Some random thoughts from the first day of Access presentations:

  • we’ve been improving our coding practices since last year: we’re using Subversion, still trying to do documentation, etc. We’ve also been reviewing our disaster recovery plans. Katrina, as Clifford Lynch explained, showed the benefits of good planning (for those who did some). We should work to package our critical web stuff in such a way that it can be deployed easily in a new context: not just backup, but good design leading to a turn-key application.
  • maybe RDF isn’t so scary after all. I find I’m running into it in more and more contexts, and I’m always surprised and intimidated. I’ve got to sit down and do something with it.
  • our legacy of MARC records is going to anchor our scow while the rest of the world is skimming off in catamarans. Data must be XML; data structures must be easy to grasp and to work with. Bruce D’Arcus’s description of the response he receives in the non-library development community to MODS, compared to their response to RDF, is instructive: oddly enough, they don’t want to have to learn MARC in order to understand why MODS has to make the compromises it makes. Web services are going to tie stuff together more and more, and so much interesting stuff comes along because a creative developer has an itch and a tool. As long as our metadata is so unattractive we’re not going to engage the people we need to keep our stuff relevant in the next few years.
  • open-source development in our Canadian library world continues to mature. The Researcher projects are properly packaged and under good code control. Contract programmers get hired to do open-source development, and produce good results. More players are achieving a higher degree of professionalism. This bodes well.
  • tagging isn’t the answer for us, but we need to understand how other communities use it and make our systems talk to theirs.
  • God, Access is fun.
  • I should finish my slides.