I just returned from The Hague, where the 2nd LIBER-EBLIDA Workshop on Digitisation of Library Material in Europe was held.
The previous workshop (which i didn’t attend) was in Copenhagen 2007 and this event seems to stabilize as a biennale. See Building the European Digital Library: calls for greater cooperation and Paul Ayris’ article LIBER-EBLIDA Digitisation Workshop in LIBER Quarterly vol 18 (2008) no 1. Personally i regret my failure to properly dig into the archives of LIBER Quarterly before the event. I spent the weekend in Netherlands’ surf-paradise (!!?) Scheveningen and might have as well invested more time reading available background material. On the other hand i was busy visiting Rotterdam, the museum of absolutely stunning M. C. Escher in Den Haag, hanging out with some local squatters before their demo, bumping most randomly to a finnish lad Joel i’ve met in Helsinki a few times and also visiting the public library of The Hague (blogged some observations in finnish).
The LIBER+EBLIDA event itself was most interesting, though i must say i wished for some more dynamic methods of workshopping. In Copenhagen LIBER composed a suite of recommendations and they were revised in The Hague and will be available in the near future. This was the workshopping-part. Most of the time was spent on information dissemination (read: sitting and listening to powerpoint presentations).
Most of the discussion around digitalisation is rather slow, not an awful a lot of happens in a few years time and topics come and go. Personally i think Google and other commercial players bring very welcome dynamics to the arena. We did get to see some implementations too, not just reminders on ”how we should convince politicians that the digitalisation project is of utmost importance and should be funded with public money”. Well, that was repeated quite a few times.
In general the topics were what you’d except; digitalisation, orphan works, Europeana, metadata standards, identifiers, several cases of digitalisation and online publishing materials, funding, open access, some healthy grudge against Google digitalisation efforts and the unresolved problems of intellectual property rights and copyright.
Some of my favourite topics were the LIFE tool for evaluating the cost of digital objects over their lifetime, URN-identifiers and the apparent importance of Europeana as a cooperation project in Europe.
When participants know each other and the subject very well the atmosphere is relaxed and warm, and this was the case (in my opinion anyhow) in The Hague too.
A few people were on Twitter with hashtag #liber but because Twitter is annoying and unpersistant and we didn’t use a more unique tag, that URL will be useless very soon. Nothing particular happened on Twitter, but some of the tweets of interest were read aloud at the venue. I would assume the presentation graphics will be available through the LIBER website, and perhaps audio recordings will be published. Keep an eye on LIBER Quarterly also.
Thanks to LIBER and EBLIDA for arranging the event, and thanks to Koninglige Bibliotheek for a) great acoustics and b) the wifi that i (and surely other people) asked for.