WARNING: This blog posts contains an unusually high number of acronyms. Read at your own risk.
In early July I attended the EIUG conference in Dublin. This year it was held as a joint conference with the IIUG (Irish Innovative User Group) as Innovative have attracted several new Irish customers recently, including Trinity College Dublin, where the conference was held. And also because the committee (of which I’m a member) fancied a trip to Dublin. Thanks to Ryanair it’s actually cheaper for most of us to fly to Dublin than to get the train to other parts of the UK so it’s quite easy to justify an ‘international’ conference!
I’ve been attending EIUG conference for many years. The EIUG is a small and very friendly group, mostly academic libraries, so we usually have similar concerns and interests. There is always a presence from Innovative and other vendors so it’s a good opportunity to keep up-to-date with systems and technological developments in the library world. In the conference sessions I can hear about interesting things other Universities are doing and
steal be inspired by their ideas.
This year we had a keynote speech from Peter Ford who talked about Design Thinking for Libraries. He talked about how to identify contraints and pain points in your service and how you can generate ideas and design solutions. Very usefully, he has a website which has a (freely available) toolkit to help people follow the Design Thinking methodology: Designthinkingforlibraries.com.
Falling in the category of ‘surprisingly interesting’ was a talk from the Wellcome library about RDA (Resource Description and Access, the new cataloguing standard replacing AACR2) and Linked Data (I did say ‘surprising’). As a non-cataloguer I am not usually excited by discussions of RDA or linked data. Wellcome decided to prepare their library catalogue data for the day Linked Data becomes a reality. They have retrospectively updated all their AACR2 records to RDA. And they enriched their authority records with identifiers such as ISNI, VIAF and ORCID. These identifiers serve no purpose right now but Wellcome are anticipating the day when their library catalogue will be directly indexed in search engines and the addition of unique identifiers will help to unambiguously link all of an authors work together. (Want to know more about Linked Data and libraries? Try this series of blog posts. I haven’t actually read them but they look good!)
Innovative are also thinking about linked data. In the company update session they talked about their roadmap for the development of Sierra. They are moving away from MARC (the standard format for bibliographic records) towards RDA (a flat version of RDF). As a pilot they converted one of their customer’s catalogues (I think Denver) to RDA and then they exposed their library catalogue to Google (and other search engines). This means that if you live in the geographic area of this library and search for a book in Google, the library copy of this should pop up right at the top of your search results. Innovative will be offering this as a service to other customers in the future.
If much of the above makes no sense at all, you’re not alone. Another initiative Innovative are undertaking is to train all of their staff to understand Linked Data.
Other items on the Innovative roadmap include a Sierra web client, several new APIs, a patron mobile app and a brand new cloud-based ERM system.
My Dublin visit was very quick as I flew out on Monday morning and returned on the Tuesday evening and I unfortunately missed the opportunity to visit the Book of Kells. But I did find time to drink a lovely pint of Guiness at the conference dinner.