WebWise in Baltimore

Last week we were able to go to Webwise 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. The conference is put on by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and is a great way to learn about innovative digital library ideas and programming. This was my first time going to WebWise, and I really enjoyed the conference. In terms of attendance, it was just the right size, as it was easy to run into people who you would recognize from program sessions or just from randomly sitting at their table during lunch! Since the conference also serves as a showcase for projects with recent IMLS funding, it was great to get news about current and upcoming projects. There were two keynote talks from Nick Poole and Mary Flanagan. Nick Poole talked about collaborative projects with a much more human scale, small community focus than I’ve seen before. Mary Flanagan is one of the project directors for Metadata Games, and while I’ve seen the functionality of the site before, it was really fascinating to get a better sense of the philosophy and larger principles behind it and tiltfactor.

I enjoyed the hybrid format of the conference, as traditional hour long workshops or panels were interspersed with WiseCamp Sessions proposed by the attendees and rapid fire demonstrations of IMLS funded projects. I went to sessions on Crowdsourcing in Libraries, Museum Content and Metadata Aggregation, Revenue for Digital Projects, Digital Preservation, Participating in the DPLA (from Emily Gore and our own Sandra McIntyre), and more!

All the cool laptops have DPLA stickers at WebWise 2014!
Sandra McIntyre

The big theme for many public library and museum projects was Makerspaces, and many of the quick project demonstrations were centered around Makerspace collaborations and programming. I didn’t know much about Makerspaces before attending the conference, but I left with a new appreciation for them, even if my own Makerspace is likely to only involve my living room couch, yarn, and knitting needles.

I tend to live tweet at conferences as my form of note taking, so if you want my own rapid reactions to the sessions I was in, you can view them at this combined search for my twitter account @annaneat and #webwise14 (twitter’s advanced searching tools are very handy).

You can see the conversation for the whole WebWise conference on the #webwise14 twitter hashtag. Eat some crabcakes and read up about it and it will almost be like you were there!

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