I was wondering what skills/programming
> languages/experience you think I should be seeking if I want to be able to
> develop (good) interactive online resources/digital collections for library
> patrons and/or staff.
I agree with the advice given so far in this thread. One of the most useful
skills you could possibly have is the ability to learn new skills on your
own. Find projects that you're interested in (even if they're ones you
create yourself), and acquire the skills you need to make those successful.
Skills degrade quickly when not actively used (particularly when you're
starting out) so by the time you find an application for what you learned,
you've often forgotten what you need to know. For this reason, I wouldn't
focus too much on specific tools. What you need to do should define what
tools you use, not the other way around. Learning requires motivation, and
lessons just don't stick as well if you know it's just an academic exercise
to help you with technology X. Let projects that light you up help you
Try things that you don't know how to do. You learn the most when you
stretch yourself to your limits, and lessons learned from massive screwups
stick with you far better than those acquired through incremental success
(plus you'll encounter far more new things along that path). Don't be
afraid to ask basic questions, make stupid mistakes, or take a bit of guff
for missing something a few others may have found obvious.
Having a playground where you can experiment aggressively is useful. I'm a
fan of Amazon EC2 because you can create servers in minutes for pennies per
hour and try things you'd never want to do with real hardware. It's nice
when you can completely restore a destroyed server in a couple minutes.
If you feel like you're drinking out of a firehose, you're doing it right.
To paraphrase Greg Lemonde, it never gets easier. Your skills only get