Interview with Fiona Bradley

Today, I’m pleased to point the questioning spotlight at Fiona Bradley 🙂

Fiona, you’ve just moved to the UK from Australia. Could you tell us a little bit about your new job and your previous one?

I’ll be joining IFLA to work on programming, but not *that* kind of programming! I have just moved back to the Northern Hemisphere after spending 8 months seconded to IFLA last year working on their new website. I was seconded by the University of Technology Sydney, where I had a few different roles, the most recent being as Research and Policy Officer. In that role my main work was as project manager to design a new catalogue interface (using Endeca) which launched in beta earlier this year. I also worked on projects related to the institutional repository. Previously, I was a liaison librarian.

Your blog is — could you say a little about how the semantic web is having an impact on libraries?

There’s a few libraries already who see the potential of linked data and semantic-aware searching for libraries. It’s a very exciting time — there are a lot of possibilities out there to do interesting things with the data we already own, and to share what we have with others. We sometimes forget just how rich catalogue data can be (despite its many shortcomings). At the moment I think we’re still in a phase of experimentation, where we’re all learning what we can do to make our data more relevant and flexible, but in the next year or two I think we’ll start to see the impact of search services that go beyond reusing structured catalogue records as presentation layers do now and providing rich recommendations and enhanced browsing.

Europeana in particular is something to keep an eye on.

Can you remember where and when you first used a web browser?

My father worked for IBM, and I remember him bringing home a ginormous laptop sometime in late 1996. We unfurled the telephone cable and dialed up, it was a text-based browser, maybe Lynx. I think the first site I went to was Yahoo! I had a magazine with a list of interesting URLs and tried them all out. It was very exciting. I didn’t understand how my university campus AARNet worked and so I didn’t use the Internet on campus. At home it seemed easier.

Do you think libraries and librarians should adopt a cautious approach to new technologies, or should they be rolling up their sleeves and embracing it fully?

I think it depends what it is. We need to think seriously about what needs new technologies support, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying out new things. I think instead of taking a technology approach, we need to change our mindset about cloud computing and open source. We need to think more about cloud computing (making backups, providing services efficiently across multiple platforms) and less about open source – we should simply embrace open source and give back and share where we can.

Have you got a favourite mash-up?

Eminem vs The Smiths – Without This Charming Man (YouTube)

Oh, not that kind of mashup! Actually I love that mashups as a term in a way evolved from the music mashups of the early 2000s. I worked in a music library at the time they become popular and there was a sense of fun, discovery and experimentation about it. Some things were genius, others not.

I feel the same way about technology mashups. I like a lot of the map mashups because they can be very good for visualising advocacy. Being able to see at a glance which regions on earth have the fastest Internet connections, or the most restrictions on freedom of speech is powerful.

Fiona blogs at Semantic Library and is @blisspix on Twitter.


~ by Dave Pattern on 14/June/2009.

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