How much data? LOTS.

Yesterday I attended the Library Science Fair organized by the Simmons chapter of ASIS&T. Current GSLIS student Mark Tomko gave an impressive presentation titled “Translating Biological Data Sets Into Linked Data” (he’ll be presenting this at the 10th European Networked Knowledge Organisation Systems (NKOS) Workshop in Berlin later this month). Mark did a great job explaining both the biological aspects (“all the biology you need to know fits on one slide, and the font isn’t even that small,” he promised) and the importance of linked data to an audience who was not necessarily expert in either field.

Ben Florin (GSLIS alum, former staff, currently a web developer at the Boston College Libraries) also gave a talk entitled “What I don’t like about our library’s website, plus why we haven’t changed it yet, and what we’re doing about it.” He took us on a virtual tour of the BC Libraries site, pointing out its pros (prominent discovery tool, i.e. search) and cons (a fixed interface, with wasted screen space, instead of responsive design).

The example of responsive design Ben gave was The Boston Globe’s new site; if you go to the home page there and resize your browser window, the layout will adjust from three columns to two to one (as you go smaller), and then from one to two to three (as you make the window larger again). The layout of the BC Libraries page, on the other hand, remains fixed at two columns.

Chances are I will not end up working as a software engineer (or biologist), and maybe not even as a web developer; however, it was interesting to hear two extremely bright people talk about their work as it relates to libraries and organizational schemes.

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