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Rockin Battle Decks: Dealing With Digital, Now and Beyond

Tuesday night was the first ever Internet Librarian “Battle Decks Spectacular”, and it drew a large crowd.  This was a contest in which 5 contestants had 7.5 minutes to give a presentation live and in real time based on 15 slides they saw for the first time. They were judged on these criteria:

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The contest requires poise, the ability to think quickly on your feet, a well developed sense of humor, and a breadth of expertise along with the ability to elucidate it.  This is not an easy contest, and all of the contestants richly deserved the acclaim they received from the audience.  After attending this session, all I could say was, “I’m glad it wasn’t me trying to do that!”

The Judges (L-R): Amanda Etches-Johnson, Aaron Schmidt, Jeff Wisnewski, Sara Houghton-Jan, and Laura Rogers (Timekeeper)

The Judges (L-R): Amanda Etches-Johnson, Aaron Schmidt, Jeff Wisnewski, Sara Houghton-Jan, and Lori Reed (Timekeeper)

The Contestants (L-R): Amy Buckland, Nancy Dowd, David Lee King, Michael Porter, and Greg Schwartz

The Contestants (L-R): Amy Buckland, Nancy Dowd, David Lee King, Michael Porter, and Greg Schwartz

Host:  Janie Hermann

Host: Janie Hermann

Along with a lot of humor, there were actually some useful and appropriate points raised, like these:

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Amy Buckland

  • Have you ever done a word cloud with your CV?
  • Cacti are prickly like some librarians!

David Lee King
(David was unique because he brought gifts to the judges–bottles of water!)

  • Customers want their answers, they don’t care how you work.
  • What changes with ubiquitous access? More power plugs! Batteries–when your battery dies you have NO access.
  • Does your website look like IKEA’s strategy–“some assembly required”?
  • We our customers to live in comfort and be comfortable searching our websites.
  • Who can teach people how to use stuff on the cloud?

Michael Porter
Michael Porter
  • We need to play and have fun.
  • We are setting the groundwork for ubiquitous computing in our libraries.
  • If we’re thoughtful now, we won’t let libraries die.  We cannot let “nobody cares” happen.
  • Don’t get caught up in “technolust”. Think about functionality–why are tools important?
  • If we stick to our core vision and values, we are going to be fine.

Nancy Dowd

Nancy Dowd

  • There is nobody that is not addicted to Twitter!
  • Stop thinking technology because it’s not the future. The future is in paper and books!
  • Sometimes social networking feels good; at other times you wish it could be turned off.

Greg Schwartz
Greg Schwartz
  • Piracy is not our enemy; libraries on lockdown cannot succeed in the digital world.
  • There is no wrong place to maintain your social networks!
  • You must not let your patrons freefall.
While the judges were selecting the winner, a musical interlude was provided by Richard Geiger and Tim DeWolf

While the judges were selecting the winner, a musical interlude was provided by Richard Geiger and Tim DeWolf

We also saw a video clip that Richard and Tim originally created for the 23Things session at a recent SLA conference.

The winner…

Janie Hermann presents the First Place prize to Amy Buckland

Janie Hermann presents the First Place prize to Amy Buckland

It was a great evening, not only entertaining but educational as well.  Let’s hope that this becomes a regular feature of IL conferences!

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and IL  2009 Blog Coordinator

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