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Common to all of these meetings is that they provide the opportunity to share experiences and ideas, inspiring you to think beyond your own horizons, and to develop and sustain that invaluable network of people – with names and faces – that you know you can get in touch with when you need help, advice, or someone to bounce ideas with. Keep reading to learn more about how we experienced this at the EBSCO beta meeting and at the German FOLIO Days.
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In late March, my colleague Lari and I spent three productive days getting to know and working together with colleagues from the libraries at University of Alabama and the Five Colleges in Amherst. Like Chalmers, these libraries are implementing FOLIO as EBSCO beta partners, with hosting, implementation and support services from EBSCO. Hosted by the 5 Colleges and organized by EBSCO’s team of implementation consultants, the meeting included many interesting discussions and quite a bit of hands-on work.
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At the end of that day, we could all be very proud that, defying belief, we had actually made it through all the features and refined our prioritization of them.
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In mid-April my colleague Marie and I went to Bremen for the German FOLIO Days, which we saw as a chance to get to know European members of the FOLIO community. It was great to see and speak to so many librarians and service providers from all over Germany, and some visitors from other countries, all curious about FOLIO. For Chalmers it is crucial to have a strong footing in the European community. We know that there are issue and interests particular to the European context, like the GDPR and localization and internationalization, that are vital both to us as European institutions and for FOLIO to be a project with a truly international identity and viability in the European market.
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Since neither Marie nor I speak German, we had an interesting time using online translation tools, the advantage of having a Germanic first language, and kind help from fellow conference participants to keep up with presentations and workshops in German. Finding the right balance between a common language and the language that attendants are most comfortable is a tough challenge – but it’s one that I’m actually happy to see us faced with, since it means that the community really is international. It might also have been partly thanks to this creative confusion of languages, paired with the openness of the people present, that I found myself feeling oddly comfortable in a workshop in German on loading user data into FOLIO using bash – another language I’m not quite fluent in yet.
Working with FOLIO, at this moment in time, you get to experience these encounters of people and software and organizations and ideas in abundance. In the coming month I look forward to trying out the latest release of FOLIO in the Q 2.1 release bugfest, to delving further into data migration, and to talking FOLIO with international colleagues at the FOLIO working meeting in Washington DC and at ALA.