Aaron Swartz, co-creator of RSS, co-founder of Reddit, technical lead on the Open Library project, etc., has agreed to speak at ACRL’s University Libraries Section Current Topics session at Midwinter. The session is scheduled for Saturday, January 12 from 1:30-3:30 p.m.
As a new academic librarian, this is exactly the sort of thing I’d like to see more of, especially at the bigger meetings. I’ve heard that LITA, Access, Computers in Libraries, and code4Lib are great conferences, but they’re also small compared to ALA Annual and Midwinter, ACRL, and SLA. And while “big conference” speakers like 2007 ALA Auditorium Speaker Julie Andrews and 2007 SLA Annual keynote Al Gore are fabulous, and I’m an unabashed fan of 2007 ACRL keynote John Waters, it’s time we use the pulling power of speaking to thousands of librarians (not to mention the larger budgets for the bigger events) to bring in people who are setting the tone for the non-library information community. I think the world of Clifford Lynch and Karen Schneider and Roy Tennant and Jessamyn West, but I also think the world of influential technologists like Paul Graham, John Gruber, Mark Pilgrim, Aaron Swartz, and Steve Yegge. I want to see these folks at our conferences. We need to hear from them and they need to hear from us.
Aaron has agreed to speak about the Internet and new collaboration technologies. Naturally, he’ll also talk about the Open Library. He plans to keep his actual presentation relatively short, about half an hour, to allow plenty of time for questions and discussion. To get a sense of what he’s like as a speaker, check out the video of his October 25 presentation at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, which he delivered to a small but appreciative group that included several librarians. Of course, my hope is that there will be a lot more of us in attendance when he speaks at ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia. For which advance registration closes on November 30, 2007. I’ll be there. Will you?