I had the fortune of attending ALA Midwinter 2011 in San Diego. I’m still here and looking forward to the ProQuest dinner aboard the USS Midway, but my talks and meetings are over. I attended three Ex Libris talks (one on BX recommender, one on Primo, and another on Maximizing the next generation library experience.) As well, I volunteered to blog for a few events for litablog.org. I was able to eat a few nice lunches as well, courtesy of EBSCO, and learn about their services.

The first EL talk I attended was about the BX recommender. BX is basically an article recommender service that you can embed in SFX, your catalog, etc (they are also working on a google scholar plugin) . BX provides recommended resources-based not on keywords- but on usage data harvested from SFX. The BX tool receives an openURL from SFX and delivers the relevant resources to the user, via SFX,  or Primo.

While it sounds like a great tool, there are a few things to be aware of. One of the libraries that discussed the service in the talk showed statistics, and close to half of the citations listed in SFX didn’t have BX recommendations associated with them. This is because BX doesn’t yet have the data associating these articles with other articles. As well, the results aren’t necessarily going to be items  you own, as it’s harvested SFX data across institutions. Which means your ILL request may go up.

A good article recommendation describing the service is: “An architecture for the aggregation and analysis of scholarly usage data” by  “Johan Bollen, Herbert Van de Sompel.

I’m going to skip discussing the next EL talk, entitled “Getting the Library Dog to Bark: Maximizing the Value of the Research Library ” because it was basically a plug for their new tool, ALMA, which basically allows you to collect statistics across services. While I think data is important (as do the top technology trenders, see below for that), I don’t think we need another EL product to conglomerate our data. Google analytics does that very nicely, already, for free.

This morning I attended the Top Technology Trends. You can see the stream here: http://litablog.org/2011/01/top-tech-trends-liveblog-3/ or follow tweets about it at #alamwttt. In summary, the trends seem to be:

  • data-driven analytics. We have a lot of data we can use to serve our patrons in ways different than we do now. Use analytics to inform future of libraries.
  • Curation: Defined in this case as careful human selection. Users and peer-groups do-and will continue to-curate materials found on web. With the plethora of stuff out there, users will self-sift or look to their peer group to sift (Facebook, flickr, slideshare, etc)
  • outsourcing to the cloud, and freeing up IT and systems time to pursue other things (Ex. LibGuides)
  • archiving of personally generated material
  • future of publishing? New model with self-publishing, etc.

There’s lots more interesting stuff about this talk on twitter.

I then attended the Top Technology Trends Business Meeting where the annual Top Technology Trends forum was discussed. It will be on the Sunday of ALA Annual from 1:30-3:00, so hold the date/time!

The last talk I attended was also an Ex Libris talk, on Primo and Primo Central. The presented began talking about the elements in a good discovery system:

  • Fast, easy to use
  • Single, unified interface
  • Faceted browsing
  • Did you mean
  • RSS feeds

Not sure I agree with all of them, but that’s another conversation. The speakers then went on to talk about implementing Primo discovery tools.

That’s my summary for now! I will be blogging for litablog.org about the Top Technology Trends business meeting in the next day or so, and will provide more details about some of the talks above on this blog.

For those of you here, hope to see some of you on the USS Midway!


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