I’ve just spent the last two days at the Lodlam summit in Sydney.
Lodlam - Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives and Museums - was an invitation only event loosely linked to the Digital Humanities 2015 conference also on in Sydney at the same time and I was lucky enough to get an invitation to the LodLam event.
The even was cast using the unconference format - rather than a formal agenda it was a set of birds of a feather sessions where people proposed topics and groups met and discussed them. At it’s best it was pretty powerful as it allowed discussion among people who were motivated and interested in the topic and one could get some good discussion and insights - after all it’s the discussion that often makes conferences valuable rather the presentations themselves.
At its worst it was rather less valuable - the unconference thing breaks down in two ways - when one or two loud talkers dominate a discussion - which didn’t really happen this time or alternativesly when particular sessions get too large for informality and some structure and mediation is needed - controlled anarchy is productive, but sometimes a little scaffolding is needed.
I basically spent my time talking about disambiguation and entity recognition, topics near to my heart at the moment but I was also inspired to revisit some of my experiments with R and text analysis, not too mention to play with some of the Python natural language tool kits.
Along the way I think I also found the ideal note taking solution - type brief notes into Markdrop on a tablet, sync them to Dropbox and clean them up and generate a pdf and dump that in Evernote from where the shard can be shared out as a link I found my Samsung tablet had just enough battery life to last a day - something that was a bit of a problem sometimes with my older 7” tablet. It might be worth trying this on a larger format tablet as the onscreen keyboard size was a little restricting for may fat fingers, leading to more typos than were strictly necessary.
All in all it was a good event, a little nerdy, but quite inspiring to see what people are doing with open linked data ...