June 29, 2008

One Big Library Unconference: Thoughts from Friday

Well, it's over. And I think it went very well.

The One Big Library Unconference was this past Friday at the Centre for Social Innovation here in Toronto. We had about 70 attendees who showed up for the event, which ended up being just about perfect. Fewer may not have given us the critical mass for discussions and many more just wouldn't have worked given the size of the venue.

The day of the unconference went very smoothly, without any significant issues or problems. The only problem we had was that the AC for the CSI was a little flaky so some of the sessions were a little too warm. Over all, people arrived and checked-in, had some coffee and muffins, we welcomed them and they voted for the sessions for the rest of the day. We decided on the spot to let Trevor Owens of Zotero take the opening spot while we set the program for the rest of the day.

The program items for the rest of the day are a bit of a blur at this point, but they all seemed to go quite well, with lots of good discussion. We ended up with two tracks, one a bit more on the technology demo side and the other to more open discussion. Hopefully more session summaries will start appearing on the web and we'll be able to read about them. I would like to thank the students and recent grads I hijacked into moderating the Educating for the One Big Library session for being great moderators and such good sports.

Check out the On the Web page on the wiki. There's already a few items out there as well as links to pics on Flickr and tweeting on Twitter.

Will there be another one? There's certainly a feeling of momentum among we organizers and we're certainly grateful for the many kind words of encouragement during and after the unconference, but it's just too early to tell if we'll do this again and, if we do, what form it might take.

I would also like to take this opportunity to salute the efforts of my colleagues, partners in crime and fellow organizers Stacy Allison-Cassin and Bill Denton as well as thanking our grad student assistant Mandy Frake for all her hard work and support. (Yay us!) Further thanks go to our UL at York, Cynthia Archer, for sponsoring the day. She trusted us right away with pulling off this rather strange idea for an event. Further thanks to Yvonne Bambrick and the staff at the CSI and Big Poppa Barista for coffee.

Most of all, of course, for any unconference it's the participation and interest of all the attendees that make the event a success. Thanks to everyone who was there, who suggested a topic, moderated or presented and who contributed to the discussions.

(Don't forget, if you've created any online content related to the unconference please tag is with "onebiglibrary" and let us know about it on our wiki On the Web page.

Also, feel free to let us know about any feedback. You can leave a comment here or email us at onebig at yorku dot ca.)

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