Books, freedom in cyberspace, and the future of our transforming societies #IFLA2012
The World Library and Information Congress 2012, 78th IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) General Conference and Assembly (11-17 August 2012), took place at the Helsinki Exhibition & Convention Centre in Helsinki, Finland. With more than 200 sessions, 4,000 attendees, and over 80 exhibitors, IFLA offered an impressive diversity of the conference, both in attendees and sessions.
The theme of this year’s meeting is “Libraries Now! – Inspiring, Surprising, Empowering.” All the sessions are then further grouped into subthemes such as “Open access and digital resources” and “Policy, strategy and advocacy,” OCLC Linked Data round table, and “Users driving access and services.”
Libraries today and tomorrow: a force for change in our transforming societies?
The IFLA meeting in 2012 is one of the most significant global gatherings highlighting and reflecting on the libraries today and tomorrow, as a force for change in our transforming networked societies. The Congress is encouraging libraries to collaborate and work together, brainstorm, inspire, and help them find new partners outside the library world.
This years’ President’s Theme Session was opened by Ingrid Parent, IFLA President. As being said, our society is rapidly being changed and transformed through many external influences, such as access to and use of ICT, grass roots democracy movements, multiculturalism and cultural integration, and economic challenges in the distribution and use of wealth.
This Session discussed how changes influencing societies today may impact on democratising digital access in societies of tomorrow; and the role that libraries can have within that transformation of society. The commentary of speakers and delegates will contribute to the IFLA Trend Report which will be launched in 2013. The session is followed up by an interactive discussions bringing together the issues arising from the presentations and delegates thoughts on “inclusive libraries – transforming our libraries, transforming our societies”.
Books are still our firmest foundation
Good news, books are never out of style even in the present hyper-connected society, and that proves Peter von Bagh in his plenary speech where he emphasized the roles of literature and libraries not only as” the memory of the world, but also as the foundation a nation is built upon. Furthermore, von Bagh declared that the traditional books are more valuable than ever, and that a library is man’s best friend.” (via)
“Von Bagh is the director of a 12-hour-long television series called Song of Finland about the art history of Finland. In his speech, von Bagh noted that its literature has always had the leading role in building the Finnish national identity. Small village libraries with their resourceful librarians, ”the fairy godmothers of literature”, helped in creating the basis of Finnish literature and culture.
”Even though we nowadays do nothing else but small talk, we lack real communication”
At the end of his speech von Bagh expressed his deep worry about the surreal ignorance that the younger generations signal. At the same time that ”Finland is drunk from technology”, von Bagh’s young film students are alienated from books and high culture. Finns, who traditionally could not handle small talk, have become masters of quasi-communication.”
The Googlization of Everything
I would like to point out the Live-stream recording of IFLA 2012 session on 15th of August 2012, the presentation: Privatization of cyberspace – case Google, the Plenary Speaker was Siva Vaidhyanathan, professor at Department of Media Studies, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, and also the author of “The Googlization of Everything”. He is noted for opposing the Google Books scanning project on copyright grounds. Vaidhyanathan has published the opinion that the project poses a danger for the doctrine of fair use, because the fair use claims are arguably so excessive that it may cause judicial limitation of that right.
The session that covered the free and open access as well as the freedom of expression, gathered experts world wide. The two hours video session: Committee on Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) is available now.
Sessions with the full time paper articles/presentations you may find useful and interesting: Cloud computing and its impact on privacy, jurisdiction, security, lawful access, ownership and permanence of data, presentations from OCLC Linked Data round table, Generation Google needs us: new roles for visibility in the digital age for information & reference services. If you missed the conference – check out the variety of the IFLA videos.