ALIA QLD Mini Conference 2016

The theme of this conference was library hacks or how librarians are solving tricky problems. It was an enjoyable and varied day with speakers presenting on a range of themes. The first speaker discussed unleashing our creativity, although this seemed to centre round distributing materials for us to create something. I felt that I didn’t really gain anything from this as I am not very arty , although the rest of my table did make some interesting creations. Another presentation was the importance and value of learning coding, which I found inspiring, particularly as I have struggled teaching myself PYTHON, so it is good to know it will prove valuable in the future. There was also an interesting presentation on a scheme at the Gold Coast  where people are loaned iPads in order to take photographs of the area which are then used as a record of the region. They attend workshops prior to being loaned the tablets in order to learn their use. I thought that was a great idea, involving the public in building a heritage collection.

Representatives from the State Library of Queensland did a joint presentation with the Open Data Institute of Queensland about their partnership to improve the availability of data and making it more open. This tied in nicely with 23 (Research Data) Things, which I have just completed and the elective I am currently studying, Research Support Services for Academic and Public Libraries. Open access and open data are two areas which I am very interested in and am keen to improve my knowledge about, so it was interesting to see what two Queensland Government organisations are doing.

Following on from open data, there was a very interesting presentation on tools which can be used to mine data. I was unaware that these tools exist and it is something that I will be investigating  further in the future. The presenter managed to prove that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus in the 1960s by using one of these tools to mine text in the newspapers of the time. I thought that this was an inspired example as it is something I will definitely remember into the future.

These are the highlights of the conference for me and others may have different perspectives, however I do feel there was something to interest everybody. The main thing I gained from the conference was observing the different speaking and presentation styles of the presenters and realising that it was their individuality that made each one engaging. This is something I will take into the future when I present at ALIA NLS8 next year and try to use my individuality to engage the audience.

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