In taking a survey of my info gathering and recent web dev activities, I noticed something. First, there is a lot of data in my daily channels of news and info. Raging river of data is probably a better description. Second, the trend in our local library development and app building has been to bring these data bits into manageable streams. Witness:
And these are just local library apps at Montana State… There are open web services and desktop clients (FriendFeed and TweetDeck) that make similar attempts to aggregate data and add value. Wheat from the chaff… Signal from noise… By and large, this has been a role that libraries have played within the physical (our selection of books and relevant, vaild info). I’m wondering how well we can latch onto this trend of aggregation and extend ourselves into the virtual.
So, I’m back at home while the Computers in Libraries 2009 conference is wrapping up. On the flight home, I got to thinking about major themes and it struck me that there might be a way to represent the themes visually. Enter wordle. If you aren’t familiar with wordle, you can paste source text or even pass URLs of feeds to a simple web form and get a “wordcloud” of major terms. I thought I might try pasting the Computers in Libraries 2009 program text into wordle. Here’s the wordle representation of cil2009. (I removed some basic noise words like keynote, track A, 11:30, etc.)
Not surprising to see “Library”, “Libraries”, “Search” and “Social” as some top terms. But, I am glad to see the terms around the edges making some headway. Terms like “mobile”, “development”, and “innovative” suggest that the profession is moving forward. One missing term that I’m hearing more and more is “embed” or embedding”. I think it’s an important concept and starts to get at a new mode of library services: embedded library instruction, embedded reference services, embedded library web services in the form of widgets and gadgets, etc. Just my thoughts from a cursory scanning… If you have other thoughts about the cil2009 wordcloud, feel free to leave a comment.