…. or in the words of the Cluetrain Manifesto – Markets are conversations.
The May 2008 Library 2.0 Gang ticks a couple of boxes on the list of things that show that the best way to move forward is to talk and form a consensus.
Firstly the subject of the conversation – The Digital Library Federation (DLF) working group that are recommending a generic API for all Library Systems to support, and the ‘Berkeley Accord’ that most vendors have signed in support of this.
Secondly, the fact that senior people from at least three of the major vendors are comfortable joining the Library 2.0 Gang for an open recorded conversation, about how they might support the API recommendations in their product sets.
As facilitating host and chair for the conversation, it was very refreshing to hear how open Talin Bingham from SirsiDynix, Oren Beit-Arie from Ex Libris, and Talis’ Dan Mullineux were about their plans and support for the DLF initiative. One point of discussion in the show was the position of Innovative Interfaces, who were the only vendor who explicitly abstained from supporting the Berkeley Accord. All others that expressed a position supported it. Although unable to take part in the conversation, it is clear from the blog post by Betsy Graham, Vice President of Product Management, that their position is not as negative as some have painted it.
If from this you think that the show is a vendor love-in, you would be wrong. The Gang for this show also included Andrew Nagy, lead developer and passionate promoter of VuFind the Open Source Library OPAC, and the well known watcher of, and commentator on, the Library Systems world, Marshall Breeding. Appropriately the show guest was John Mark Ockerbloom who is chair for the DLF’s working group.
During the show it was obvious that all were enthusiastic about the initiative, whilst in agreement that these first baby-steps to opening up access to library systems should be implemented widely as soon as possible.
This third show consolidates the position of the Gang as being the monthly listen for those that are interested in libraries and the technologies that influence them. As Gang host it is my goal to foster open conversations between vendors, their customers, and opinion formers in the library market. I know, as an Evangelist employed by Talis, that some initially viewed this with some skepticism. All three show so far, I believe demonstrate that open conversations between open minded players in our world both move things forward and an interesting and informative listen.