am I mocking him, or does he think he’s mocking me?)
Given that the conference is relatively small, and probably attended by the same faithful flock that attend every year, one wonders who the audience is for all these repetitive talks.
So here’s my question to all of you who attended CiL: was there anything presented there that wasn’t either a) completely obvious, or b) not a rehash of the same content we’ve been hearing from library conferences and blogs for the past five years?
I know you probably won’t answer the question, because the CiL crowd, especially that tight-knit group of speakers who talk at each other all the time, are obviously afraid to confront the AL with anything remotely resembling an argument. So I guess I’ll have to let you off the hook while you prattle on about "anonymity," Twitter, and things without hinges.
Then again, I already know the answer. It’s "No."
[Nota bene in re comments: Every few months the inmates come out and think they run the asylum. They don't.]