Presentation woes

I have a presentation to put together for July 20th. Originally I was asked to present something about the changing face of the catalog (kind of like this post, where I pointed to some efforts to un-suck the OPAC by creating new interfaces, mash-ups and more). I demurred, because I don’t actually know a whole lot about the OPAC, my everyday activities rarely necessitate any interactions with the OPAC, and I think I have more of an end users view of the library website than a librarian’s.  I purposed the following presentation as an alternative, “Innovative Interfaces: making the most of the data we have.”

The presentation should be about 30 to 45 minutes long (gulp), and I will be following ALA mover and shaker Meredith Farkas, who is presenting “Social Software in Libraries.” I was just going to whip through a bunch of examples on libraries that are making the most of their data, such as NCSU, Penn Tags, Ann Arbor Public Library, Villanova’s myResearch Portal, BibbApps, LibraryThing, maybe Evergreen, etc. However, I went though some of Meredith’s slides from former presentations on social software in and I hate to say it but it looks like she covers quite a bit of what I was going to talk about, and much more.

I was actually asked to speak because the other presenter, who was going to talk about LibraryThing, was unable to make it and I work with the woman who is organizing the event. I wonder if I can manipulate my presentation to be about XForms instead? Or Solr, or anything else I actually deal with on a day-to-day basis. However, I was told I should probably keep my presentation non-technical, so I have my doubts that any of those topics would be a good match.

I suppose I could talk about the importance of interface design and information architecture. Although information architecture sounds almost anti library 2.0, I think a well designed interface, both graphic design and information architecture, is key to a successful interface. Here is an example I worked on recently:

This is the same information, but with a new layout that separates the information into task based groups and uses basic graphic design elements such as color, icons and lots of white space to make important information stand out. This information is very non library 2.0, but the same principles apply to most interfaces design issues, even for interfaces that can be manipulated by the users. This doesn’t exactly qualify as an “innovative interface” though.

So, I’m stuck for a topic. In the meantime, my to-do list is steadily growing.


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