Professional Development

In the '2011 ACRL Philadelphia' Category...

At the Table at ACRL

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 10:16 am

As you’ve now realized, there was quite a ZSR contingent at the ACRL 2011 National Conference in Philadelphia last week. I was happily among them, enjoying my third ACRL conference and first real trip to Philly (airport connections don’t count). I arrived last Tuesday afternoon, and without a doubt, my overarching personal theme for this conference was “at the table”…and this is beyond all the great food I enjoyed!

My ACRL started Wednesday with a day-long curriculum planning retreat for the ARL-ACRL Institute on Scholarly Communication faculty. Although I am not an ISC faculty presenter, I was invited to attend the planning retreat as one of the ACRL SC 101 Road Show presenters. Being at the table with 13 others who are doing work similar to mine at various-sized institutions across North America was enlightening and energizing, and I’m still somewhat awed that I was asked to be at that table. After the retreat, I headed to the opening keynote address by filmmaker Tiffany Shlain. Although I cringed when she said that she now only looks online for archival footage for her documentaries, as I know there’s wonderful clips hidden away in archives worldwide, her perspective on accessibility and sharing were interesting. I also liked how she incorporated both video and still images into her slides. I completed my first day by meeting up with ZSR colleagues around three different tables in three different locations to share good food and great laughs.

Thursday found me at the table with several different vendors. My day started early with a SerialsSolutions vendor breakfast where I was introduced to Summon, a very cool search product that Roz discussed in her vendor post. I remember the early days of federated searching while in grad school, and while I could see the promise, the system I tried was clunky, ultimately proving frustrating for its inability to deliver the promise that was so clear. I was encouraged to see that Summon seems to solve those early problems. Feeling positive about vendors post-breakfast, I headed to the exhibit hall for a meeting with a BioMed Central representative to learn more about BMC institutional memberships and Springer’s open access initiatives – promising, but I’ll believe some of it only when I see it. After a disappointing morning session on virtues of “next gen” librarians – all of which I think should be virtues of any professional, regardless of age – and Roz’s fun Cyber Zed Shed session on QR codes, Mary Beth and I headed to an ebrary vendor luncheon to discuss ebooks. Conversation was honest, and driven primarily by suggestions from the librarians in attendance, although if ebrary plans to act on the desires expressed, they have a somewhat tall order ahead! My afternoon found me surveying tables in the Reading Market Terminal as I strolled through after lunch, catching up with a fellow Emerging Leader at a table at the back of the exhibit hall, and sitting on the floor behind a table at a maxed-out session on the Google Books Settlement. I did not hear anything new at the GBS discussion, but was encouraged by how many folks are actively engaged with digital access issues for in-copyright and orphaned books and picked up the Library Copyright Alliance’s updated GBS March Madness chart. My last official conference activity of the day was Raj Patel‘s awesome keynote, where I was thrilled to hear him acknowledging and championing the under-documented and uncompensated roles that women and girls play in our food economy. The evening’s events once again found me in the fun company of our ZSR colleagues, enjoying great food, Da Vinci’s brilliance, and fun music, sometimes on steps and sometimes around tables.

My Friday at ACRL was scholarly communication-intensive, with multiple sessions and conversations that touched upon the varied issues that fall under the broad SC umbrella. I was quite encouraged by the size of the crowd at an 8:30 session on why SC issues are important to non-ARL libraries. I had a very productive meeting around a tiny table at Old City Coffee with my co-presenter and one of our hosts for an upcoming Road Show in Minneapolis, after which Sarah (my co-presenter) and I headed to a three paper presentation on copyright lies retractions in biomedical publications, and the results of an SC survey. I nodded in agreement with many of the points raised by the authors of the paper on biomedical retractions, as they are a small but concerning problem. (Incidentally, this issue, especially how news media doesn’t always cover the retractions with nearly as much fanfare, is a great conversation starter for LIB 100 classes!) I also want to learn more about the copyright survey distributed to faculty and library staff at the University of Minnesota, as I’d be curious to see if a similar survey at WFU highlighted the same lies. My lunch was delayed in order to join a roundtable discussion on “Fostering a Culture of Sharing on Campus” that pulled together SC, copyright and institutional repository librarians for a fascinating conversation about engaging our faculty and students on SC issues. This roundtable led to an instructive spill-over conversation on the merits of copyright registration for ETDs, and the role of fair use and uncopyrightability of works reproduced within ETDs. Recharged after a late lunch and reflection break, I ended my SC-themed day at an invited paper, “Animating Archives: New Modes of Humanities Scholarship,” that had been commended by one of the ISC faculty at our retreat on Wednesday. Tara McPherson’s work is pushing the boundaries of what journals and books are and can be in digital forms, and I would love to see some of our WFU humanists involved in similar projects in the future. Following an ULS social, which was conveniently in a sports bar so I could easily keep tabs on the Opening Day baseball games (my beloved Red Sox have not started well, sigh), I ended Friday at the All Conference Reception at the National Constitution Center, where I eschewed both the museum exhibit and the table conversation in favor of twirling around the dance floor for a couple of hours!

Saturday’s tables all involved meals with ZSR colleagues as we wrapped up our ACRL experience and trekked home down I-95. Before leaving Philly, I managed one final trip to Reading Terminal Market for breakfast, a session on archiving considerations of born-digital materials, an intense monitoring of conference tweets (whereby I frustratingly realized that despite the interesting content of my session, I wish I’d been at the opposite end of the convention center in a different session…), and the closing keynote by Clinton Kelly, who was quite engaging…perhaps I should watch his show so I’ll be less out of the pop-culture loop?!

All in all, my ACRL experience was energizing, sending me home with new perspectives and ideas. Interestingly, there were fewer blatantly overarching SC sessions, which leads me to speculate – and hope! – that SC issues, which range from publishing to archiving to digital exploration to copyright law to innovation, are assimilating as fundamental issues around which enough interest has been built to require more targeted, specific sessions on the myriad aspects. If so, that would certainly echo and reinforce much of the conversation at the table where my ACRL began.

Roz at ACRL: Vendor News

Monday, April 4, 2011 6:26 pm

So many of you know that I love a vendor floor so I thought I’d post four notable vendor events/news/product things from ACRL. By no means all of the vendors I spoke to or heard from, but these were the ones that stick out in my mind:

Summon Breakfast

Serials Solutions’ discovery tool is called ‘Summon.’ The idea of these discovery tools is that they pre-index information from all of your databases, your catalog, IR, and other sources (they recently added Hathi Trust records) and you use one search box to search all of your content. Villanova (home of vuFind) has even integrated it with VuFind as the front end. I first saw Summon two years ago when they announced it and it has improved significantly since then. They take all the metadata that exists for an item and create one uber-record. So if one database has institution, one has added authors, one has keywords, one has full text, one has citation mapping, then all of that goes into one master record for the item. Very powerful and they are becoming the standard for most large research universities. The main competition for Summon is Ebsco’s Discovery Service (as you might imagine). Susan and I spoke with our rep at the Serials Solutions booth and they are going to come give us a demo in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned!!

Sage Research Methods Online

Sage has a new product called ‘Sage Research Methods Online‘ where they have brought together books, encyclopedias and journal articles on research methods into a pretty snappy little online product. Mary Beth and I sat through a demo of it in their booth on Thursday and then they had a panel at breakfast on Friday where various faculty and librarians discussed issues with research methods and how they incorporated SRMO into their classes. I have a hard time telling if it would be a useful tool for us, but luckily we will get to find out because I won a 1-year subscription to it at the breakfast. When it is up and running (this summer) we will get Sage to come demo it and have some training/info sessions for faculty who might use it. I will keep you posted.

Sage Product Innovation Panel

On Friday I sat in on what turned out to be a lightening round of sorts from Sage where editors presented ideas for new products and the library panel gave feedback. In 90 minutes we were presented with 12 new ideas ranging from an iPhone app for engineers (not so relevant here) to a new statistical database on the US states (VERY relevant). It was such fun to hear how they are thinking and to see how similar and different our needs are from other institutions.

Gallup World View

So Gallup, the public opinion folks, have a new database called Gallup WorldView. They have spent the last five years going into every country on the planet and asking at least 1000 people each year a series of public opinion questions. And they have turned this into a very promising database. International public opinion is hard to come by (especially in English) so this product really excited me. I see two problems with it, neither one deal breakers, but they make we want to see if they improve them. First, they don’t ask every single country the same set of questions so some question data is not available for some countries. Second, you can’t pick a country and get the entire list of questions from that country. But I think they will remedy that soon. Included in the database is a good deal of US public opinion data as well. Worth watching.

Final Day at ACRL

Saturday, April 2, 2011 11:06 pm

Every so often, maybe once a decade, I hear a presentation at a conference that profoundly affects my thinking. The first was in 1985 at the Medical Library Association conference in New York. Leland Kaiser, health care futurist, predicted the current health care financing crisis due to the outdated fee-for-service model, but what affected me most was his folksy saying, “it is the job of the shoe to fit the foot; not the job of the foot to fit the shoe.” This led to my evolving philosophy of “it’s not about us, all about them” and our mission to help our users succeed.

At the 1995 ACRL National Conference in Pittsburgh, I heard a brilliant paper by Saskia Sassen on global cities and the centrality of place, which helped to explain why humans choose to be together, even if they are alone in a crowd, which we see every day in the ZSR atrium as part of the “library as place” phenomenon.

Today, I heard a paper that may be in that class. Not quite sure yet, I need to digest it some more. Jaron Lanier was introduced as a computer scientist, composer, visual artist and author. He warned libraries not to bring about the same fate as the music industry when the intellectual property wars led to the destruction of both industry moguls and artists/performers. When we promote access to speech as widely, freely and openly as possible, then we demystify the magic of the book and the mystique of authorship that has kept it special and viable for so long. People fall in love with things they have to work for. If things are too easy, they are not valued. Part of the historical respect that libraries have enjoyed and one reason they have been successful in promoting the democratization of information is the elite nature of their content and the access that is hard-won. There is value to the inconvenience ritual that is not appreciated until it is gone, like the music industry.

He says giants like Google and Facebook do not allow a level playing field. They have made the investment that is prohibitive to replicate and they are doing to information what the bankers and hedge fund managers have done to finance.They own both ends of the process and can pull money out without risk, which defeats capitalism and destroys the middle class.

The most disquieting thing he said was that we, the users of Google and Facebook are not the customers, we are the product. We are what is sold to others in the form of monetized access between people in the guise of advertising.

He advises that the future of the academic library is not to make things too open and easy, but to become ever more personal (ala Kaiser and Sassen) while at the same time recognizing the connections between technologically heterogeneous data that no one else without our particular view of the world can see.

Need to chew on this some more.

Susan’s ACRL Day Two With a Little Day One Spillover

Saturday, April 2, 2011 9:20 am

Philadelphia Conference Center

Day Two offered another full day of sessions and since everyone here from ZSR seems to have embraced Roz’s theme approach to reporting, I’ll roll in my unreported day one stuff into this post. One of my themes has been distance education because our workgroup is putting together a plan to ready us for when DE arrives at Wake. It is a topic that surfaced in many sessions, even ones where it wasn’t the main topic. I attended two panel discussions on DE: Fostering Library as Place for Distance Students and Going the Distance: A Closer Look at Uniting with Remote Users. One of my big take aways from both of these is that UNCG’s Beth Filar-Williams was on both panels, alerting me to the fact that we have a great resource person right in our back yard! You can see from the presentation slides (linked to the session titles) that she is a very pro-active DE coordinator for UNCG which has a very hybrid model with varied populations of distance students. They have 950 purely distance students but plenty of others who do some classes online. An interesting fact is that all new instructors to UNCG are told they will be teaching online at some level.

Lynn reported on data curation, which is another hot topic these days. In fact, I had suggested it as a topic for a future special issue of JWL (Journal of Web Librarianship) and Erik and I are going to do a summer project to look at existing data sources. So I jumped on the opportunity to go to the panel session Roles for Librarians in Research Data Curation. Different institutions are taking different approaches and it was reflected in the titles of the various speakers: Data Research Scientist, Research Data Project Librarian, Digital Repository Librarian, and Research Data and Environment Sciences Librarian. After reviewing the literature, they distilled the roles for librarians in this field down to behavioral scientist (one who understands the needs of the researcher), advocate (one who articulates the value proposition, does best practice training, develops standards, markets services to users), broker (a concierge who works with other units to provide services), and the more traditional library focus of collection builder (maintains awareness of research on campus to get researchers to deposit data and provide long term custodial preservation and access).

Another of my conference themes has been about the impact and value of academic libraries to the larger institution. So the session that was to present a new ACRL report on the environmental scan that is done every two years was a pull for me. Unfortunately, it was also a big pull for too many other people, so the room was packed and I ended up perched on a corner shelf for the duration. The convener was surprised so many people came and had only prepared 25 copies of the report draft, which wasn’t quite final even though the purpose of the session was to present the final findings. But they promise it will be out in the next couple of weeks. Instead, faculty from the Drexel ischool made some remarks about themes they found in the report’s draft:

  • transforming librarians as well as the library. Traditionally we have been seen as those that serve. It’s time to think about ourselves as leaders in the academy, among those that make things happen
  • Higher education is a business so what can we do to contribute to the student experience to help them choose to come to our school and to stay there? (right on my theme of impact and value!)
  • Assessment and accountability, coupled with outcome based approaches
  • Partnerships. Libraries are the places for building communities. We should think of ourselves as mentors/coaches and reach out as being the place where there is cross-disciplinary intersection in a Switzerland-like (neutral) environment.
  • Simplify. It’s time to work seriously on how we can make it easier for our users to get what they need.
  • Building the profession and looking to the future. There are major demographic changes in higher education and we need to reflect that diversity. We also need to figure out how to compete with other professions to attract the best and the brightest.

I will continue to anticipate the actual report so that I can see how they tied in these themes for myself!

The rain finally let up a bit in the late afternoon, so I grabbed my camera and headed out for some fresh air and photo opportunities. My main destination was Love Park, which is named after the replica LOVE statue that is there.
LOVE Sculpture

From there, I spotted the Philadelphia Museum of Art “just down the street” so hiked there (it was a bit further than I thought!) to run up the stairs that were made famous in the Rocky movies!

Philadelphia Museum of Art

I had to double-time it back to the hotel to meet up with my fellow ZSR conference colleagues for the ULS social, followed by the ACRL All Conference Reception, which was held at the Constitution Museum. I’ll end with one final picture and challenge you to find two of our colleagues in it!
 at the ACRL All Conference Reception

A Long Friday at ACRL

Friday, April 1, 2011 11:01 pm

I just got back from the ACRL All Conference Reception at the National Constitution Center. Whew, it’s been a long day. For whatever reason, today’s sessions were much more crowded than yesterday. Either there were fewer sessions and the same number of people or more people for the same number of sessions.

Since Copyright seems to be one of my themes, I attended two sessions today. Both of the speakers had spoken up at the Google Book Settlement discussion yesterday, so I knew they would be good. Nancy Sims from Minnesota did a study determining that faculty really didn’t know much about copyright and what they did know was generally wrong. There is an opportunity for librarians to guide them and the best way to get their attention is to appeal to their self-interests about their own rights. Jim Neal gave his second presentation of the conference with the provocative title “Fair Use is not Civil Disobedience” and generally challenged librarians to get some guts and not give away fair use as a defense against infringement. He is right when he says that we should not try to define it too exactly because it becomes narrower each time we do. He cited the Rule of Five as one example of a floor becoming a ceiling very quickly. He closed with a quote from Emerson: “Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.” Amen.

All of us are finding that Discovery is a theme of this conference. Summon seems to be the product with which people are least unhappy, if that means anything. I asked Susan and Roz to stop by the booth to check it out.

Like Roz, Susan and Mary Beth, I attended a number of sessions examining new models of reference. Each example has its own local features and flavors but there are areas of similarity as well. All are pretty much agreed that face-to-face reference encounters are on the decline and therefore creative minds are encouraged to take a look at what might better serve user needs.

I also attended two data curation programs. Even though Wake Forest does not have the strong research agenda that other universities have, we do have researchers with data management needs. Molly and I have been following the NSF guidelines that impose new requirements on grantees and will keep working with the Research Office and faculty to figure out what is best for Wake.

And then because this is ACRL, for the sheer fun of it I attended a session on “The Ancient Library of Alexandria: Embracing the Excellent, Avoiding its Fate.” Extolling Greek culture, damning the Romans, what a great way to spend 20 minutes…

Susan’s ACRL Day One

Friday, April 1, 2011 11:15 am

The first day of this conference was jam-packed from early morning to midnight. This year I took a more disciplined approach to the programming than I usually do, so I had charted out my day’s plan of action. The logistics of this particular conference location made it easy to execute since our hotel is connected to the conference center and all the events and programming are taking place here.

The day started with a Serials Solution breakfast (it was hard on my low carb diet plan). I left before the end so that I could attend my first session of the day, Mashup or Crashup? This session was about two projects, at Emory and Georgia Tech, to consolidate merged service desks. Both schools aimed to consolidate their circulation and reference service desks and it was interesting to hear the comparison between the two approaches. One interesting difference was the way they planned to staff the new desk. At Georgia Tech, a driving force was to get librarians off the desk, yet they also made a decision not to use student assistants, because they did not think this would assure a minimum acceptable service level. At Emory, librarians stayed on the desk for 3-4 hours weekly as they feel it is an important way to gather “customer intelligence”. They had different approaches to the actual desk. Emory did simulations to test various pre manufactured options, while Georgia Tech has selected a custom millwork solution. One of the interesting aspects of this session was their use of polling via texting using Polleverywhere.com.

Mashup or Crashup?

Both schools involved their students in the planning process through things like forums and surveys. They shared their training plan and implementation process. It was a good session to get ideas of how we might think of a consolidation project when the time comes!

ACRL has a track for contributed papers, and I enjoyed hearing two of them: ” Helping the hand that feeds you: supporting the research needs of campus executive officers” and “The Budgetary Importance of Building Relationships.” I’ve linked to both presentations so you can get the details. Both of these presentations have to do with the importance of politics and relationship building in creating value for the library and securing resources.

I have another vendor to thank for my next meal of the day, Ebsco puts on a big event (with another high carb menu). The product they were highlighting is the addition of Netlibrary to their lineup.

I had looked with anticipation at my first afternoon session which was a panel discussion about the recent ACRL Value of Academic Libraries report. I had studied the report last fall as I was doing some of my classwork at UNCG. The report aims to raise awareness of the need for academic librarians to become contributors to campus conversations on accountability and impact. The report “identifies the research documenting library impact that exists and where gaps occur in research about the performance of academic libraries”. The scope of the report is to provide

  • A clear view of the current state of the literature on value of libraries within an institutional context
  • Suggestions for immediate “next steps” in the demonstration of academic library value, and
  • A “research agenda” for articulating academic library value.

It strives to help librarians understand, based on professional literature, the current answer to the question, “how does the library advance the missions of the institution?”

During this session researcher Megan Oakleaf highlighted important areas of the report, particularly 4 specific recommendations out of the more than 20 in the full report:

  1. Define outcomes
  2. Where possible, use existing data (do a data audit)
  3. Develop systems to collect data on individual library user behavior, while maintaining privacy
  4. Generate data that “plays well” with assessment management systems.

Lisa Hinchliffe (ACRL president who recently visited ZSR for the award presentation) talked about what administrators can do to get positioned to make the paradigm switch from assessing use to assessing impact and outcomes.

  • Communicate assessment needs and results to library stakeholders
  • Use evidence-based decision making
  • Create confidence in library assessment efforts
  • Dedicate assessment personnel and training
  • Foster environments that encourage creativity and risk taking
  • Integrate library assessment within library planning, budget and reward structures
  • Ensure that assessment efforts have requisite resources

I think the report offers lots of food for thought in regards to helping determine what to do to assess our impact and to measure our value.

This image gives my impression of the post sessions. They are well attended, too well IMHO as I had trouble getting close enough to talk to the presenter or see the poster:

MB at the Poster Session

I’ve gone way past my self-imposed posting limit and have not finished sharing Day One. But it’s time to head to the next session, so I’ll post this and pick up another post later!

Giz ACRL Thursday

Friday, April 1, 2011 10:19 am

This is my first ACRL and I’m enjoying the size (smaller than ALA) and the focus (almost every program is relevant in some way!) I’ll try to convey the great energy at this conference in my blog post, but I’m sure I can’t do it justice.

I’ve always liked Roz’s theme approach to conference blogging, so I’ll try to frame my posts on a few themes. My first theme is “Doing it Better”. I started the day at the Poster Sessions and Exhibits Hall. Both offered me some new ideas. First, I saw several posters use QR codes (which Roz discussed in her Cyber Zed Shed program) that allowed me to quickly and easily gather information about the presentation in an electronic format. This came in very handy in a crowded venue where poster viewing was a challenge. I also saw some uses of LibGuides as a way to create mobile browser ready content (now I just need to figure out how to leverage that feature of LibGuides!) and I saw a new version of the ScanPro software for our microtext Reader that should make life even easier for our users of microtext. (I’ll be installing that free upgrade on our ScanPro station next week!) Throughout the conference I keep jotting down ideas to improve my teaching and technology skills.

Another theme was “The Embedded Librarian”. As I find more and more opportunities to be embedded in my role as an Instruction and Outreach Librarian, I’ve become more interested in this theme. One session in particular compared the virtual embedded librarian to the librarian physically embedded in a program at McMaster University. Both were very effective, but it was clear the virtually embedded librarian, available through a learning management system like Sakai or Blackboard, could reach far more students than a physically embedded librarian, thus reaching more students. What was unclear was if the physically embedded librarian was more effective based on the face to face contact. I think the real take away here is that no matter how you embed, the point is getting the users what they need when they need it in whatever format works.

“Outreach” was another theme that appeared (and is very appropriate for an “Instruction and Outreach Librarian” One presentation that was of particular interest to me was “Unraveling the Mystery of the Library: A ‘Big Games’ Approach to Library Orientation” Librarians at Lycoming College, a private liberal arts college held a library “mystery” game during freshman orientation that introduced students to the library as space and to some of the library’s services and collections, while staying fun and simple.

Char Booth’s “The Librarian as Situated Educator: Instructional Literacy and Participation in Communities of Practice” was a compelling session. She discussed the four elements of Instructional Literacy: reflective practice, educational theory, teaching technologies and instructional design.

Here is some Raj Patel video. Roz was right, he was an incredible keynote! Hearing him explain how a $1 hamburger has a real cost of over $200 was an “A-HA” moment for me!

The conference schedule and links to posted articles and presentations can be found here!

Roz ACRL Thursday

Thursday, March 31, 2011 10:27 pm

I usually do conference ‘theme’ posts and I’m still figuring out what my themes will be (spaces and discovery most likely) but for now I’ll mention a few things from today. Breakfast was hosted by Serials Solutions and included presentations from three libraries using Summon, their discovery service. I know it’s not perfect, but each time I look into it I am more and more impressed. Joe Lucia from Villanova, who has brought Summon results into their Vufind instance, likened the adoption of these services as a deal with the devil that at the moment is necessary. He meant that until libraries can create an open source version of the kind of service that Summon provides, we do a disservice to our users by not seriously considering their benefits. More on this in my theme post, I’m sure.

I attended an interesting but brief session on people using podcasts as an assessment tool in a for-credit information literacy class. They had them do a brief podcast about their research strategies on day two of the class and again on the next to the last day. Then they had them listen back to both and reflect on them. They found that there were some deep learning outcomes that came through via this exercise and I am intrigued by its possibilities for giving us an additional window into our own classes and their benefits.

My presentation today on looking for the tipping point in the QR Code evolution was well attended and well received (or it seemed to be, anyway). Several people tweeted about it and others have stopped me in the hallways to say they enjoyed it so I consider that a success. I find QR Codes a fascinating but a ‘not quite there yet’ tool for libraries not because we aren’t doing cool things with them, but because we don’t yet have a saturation of QR Code users on our campuses. And alas, I don’t think libraries will be the application of QR codes that tip them into general use, but once they tip – I think we have some real opportunities.

I’ll save a great session I attended on renovations in service areas for my space planning theme post and just mention that Raj Patel, our keynote this afternoon, was beyond amazing. Patel is an economist, theorist, advocate, protester and so much more that it is hard to condense what he said into a few sentences. The main theme of his talk was the interdependence that we all know we have but seldom acknowledge. The talk spanned food politics, Cuban agricultural practices, women’s unpaid labor, the REAL price of a hamburger and so much more. I’m hoping they will post it online and we can schedule a staff development activity for those who want to watch it. He’s an amazing thinker and speaker and it will take me a while to absorb all that he discussed.

The evening ended with a lovely reception at the Franklin Institute where we got to see a great Leonardo da Vinci exhibit which astounds and at the same time makes you feel intellectually lazy. We then got to watch a librarian band of musicians play. Tomorrow I spend the morning with Sage looking at their new Sage Research Methods Online products and then some great sessions in the afternoon. More later!

Lynn’s Thursday at ACRL

Thursday, March 31, 2011 5:49 pm

It is a good thing librarians are organized because you really needed to be organized to choose from the hundreds of programs available at ACRL today.

I started off at 8:00 am with a session on Return on Investment (ROI) and other ways to demonstrate the value of a library to its community. Jim Neal of Columbia likes to poke a finger in the eye of the latest library fads, so he took off on the insanity of ROI and focused instead on the need for new qualitative measures of academic library success. He posits it is foolish to put library value in economic terms and prefers qualitative measures to embrace human objectives like happiness and satisfaction. Interestingly, the next two speakers in the panel attempted to demonstrate the quantitative ROI that Jim railed against. The University of Colorado tried to demonstrate the value of their collections as they support campus initiatives and George Mason University discussed new metrics for engagement. (Engagement is a hot buzzword here. I wonder if it showed up in the word cloud that Roz did of ACRL topics.)

I attended my first instance of an “unconference.” I’ve read about them but never experienced one. I like it. At ACRL, they call it IdeaPower. What impressed me most was the give and take with the audience. There were 6 minutes each for presentation and feedback. My favorite session was on the therapy dog project during exams at St. Louis University (Tufts did one too). They both said they got better feedback on this from students than anything else they had ever done. If we are careful to keep them contained in one room for those with allergies, I’d love to do it at Wake. Pet the puppies!

I attended a session done by former colleagues at Wayne State on “Cultivating the fully engaged librarian.” There’s that engagement thing again. Seems like every liaison program has the same issues: time management and the need to creatively engage on all fronts with academic departments.

Roz did a great job on QR Codes at the Cyber Zed Shed (ACRL needs to lose that session name). She didn’t just do a how-to, but analyzed the current state and looked ahead to the future. Way to go, Roz.

I got some ideas on the session where Western Michigan discussed VuFind vis-à-vis their Summon installation. I’m starting to warm up to Summon.

A late entry to the program was “Google Book Search: What Comes Next?” after Judge Denny Chin rejected the proposed settlement last Tuesday when we were celebrating our ACRL award. Jonathan Band’s “March Madness” chart has been updated for you copyright junkies out there (I know it’s a little fuzzy. Susan has promised to give me photography lessons before I go to Liberia):

Coming up tonight: dinner with my niece who works in Philly and then Joe Lucia from Villanova and his musical group “MARC Fields and Bad Data.” I am not making this up.

Susan Arrives at ACRL Philadelphia

Thursday, March 31, 2011 6:58 am

Curious Conference Goers in the Exhibit Hall

As you probably have read in Giz’s earlier post, we spent the day traveling in the library van from Winston-Salem to Philadelphia to attend the 2011 ACRL conference. It was a great trip, with computing productivity thanks to Giz’s wifi hotspot, frequent brainstorming for future library projects and just plain good conversation. If you are ever traveling, you can’t go wrong teaming up with Giz, Roz and Mary Beth.

But we didn’t arrive in Philadelphia until around 4:00 pm. By the time we checked into the hotel and found our way over to registration, we were too late to hear the opening keynote speaker. But we did manage to attend the opening reception for the exhibit hall, where we made a beeline to the Alibris booth to find Bill. We also rounded up Molly and then headed for an early dinner. We also managed to spend a block of time mapping out the sessions we want to attend so we all cover as many as possible. The programming at ACRL is very rich with a wide variety of topics and a wide range of time slots. I’ve got my calendar fairly well set for tomorrow, where I start with a vendor breakfast and then jump right into a full day of programs. I’ll report on them tomorrow evening, so look for it!

PS….At ACRL, you can depend on running in to old colleagues and friends. I’ve already met up with Sherry Durren (former Science Librarian at ZSR) and Debbie Nolan (former Associate Dean). They both sent their regards to the folks back at ZSR. Just to highlight how time flies…..Debbie told me she is now into her fifth year at Towson!


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