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Loading South By Southwest with Librarians

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The South By Southwest conference is has become pretty big on the tech circuit and has garnered a reputation as a place where new technologies are launched. There’s an egalitarian spirit to the event (read; sprawling) that encourages anyone to attend and participate.

SXSWi Crowds by Flickr user jenniferconley
SXSWi Crowds by Flickr user jenniferconley

The “anyone” increasingly includes information professionals in libraries, archives and museums (LAMs). LAMS see SXSW as an opportunity to evangelize on core community issues such as open access, copyright and digital stewardship to a receptive tech community.

The thing is, SXSW has become so large that the jockeying for presentation slots now commences 8 months before the conference. The process of choosing panels includes a crowd-sourced aspect called the Panelpicker that engages the public to vote on panels they’d be interested in attending at the conference.

The panel voting for SXSW 2013 extends from August 13-31, 2012. To vote for a session you need to visit the Panelpicker site and create an account. After that it’s just a matter of browsing through the 3,519 entries and picking the ones you like.

Who has time to browse through 3,519 panels? Don’t fret! Here’s a small sampling of some of the panels of interest to LAMs to give you an idea of the creativity going on in the community:

  • Title: Citizen Archivists and Cultural Memory
    Description: A panel featuring Ken Shipley of the Numero Group, Ben Blackwell from Jack White’s label Third Man Records, Spott Philpott, “employee #2” at Merge Records and “technical referee” Jimi Jones from the Library of Congress will share compelling stories that demonstrate the value of preserving musical memories. (Full disclosure: we submitted this.)
  • Title: Libraries: The Ultimate Playground
    Description: A collaborative conversation to get librarians and tech entrepreneurs together to brainstorm convergent ideas. Organizer Andrea Davis is the body behind the @sxswLAM twitter feed.
  • Title: Black Twitter Activism, Bigger Than Hip Hop
    Description: This panel will examine ways that information professionals can guide users toward responsible practices that respect the unique coding and cultural perspectives of black and other minority communities in their use of social media. What can archived Tweets tell us about micro-organizing in marginalized communities?
  • Title: Pop Up Archive: Build an Archive and Make it Count
    Description: A workshop for media creators and digital humanists to walk through taking archival content from the shelf (or local file) to the web. They’ll instruct participants on how to install Omeka; how to create or import records; organize their collections; seamlessly upload files to services like the Internet Archive and SoundCloud; and create web expositions of their content.

This barely touches the surface of what’s being proposed. The @sxswLAM folks maintain a longer list of LAM proposals. Any other ideas on how LAMs can effectively engage with the tech community?

Comments (3)

  1. Fantastic blogpost! Thanks for capturing the wide range of LAM proposals up for the voting in the SXSW 2013 panel picker.
    It’s encouraged to get busy in the comments section and pushing out the “like” & “tweet” buttons are more good metrics of a healthy, vibrant proposal.
    [a quick clarification, there’s a bunch of bodies behind the @sxswLAM handle – many thanks to @seergenius for taking the helm]

  2. Thanks for posting this great information! I was part of the SXSWLAM group last year and it is/was a phenomenal event. Energized is perhaps too tame a word for the creative thinking, social stewardship, and awesome people who made the event the happening spot at south-by. Please – go vote! You can even type “Library” in the search string to find all presentations library-esque and simply click a thumbs up on all of them!

  3. Thanks for the great comments! And thanks for updating us on the forces behind @sxswLAM handle.

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