For me, this conference touched some big ideas including the implications of complex objects and data sets, the need to redefine what ‘publishing’ and information access means, and how to, on a large scale basis, create and deploy systems to enable collection, collaboration, and dissemination of these resources. It was interesting to attend a conference that, while being focused on very specific issues (Institutional Repositories and Open Access), naturally found itself examining these large ideas. The theme of Open Access seems to be the battle cry of the participants – I heard the concept “information wants to be free” in many different forms over the few days.
It was also interesting to note that, while the presenters talked about large scale projects, the conversations I had with people often centered on more basic issues (how to run an IR, how to get buy-in, how to negotiate support with organizational IT). Still – there was an enthusiasm in the discussions that signaled to me how important this area of librarianship will be in the coming years. It was also encouraging to see the a community committed to finding answers to these very large questions within the philosophical context of open source and open access.