A note from the chair – Cloudbusting

A note from the chair on ‘Cloud busting: demystifying ‘the Cloud’ and its impact on libraries’

With just under two weeks to go until our national ‘Cloudbusting’ conference it’s safe to say MmIT is getting quite excited. With such a rich programme and so many great speakers it looks set to be a truly great conference. We hope you are able to join us in Sheffield on April 5th as there are still a few places left.

The concept of ‘the Cloud’ has been around for several years. Over that time the term has become ubiquitous with a general acceptance that ‘the Cloud’ has a definite impact on the way in which we use computers and information technology and how individuals interact with information. It is widely regarded that cloud computing can simplify processes for organisations and save them money and as a result many of the benefits associated with the ‘Cloud’ have been around efficiencies and effectiveness of services.

Many services that libraries have traditionally offered have been migrated into cloud solutions. For example the use of OpenURL providers and federated and pre-indexed search engines allowing users to search all of a library’s collections through a single search box. Discovery layers such as Serials Solutions’ Summon, EBSCO’s EDS or Ex Libris’s Primo Central allow access to all of a library’s collections, not simply those found on the library catalogue. Such discovery layers can provide enhanced service such as access to special collections, digital collections and institutional repositories.

Similarly, the ‘Cloud’ allows libraries to share data about their collections and the bibliographic management activities that they are engaged in. This includes licensing data, common vendor files, serials publications patterns and MARC records.

Add to this entire systems hosted in the Cloud, such as the Koha and Ex Libris Alma library management systems, or reference and citation management systems such as Mendeley, then it is simple to see the impact that the Cloud has on libraries, and indeed vice versa.

Even simple initiatives such as collaborative working through Google Docs, enabling a library community through Facebook or storing photographic collections in Flickr are all examples of how the Cloud has become part of the day to day computing and technology activity of the library.

MmIT strives to raise awareness amongst library and information professionals about current trends and topics in library and information technology and ‘Cloud’ initiatives and innovations, and how they are currently being used within the sector will be of interest to many librarians and information professionals who may not even realise the wealth of ‘Cloud’ activities and solutions available to them. The conference includes a series of workshops, each one focusing on a particular ‘Cloud’ initiative. This includes topics such as implementing Opensource library management systems; How libraries can make the most of mobile devices to access cloud resources; Creating media-rich e-book resources; Implications for research data management; Copyright and licensing issues associated with the ‘Cloud’, and much more. The keynote presentation will be from Karen Blakeman and will focus on search and discovery within the ‘Cloud’ and the conference will also include a series of rapid fire technical innovation presentations and a panel question and answer session.

For further information please see the MmIT Events pages:
http://www.cilip.org.uk/get-involved/special-interest-groups/multimedia/events/pages/default.aspx

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