Conference Presentations

I’m only about month late but I’ve finally gotten my presentations for the conference up on Slide Share, linked at the bottom.

The deduping presentation was my favorite to prepare for and feedback was both mixed and wonderful. A lot of people had reservations about our approach, as they should. We decided to make trade offs and when you do that you should carefully consider the ramifications. We’re still trying to get the final stamps and notaries and DNA samples to sign off on publicly releasing the code. I thought it would be done a good while back but we haven’t stopped moving forward on it.

I loved seeing interest in new ways of thinking about challenges like record deduping. The kinds of consortiums that Evergreen is fostering are new in many ways and bring with them new twists on challenges and with that a need for coming at solutions with open eyes. I’m always enthused to watch the development list because we have so many great coders in the Evergreen community who are attacking problems constantly and reinventing things. Coders are (usually) good at being willing to get rid of outdated code and adopt new approaches. The failures to do this have direct consequences and are sometimes pointed out in the open source world as warnings to others, like tragic beached whales. And while our coders are often great people who love libraries they aren’t the whole community. Too often we look at software as both a tool and a solution and some solutions come from outside the packaged software. Librarians at a whole need to be better at that and taking ownership of our own problems.

I’m proud to say that SC LENDS owns plenty of problems and deduping has been on of those so we’ve found our own solution and the conference has made me eager to work on it more and further refine it. This is definitely one of my goals before our next big wave of migrations.

The Becoming Our Own Vendor presentation was interesting because I’ve taken a long route in thinking about the issues in it. I’m a details person and I’m good at tying details to a big picture but I think in terms of consequences not theories. Framing these issues in a conceptual model for communicating to others is not my best talent though I continually work on it.

I originally thought about it as a discussion on governance issues. Then I realized while working on it that governance isn’t really the issue, it’s one of contributed labor and that is a very open source issue because we’ve adopted a very meritocratic approach to dealing with them. And then at some point after the conference I realized in one of those “how could I have been so stupid” moments that of course in open source labor is governance and it’s not that I haven’t been talking about governance all along and I did what I set out to but like the vertically challenged and the elephant I’ve been seeing it differently depending upon where I stand because I’m very close to it.