Among the “pros” of being an ambitious librarian, I have to say that attending conferences is right up there. I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful Holy Cross campus in Worcester (Pronounced WOO-sta, like a gangsta of romantic overtures) for Digital Commonwealth 2014.
Worcester is about an hour away from my home in Somerville. When first I set out, the rain sleeted ragingly from a benighted sky, pummeling my windshield like the two million watery fists of a million tiny, screaming berserkers. Damn, but it felt good to win that battle so overwhelmingly! I imagined my Juke, a we’re-so-very-sorry rental from the car dealership that still has not given me back my Versa, as a mighty battle elephant of immense scope, plowing through the watery, skyborne kamikaze raindrops like a –
Ahem. Excuse me.
Anyway, the drive there was OK. I mean, I’m basically driving a sports car right now, so I take pretty much all driving hazards at ninety miles per hour. On top of the crazy engine power, add the fact that this car happens to be on the dealership’s insurance. Yahtzee! Let the reckless abandon commence!
After a few million mid-highway donuts and some sick air off of various semis, I got bored and went to the con. The upper campus of Holy Cross overlooks the city of Worcester like an eagle on a high tree at the edge of a cliff. The hilly expanse of central Massachusetts stretches out like a National Geographic wallpaper.
Sidenote: someday, I want actual wallpaper with National Geographic wallpapers on it. Also, ostriches that I will ride to victorious splendor.
DigComm turned out to be significant for a few reasons, one of which being that I gained respect for the Twitter thing. I tweeted like a twithead throughout the con. I tweeted like a tweety bird. Not once did my attention wander. Well, just once. I had to write an obituary for Archie Andrews of Archie Comics fame near the end of the day. (It really is mine, I swear. I wrote it.) Otherwise, I was johnny-on-the-spot and it was fantastic. I am going to live tweet everything I ever do again for the rest of my life.
Another one of the amazing things about the Digital Commonwealth is that it’s happening by and for the public sector. Most initiatives like this are reliably academic, which makes sense considering how much they can cost. But if knowledge is power, then I say, power to the people! This is where crowdsourcing is going and it’s exciting to be riding that wave on my own personal evil librarian agenda. I’m already looking into incorporating ViewShare into my proposed Local History expansion to the library website, and though I have been unsuccessful in uploading data as yet, I have full faith that I’ll get results soon. I’ll just call up the Library of Congress and be like, hey, looks like my sample .xlsx file is holding up the pipe, but I can’t delete from the user end. What gives? And they’ll be like, oh, that’s totally weird. Let me give you some functionality on your side. And then I’d be like, you’re awesome, Library of Congress. Then I’ll make some beautiful gosh darned timelines of the lives of local citizens, complete with Archive.org links to their writings.
That’s what’s gonna happen. Yup.