As regular readers will be aware, I joined Talis last September. I moved from a very different world at the heart of the public sector, where I ambled along corridors of power at the Cabinet Office, the BBC, and in various Government departments and agencies.
Even more important to me than escaping the horror of spending time in London every week, the primary motivating factor behind leaving all of that behind and moving to Talis was the vision painted by our CEO, Dave Errington, and his infectious and unstinting conviction that Talis really could do it.
Although the term itself had yet to be coined by Michael Casey over in Georgia, that vision was one of Library 2.0. It was a vision of open, extensible systems. It was a vision in which libraries were encouraged and enabled to unlock their undeniable potential, and to push their proposition out to the contexts in which it would be of most value to them and to their users. It was a vision of community, of sharing, of cooperation, of necessary disruption, of challenge, of opportunity, and of a long hard slog to something better. It was a vision of an environment in which commercial organisations and the public sector worked together when appropriate, rather than always resorting to the fundamentally flawed models of unstinting competition on the one hand and unfailing adherence to the issuing of tenders on the other.
Realising the whole vision remains some way off, but it comes very much closer with the impending release of APIs around the Silkworm Directory, and the publication of associated documentation on the TDN. The idea of the Directory dates to before I joined Talis, and seeing an early iteration of it was an important part of persuading myself to take the plunge. RLG recognised the possibilities, too, and leveraged the Directory within RedLightGreen. The game changes significantly, though, with the opening of mechanisms to allow anyone to contribute to or consume from the Directory, either via our web interfaces, web interfaces built by others, or programatically via the APIs, and those who have seen it begin to share our internal optimism.
A Directory may not seem much to get excited about at first glance, but this one is different, and it will take a while to grasp just how different it is, and how those differences herald something new.
The Directory is not the end. The current web interface, and the documented APIs that will come this month do not even mark the end of the Directory, as further iterations lurk behind the scenes for phased release over the coming months.
Things are changing. Things are getting better. Join the TDN, read the documentation when it comes out and see how easy it is to enrich your own environments with the Directory and with the other Platform components to follow it. Join in, make it better, make it work for you, and make it work for all of us and for our users, existing and as yet unmet.
Seeing what Ian Davis and the rest of the Platform team have done within Talis reaffirms that Dave Errington’s persuasiveness was justified, and that my decision was the right one.
I can’t wait for the next phase of the journey.
Technorati Tags: Library 2.0, Platforms, Silkworm Directory, Talis, TDN, Web 2.0