'Linked' and 'Future Ready' at ILI2011
Bethan Ruddock gets nostalgic about conferences past, and looks forward to speaking - and networking - at Internet Librarian International 2011.
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Cupcakes and controversy

This year will be my second Internet Librarian International conference.  I've always been sorry to miss out on the infamous Mimas cupcakes of ILI2009 - but, cupcakes or no, I had a brilliant time last year, and was determined to go back.

Last year I spoke on 'Do libraries have a future?'.  Marydee Ojala (the conference chair) had asked me to be controversial, so I had free rein to ask challenging questions, pretend to set fire to the New York Public Library, and generally pontificate on the issues that I saw facing the information profession.

Transforming data into open, Linked Data

This year, it's all rather different.  I'm doing a fact-based presentation - with slides that have real writing on them, not just pretty pictures - about Linked Data and the LOCAH project. LOCAH stands for Linked Open Copac and Archives Hub, and I'll be talking about how we set about opening up our data by transforming our bibliographic and archival data into open Linked Data. This will include a look at the challenges we faced when working with data that comes from multiple sources. Copac and the Archives Hub both consist of data from multiple contributors - libraries and archives from across the UK.  As each institution catalogues in a slightly different way, this has led to some interesting issues around description and consistency.

Linking data, Linking Lives

I'll also be giving a bit of an introduction to our new project, Linking Lives, which is just getting underway. It's building on the LOCAH work, and the aim is to pull in data from various Linked Data sources to present name-based biographical pages that will include information about archives relating to individuals.

The session is going to be moderated by Dave Pattern, and the first presentation will be by Owen Stephens, so it's definitely the place to be for data geeks and assorted shambrarians.

SLA at ILI

As well as presenting for Mimas, I'm wearing my SLA Europe hat at ILI too. We've got a drinks reception on the Wednesday evening, which will include a panel on SLA's theme for 2011: Future Ready.  You'll get to hear the fab Ulla De Stricker, Dave Pattern (and me) talking about what it means to be Future Ready. The panel will be ably moderated by SLA Europe President and Rising Star Sara Batts.  Drinks and panel are free to attend, and everyone's welcome!

I'm hoping to add a few more people to my 'met in real life' Twitter list, too - and then I'll start planning how to get back for ILI 2012...