Help to Pick Panels for the 2014 South By Southwest Conference

In my personal opinion, South By Southwest is a great music conference that has morphed into an equally excellent technology conference. The growth of the technology portion has increasingly attracted information professionals in libraries, archives and museums who take the opportunity to talk about their current projects and connect with technology professionals over shared interests in open access, copyright and digital stewardship.

The "Culture Hack" panel from SXSW 2013. Photo Credit: Butch Lazorchak

The “Culture Hack” panel from SXSW 2013. Photo Credit: Butch Lazorchak

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

The panel voting for SXSW 2014 is now underway and extends through September 6, 2013. 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 4,122 entries and picking the ones you like.

That’s a lot of panels! We didn’t submit any panel proposals this year after doing a couple last year (though we’re looking into participating in other ways), but there are a surprisingly large number of panels that are either organized by LAMs or that touch on areas of interest to our community. Here are some examples:

Description: “What is the future of the past in terms of new user interface, user generated content, and digital preservation?” So begins the proposal from panelists including National Digital Stewardship Alliance members Historypin and the Council on Library and Information Resources. They plan to “explore some of the diverse efforts to bring stories and memory to life in new ways, while also fostering open data and preservation, and the pros and cons at the intersection of public domain and private enterprise.”

Description: Does open licensing open doors for content creators or does it close off potential revenue streams? Panelists from Creative Commons and the Free Music Archive discuss how Creative Commons licensing has changed how artists think about copyright and intellectual property.

Description: A team of content experts including folks from the Recording Academy dive into the value proposition around archival and contextual information (metadata, that is) that allows for the long-term management and monetization of music content.

Description: Billed as a successor to last year’s successful “Libraries: The Ultimate Playground,” this is a jump into a “no-skills-required design sprint” on what the future of libraries might look like.

Description: A look at efforts to implement culture change a the Harvard University Libraries, through their exploratory Harvard Library Lab.

Description: A German effort lead by the Westdeutscher Rundfunk public broadcasting service to crowdsource and digitize historic artifacts and collect the stories around them.

Description: There are a number of proposals describing opportunities to transform public libraries through innovative technologies and this is one of the best. Not the “gig” you musicians might be thinking of, this focuses on the fine work being done at the Chattanooga Downtown Public Library.

Description: Mapping presents one of the best opportunities to express the cultural heritage utility of “big data.” Amongst other things, the panelists will explore the kinds of patterns and techniques currently available for analyzing big data sets.

Description: A wide-open presentation by a panelist from NDSA member the New York Public Library Labs that looks to stoke conversation through provocative questions such as “Ok – we get it, you’re not just about books anymore, you’re also about data. But how are you going to get data from all that old stuff you have?”

Description: And finally, something completely different: “If we can archive and store our personal data, media, DNA and brain patterns, the question of whether we can bring back the dead is almost redundant. The right question is should we?”

This barely scrapes the surface of the things being proposed for the conferences. Check out the full range of offerings and support the ones that appeal to you.

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