NASIG Conference: Robin Sloan of EPIC 2014 Fame

NASIG’s first Vision Session (aka plenary session) featured Robin Sloan of Current TV. The description was intriguing: “…Media is becoming digitized and disaggregated, free to float across the internet and get downloaded and uploaded, blogged and sold, pirated and appreciated, remixed and reimagined…. So what about libraries and scholarly communication?…” What I didn’t realize until he was introduced is that Robin Sloan is one of the EPIC 2014 guys.

Robin showed the EPIC 2014 movie and then talked through a similar scenario concerning libraries in the year 2016.

Two points I took from Robin’s talk:

  1. The proliferation of content on the web (including movies like EPIC 2014) means that librarians are becoming less needed as gatekeepers. “Things that resonate can get an audience,” he said–without a formal selection process by a television station, production company, or a librarian. Librarians should think about what their role will be as this trend continues.
  2. Many of the trends Robin touched on are related to social networking and online communities. To attract younger library patrons, they should think about how they can provide opportunities for building community online. For example, in an academic library, such a community might be built around a particular area of research.

A few other points that caught my ear:

  • Some people are concerned about the possible disorganized, chaotic nature of Wikipedia, but in some ways the original building of the OED was similar: a community of individuals contributing entries.
  • The “IV” nature of technology (always on, always connected) changes people’s ideas of what they need to know and what they need to remember.
  • Blogs can be described as the “connective tissue” of groups in our society.

Robin is one of two contributors to the wide-ranging blog Snarkmarket and was formerly employed by the Poynter Institute, which has an interesting website.