I just noticed Ed Summers posted a link to DemoCampDC1, a local BarCamp being organized in the Washington D.C. area, “to build an active community for people in the DC area to show up and informally share geeky stuff.” I’ve heard of these BarCamps before, but I never really took the time to look into it. Incidentally, I’ve been looking for good models for hosting and organizing such a group for a while now, inspired by the work Brian Hancock has done over the years with the Technology Awareness Group (TAG). The way the D.C. group is going about it looks like a promising one: start out building a community with very informal meetings outside of work hours, to test the waters, so to speak, and build a rapport with interested parties. And if there’s sufficient interest, hold a full BarCamp event (perhaps a one-day hands-on symposium / workshop).

I like this model quite a bit, and I’d be interested in trying to get something similar started up in New Jersey. We have tons of talented library geeks in our many academic, public, and special libraries, not to mention general geeks whose interests and skill sets intersect with ours.

Why BarCamp? Don’t we have enough meetings and symposiums? Sure, we’re all spread thin. Our niche would be to bring together the TAG-style dog & pony shows with code sprints and other collaborative development a la the Access Hackfest. We’re looking for a group that will be innovative, collegial, social, practical, and - not to be corny, but - fun-loving.

Here’s what I envision:

  • A number of very informal get-togethers spread throughout the state in order to foster inclusivity, with a "point person" in each area to report back about the level of interest
  • Rotating event venues, possibly one per "point person" above who would ideally receive institutional support in one form or another
  • Partnerships with other in-state groups to take advantage of cross-pollination without crossing purposes, such as TAG, NJLA's IT section, NJ-ASIS&T, and some student groups from Rutgers SCILS

Any of you New Jerseyans interested? Think it’s a waste of time? Drop a comment or trackback here, or send me e-mail. I’m very interested in your feedback.