For the past few days I’ve been in Denver, as part of a commitment to present at a program entitled “The Semantic Web and RDA: Making the Catalog a Networked Bibliographic Environment.” The other speaker on the program was Karen Coyle, and both sets of slides for this program are available publicly, Karen’s on her site: and mine at

The presentations went well, and as Karen says “Every time we talk about this stuff, a few more people ‘get it’.” True enough, and though neither of us think we’re quite at the tipping point, it seems closer, somehow, when we present these ideas and people get excited.

As we were having coffee after our star turn, a young woman came up to us and told us that, after two years as a law cataloger, she’d been thinking seriously about shifting into systems, but she was ‘really re-energized’ by our talk. That’s the best kind of compliment, and the kind that personally keeps me doing this, despite the downsides of travel and the cost in time it takes to do these presentations on a regular basis. Sadly, these kinds of gigs are really meant to be done by people with institutional support, like working librarians with real jobs, who do this sort of thing as a way to give back, to create a tenure record, or just to have time in what passes for the spotlight in librarianship. Karen and I are each trying to make a living as independent consultants, and the value proposition is very different for us.

But the trip and the interactions gave me more ideas for my workshop, and that’s a good thing.

By Diane Hillmann, July 15, 2010, 8:33 am (UTC-5)

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