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Hu’s ALA 2013 Wrap-up

Friday, July 5, 2013 3:39 pm

I spent ALA wearing two hats, my tech geek hat (which is a bit old and dusty) and my reference librarian hat (which is a much better fit these days!) Streaming the LITA Top Tech Trends and the LITA President’s Program gave me an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and dust off that tech geek hat. It was nerve-racking to pull of the streaming, but it forced me to learn some new skills and it gave me a chance to work with a great committee and meet some interesting people on the Top Tech Trends panel! (And it gave me a great excuse to buy a cool, new MacBook Pro!) You can check out the less than perfect results of my streaming video at the links below:

Cory Doctorow onVimeo
https://vimeo.com/69711015
Top Tech Trends onVimeo
https://vimeo.com/69648058
Streaming LITA Top Tech Trends

Streaming LITA Top Tech Trends

While wearing my reference librarian hat, I attended an interesting session on screen sharing for reference questions. The two applications discussed were Google+ hangouts and Join.me. I really like the idea of screen sharing as a way of enhancing our virtual reference, the trick seems to be making it as easy as chat! There are issues to using Google+ hangouts in our computing environment, but I’m confident that we will get past those issues at some point and need to consider how to best incorporate screen sharing into our services.

So to recap, there is a reason they call it a comfort zone and I’m happy I don’t have to spend all my time outside of it!

Hu’s ALA 2013 (It’s all about LITA)

Saturday, June 29, 2013 4:51 pm

So maybe it was a little crazy getting to our hotel in the middle of a city-wide celebration, and maybe Susan, Carolyn and I looked a little strange wheeling our luggage through a sea of red shirts (and no shirts), but honestly, how often does crazy like that happen, and how often do you get to be right in the middle of it all? It was an adventure!

Susan and Carolyn and the Blackhawks Fans

Susan and Carolyn and the Blackhawks Fans

Upon arriving at our hotel, Susan, Carolyn and I headed to McCormick Convention center (my first time there!) to get our badges. Then Susan and I headed to the LITA 101 session where we met up with Thomas. One of my main purposes this weekend is the successfully stream the LITA Top Tech Trends program on Sunday afternoon! (2pm EST, 1pm CST) So I began giving out handbills to everyone in the room for “Sunday Afternoon with LITA” and talking up the event. I was a marketing machine! I didn’t even notice when I handed one to Cory Doctorow, which is good, because I might have been star-struck if I had realized it was him.

LITA 101

LITA 101

After LITA 101, Roz, Mary Beth and I heard Steven Levitt, of Freakonomics fame! He told about his failures rather than his successes (the failures made for much better stories) and he had a wonderful story on pricing models that really isn’t blog appropriate, but I’ll happily discuss with anyone who is interested! Oh, and did I mention that RahmEmanuelwelcomed us all to Chicago? It was a good day that only got better when Susan, Roz, Mary Beth, Thomas, Carolyn, and I met Chelcie Rowell for drinks and then dinner at the Italian Village (Thanks for a great dinner venue choice, Roz!)

Rahm Emanuel at ALA 2013

Rahm Emanuel at ALA 2013

But I digress, as I said in the title, “It’s all about LITA”. On Saturday, the Top Tech Trends committee met and reviewed all the details for our program on Sunday afternoon! We are trying to improve an already successful program, which is a challenge. I’m also responsible for streaming the program, a nerve-racking task as many of the key elements for successful streaming, like bandwith and audio feeds, are out of my hands and require me to have faith in the resources at the convention center. I’ll be very stressed until that part of the conference is over!

After inspecting the venue for “Sunday Afternoon with LITA”, I attend 19th Annual Reference Research Forum. There were several great presentations; one was a usability study of LibGuides that generated some great insights on how students use our resources, and another was on data visualization of reference transactions. The data visualization was impressive, but the human coding of the data was an arduous task. I followed this session with a trip to the Exhibits Hall where I walked half the exhibits and found a nice place to sit and write this before my next session, “The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron”.

Tonight I’ll test drive all the video equipment for streaming! Fingers crossed! Check out #ALA2013 on Twitter for more about the conference and check out #ALA2013TTT for more about the LITA Top Tech Trends program!

 

NCBIG Camp 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013 4:59 pm

On Friday, May 31st, Joy Gambill, Kyle Denlinger, and I attended the NCBIG Camp 2013 at UNCG’s Jackson Library. The North Carolina Bibliographic Instruction Group (NCBIG) is an NCLA discussion group, and this “unconference” was designed to be a participant-driven event, with facilitators for each of the twelve session (three breakout sessions with four facilitated discussions in each session). Joy, Kyle and I all agreed to facilitate a session. I attended a discussion on “Assessing Student Learning Outcomes“, where I got some great ideas for embedding some assessment tools in my LibGuides and learned about an excellent LibGuide on assessment from Portland State University on “Assessing Library Instruction“. Next, I attended Kyle’s session on “Technology for Teaching and Learning“, where we discussed a variety of useful tools including Infogr.am (yes, it is spelled that way!) “Mozilla Thimble” just to name a couple. After lunch, I facilitated a discussion on “Outreach to Students“. I was glad I had prepared a structure for the discussion, developing an icebreaker and bring flip chart paper and pens for participants to use to list their successful outreach programs and their challenges.

After everyone wrote their ideas on the flip charts, we discussed the results and found interesting differences and similarities between the K-12 and public libraries and the academic libraries. There was some interest in Humans v. Zombies and it looks like I made a connection that will get us a contingency from Winston Salem State University for the next event in October! All in all, we agreed it was a very productive day with some new and interesting ideas and some great networking with other librarians! Thanks to Joy and Kyle for a great day!

ACRL: Assessment, THATCamp, and serving your LGBTQ community

Saturday, April 13, 2013 10:35 am

Friday developed into two themes, “Assessment” and “THATCamp” (The Humanities and Technology Camp). Among other stops, I attended sessions on assessment, and joined in on “THATCamp” as they created the topics for the five units in the Information Literacy MOOC they were designing.

The morning began with “Building a Culture of Assessment”. I’ve been thinking about how to assess some of my outreach programs, and was hoping to get some ideas for effectively assessing events like Capture the Flag or “Humans v. Zombies”. After discussing the literature around assessment in libraries, our presenters discussed the characteristics of an organization with a culture of assessment. These organizations tend to be those that create a safe environment for experimentation and focus on improvement of services to users. It requires leadership from above and commitment from below to create this culture of assessment.

Next, they discussed studies that show the majority of libraries don’t act on the information learned from assessment, but our speakers pointed out that most of this data comes from case studies or rely on anecdotal or non-systematic evidence. As a result, they created a “Systematic Survey of Culture of Assessment and Investigation of Factors” and sent the survey to library directors at 1604 institutions and asked them to have the head of instruction complete the survey, all in an effort to get a better picture of assessment in libraries.

Of those responding to the survey, 59% said they do have a culture of assessment and 84% had a campus wide assessment initiative. Carnegie classification did not correlate to a culture of assessment, nor did tenure track versus non-tenure track.

Lack of staffing, time and support, were all listed in open answer questions as reasons for a lack of assessment. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for their forthcoming article that includes more data and the survey instrument.

On Friday afternoon, I attended part of THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp). It met all day, and the afternoon built on the morning work, but it also allowed for people to drop in for part of the day as well.

A quick review for the new attendees after lunch revealed that there were four sessions going on in the camp. One was on digital story telling, one was on creating a digital humanities project, one was on some technical programming and the group I joined was creating an information literacy MOOC.

The MOOC group had spent the morning laying the foundation for the MOOC. Below is a list of the key elements the group identified:

About the MOOC:

  • Make faculty able to integrate IL into any course
  • Focus on critical thinking skills
  • Build it as modular and open source
  • Create an experience where people can come and improve skills AND a way for the content to be re-used.
  • MOOC as an experience, not a tutorial
  • Faculty could then run it for a week or it could be led by others in other settings

What the MOOC would achieve:

  • Participatory environment
  • Tools that are good for communicating IL
  • Facilitate peer learning
  • Teacher not as expert but facilitator, Can learn from everyone

In the afternoon session, eight people at my table began by determining the topics for the five units and creating a framework for the units. To do this, we all wrote out Learning Outcomes on over 30 post-it notes and then grouped like outcomes together to get our broad topics for the five units. The MOOC group was large, so we had a second table that was doing this same task. At the end we compared results and found them to be very similar. This was an excellent process that I’m sure I will be able to apply to future course development projects.

Here are some photos and a bit.ly URL that links to a Google Doc from the morning session: http://bit.ly/12THXii

Five Units for MOOC

Five Units for MOOC

Organizing Learning Outcomes

Organizing Learning Outcomes

On Saturday morning, I attended “Queering the Library: What are you doing to serve your LGBTQ community” There were about 40 attendees in the room and I was happy to see such a big group for an LGBTQ program. I learned that Wake Forest University is doing many things right to serve our LGBTQ students. Having a “Safe Places” program, an LGBTQ center, and supporting LGBT students in the library were all mentioned and are all things we do. One main point was the importance of LGBTQ members of the campus and LGBTQ allies need to be visible! It makes a difference! More info can be found at http://librarylea.com/queerlib/

ACRL 2013 has been a great source of information and ideas. Now I’m ready to get back to ZSR, wrap up this semester and try some of these ideas!

 

ACRL: Off the beaten path

Friday, April 12, 2013 11:00 am

I don’t want to repeat the excellent posts of my colleagues, so I’m focusing on sessions that were small, yet very engaging!

In the weeks leading up to ACRL I received emails looking for volunteers for an ACRL focus group and a Lexis/Nexis lunch session to help design a database interface. I jumped on these opportunities and was lucky enough to attend them both.

Due to plane delays on Wednesday, Susan and I arrived at the hotel around 12:45pm. I tossed my luggage in the room and raced to the 1pm ACRL focus group three blocks away. I managed to make it to the session where 9 other non-members of ACRL were participating in a focus group about ACRL and the other organizations Librarians most frequently join. The point was to reveal what we wanted from professional organizations, to discuss why we were members of some organizations and not others, and what would encourage us to join ACRL.

I learned more than I expected in this one-hour session. First, only 4 of us were ALA members, and half of the group belonged to no professional organization. The younger, newer librarians were more likely not to be members and made it clear they were not sure of the value provided by these organizations. They wanted more mentoring, help publishing and help getting on national committees and they wanted it at a lower cost. It was a very enlightening session and the moderator of the focus group did a wonderful job managing the discussion. This session reminded me what a great job ZSR (shout out to the Mentoring Committee!) does mentoring librarians.

On Thursday, I attended something called “The 2013 LexisNexis Academic Innovation Games. Our table of six librarians had a box lunch and used arts and crafts to create our ideal database (see photos). What we created was more of a “Discovery Service” by the time we were done, but we managed to developa three page list of ideas and incorporate them into our design! We wanted a search that was simple at the beginning, but with a smooth transition to more complex options as needed. It was a great exercise and a good way to meet some new people.

Tomorrow I’ll post about some creating a culture of assessment! I’m off to that session now!

list of database features and functionality

list of database features and functionality

Our database

Our database

 

SpringyCamp: November, 2012 – Focusing on User Experience: Understanding & Meeting User Needs

Thursday, November 8, 2012 4:52 pm

Springshare hosted a four hour webinar today, focusing on the user experience. Lauren Pressley, Kyle Denlinger and I participated in the first half of this multi-presentation webinar in the ZSR screening room. Springshare supplies ZSR with LibGuides and LibAnswers.

The first presentation was by Chrissa Godbout, the Library and Information Technology Consultant at Mount Holyoke College. She discussed their recent redesign of LibGuides. She and others from the Library attended a web design workshop that led them to a plan to do focus groups with students and staff. They bribed students with chocolate covered strawberries and gave participants gift cards to the Library coffee shop. Focus group participants were shown the current LibGuide and then asked to draw their ideal research guide and describe it. From this information, the librarians created categories and ranked them by occurrence.

As a result of the focus groups, they cut way back on text, used fewer and more pleasing colors and repeated the navigation tabs at the top in the body of the home page of the guide, including descriptions of each tab. They also included RSS feeds of the articles for the professors in that department. One idea they used was the “squint test” where users squint at the web page and what pops out while squinting should be where the main contain resides!

The next program, “Going Mobile: LibAnswers SMS and the Mobile Reference Librarian” was by Darcy Gervasioa Reference & Instruction Librarian at Purchase College, SUNY. She is Text Message Reference Coordinator and the liaison librarian for Anthropology, Sociology, and Gender Studies. What Purchase discovered was that students used the texting feature from inside the building for quick answers. So Darcy and the other librarians marketed the service in that way. “Can’t find a book? Text Us!”

Emily O’Connor’s presentation, “LibCal and the Open Workshop: Bolstering Attendance, One Registration at a Time” demonstrated the LibCal application and showed me that many of the services LibCal provides, such as emailing participants, we get from posting content on the PDC site.There was a “tech time” during the break that showed how LibGuides can be embedded in a school’s default Blackboard course, making the LibGuide available to a much larger audience.

Stephanie Rollins, from Samford University, presented “Using Libanalytics to Close the Assessment Loop”Samford uses LibAnalytics to close the Instruction loop. Stephanie described how she uses this system from Initial Instruction Request to Instruction Statistics to Post-Instruction Assessment.

There were two other sessions in the afternoon, but they focused on Springshare products we don’t use at ZSR. All in all it was a very effective webinar. It was clearly popular as we were initially wait-listed to participate! The more I work with Springshare, the more impressed I am with their commitment to their customers and users. I look forward to their next webinar on a new topic.

LITA Nationa Forum 2012, Concurrent Sessions

Sunday, October 7, 2012 9:48 am

Members of the LITA Forum Planning Committee also serve as moderators for the concurrent sessions. I chose to moderate the sessions that had not been claimed by other members of the planning committee, rather than choosing based on topic. This has served me well as I’ve found myself in some great sessions I probably would not have chosen on my own! I’ve described my top three sessions below:

Persona Most Grata: Invoking the User from Data to Design; Alexa Pearce, Nadaleen Tempelman-Kluit

This presentation focused on the use of personas, an idea I’ve heard about at several conferences, but what made this presentation different was the extensive use of data to create those personas. In most examples I’ve seen, the personas represented faculty, staff, student and graduate student users, but these librarians gather data from chat transcripts and looked at users across variable such as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and research or process oriented and graphed the data along an x and y axis, then made a persona around the results of each quadrant. These personas became shorthand at the library for various types of users. The advantage being that there was data behind these personas that backed up that perspective.

Digital screenmedia: Merging technologies, unifying content, May Chang, Michael Blake

This was the surprise presentation for me. It dealt with how to manage digital information screens in your library. ECU was doing the same thing we do now, updating a Powerpoint presentation, but now they use XIBO for digital signage. It allows for a web interface, has the ability for items to expire and leave the presentation automatically, and is open source! May Chang also discussed the best practices for these types of signs, telling the group that any screen within reach of the user needs to be a touch screen and any screen that is not a touch screen needs to be up high so user are not tempted to touch. Additional suggestions included minimizing the amount of text on a screen, showing slides for only ten seconds at a time and including other informative content besides events to avoid over-commercialization.

Data-driven design decisions for discovery interfaces, Erin White

Erin is always a crowd favorite, and even though her panel of three became a presentation of one, she rose to the occasion and gave a great program on using data (such as tracking “hotspots” on the screen) to make major design decision regarding discovery systems. One side discussion that came up was release dates. They released a new interface in December, much to the horror of their users. This was due to setbacks that caused a summer release to get pushed forward multiple times. Something that occasionally unavoidable.

LITA 2012 was a very productive conference for me. In addition to serving on the planning committee, I had the opportunity to moderate and hear many great sessions and facilitate three networking dinners! All in all, a successful trip! I owe Susan Smith a big thanks for letting me serve on her planning committee! Thanks, Susan!

 

LITA National Forum 2012: A Different Perspective

Friday, October 5, 2012 5:26 pm

This is my third LITA National Forum. This past year I’ve served on the planning committee for the forum that is ably chaired by Susan Smith! Serving on the planning committee has provided me with a very different perspective. This year I’m focused on serving the attendees, posting information on the LITA blog, serving as a host for networking dinners, moderating numerous sessions, and streaming the keynote speakers on theALA/LITA Ustream channel.

Trading my reference hat for my multimedia hat has been a bit of a challenge, but I like a challenge! After successfully streaming today’s session, I was able to make some changes that will make tomorrow’s streaming video even better!

Below are the LITA National Forum 2012keynote speakers and the times of their programs! Streaming video and recordings are available athttp://www.ustream.tv/channel/lita-forum

  • Eric Hellman on Friday, Oct 5th at 1pm EDT
  • Ben Shneiderman on Saturday, Oct 6th at 9am EDT
  • Sarah Houghton on Sunday, Oct 6th at 10:30am EDT

Also, check out photos of the forum via the Flickr groupPix4LITA. More to come!

 

ALA 2012 Connections Made and Missed

Wednesday, July 4, 2012 8:04 pm

I quickly found a theme for ALA 2012 in Anaheim, “Connections Made and Missed”. Like Roz, I am not enamored with Anaheim as a destination, but I found this ALA a great place to make connections. Also, like Roz, I began my ALA 2012 experience at a SAGE dinner with Elisabeth Leonard, some librarians and others from SAGE. One person from SAGE came from CQ Press. I had the opportunity to tell him how I use CQ Researcher in my Lib100 classes, showing students how the same topic in a CQ articles is often far more complete than the Wikipedia article on the same topic. I chalked up this conversation as a connection made!

My first official business came Saturday morning, serving as note taker for the LITA forum 2012 planning committee meeting. The LITA forum is October 3-7, so this was our last face to face meeting before the forum. The theme of the 2012 forum is:New World of Data: Discover. Connect. Remix. and will be held in Columbus, Ohio. OCLC is also sponsoring a free post-conference, “Innovation in Libraries 2012“, October 7-9. I’ve enjoyed working on this committee and meeting the various committee members. More connections made!

Next I had the honor of presenting for Susan at theALA panel presentation, “Reference Resurrected“, along with David Consiglio, creator of the MISO survery, and Scott Vine, Deputy College Librarian at Franklin and Marshall college. Our moderator was Barbara Petruzzelli,Director of the Curtin Memorial Library at Mount Saint Mary College. Each member of the panel had 15 minutes to present and we had many great questions following the program. I had a great time getting to know David, Scott and Barbara before and after the program, and even ran into Barbara and her family later in the week on the pier in Santa Barbara! Three more connections made!

I skipped Erin Morgenstern’s program. Her book, “The Night Circus” is a favorite of mine, but I had other things to do! Consider that a connection missed…for good reason. Instead, I attended the Alexander Street Press Breakfast. The event featuredJosh Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell, director and writer of the Sundance award-winning film,Fuel. After seeing a clip of Fuel, I’ve placed an order for all three of their films. Alexander Street Press always impresses me with these events, not only do I learn more about their amazing products, (VAST: Academic Video Online, has grown to more than 16,000 titles.) but I also learn something new from their program speaker, and we all know librarians love to learn something new!

As Roz mentioned, we spent time with, Summon, Springshare, and Mango on the vendor floor, and I took the opportunity to check out some screen shots of Proquest’s new Statistical Abstract, due out in November. It looks like this new version will be far more searchable and even include citation tools for users. I look forward to seeing it in action closer to the November release date. As usual I was intrigued by the latest furniture solutions for libraries. (I love chairs!)

Roz gave an engaging presentation at the LIRT session on Critical Thinking. It was standing room only a full 10 minutes before the presentation began!Roz’s presentation on her Junk Science exercise as a way to encourage critical thinking was a big hit! She had many questions following the program from librarians interested in her effective approach.

I skipped the Top Building Trends program (I’m a big fan of the architects at Shepley Bulfinch!) to attend the LITA Top Tech Trends program, where panelists Clifford Lynch, Stephen Abram, Nina McHale, Meredith Farkas, and Lorcan Dempsey discussed a variety of trends from structured data becoming integral to the web. (Google knowledge cards) to designing for mobile websites first. Lorcan Dempsey discussed the Future of Cataloging, saying that we are going to have a lot of structured data and it will require lots of work to be done organizing things at the level of the web, rather than at the level of the catalog.Clifford Lynch proposed that passwords are rapidly approaching the end of their useful life. Big services don’t all know how to manage passwords and the threat level just keeps going up. Check out the video link above to learn more about these and other trends!

The final program I attended was the ACRL President’s Program. As Roz mentioned, Duane Bray, Head of Global Digital Business and Partner atIDEO was the speaker. I encourage everyone to check out the video,The Future of the Book. He led off with the disclaimers that he was not a futurist and not a librarian and that he loves books. He talked about a wide variety of projects and ideas, including the first and oldest domain on the web,www.symbolics.com. He wrapped up his talk by describing six techniques for human centered forecasting

1 Observation-looking for new behaviors and needs not being met

2 Empathy-Putting yourself in others shoes is very powerful

3 Inspiration-Has soneone found the answer in a related field? This is the example of the NASCAR pit crew working like a surgical team.

4 Storytelling-Building a narrative around new ideas

5 Spaces-Space signals as a change agent, play gives people a signal new ideas are accepted

6 Prototyping-Making things tangible, a prototype can help people better see the idea you are describing.

He also discussed the power of creating an incubator for new ideas when you can’t change everything at once. The incubator is like a sandbox for trying out new things at a low level of risk. It was an amazing presentation!

Roz and I ended our ALA experience by dropping in on Sarah’s poster session. While the location may have been slightly off the beaten path, the room was packed and Sarah had a great audience!

ALA 2012 in Anaheim helped me make many new connections and gave me some great new ideas. Now I need to get busy and capitalize on those ideas!

 

 

Capture the Flag@ZSR, Take Four!

Monday, February 13, 2012 12:39 pm

On Friday, February 10th, the ZSR Library hosted its fourthCapture the Flag event! 50 students arrived at 9pm for two hours of two games of Capture the Flag and all the pizza and sodas they could consume! While smaller than our September event, this event was well attended by a great group of enthusiastic students! We made a few changes based on what we have learned from previous events. We used actual flags rather than pieces of fabric and learned the students really like waving their opponents flag after successfully stealing it! We also continued the tradition of one game with “Human Flags”. Flags that can run make for an interesting game! We also have some prizes for the winning team, boxes of girl scout cookies that proved very popular with the members of the winning team. Susan Smith took some excellent photos of the event, and Mary Beth Lock came helped us by devising and implementing a strategy for storing the player’s personal items as all the lockers were already in use by students! I also need to thank Chris Burris for his continued support of these events! Meghan Haenn, from Campus Life, joined us as well. Campus Life supported the event by purchasing pizzas a dozen pizzas for the event! Mary Scanlon dropped by to support the event and check out how it’s done as well! All in all it was a fun way to spend a Friday night and many of our students thanked us on their way out of ZSR at 11pm! Stay tuned for Humans V. Zombies on Friday, March 2nd!


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