VALA – day 2

I have been extremely impressed with the keynote speakers from this conference. I commented previously about Andy Powell’s opening address, and Schubert Foo’s discussion of the initiatives taking place at the National Library of Singapore was truly inspirational. The award winning building shows what could be done with clever design. For me the most thought provoking idea was that their virtual reference services are including conversations with ‘experts’ such as academics and amateur enthusiasts from outside the Library – and the delivery of the answer to the requester includes the conversation used to establish the response. This also becomes part of the knowledge base which is then available for future querying.

I didn’t expect to enjoy Michael Geist’saddress on public policy and legislation which relates to the internet. But I was fascinated by his example of mustering public support to challenge copyright law by using Facebook, although a bit unsettled. While it is easy for a librarian like me to support this use of facebook and other social networking tools, the power of the people that this demonstrates has enormous implications for social change.

I have certainly experienced the power for connecting people, but I hadn’t seen such a clear demonstration of manipulation of public action before. I am a member of the Perth People Who HATE Daylight Savinggroup on facebook, but hasn’t generated the sort of impact that Michael’s has – maybe that is a reflection of our Australian laid back attitude to political issues. My family would say it is because daylight saving is just fine……but I digress.