DLF Forum Impressions
Among the most valuable and informative conferences for library technology are the Digital Library Federation forums. I guess full disclosure demands that I mention I have been on the planning committee for the last three, but really, this event is shaped by the proposals received as well as by the vision of the director. Peter Brantley's hands-on, energetic style brought a new feel to the event, and I think the future is bright.
The DLF staff, notably Barrie Howard, do an excellent job lining up the electronic versions of presentations - these are often available within minutes of the speaker being done. The agenda page at http://www.diglib.org/forums/fall2007/2007fallprogram.htm is an excellent resource for accessing slides for (most of) the sessions.
There was a heavy video/moving image emphasis this time, and I was especially impressed by Rick Prelinger's keynote. This is one of my favorite presentation styles - heavy on full-bleed photographs, with text overlaid. many of Rick's points were echoed and amplified by Hannah Frost in a later talk that is unfortunately not available on the DLF site.
Other presentations of interest include the NCSU presentation on their flexible catalog apps, now the subject of an article in the new code4lib journal, as well. The session on 'Mass Digitization Under The Hood' brought good details on a number of initiatives.
The session on GIS, mapping and data was very exciting - i think it blew some minds, and it also highlighted the power of working with other agencies and institutions. The key presentation to look at in this regard is this one from Robert Cheetham of the Avencia Corporation, a software company who is building the phillyhistory.org site.
In terms of metadata, there was an excellent session on metadata standards and their uses, featuring Arwen Hutt, Jenn Riley and Sarah Shreeves. I was particularly in tune with Sarah's presentation; many of her comments on repository metadata were in close alignment with what I have been seeing with our University Digital Conservancy work.
I was also pleased to see the latest version of the MODS tool that Melanie Feltner-Reichert and Cricket Deane have put together at U Tenn. Melanie's presentation was a brief introduction to a tool I'm looking forward to playing with this Spring.-John