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Book of Proceedings - Parisfall2009

Page history last edited by maryjoan.crowley@... 11 years, 5 months ago

Paris Fall 2009                 

                                                                 Staircase Maison de la Mutualitè, Paris



Icolc Europe’s first Unconference was held during the recent ICOLC Fall meeting in Paris, 25-28 October, 2009. The meeting itself took place  in the beautiful setting of the recently restored  1930’s décor of the Maison de la Mutualité. 

The title for the Unconferenc was The 21st century library: setting trends, and the facilitators were Mary Joan Crowley and Paola Gargiulo.

The goal of the Unconference was to bring together people who have a shared interest in defining the 21st century library and how it evolves. 

The proposed unconference was posted on a wiki prior to the event, to begin to explore questions to get the conversation going and so that people could  get a sense of the topics that are of interest to the group before coming.

As is the case with an unconference no agenda was set. On the day of the event, Monday 26 October, sheets of paper were posted on the wall containing some of the topics that had emerged in the wiki. Other topics were  posted that day.


Further facilitated by Lorraine Estelle and Hazel Woodward, and thanks to Warren Holder who broke the ice,  the unconference soon got going.  While perhaps more unstructured than some would have wished, and tending to focus on some topics of interest at the expense of others, it did serve  to set the atmosphere of close collaboration and participatory activity that marked the overall event. It also enabled our local Paris colleagues, many of whom were attending an Icolc event for the first time, to immediately feel part of the whole process.


In brief some of the conversation points touched on:

- If we had the chance to design tomorrow’s library, what would it look like ?

Definitely more spaces, a place/space for different types of groups to work  in, to meet with their peers, to study in and  feel part of a community.

- Scenarios were proposed where the library of the future would be almost totally digital, only electronic books and journals. Others disputed such a scenario emphasizing that for conservation purposes in the medium to longterm print remains the most reliable artifact.

- Physical book circulation is decreasing and there is a large use of computers by our users. While e-books are the way to go there was widespread consensus that e-book readers are not ready yet.  In the era of smartphones and touch screens, e-book readers were not up to the mark.

- The importance of the role of print in local languages was underlined. It was pointed out that e-books tended to be in English only. Mention was made of a Springer project for German e-books and  some others made available by small regional  publishers.  Publishers should be called on during this period of transition in content delivery to pay greater attention to content available in local languages.

- ebooks again (as a topic it did tend to dominate) . Some felt that ICOLC should take an interest regarding licensing terms for the future and set standards.  Mention was made of the JISC e-book project.

- In an increasing digital world DDL is also on the increase.

- Some time was spent discussing experiences in Norway regarding reference books for medical staff accessible using smartphones and in Japan students accessing dictionaries on their smartphones. Both were very successful !

- Some apprehension was expressed regarding the fact the transition underway in information content and how this is enacted and whether it is solely industry driven. A need was felt for libraries to be at the helm, to guide this change rather than be guided by it.

- Some felt that it was still early days for social networking in the library.  Many OPACs were not user friendly and closed to the possibility of using API’s to make them friendlier. Vivissimo users in Norway were beginning to look at ways to incorporate web 2.0 tools and which tools to use.  Some mention was made in passing of next generation OPAC’s, discussed in another presentation the following day.

Most agreed that experimenting was no harm – experimentation is the new engagement.   If something doesn’t work try something else.  By focusing on our user’s behaviour we have a better idea of what to experiment with and actively engage with them. This is crucial especially as fewer researshers are making their way to the library and thus research libraries are doing less research.

In Israel they are considering putting the library on Facebook, but as a page not as a person, hence they would have more control of the content.

Icolcers were invited to take a look at the 23 library things that the Ciber team published, the first Italian version of the Learning 2.0 programme by Helen Blowers to encourage staff to explore new technologies.



So many thanks to all and let’s keep the conversation going. As we said the wiki will act as the Book of Proceedings and will remain open. We hope to coalesce a group around these topics and work forward.

If we have forgotten anything just add a comment If you think it would be a good idea to form a group just register with us.

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