The Charleston Fast Pitch competition is for contestants who have developed new and innovative services that are progressing toward launch into the market. Contestants submitted proposals to a committee that chose the four most noteworthy services, and their developers or sponsors are invited to make a 5-minute presentation of their service at the conference. After a committee of three judges asked each contestant some questions, they chose the winner, who received a $2,500 grant to assist in program development. For the first time this year, the audience was also invited to vote, and the winner of the audience vote also received a $2,500 grant. The focus of the competition is innovation in libraries, and besides the financial incentive, the competition is an opportunity to get recognition.
This year’s judges were Amy Brant, Director, MIT Press; Kent Anderson, CEO, Redlink; and Jim O’Donnell, Arizona State University Librarian.
The contestants were Caroline Muglia, Head, Resource Sharing & Collection Assessment, University of Southern California; Boaz Nadav-Manes, Associate University Librarian, Brown University; Meghan Burke and Catherine Hall-Baldwin, both from Marymount University; and Cheryl Ball, Director, Digital Publishing Initiative, West Virginia University.
Cheryl Ball described Vega, an open source academic publishing platform built on an institutional repository that trains editors, works with scholarly multimedia and can also publish text. It can handle different peer review options. The audience for Vega is authors, scholarly publishers, independent small organization publishers, and university presses.
Katharine Hall Baldwin and Meghan Burke have developed a reporting and ticketing system for libraries that uses Google Code.
Boaz Navad’s project, POOF (Pre-Ordering Online Form) involves collaboration across institutions at scale to select materials. Selectors can choose the books, DVDs, etc. that they want to order. and then smart fulfillment takes place. POOF is being successfully used by Cornell and Columbia.
Caroline Muglia described a new model for types of information in libraries that can be used for smart assessment object detection, in which a camera takes a photo of what people are checking out and OCRs the titles. Is it worth the costs to update a print reference collection? What can we learn from our physical spaces? Can we learn about collection inventory? Assessment is becoming the cornerstone.
The winners of the Judges’ award were Katharine and Meghan, and the winner of the Audience award was Caroline.
Don Hawkins blogs about conferences for Information Today and Against The Grain. He also maintains the Conference Calendar on the Information Today website and is the Editor of Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage, published by Information Today in 2013, and Co-Editor of Public Knowledge: Access and Benefits, published by Information Today in 2016. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and has worked in the information industry for over 45 years.