Friday, August 14, 2009

Community Trumps Technology

I’m just back from the 2009 Information Delivery Services (IDS, Tweets on conference) Conference in Oswego, NY and as always came away with a great deal to think about. This group started with the SUNY 4 year colleges with leadership from SUNY Geneseo to improve resource sharing workflows and turn-around times. This year’s conference showed the group has grown both in membership and in scope of building collaboration between libraries in the project.

During the keynote by Genie Powell from Atlas systems, she made a statement that I had to write down to mull over, “community trumps technology.” Most interesting -- the examples Genie used were from outside the library space and in the social space. The point she eloquently drove home was that technology is not what binds people together but rather commitment to a common cause and desired outcomes.

So much of my time is spent working on products, services and technology it was a refreshing point of view to be reminded that these are simply tools to allow libraries to achieve their individual and collective goals. The real success of libraries depends on groups like IDS where libraries form a trusted community, agree to break down barriers to cooperation and take mutual risks to achieve a stronger service to their constituencies.

I look forward to more opportunities like this one to share the cool things that are happening in libraries today.


simonfj said...

Hi Matt,

I was just catching up with what the library community was doing and stumbled across your comment.
Also have this page open.

I've been hoping we might be able to bring a few professional mindsets together for some time. The main ones being your own community and others who, like your own, only talk amongst themselves. E.g.

The trouble they all have is that they always want to give a community a (usually quite meaningless) DNS name, like or one which normally gets buried inside some institutional silo like OCLC or NSF.

If only we might attempt to give them a name like and aggregate the kinds of tools which each community prefers (cause they will all prefer different combinations of tools,and use different languages to point at an IP address). E.g. This aggregation keeps english speaking web designers coming back.

This might help the bright sparks at evo (and others) to link remote global communities together, communicate, stream & record in real time; and build a creativearchive.

Until then, you, I and George can only wish for a new cultural mindset.

Matt Goldner said...

Thanks for the input and interesting challenge on how to get disparate communities to share ideas and tools.