Reading the agenda for the Thursday meeting, I confess I feel a little discouraged -- not because it's poorly-planned or a bad idea, but because the way it's being organized looks to me as though it will herd attendees toward safe, obvious, well-travelled, non-controversial paths.
I live on the bleeding edge. (For those who don't know me, I'm responsible for MINDS@UW, the UW System institutional repository.) Libraries in general and the UW in particular are far from settled or sure about what they should be doing vis-a-vis scholarly communication, knowledge management, data curation, digital preservation, et cetera. I sometimes find myself the only champion (or nearly) for these emerging issues and their technical requirements.
It seems impossible for me all by my lonesome to make these issues a priority in a consensus-based, majority-rules environment such as Thursday's session, much less the top-down environment that is the normal state of things here. That's not necessarily good or bad -- I may be a flaky nutjob, after all -- it just is. I am well aware that I have not created sufficient buy-in; in the scattered environment this retreat is partly intended to address, I don't have any readily available ways of earning it.
I doubt my constellation of issues is unique. There are, I'm sure, a number of bleeding-edge ideas or issues or technologies that individuals among us are interested in and have no way to move forward on. Some of them are huge (like data curation), some are relatively minor (e.g. somebody wanting a wiki). Some of them could be production services, some of them are internal-efficiency improvements. Sometimes they're just things we'd like to throw up on a server somewhere and poke at.
Does the bleeding edge have a home here? What are the implications if it doesn't? How do we mainstream bleeding-edge products and services, if we manage to work with them at all? On Thursday specifically, how do we keep potentially important minority issues from being roundfiled forever as "passing fads" or "buzzwords"?