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April 10, 2008

UKOLN's 30th bash

Ukolnstaff Pete and I are travelling up to London later today to attend UKOLN's 30th anniversary celebrations, being held at the British Library.  30 years old - blimey... who'd have thought it!

I joined UKOLN in 1996 and I look back on my near-10 years there with a lot of fondness.  The early years of the eLib Programme were awash with excitement - particularly that librarians would somehow shape the way that the Web evolved - and UKOLN was fairly central to much of the activity, both in the UK and more widely.  With hindsight, this was, well, how shall I put it... somewhat naive?  But that didn't make it any less fun at the time.  The Web moved on and most of us have spent the rest of our working lives trying to catch up with it but I still like to think that we helped in a small way to lay the foundations of what has come since.  UKOLN's focus has broadened somewhat since those days but it continues to offer the community a valuable thought-leadership role in all aspects of digital information management.

Working at UKOLN gave me an opportunity to get involved in a whole range of interesting projects, services and standards-related activities including the Dublin Core, the OAI-PMH, OpenURL, RDF and the semantic Web, RSS, persistent identifiers, the JISC Information Environment, Intute (I should add hyperlinks to each of these but they are now so well known that it hopefully isn't necessary) and a whole range of other things.  Hey, there were times when I even enjoyed European projects!

I'd like to offer my thanks to both Lorcan and Liz for the way they have led UKOLN over the years, not least in dealing with the difficult task of balancing competing demands from funders, the University of Bath and the other stakeholders, to Lorcan for his ongoing vision and inspiration (for me - and others I suspect - the chance to work with Lorcan was a big draw in moving to UKOLN in the first place), to the other staff at UKOLN over the years (far too many to mention) for making UKOLN such a great place to work, to people like Cliff Lynch who have offered UKOLN significant support over the years, and to the funders for (mostly :-) ) remembering that UKOLN does what it does best when it is left to get on with things in its own way.

Here's to another 30 years...

[Image: UKOLN staff circa 1996 - taken from the UKOLN Facebook group.]


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Congratulations to all of the UKOLN celebrants. The list of organizations that have had a greater impact in our space is short indeed.


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