Posts Tagged ‘LITA’

Interesting questions and answers from the LITA Town Hall. A few dissenting opinions, and that always makes a discussion lively.

Twitter – #litath09

http://tinyurl.com/d7mdyx

What makes LITA unique inside ALA and the greater library community?

The ability to get actively involved very quickly.
The structure if interest groups is more flexible than other divisions.
We get a lot of practical information that we can apply in our workplace unlike other organizations.
LITA gives us a chance to connect with others doing similar work.
LITA is profoundly affected by what’s happening in the outside world. We have to interpret and apply information on behalf of our organizations.
We tend to generate good, imaginative ideas that get adopted by others.
LITA has a flat and flexible organizational structure.
We tend to be doers and not pontificators.
We tend to be entrepreneurs within ALA.
Many members have an opportunity to get involved.
We are focused on applications/practice rather than theory.
We take delight on not requiring an MLS for everything that we do.

Who else is filling the same role as LITA?

The role – keep people aware of the latest technology and how to use it. Best practices. Provides a community for a wide spectrum of librarians with a technology interest.
NASIG
Code4Lib
OITP
DLF
Digital Humanities
State Library groups – technology section
CNI
Technology vendors and user groups
Smaller groups – Distance learning section – ACRL – DLIG
Technology sections in other ALA divisions
Blogs and websites
OCLC regional institutes and affiliates
There is a lot of overlap between ALA divisions. How does this affect us? How are we reaching out to these other groups?
People come to LITA for mentoring. What are we doing to provide support to people who are new to the IT world?
Moderator question – Going forward, do you think there will be more or fewer groups doing the same thing as LITA? Audience response was unanimously more.

What areas of IT are not being addressed in the library community?

Digital preservations
Creating reusable educational objects
Change/adaptation of traditional tech types
Dealing wit front-end users
Mentoring newer IT people, giving project advice.
Assessment, stewardship of open source projects.
Model and push virtual options for the rest of ALA.
Set skill standards for ILS students.
The library IT department should be providing good project management for other departments.
Where are other libraries in terms of infrastructure? Publics? Rural libraries?
What technologies should we skip at this time?
Green technology initiatives

How do other organizations see LITA?

WebJunction – There is a perception that LITA is more cutting edge.
Opposing view: LITA is stodgy and behind the curve.
Overlapping interests.
LITA is more nimble – can focus on immediacy in programming.
Opposing view – LITA is hampered by ALA rules and can’t always present timely programming.
DLF thinks of LITA as informally allied.
At what point to distinctions between all of these organizations no longer make sense?
Leaders to other ALA divisions.
Some people find LITA a good place to learn things directly related to their jobs.
Others are turning to other organizations like Code4Lib, ASIS&T, and DLF for their training needs.
Other divisions look to LITA members as leaders, but there is a sense that LITA doesn’t always share what they know.
Some people feel that LITA presentations are above the heads of audience members and don’t necessarily give them the nuts-and-bolts tools they need to perform better in their jobs.

How can LITA work with other organizations?

Seek out similar groups within ALA and outside ALA to form partnerships.
LITA should serve as consultants to other divisions.
The economic model of membership encourages competition with other organizations.
Leverage division overlaps.
We live in an age where we like to tell people what we’re doing every minute of the day.

What can LITA learn from peer organizations?

Who? ASIST, ACM
Other organization have do more to encourage virtual participation and learning outside the meeting structure.
Other make better use of virtual committee members.
More virtual outreach to people who can’t attend every meeting.
ACRL has an initiative to reach out to nontraditional members.
Other organizations provide better opportunities for student involvement.
Cooperation across organizations.
Improve and expand marketing. More targeted advertising.
Learn from other organizations how to “work” ALA.
There is a perception that LITA knows all the cool stuff but doesn’t share well with others.
Encourage more transparency of what all divisions do, and point members to the resources that they need.
Divisions should never be in competition with each other.
LITA is often seen as an agent of change.

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ALA Midwinter 2009 Trendsters: Marshall Breeding, Karen Coombs, Roy Tennant, Clifford Lynch, Karen Schneider, Karen Coyle

 

Karen Coyle – A lot of what’s happening is not new technology but issues around management of technology

 

Karen Schneider – Recapturing tools creation. 80s-90s – dark ages where other people were creating the tools for us.

 

Clifford Lynch – Flickr commons. Library of Congress and New York Public putting photos online. Some people are looking at ways to re-import this information into their own databases.

 

Question – Is there anything that has been the proof of the pudding that librarians can build and maintain our own tools?

 

Karen Schneider – The test for open-source software seems to be whether it can move past the founding library or founding community. The verdict is still out on whether it can be successful in the long run.

 

Karen Coyle – If software is not allowed to fork in different directions, we’re locked into the same old model where everyone is doing exactly the same thing.

 

Forking (def.) – when a project divides significantly enough so that there is no one thing that people refer to as the core code.

 

Roy Tennant – Flickr Commons – We need to find ways to feed that information back into our systems more easily. Catalogers trying to feed that information back into our systems is not going to scale.

 

Clifford Lynch – People went to Flickr because it was there and it had a user base. What is significant is that it builds bridges between existing stores of knowledge.

 

Clifford Lynch – Widespread markup of biographical and historical narratives.

 

Karen Coyle – With the ubiquity of global positioning, information is going to be more location contextual.

 

Marshall Breeding – It’s going to take a while to get there.

 

Karen Coombs – There is a point at which GPS just isn’t good enough. Users need help finding items even within the building.

 

Clifford Lynch – GPS has largely been used for driving directions or missile strikes. There is a whole set of technologies that can be used to narrow this down much more. Now that GPS is moving ubiquitously into cell phones, we’ll see a second generation of spatial applications.

 

Marshall Breeding – We’re already getting location-targeted information. When we surf the web in a new city, we get location-targeted ads.

 

Karen Coombs – Geographical-based services. Too many locations are looking at IP address or asking users to input a zip code. Systems need to consider that where you are physically doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with your affiliation.

 

Karen Coombs – Google Scholar lets you set institutions with which you are affiliated.

 

Karen Coyle – Open street map for libraries. People are walking around with GPS units and replicating Google street view with an open

 

Roy Tennant – People putting data on the web through stable URIs. We’re looking at putting data out. It will be interesting to see what kind of linkages people make with that data.

 

Marshall Breeding – What are some examples?

 

Roy Tennant – We don’t know yet, and that’s the interesting part. What will people find to do with it?

 

Clifford Lynch – In scientific communities people

 

Roy Tennant – Small slice of a particular discipline.

 

Question from audience – Does the new ORE standard have implications for this?

 

Karen Coyle – Data elements have to be on the web.

 

Clifford Lynch – ORE is really intended to allow to you work with objects or groups of objects rather than the metadata about those objects. It’s built to be consistent with semantic web standards.

 

Karen Coombs – ORE is a good for moving the objects themselves.

 

Karen Coyle – We have the amoeba form of linked data in hypertext. But all we have is a link that doesn’t tell you anything about what it means, and it’s only one-way. How do we get the links to be meaningful?

 

Karen Coombs – We code HTML in the simplest way possible and don’t use it to its full potential.

 

Karen Schneider – I think I’m seeing some controlled burn in libraries due to economic pressures. They’re having to make hard decisions that they would not otherwise have had to make. Public libraries have never had higher traffic but they’ve never had such economic pressures.

 

Karen Coyle – Public libraries circulating 3-4 times their collection every year can make a good argument for RFID. Maybe more difficult for academics.

 

Karen Schneider – If you were opening a new library tomorrow, you’d have to think about RFID and self-checkout.

 

Karen Coyle – Most libraries in study made the switch to RFID when opening a new branch or doing renovation.

 

Karen Coombs – How many ILL requests do people cancel because you have it already or because you don’t loan textbooks. We have to work smarter so we’re

 

Karen Schneider – How about RFID for item location in the stacks.

 

Karen Schneider – One vendor using advanced shipping notices for acquisitions. ASN is used ubiquitously in the commercial book world. Almost unknown in libraries.

 

Marshall Breeding – We’re concerned about processes and our control of material – not just how to fulfill user needs. We need to find a way to get that one-click user satisfaction.

 

Karen Coombs – Books have to go to cataloging and then to shelves or reserve. It would make patrons much happier if it went directly to faculty.

 

Karen Coyle -RFID in public libraries for self-check – much faster. Libraries that have a high level of self-check also circulate a high-level of self-help materials since they don’t have to pass those materials through a staff member. More privacy.

 

Audience comment – No lines for check-out, but longer lines for check-in because the automated technology can’t keep up.

 

Karen Schneider – Brisbane, Australia – Amazing city library that is completely self-check. You can also watch robots check in materials. It takes something mundane and makes it fun and entertaining. Humans are used intelligently for error handling, and let automation do what it does well.

 

Karen Schneider – You don’t want to tie people to routine, mundane tasks when they could be roaming around helping users.

 

Karen Schneider – There is one library that uses a biometric station for patrons who have forgotten their library cards.

 

Karen Coombs – We have think carefully about our processes and apply cost effective solutions. How many times does someone from systems have to work on a malfunctioning piece of hardware before we just replace it.

 

Karen Schneider – Total neglect of getting good bandwidth to the extreme ends of rural areas. Very forward thinking rural libraries that are hampered by limited bandwidth. It’s not a money problem, it’s an end-of-the-road problem.

 

Karen Coombs – Utility companies (cable, cell, etc.) think it’s not cost effective to provide services in some areas.

 

Clifford Lynch – this is a public policy problem.

 

Marshall Breeding – The lack of bandwidth to rural libraries has an impact on how they automate. Can they do resource sharing? Can they participate in consortia?

 

Audience comment – Large new Gates program addressing rural telecommunications.

 

Karen Schneider – That’s wonderful, but it’s going to be a drop in the bucket.

 

Karen Coombs – Technology is like a ravenous puppy running around eating the whole house. If libraries can’t get funding to continuously replace equipment, it quickly goes back to being bad.

 

Marshall Breeding – WiMax is supposed to solve some of the bandwidth problems. It just hasn’t solved the problems.

 

Karen Coombs – Some rural success stories come from municipalities that have partnered to provide higher bandwidth to residents.

 

Karen Coyle – Open and closed models of sharing data. Closed models are easy to understand. Open allows innovation, but it’s harder to understand the business model. I hope we’re beginning to understand the difference in databases and the web as our data platform.

There are a number of people trying to use technology to solve rights questions.

 

Karen Schneider – The death of print publishing. It’s on life support. We’re seeing the death of paper with newspapers and magazines. For those of us who have been publishing in the traditional paper world, this is very serious.

We’re starting to see sensible measurements of the carbon footprint in data centers.

 

Marshall Breeding – I fly only on plug-in hybrid planes!

 

Clifford Lynch – Newspapers seem to be melting down economically

Newspapers have ramifications for community building and community definition. If these move only to the web the question of how they’re archived changes in a radical way. The way people interact with displays is beginning to change. New generations of technology – e-ink, desktops with multiple monitors is commonplace.

Libraries are still locked into single-screen setups.

Recent study about higher ed costs have changed. Argues that all of the cost increases have gone into administration and overhead rather than teaching. The data looks strange because technology is lumped under overhead.

Evidence based studies about how technology enhances teaching and learning.

 

Roy Tennant – I don’t see the book publishing industry melting down.

There are new ways to publish that were not available before.

 

Clifford Lynch – Books – Distribution of what’s being published is changing. Authors are getting different options.

If libraries want to collect books, it’s no longer adequate to just look at what’s coming out of traditional publishing.

 

Karen Schneider – Book publishing is in serious trouble.

 

Roy Tennant – More important to focus on making good technology decisions.

How do we decide when to jump in? How do we decide when to get out?

 

Karen Coombs – What it takes to do true digital preservation – It’s very scary. Collections we rely on that other people curate. I don’t have a lot of confidence.

 

Clifford Lynch – The stuff that is already digital is probably in better shape than other things.

 

Karen Coombs – Some of the smaller journals – if they can’t get their content on the web, then I don’t trust their preservation.

 

Marshall Breeding – I worry about libraries not doing long-term digital preservation. Local libraries don’t necessarily have the resources to do that.

This is not something that every library needs to reinvent. There are a lot of local installations.

Discovery interfaces. Much work is being done on these be-all, end-all solutions. Looking for better ways to expose library collections and services.

An urgency to libraries to prevent a better front end to our users, but we are sluggish about doing it. We’re taking our usual slow-and-cautious, wait until it’s perfect approach.

Taking user-supplied content and improving it through web 2.0 features.

LibraryThing for Libraries being distributed through Bowker.

Open source companies – Open source is getting good, but not great reviews. Maybe some growing pains as software matures.

 

Clifford Lynch – If you’re a smaller scale library (smaller than national or major research)

We need to do a better job on collaborative arrangements, external services that smaller institutions can acquire.

Smaller libraries often simply cannot afford substantial preservation programs on their own. This is an incredibly hard problem because nobody wants to fund this stuff.

 

Marshall Breeding – Is has to be done as a collaborative effort. It’s simply too big and too expensive to be done library by library.

During LITA‘s annual Top Tech Trends program, and number of experts are invited to offer comments on what they view as some of the trends to watch. A few highlights are listed below. In some cases these may be paraphrased, and in others they may be direct quotes. For more detail, check out the podcast listed on the LITA blog.

Marshall Breeding

Open source trends in library automation

For a couple of decades things have been done in a certain way by a certain set of vendors. Open-source has fundamentally changed this. Libraries have perhaps been underserved by their vendors.

Open source ILS options: Koha, Evergreen, OPAL.

Although a number of libraries are moving towards an open source ILS, there is much more action in the public side than on the academic. The number of academics moving to open-source systems is much smaller than the “swell” of public libraries moving in this direction. It may take another year or two before we start seeing greater involvement on the part of academics.

Instead of traditional licensing arrangements, the emerging model is support of open source with contract programming, moving the focus of the revenue from the licensing side to the services side.

There is also a move towards open data.

ILS Discovery Layer Interface Committee – Working on standards that define interoperability between library automation systems and the new generation of front-end interfaces.

The Berkeley Accord
Some automation vendors have already signed on as part of this project.

Anyone developing library automation software has to respond to libraries’ demands for more openness.

Openness is great, but beware of the marketing pitch. Read the fine print, be skeptical, look deep. Are things as open as the vendors portray them? Are they doing tings that really deliver new value through openness?

Karen Schneider

Open-source
“You know that open-source is viable because people make money at it.”

Broadband – We never have enough of it, and we seem to be in a perpetual cycle of catch-up. These limitations drive library policy and practice. Some libraries can’t explore certain initiatives because their broadband simply won’t support it. No federal broadband strategy.

Open-source – We have come full circle with our automation history. Librarians are now writing their own software, charting their own destinies.

Sarah Houghton-Jan

Now people have faster Internet access at home than at libraries. The problem is multimedia. When you have a lot of people in libraries watching videos, playing online games, and streaming radio stations, you wind up with clogged bandwidth. (Probably more of an issue in public libraries than in academic?) More of IT budgets are going to be dedicated to broadband.

People talk a lot about things that are new and beautiful, but not so much about sustainability. At the outset, people are not thinking enough about how much effort it takes to sustain new projects. How many abandoned library blogs are out there? How many library myspace sites are not being maintained?

Libraries as organizations are not nimble. We need to look at how we make decisions and how we encourage innovation. Innovation is discouraged in many libraries. The structures and practices of our organizations create these barriers to innovation. Part of this is attibutable to the age-old librarians’ fear of failure. We can’t try anything new unless it’s been planned to death and it has already been tried in 80% of other libraries (so we’re pretty sure it won’t fail for us). Staff are hesitant to innovate because of the seemingly insurmountable multi-level bureaucracies. People don’t have the time in their workdays to think about innovation. Then trying to wade through the bureaucracy is a waste of time.

Clifford Lynch

There is a growing enthusiasm about open-source in libraries, the higher ed community in general, and cultural heritage organizations. Open source is wonderful, but it isn’t a panacea. There seems to be a widespread belief that by declaring something to be open-source, you can solve a widespread range of financial, technical, and design problems, that are otherwise insoluble.

After their enthusiasm, there is likely a coming backlash against open source as people try to calibrate on a realistic view the places where it solves effectively, the places where difficulty is conserved. You need to be smart about it. You need to not overreact in any direction about open source. You need to think about when open source makes sense, and when you’re just appealing to it to solve a problem that basically nobody knows how to solve in the first place.

Virtual Organizations – Concept from the ideas of cyber-infrastructure, collaboration across the network.

People need to be able to work together and set up work arrangements in a fairly agile fashion. There is a need to be able to do this in a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous ways. Real indications that travel will get more expensive and more difficult in the future. Besides fuel, airlines are dropping a significant amount of air transportation capacity. We’re going to find that a mixture of physical and telepresence will become more of the norm at meetings for participants and audience. (Cliff said that this was being handled pretty badly at this Top Tech Trends session!) Needs to get much better very quickly. Has implications for teaching and learning.

Network storage, cloud storage. This is starting to take off in a bigger way.

Move by libraries and cultural heritage institutions to make their digitized materials available outside the library in places suck as Flickr. This is a “letting go” of holdings so that they can be reused and so that they can be put into contexts that are valuable to people.

Information overload – Social networking systems/social software. How quickly and how severely will we run into overload situations? We’re already seeing early signs of this.

Roy Tennant

The age of experimentation – revealed through a number of different projects – VuFind, Scriblio, Extensible Catalog Project. People are taking control, experimenting, and trying to find out what might be usable techniques.

Game-changing surprises such as Google digitizing entire libraries.

Data – Everyone needs to get really good at extracting data from within whatever system it resides. ILS, ERM, etc. You will be throwing those systems away at some point, so you need to be able to get your data out. Even if you keep those systems, you need to be able to analyze your metadata: find missing elements, find bad elements, do transformations.

People – Take responsibility for your own professional development. Don’t expect training courses. Support people in the organization with the opportunity to learn what they need going forward.

Systems – Take control of your systems. Don’t be locked into an outdated version just because it’s so hard to upgrade. If it’s that hard, get out of that system.

Question for Roy: What can library schools do to help prepare students for an environment of constant technological change?
Answer: Good luck. The trouble there is that personality traits are needed rather than specific knowledge, and that is really hard to impart in library school. Either you’re the kind of person who loves change and loves to learn new things, or you’re the kind of person who likes to get comfortable in a position without having to learn new things. Library schools can’t really affect that. However, library schools can focus more broadly on concepts that can be applied in different technological situations: information retrieval, precision, recall. Those kinds of things last. Specific systems don’t last. However, it would be useful to teach people at least one specific programming language because that helps them talk to programmers. This is a role that librarians increasingly need to play.

Meredith Farkas

Social software – The role of social software in collecting local knowledge. Local wikis for cities. Why can’t libraries collect local knowledge to benefit everyone? Having a space to collect knowledge is very important. Libraries can be the online hub of local communities. This presence will in turn drive more visitors to the library website.

Libraries can provide an important technical and educational role in communities. Some libraries are doing extensive technology training in their communities. Example: The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County.

Archiving blogs as historical artifacts. Many of the real current library conversations are happening in blogs. Will this knowledge be preserved for use in future research? This could change the way we think about how we archive materials.

John Blyberg

Green technology – In 2005 American consumers dicarded 2.5 million tons of electronic equipment. Most contained some amount of toxic material. Manufacturers are coming up with new types of material that are more eco-friendly. Energy efficiency is also a rising concern. The Internet (and related computers, monitors, hardware) consumes about 350 billion kilowatts of electricity per hour in America. This is almost 10% of total energy generated in the U.S. Most of that power is wasted in toe form of heat generated and energy required to cool hardware. New devices/innovations for ultra-low voltage and heat abatement.

In the future conferences may be transformed by technologies that allow more and better virtual participation. Less physical presence also translates into less total energy consumed.

Semantic webNew Reuters API that adds semantic markup to unstructured HTML documents. As you do a search and refine the search, the software helps you locate other connections that you might not otherwise have found.

Converged Media Hubs
Portable media devices are actually mini-PCs, such as the iPhone. They can bring together a wide variety of content such as RSS feeds and live TV, and this is available in the palm of your hand. We may not be ready to accept the idea of reading books and watching entire movies on a handheld device, this drastically and fundamentally changes the expectations of our users when they look at us as information providers. Those who use these devices heavily customize their experience so that it’s tailored to their needs. This indicates that people are beginning to develop a very personal relationship with information. As users build these customized information frameworks, they begin to place a good deal of personal reliance on them. This puts in a position where we can help them do this.

The Library as Content Creator (not just content provider)
When users leave the library, they enter a world that is very highly produced. Highly crafted radio, television, and Internet experiences. Not necessarily highly crafted content, but definitely a highly crafted container. This creates an expectation from the users that their user experience will be well-presented and professionally developed. The problem is that users don’t appreciate it, they just expect it. When it works well, they take it for granted. When it doesn’t work well, they are highly judgmental, and they will disregard the content if the container is not up to their expectations.

Karen Coombs


APIs are becoming very important to libraries. Beyond just bibliographic APIs, libraries need to consider media sources such as Flickr and Blip.tv. These will enable libraries to pull data back from those media sources or make it possible for faculty to simultaneously upload content to the institutional repository and these media sources. Libraries have to find ways for faculty to put content in institutional repositories, discipline-specific repositories, and government repositories with a single submission. Repositories are a way for this to happen.

Virtual Participation
New facets to virtual participation. More experiences with people in a physical space and in a virtual space collaborating together.

Eric Morgan

With regard to scholarly publishing, it is no longer just about the article anymore. It’s about the data that supports the article. How are we going to collect and provide access to that data, and maintain it for a long period of time.

Mobile devices
Mobile devices will become more the norm. As libraries, how are we going to get our content onto these small screen.

Web APIs. these are the pieces that fuel web 2.0. This is a way to get your stuff out there.

It’s increasingly important to make sure that library websites have bling. People really do judge books by their covers. Libraries need more expertise when I comes to graphic design. We might know how to organize information bibliographically, but when it comes to organizing it visually, we stink.

Next-gen library catalogs/discovery systems
All of these next-generation type things are essentially indexes with services running against the index.

The next challenge for libraries is letting patrons use the content that they find. Finding content is not the problem. As libraries we can allow patrons to use the content in a different sort of way. The next gen catalog is a tool to do others things that are exemplified by action verbs: tag it, review it, annotate it, compare and contrast.

Libraries always serve a community: business, university, city, government. Your library will be able to provide services against your content better than Google can.

Karen Coyle

I want to be able to walk into the stacks and do catalog searches with handheld devices. The fact that when I’m in the library and have less access to resources than when I’m sitting at my desk at home is ridiculous.

What my job often is these days is that I’m paid to write reports you couldn’t pay me to read.

“The future of bibliographic control will be highly collaborative, decentralized, international in scope, and web-based. It will take place in cooperation with the private sector and users will be among the new partners who collaborate with libraries. Data will be gathered from multiple sources. ”

Paraphrase of the opening section of the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control.
http://www.loc.gov/bibliographic-future/news/lcwg-report-draft-11-30-07-final.pdf

The future of bibliographic control will not have control. It is not going to be a controlled future. It will be a gigantic mash-up. My fear right now is that if we don’t make some extreme changes, it will not involve libraries. Other people will be doing it, we won’t. And we won’t because it is going to be about linking, it is going to be about everyone having access to the data. The data has to be unencumbered and anyone can use it in any way they want. Right now it is easier to get bibliographic data from Amazon and from the publishers than it is from libraries. So if we don’t really get on the ball, the future of bibliographic control is not even going to involve us. There are a lot of things that we have to give up in order to allow this future to include us, one of them being that it no longer matters if the data/records we create for bibliographic data are the same.

Need to be able to offer the users the option to see other items that are similar.

The increase of user to user interaction.

More and more the institution is not going to be the focus of the interaction. As users can connect and interact with each other, that will be their choice. Libraries have to make sure that their content is available and accessible while users are interacting with one another.

LITA’s Top Tech Trends program always provides interesting discussion and insight into some technologies that we should keep an eye on. This year’s format was both complex and interesting. In addition to the usual panel on the stage, a couple of remote panelists were included by way of videoconferencing software. As an additional level of fun, a Meebo chat room was running on another screen so that audience members could participate in a backchannel discussion of topics raised during the discussion.

It was interesting to observe the reactions of the panelists and the crowd to this new format. Some of the speakers were clearly rattled by the technological challenges this format presented. Some were visibly annoyed by technical glitches. However, others acknowledged that even though it’s not yet perfect, at least we were trying it. Two panelists probably would not have been able to participate without the remote conferencing. Likewise, although the audience members sometimes had trouble hearing the remote panelists, many appreciated the fact that LITA was at least trying to continue pushing the technology.

Just as interesting was audience reaction to the Meebo chat room. Some clearly found it a distraction – even when they were trying not to be distracted. From one area of the meeting room, it was easy to see that most people were following the onscreen chat rather than actually listening to the speakers. For those that had network connections and were able to connect, I think they truly enjoyed the backchannel discussion. For some though, the combination of live video, online chat, and on-stage speakers was simply too overwhelming, and they could not decide where to focus their attention.

I fully expect that this process will be refined over time. And, as some panelists noted, you have to have a starting point, and you have to let the technology mature over time. If you don’t practice with it, you’ll never work the kinks out.

My notes on speakers’ comments appear in a separate posting.