OLA Superconference 2011

OLA Superconference 2011 is wrapping up. I saw many friends, gave and received many business cards, and partook in many fine beverages!

On Thursday morning I convened “Linked Data: The Web on Steroids,” run by Walter Lewis of Knowledge Ontario.  He’s spoken at many Superconferences, and has just won the Larry Moore Distinguished Service Award– two facts that should come as no surprise when you see him speak. Who knew metadata could be so engaging? (All right, that may be begging the question…)  I came away realizing how badly  I need to bury my nose in a web tutorial or two on RDF, especially now that I’m trying my hand as a small-scale information architect!

From there I rushed off to set set up the fruits of my late night arts and crafts project, a poster I co-presented with my former boss and serious life mentor Kimberly Silk:

The poster drew from our 2010 Mayoral Briefing Paper Open Data, Open City (PDF), but was modified to be more applicable to the library community. It was a great pleasure to talk policy, web standards, and portal best practices with everyone who wandered by — including my mother and my boyfriend (thanks guys!).

The best session I attended was “How to Do Well in an Interview,” run by Yvonne Patch of Hamilton Public Library and Jim Brett from the University of Guelph. Much of it was practical, standard advice –the stuff you know but don’t always take as seriously as you should. It was particularly useful to have two presenters: when asked a question, they would sometimes respond in enthusiast unison, and other times hesitate or disagree. The take-away for me was that some things (those they were in quick agreement on) are standard…don’t even think about it, just do it. Other things (visting before hand, over dressing for the interview) are negotiable, depending on the culture of the organization you’re applying to, so do some thinking and some research before deciding what to do.

A late afternoon wander through the Expo left me with many tote bags, a Champagne buzz (cheers, ProQuest!), and the desperate desire to buy a Sony eReader (Kobo hardware is so junky, and I hate the proprietary nature of the Kindle…and all that white plastic). I enjoyed looking at several vendor displays but, as I don’t work for a library right now, I found it hard to ask the right questions (budget, implementation timeline, feedback process).

The evening found many of us at the Lone Star Texas grill, knocking back bland beers and sickly sweet Margaritas served by a jovial waitress named Tango (so she claimed).

While I volunteered last year, being involved in a few different places this year definitely made the conference experience richer. If (no…when!) I am working full time in future years, I fear I’ll attend to just to listen — but I hope I can get the time to participate again as well!

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