Barcamp Boston 2012

Breakfast, Day 1

Just got back from a great time at Barcamp Boston, held in Microsoft’s spectacular New England Research Division in Cambridge. I’ve been reading for years about conferences organized on the fly by their participants and always wanted to go to one. Now I have, and thanks to the Boston WordPress Meetup for posting about it. Day 1 was frenetic and jammed full of people and sessions, with something like 700 attendees. Day 2, Easter Sunday, was much mellower and collaborative. My favorite talks both days were ones where there wasn’t a speaker, and the people who came to learn about a topic (Ruby on Saturday, the psychology of getting out of your own way on Sunday) ended up just having a conversation about it.

Schedule, Day 1

I proposed a session on ebooks (what’s wrong, what’s right), telling myself I’d talk about it if three or four people were interested. Two people said they were while I was putting the post-it on the wall. So I wrote up a rant I think I’ve had germinating for a couple of years, and gave it to a very nice and animated group of twenty or thirty. Executive summary: As a librarian I am concerned about the direction ebooks are taking: they’re great for some things (portability), not great for others (non-fiction), and sort of ominous for libraries (which were mostly founded on how physical items are bought and sold, not on licensing terms). Here are the notes:

Other highlights:

  • Dating for Nerds (@ShelliTrung, @bitsbybike, @tibbon) was a lot of fun; I went to two of the three sessions. Lots of good nerd anthropology and collective thinking on online and offline dating. The second session coincided with the one on Contra dancing, which was nicely harmonious.
  • Social Media: Ask Me Anything (@JayNeely) was awesome. Jay was clear, helpful, and utterly free of social media BS…a thing which should be roundly praised when found.

Executive summary: I had a great time. Thanks to all!

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Boston area academic librarian and instructional designer. News junkie. Fan of marine mammals, October.