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I should be getting ready to fly to Copenhagen where I was scheduled to speak at the Building the Info Grid conference. I very much regret that I cannot travel as I recuperate from surgery and will miss the conference. I have agreed to participate in a followup event to be scheduled in the new year.
I had arranged to see various people there so this is a big disappointment. I was thinking about why I was looking forward to this event and three things came to mind.
First, I have mentioned DEFF – Denmark’s Electronic Research Library – several times in these pages. They are the conference host. I think it is a nice example of how libraries are collaboratively sourcing solutions. As we move forward, libraries will increasingly have to source shared processes and infrastructure through common platforms – the opportunity costs of not so doing are too high given the range of issues they face.
Second, it is a pretty good program which gives a nice round up of developing research and learning digital infrastructure. Lots of interesting people to talk to!
Finally, like several of the people who will be at the conference I was involved in the Telematics for Libraries programs of the European Union throughout the nineties. Like most programmatic R&D funding in libraries, in Europe or the US, this work has left few direct traces, as innovation, arguably, tends to be introduced in other ways. I was involved at various times as an evaluator, as a project participant and as a drafter, and I am very grateful to what was colloquially known as the Libraries Program for the early international perspective and contacts it afforded. I always enjoy meeting colleagues with whom one has some shared history, and several will be at this event from those times.
Incidentally, I was invited to speak by Mogens Sandfaer. Mogens was involved in one of the programs’ small successes, the Europagate project: this led to some nice outcomes and its work was carried forward by Index Data some of whose staff worked on the project. I was an evaluator, and at the final evaluation meeting the presiding officer from the European Union cracked open a bottle of champagne in appreciation of the project team and their work!