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Highlights from Information Online - Liz McGettigan, Erik Boekesteijn and Mitchell Whitelaw

Over a few blog posts we will be sharing some of the highlights of the ALIA Information Online 2015 conference that was held in Sydney last week.

Keynote: Liz McGettigan: The edge of the abyss - doom or glory?  The choice is ours.

Liz McGettigan, former library manager for Edinburgh Public Library, challenged library workers to think creatively about their services into the future, as well as showcasing the histories of their communities.  

Keynote: Erik Boekesteijn: Extreme Library Makeover and mindshifts: evolving spaces, services, skills and tools

Some of you heard Erik on earlier visits to Australia. He spoke about the work DOKlab is doing, with extreme library makeovers (speed library reviews including community consultation), interactive maps on multitouch screens, and multitouch story telling in libraries. He was calling on library staff to try new ways of providing services to their communities. 

Keynote: Mitchell Whitelaw: Collection space

Mitchell Whitelaw was asking many questions for people to consider, including 'how can we see past the edge of the collection? This raised considerations for how separate collections can be linked (think Trove), but then how do the collections in Trove and Europeana come together?  All the answers included a mix of people and machines.  Examples of different ways of exploring content were shown, include tranScriptorum (which "aims to develop innovative, cost-effective solutions for the indexing, search and full transcription of historical handwritten document images, using Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology"), the Marginalia machine from the Bloodaxe Archive at the University of Newcastle, UK, which profiles handwritten marginalia, the music genre list of Every noise at once, or explore the Internet Archive's images from books by a map, or on Flickr (derived from a program run over the OCR content). Mitchell Whitelaw's own work, Succession, allows people to explore heritage photographs in new ways, and create new content. 

Papers to look at

There were many interesting sessions through the conference, and only a few sessions are being singled out:

Occulus rift: what is all the fuss presented by Constance and Michael Wiebrands provided an opportunity to hear about Occulus rift, discuss the possibilites for Virtual Reality, as well as to try out Occulus rift.  Few people in the session passed on this opportunity. 

On seams and edges - dreams of aggregation, access and discovery in a broken world saw Dr Tim Sherratt highlighting the importance of "beautiful seams" rather than a seamless interface.  It is a really interesting idea to explore.

Sound barriers: oral history, copyright, and the OHRRG experience at the State Library of Western Australia from Adrian Bowen shows how you can digitise over 11000 hours of oral history material.