#ALA2013: The bits I’m hearing again and again

Every ALA conference has its own set of words and phrases that you keep on hearing at every session or conversation that you have with colleagues.  While it would be easy to pass these off as the “buzzwords” of the moment, I find that these words and phrases often give me a glimpse into where libraries are heading over the next few years.  Without further ado, here’s what I’ve heard a lot over the past three days at ALA 2013:

MAKE AND BUILD
The maker movement goes beyond 3D printing, learning how to code, and teaching our communities about the maker movement.  I’m seeing just how important it is for libraries to MAKE their own stuff.  This became apparent when I attended Transformations in Performing Arts Librarianship and learned about the New York Public Library Digital Collections website.

NYPL Digital Collections

The content in their digital collections is simply stunning, but what was even more impressive the tools that the library and NYPL Labs is building for the community to use to explore the collections.  Personally, I found the John Cage Unbound: A Living Archive

DATA, API, PLATFORMS
Put your stuff out there, share it with everyone else.  What I know and understand about APIs and data is very little, but I recognize how important these two things are as libraries began to digitize, build digital exhibitions, and share with a worldwide community.  The DPLA’s offering of a free bulk download of all its data and metadata is huge and a great place to start to realize just how important these things are to libraries.

Finally, check out OpenPics, a really great app that allows you to find images based on your current location.  This tool is a great example of something developed by someone outside the library world but still connects with the DPLA through use of their public API.

LOCAL
It’s all about the stuff that’s all around you.  That’s what makes your library collection really awesome.  DPLA wants your library to work with them.  They want to share what you have, what you’ve digitzed.  They want to work together with you.  They don’t want to take your stuff….they want to help point everyone else to it.

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