Last week, I got to go to Oregon for fun and amusement. And work. The Code4Lib conference at Oregon State University in the sleepy town of Corvallis, population 53,000. It was an excellent conference, and I brought back a lot of neat ideas about:
- improving the catalogue
- pushing services out to users
- the future of the Integrated Library System (and it's not looking good)
- why new standards are good, but new library standards are bad
- why libraries insist on reinventing the wheel (a hard job) when lots of good wheels already exist, and our time would be better spent inventing a bolt that meant we could use existing wheels (an easier job) and taking the newly-found extra time to pay attention to things we've ignored
- beer, and that librarians seem to love it
Lots of people in the library blogosphere (particularly Art Rhyno and Peter Binkley who I happen to read regularly) can talk about these ideas in a way more intelligent way than I can. Maybe when I grow up, I can be like them.
My amusing anecdote comes courtesy of our always delightful and well-armed friends at Customs and Border Protection, a division of the USCIS. They asked me my reason for going to the States, and I explained I was going to a conference for people working in library technology, and I handed them the conference information form.
Code4Lib is a loosely structured camp/conference for library technologists to commune, gather/create/share ideas and software, be inspired, and forge collaborations, said the form. "Loosely structured? Commune?", the gentlemen with the rubber gloves opined. "You can tell this thing is in Corvallis."
Oregon, as you may not be aware is a hotbed of American liberalism, the likes of which is seen in few other states. For example, Oregon is the only state which permits physician-assisted suicide. Said Stephen Colbert, when talking about the odds of the Seattle Seahawks losing the Superbowl (pretty good), it's "not that Seattle doesn't have guts: it's sandwiched dangerously between two Canadas. Canada Canada and Oregon, California's Canada. Now, save your letters, Oregon; I don't read anything written on birch bark." I'm pretty sure they were Republican.
Also, Americans can be dumb. I present to you, faithful readers, for your amusement, The American Fueling Experience.
Back with more real opinions and thoughts about stuff soon. :-)