Friday, April 03, 2009

JISC Libraries of the Future debate

Now THIS is the sort of thing that Second Life is good for. I was interested in the JISC Libraries of the Future debate, but it coincided with a day of in-house SFX training. The option to attend via Second Life meant I could - just - do both.

It's always interesting to attend a combined Second Life/'Real' Life event. (I do dislike the way that terminology implies I am somehow less real when mediated by an avatar than I am when physically present.) The focus is - in my experience - always firmly on the physical meeting. This event was better than most in that respect, with someone aware of what was happening in both spaces and chanelling communications between them. When it came to questions though, the sl audience only managed to get - if I remember correctly, and it's quite possible I missed some - two communicated to the panel.

As to the substance of the debate I was surprised to hear that the future of libraries is to be buzzing with activity and groupwork. I must have time travelled and be living in the future right now! I enjoyed the lively debate started by the speaker who had some good, if provocative, points to make about the relevance of libraries to the scientific research process, and the madness of a system whereby universities buy back the products of their labours from publishers at outrageous prices in the form of journal subscriptions. Long live the glorious Open Access revolution! Or maybe not?

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