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Next Stop…Vegas! ILLiad 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015 12:09 pm

I know what you are thinking, ‘what do gambling chips have to do with interlibrary loan software?’ Short answer: nothing. Long answer: everything.

I’ll let Tara explain.*

My first experience at an ILLiad conference was excellent. Tuesday, Atlas Systems hosted a Social –Casino Night that gave me the opportunity to meet and socialize with over 300 participants there to attend the conference. We played all types of Casino games. For being one of the highest scorers that night I won One year Access Services Concierge Membership (value: $4,999)* for the library.

As I look back on the sessions what really stood out to me was “Is Your Library Visible” presented by Eric Miller, Zepheira. He was addressing the web visibility of the Library. That content was very important to the aspect of Interlibrary Loan. I’m glad had the opportunity to attend this year’s conference.

*I feel it is important to note that Tara sent me her write up 3 days after the conference. It has taken me a month to post it. Yes, I am ashamed.

Tara certainly did jump right in to the conference flow. I missed Casino night, but I heard lots of reports of Tara smokin’ the Roulette wheel. I’m in negotiations with Atlas to leverage or prize to help all libraries in N.C. They seem open to the concept so stay tuned….

I attended several useful sessions. One on getting our requesting web pages mobile ready, and another on setting up auto hotkeys in ILLiad.

The most impressive was a presentation by Dr. Nobuhiko Kikuchi who is the head of resource sharing at the National Diet Library of Japan. In this case diet does not mean food and drink but congress. The NDL is the equivalent to the Library of Congress here in the U.S. This was Dr. Kikuchi’s first time in America, and the first time he has ever presented in English. Talk about nervous. He did wonderfully even using humor. The first time he told a joke and we laughed he said “thank you” and seemed to relax a little. I have looked to this library many times in my tenure as an interlibrary loan librarian. They are rolling out some new services and it was good to learn about them. It was also nice to meet the man responsible.

 

 

2014 ILLiad Conference

Thursday, April 3, 2014 6:02 pm

Just to review, ILLiad is the software we use to manage interlibrary loan and ZSR Delivers requests.

Thankfully no speeding ticket this year. It was a cold, rainy trip to Virginia Beach and I opted to listen to a Scandinavian murder mystery, instead rockin’ out. (spoiler…the lady lawyer did it.)

I went to several informative sessions and enjoyed some F2F time with other librarians whom I normally only interact with over email and phone. Sharing a pint with someone makes it easier to ask them for a scan of an obscure 18th century score, or a rush loan of an international economics tome. All in the name of greasing the wheels of interlibrary commerce.

The keynote fell short, which seems to be a trend for these conferences. As you may remember, the highlight of last year’s keynote was a venn diagram. This year was no different.

My apologizes if you start singing Carly Simon (some think she was referring to James Taylor, I suspect Warren Beatty)…but I digress.

 

The best session of interest to those outside the interlibrary loan community was about assessment – how to use ILLiad to show our worth, to tell our story. The presenter compared librarians to ninjas – we swiftly move around helping other campus entities (departments, centers…) succeed. Sound familiar? The Chemistry department will have different institutional goals than the Humanities Institute. But both rely on the library for help meeting these goals. We have to be flexible, strong and everywhere at once.

One of the cool things her library is doing is using hash tags in their social media posts to highlight areas of strength and growth in the library -especially when they support overall university goals. For example:

#ZSRLearns when we contribute to cultivating students through instruction and academic enrichment

#ZSRSpaces when we initiate improvements to the living/learning environment

#ZSRExperts when librarians use their expertise to make a difference at the university level

The way we gather statistics in ILLiad and what we do with them can aid in these pursuits. At the presenter’s library, they ask students what course they will be using the interlibrary loan item for. They ask faculty if the request is for research or teaching, and if teaching for what class. This can more accurately pinpoint the areas of study that interlibrary loan supports and be especially useful for interdisciplinary courses that defy department/major (i.e. Interpreting & Translation Studies.)

This data can be shared with liaisons in the hopes of improved service and support. The presenter mentioned one conversation she had with the liaison to a department that was notorious for placing interlibrary loan article requests for items the library owned electronically. This lead to stronger education effort.

Other conference highlights included a session on creating mobile friendly web pages. This is on my G/O list for 2014. Stay tuned…..

Then there was this session covering the integration of interlibrary loan and course reserves work flows. The presenter’s situation was different but I did learn a few things of a technical nature. I was also able to make brilliant use of social media. The presenter is my counterpart at Yale. He showed this slide to explain how his boss (the head of Access Services) forced the merging of interlibrary loan and reserves staff (notice the picture of Dr. Evil.)

Now it just so happens that the aforementioned boss is a good friend of mine – a friend on Facebook. So I posted this picture to his timeline as the event was happening with the caption “Evil Architecture at Yale! THX Brad.” Lots of virtual hilarity ensued. Trust me. (then I quickly put my phone down and resumed taking notes….whew).

 

 

 

 

 

2013 ILLiad Conference

Thursday, April 4, 2013 4:08 pm

My 9th OCLC ILLiad conference got off to a rough start. On my way to Virginia Beach I got a speeding ticket – 76 in a 60 zone. I was NOT running late or in a hurry. I was just in the groove – new Richard Thompson on the stereo, sun roof open, southeastern Virginia lowlands wizzing by….(I don’t suppose I can submit the fine and subsequent increase in insurance premiums on the travel reimbursement form can I?)

ILLiad, in addition to being a misspelling of an epic poem, is the software package we use to handle interlibrary loan and document delivery requests. It also controls the requesting web pages. It is a complex piece of software that allows for copious amounts of customization. The ILLiad conference is a chance for 350+ users of this software to get together and show off, swap ideas and corner the software developers. It is also one of the few national conferences devoted to all things interlibrary loan. (more on that later.)

I enjoy this conference because I always learn something. Most things are very specific to ILLiad use and I won’t bore you with those. But I will share parts of my experience that might be of interest.

First, the conference came with its own smartphone app. Don’t laugh; this is a first for me. The app included my conference schedule, map of the hotel and twitter feed. The conference sponsors would push out announcements through the app to keep everyone informed. This included a message 3 days before the conference reminding me it was time to pack.

I found myself using the app mainly to follow the twitter feed. Tweeting (I think it should be called ‘twittering’) was rampant throughout the conference – a constant running commentary on presentations, poster sessions, restaurant choices, snow flurry sightings….etc. Imagine thought bubbles forming and popping constantly. I found it interesting to read what other people attending the same presentation found worth noting. Did it add to the conference experience? Yes. But it was also a distraction and I could comment on our constant need to be DOING when we should be LISTENING, but I won’t.

The keynote was by Liz Bishoff, longtime librarian turned consultant. Her talk, “Strategies for Sustainability: Resource Sharing in the Digital World” started off with a broad definition of sustainability – the capacity to endure. I like that. She then displayed this sustainability venn diagram.

I’ve never thought about sustainability in this way before. The rest of Ms. Bishoff’s talk consisted of a trip down interlibrary loan memory lane complete with requisite images of a card catalog, the NUC and an OCLC dedicated terminal. I think this was partly an educational exercise for the speaker – she admitted limited experience with interlibrary loan. While I found this part of the talk less useful, I do plan to delve deeper into this model of sustainability as it applies to libraries. Stay tuned…

One of my favorite sessions was on the current state of international interlibrary loan – “Borders without Barriers”. I see this as the last frontier of interlibrary loan. Borrowing and lending within the U.S. has gotten pretty standard and streamlined. But beyond that, it is a wilderness of customs and copyright and time zones and language. The session, while short on answers, did wet my appetite to get more involved with efforts to makes international interlibrary loan better.

The conference ended with something called an Unconference. At this point there were still about 200 people left. An organizer asked the room for topics of interest. These could be related to presentations or things not covered. I proposed privacy policies. Others topics included services to distance learners, cross-training students, database clean-up, statistical reports, scanning, troublesome faculty….about 20 in all.

Each topic was written on a table tent and placed on a table in the conference hall. Then we went to a table of interest and discussed the topic with the others there. Every 20 minutes, the organizer would prompt us to move to a different table if we wanted. This went on for 2 hours.

I learned that no one has an easy answer to the privacy issue; that many libraries of all sizes have combined their access services student work forces, and that no one is happy with their scanning situation.

A final thought on the importance of this conference as a venue for “all things interlibrary loan”. There are 2 pieces of information highlighted on the ILLiad conference name page. One is my institution’s OCLC symbol (EWF in case you were wondering.) The other is my first name. All kinds of cross institutional collaboration goes on in library land, but in interlibrary loan this happens tens of thousands of times a day. The ILLiad conference is a chance to put faces and names to OCLC symbols, hang out with kindred spirits and tell people in person how much you appreciate the support they give you every day. I really, really like that.

 

 

 

 


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