Professional Development

In the 'Conferences' Category...

MB’s March Conference travels (or From Abu Dhabi to Portland in 78 hours) in pictures and words

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 1:16 pm

Mary Scanlon, Mary Krautter (from UNCG) and I had the astute pleasure of presenting at the 21st Annual Conference and Exhibition of Special Library Association Arabian Gulf Chapter. The three of us did both a workshop on Developing an Entrepreneurial Culture in Libraries, and a presentation on Entrepreneurship in Libraries: Transforming Library Services. We were approached last July by email in what, I admit, I initially thought of just trashing because it was just so extraordinary to get an email from a representative of this conference across the world asking us to do them the honor of presenting at their conference. But after doing our due diligence, we began to prepare for this amazing opportunity. The representative who invited us, Mohamed Mubarak, was a most gracious host, and was anxious that everything be perfect for our presentation and our stay.

Mary Krautter, Mohamed Mubarak, Mary Beth Lock and Mary Scanlon

Mary Krautter, Mohamed Mubarak, Mary Beth Lock and Mary Scanlon

The workshop, held on Monday, March 16, was a pre-conference session attended by just 6 people. However, the small size allowed for a great deal of engagement and conversation. They were very interested in our presentation. All of the attendees were from special libraries, and interestingly, all of them did work related to tourism, either from post secondary schools that had programs that emphasized in tourism and hospitality, or from the government’s Department of Tourism and Culture. (We did note repeatedly that they take their hospitality very seriously in the United Arab Emirates.) While we carefully constructed our message owing to what we perceived as a more restrictive environment, we were delighted to learn that great strides had been made to increase transparency across the UAE. Their’s is a model that will go through growing pains for awhile, but there were definite signs of a relaxing of the rules to allow more entrepreneurial ideas and methodologies to take root.

Mary Scanlon at the Entrepreneurial Librarian workshop

Mary Scanlon at the Entrepreneurial Librarian workshop

The next morning, at the opening keynote, the themes of the conference became apparent as Dr. Essa AlBastaki, the President of Dubai University spoke about the need for expanding the economy beyond one that hinges entirely on the availability of oil. He mentioned the value of entrepreneurship and the importance of supporting it several times in his speech. We listened to this, (and other keynote speeches) through a simultaneous translator. This was also an interesting experience, and was again indicative of the hospitality extended to non-Arabic speakers. They were well prepared and willing to do whatever was necessary to make us feel welcome.

Our presentation was the afternoon of the first day. The session started a little late (we learned of what we termed the “elasticity of time” in the UAE) but the session was well attended and again they expressed a great deal of interest on advancing entrepreneurship in their libraries. Many people after the presentation came up to gather business cards and the questions posed in the Q&A indicated a deep understanding of the content. It was thrilling!

Mary Beth Lock presenting on Entrepreneurial  Librarianship

Mary Beth Lock presenting on Entrepreneurial Librarianship

Other presentations I attended included one with Rick Anderson from Utah University on e-books and the challenges of PDA models for ebook acquisition, and Lisa Hinchcliffe, from the University of Illinois on assessing the impact of information literacy education. I also caught up with former colleague Vanessa Middleton, who now works in Abu Dhabi in the Petroleum Institute, and she presented on how to develop better relationships between libraries and vendors.

Mary Beth and Vanessa Middleton

 

So aside from the occasional use of a translator, the issues in libraries are much the same the world over. That, I think, is the best takeaway of all.

Interested staff members from ZSR will be able to see many more photos (including non-conference photos) at a staff development session coming soon.

After a very brief turn around time, (arriving home Saturday morning at 3am and then leaving for the airport on Tuesday morning at 9am) I went to nearly the opposite side of the globe to attend ACRL in Portland, OR. The time difference between Abu Dhabi and Portland is 11 hours, so it is very nearly the opposite side of the world and the opposite side of the clock. (I can’t tell you how important coffee is to one’s body in this situation.) I attended the Ithaka S+R session that Roz already ably blogged about. I also was in the very enlightening and, frankly, inspiring session on Wellness and how libraries can impact wellness on campus that Susan wrote about.

I went to a session with three different library perspectives on emergency planning where I picked up this gem which unites my desire for simple signage, humor, and emergency planning.

In Case of Fire, Exit Building Before Tweeting About It

 

I attended two other sessions that were all about ebooks and their influence on researchers. One, entitled “STEM Users Prefer Ebooks. . . Or Do they?” provided a qualitative and quantitative study conducted at a large academic library which challenged the assumption that ebooks are welcomed, or at least not held in disdain, by the hard Sciences and Math researchers. Their assessment was very thorough and raised a lot of questions, not the least of which is that more assessment is needed. I had a meet up with the other “Assessment in Action” project coordinators who were at various stages of completing the research leg of their 18 month long assessment. Our final presentations are due at ALA in San Francisco. That is when I will be blogging next.

It was quite the whirlwind, (21 days of travel total) but now I’m glad to be back on Eastern time and home for a while. While I wouldn’t recommend it, neither would I give up the opportunity to do it again if the opportunity presented itself!

 

 

 

 

Roz @ ACRL 2015 in Portland

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 10:53 am

First of all, Portland is AWESOME. Great food, drinks (read local beers) and Powell’s City of Books where I literally could have spent a week and never been bored – my to-read list doubled. I love ACRL as a conference – it is such a great break from ALAs where I am bogged down in committee/section work and where the sessions are so extensive that they are overwhelming. This conference is always full of people to get great ideas from and a high percentage of relevant sessions to attend.

I will try to summarize my ACRL in Portland by hitting the main takeaways I got. If anyone wants more information on any of these sessions I have copious notes. I do like to do themes and at this ACRL I really took away ideas around two themes:

  • Listening to users
  • Going beyond the library

Listening to Our Users

Mary Beth and I started our conference even before the conference started with a Wednesday pre-conference talk by IThaka S+R about their faculty survey of research practices. They do this survey of faculty across the world every three years and are about to launch their next one in fall 2015. But any institution that wants to do a local version of their faculty can do that (for a fee, of course) and get back their results and benchmarks against the national survey results. The survey consists of the Core National Questionnaire which includes questions on:

  • Discovery and access
  • Scholarly communications
  • Research practices including data curation
  • Student research skills
  • Role of the library

Then schools can add additional optional modules – up to three

  • Digital research activities
  • Undergraduate instruction
  • Graduate instruction
  • Online learning and MOOCs
  • Library space planning
  • Library market research
  • Servicing clinicians & health scientists

MB and I found this idea very appealing as it could provide us much needed data on what our faculty do in their research and how they use our resources. We and will be discussing with the Assessment committee.

Known item searching in Summon, Google, Google Scholar (contributed paper)

Known item searching is still a problem with discovery tools – so many unexpected results frustrate users who are just trying to find that one thing. This study used Summon search logs for a semester – 35% of the searches were for known items — looked at 278 searches that they then re-executed the searches in all three search tools – Summon, Google and Google Scholar.

  • Google won over Google Scholar and Summon
  • Summon had 76% relevant results while 24% were partially relevant or not relevant
  • Worst performing searches in Summon
    • Partial citation searching – title & author for example
    • Only 6% used quotes but those who did returned relevant results
    • Formatted citation searches were also bad where they just pasted a whole citation in the search box
  • Need to teach them to be better searchers – explaining the why
  • Stop complaining about lazy search habits – empathize and instruct
  • Take away: The search logs in Summon can give excellent insights into how our users area actually using the service and can inform how we teach students to use it

How Students Really Search (Contributed paper)

This study recorded one hour research sessions of actual students (11) doing actual research for a paper. They used software to record what the students did. Here’s what they learned:

  • Students have different definitions of the ‘one search’ box (discovery search box on library home page)
  • Students don’t know what to do with keywords even when they have been taught
  • Only using limits in the search results to do language and full-text limiting
  • Don’t use quotes appropriately
  • Don’t understand the link resolver ‘get it at….’ (ours is WFU Full Text Options) –They think they have to come into library.
  • When something (a link resolver link, or a database link) breaks one time they think it breaks all the time. They give up.
  • Would not pursue an article even if it sounds good – they don’t have time
  • “Shocking secrets of the student researcher” – presentation to faculty – showed them the videos – that finally made the faculty understand that they need to teach this more
  • changed text of the link “get it online or in print” – will see how that works
  • Abstract without article they think of as bait and switch – have to explain how for faculty that is good information
  • Take away: Students (and I suspect faculty, too) are busy and unforgiving – we need things to work right a high percentage of the time if we hope to keep them using our resources. Teaching them quick easy ways to be better searchers can help with that.

 

How Do Students Use Video in Higher Education

So this was actually a vendor presentation given by former ZSR librarian Elisabeth Leonard who is now head of market research for Sage/CQ Press. She has been traveling around the last year talking to students and faculty about how they use video in their teaching and their research in an effort to help Sage as they start to produce video-based products. She has written two white papers, one on student use of video and one on faculty use of video. This presentation was on the student side of things. I will link to it below but the big takeaways from her presentation were

  • Students tend to use video in small chunks (3-10 minutes at a time)
  • Students are often looking for videos that help them understand concepts in a better/different way.
  • Students really appreciate engaging speakers and data visualizations.
  • Students don’t necessarily think of the library as a source of video content unless the faculty point them to our resources.

http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/press/2015/mar/16.htm

Going Beyond the Library

Bill Badke Talk

One of the breakfast sessions I attended was to hear Bill Badke speak. Those who have been around Information literacy discussion know Bill’s name – he’s been around for a long time and is the author of Research Strategies – one of the primary textbooks on doing research, now in it’s 5th edition. His talk was full of great insights like “the web is anarchy being watched by a poorly-schooled sheepdog called the database” and “we need to make sure that students understand that expertise and experience mean something when looking at authority – loud voices are not necessarily accurate ones.” He talked a lot about how a new kind of dark age is coming – not because of the dearth of information but due to an overabundance of information and we don’t know what to do with it. He noted that the belief that technology will solve the information literacy gaps in students is unfounded. And he challenged us to work more with faculty to increase students’ research skills. We can up the game of librarians and of faculty – our major focus needs to be on working with students to develop them as researchers.

  • Build more support relationships with faculty – alerts, citations, copyright
  • Offer to do workshops with faculty on how they can help students do better research
  • Make the library prominent with students in the CMS
  • Talk to your faculty about what their goals are for student research. “what does an ideal student paper look like?”
  • A professors good lies in their ‘expertise’ – working with wisdom through a problem
  • Have to enable faculty to guide their own students – move info lit into the academy – right into the foundations of the institution

We’ve Only Just Begun: Determining the value of information literacy in the first year. This was a series of papers from groups that had all been a part of the Assessment in Action first cohort. They all looked at assessing info lit instruction in first-year programs. They papers were all of different scenarios so I’ll just list some of the big take-aways across them all.

  • Librarians need to help train faculty to talk about information literacy with their students.
  • If students are made aware that these skills are being taught – they attend to them
  • Most IL learning happens in classes that had multiple meetings with the library but a one-shot is better than none at all – it is not necessary to be in every class meeting – there is a point after which you don’t necessarily get a better return on investment with librarian involvement
  • Students doing research generally are looking for quotes to plug into already composed papers
  • Students are uncertain about the best time to ask a librarian for help
  • ILI models that are recursive show increase in student learning
  • How can we assess and measure what we consider most valuable – lifelong learning, an informed citizenry, social responsibility?

 

Chris at the 2015 NC Serials Conference

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 4:51 pm

After a delay caused by the threat of icy weather (which didn’t quite materialize), Derrik, Steve and I made the voyage on Friday, March 6 to Chapel Hill for the 24th Annual North Carolina Serials Conference. The conference itself had a later starting time and had amended session times, but it still ran smoothly without major sacrifices to the content of the scheduled programming. Like previous Serials Conferences, the programs were excellent and well worth the trip to Chapel Hill; thankfully, without the risk of life and limb.

As a bonus, both Derrik and Steve had sessions at this year’s conference. I had planned to attend both, but they had unfortunately been set for the same programing block. Derrik’s session, “Principles of Negotiation”, won the hour, which he co-presented with Lesley Jackson of EBSCO. It was engaging and informative, and it helped to bolster my knowledge regarding aspects of the licensing process that are often not discussed in training and have not been covered (to date) in library school. Derrik didn’t have to fear either heckling or flying vegetables; it was a very worthwhile program with good attendance from libraries and vendors alike.

Steve also did a great job representing NASIG at the conference. In addition to helming “NASIG at 30: New Initiatives, New Directions” about the organization’s history and growth, he served admirably at the NASIG table amongst the collection of vendor representatives.

The conference also had other takeaways for me:

Data and text mining are here to stay. As noted in a panel discussion, contemporary scholars are requesting access to sets of raw data to assist their research. This amount of access can have implications not only for traditional statistics and findings, but it can also extend to social media as tweets and other postings are collected. As with any other form of research, however, the need is not just to retrieve the information but to create new insights from it. This would also be invaluable if the digital Dark Age described by Google’s Vint Cerf were to become a reality.

Developing flexible materials budgets. In a presentation by Rachel Fleming of Appalachian State University, the question about reexamining the way budgets are laid out was an interesting one. Rather than looking at budgets traditionally in terms of format or fund codes, Ms. Fleming suggested a more holistic approach to budgeting, taking into account the fluidity of interdisciplinary funding for purchases as well as formats that do not yet exist. (This mode of thinking has part of collection management at ZSR for several years.) Finally, Ms. Fleming suggested the addition of “flex funds” into a revised budget that can be used for experimentation and new initiatives when needed.

Next year will be the 25th anniversary for the North Carolina Serials Conference, and it promises to be a grand affair. I’m already looking forward to seeing the programs that will be scheduled as well as the speakers who will be participating!

Rebecca @ The Social Media Marketing Conference

Thursday, March 5, 2015 2:54 pm

A while back I attended The Social Media Marketing Conference in Charlotte. Meghan and Chris have both written great posts highlighting their experiences and I just wanted to share a few things I took away from this conference.

Analytics

When optimizing your ROI, analytics are a great way to see what was effective and what was not. This course called these “lead measures” and “lag measures.” To take charge of your social media, you want to take lead measures, like posting about an event or person, and then analyzing how effective that lead measure was. By monitoring your metrics, you can tweak your lead measures based on their success.

Maximizing your social media

Another great tip was to maximize your social media. By this, I mean fill out your Facebook timeline completely (showing the history of your organization), link to your other social media accounts from eachother, stay engaging by changing your cover photo frequently, and posting frequently to your users.

Create an editorial calendar

It seems to me to have success with all of the other tips, this is the first thing to do. Have a plan. What are you blogging about this month? What are you Facebooking about this week,? What are you Tweeting about next Thursday? Having them planned out not only helps you lay out your message, but allows you to schedule posts, be aware of upcoming events, and overall provide a better experience for your social media followers.

I found this to be a very interesting an helpful conference. I would love to talk more about my experience with anyone interested. Thank you to the Dean’s office for making this possible.

Upcoming State and Regional Conferences and Workshops

Sunday, March 1, 2015 2:34 pm

As part of the Mentoring Team I am on with Tanya, Leslie, Rebecca and Ellen M., we discussed involvement in professional organizations, and how difficult it might be for paraprofessionals or folks who have one problem or another with travelling long distances to attend conferences. So, I was picked to come up with a list of upcoming conferences and workshops that are in the state or the general geographic region. I’m sure I’m missing a lot of things, so feel free to add more in the comments section.

North Carolina Serials Conference (Chapel Hill, NC) – March 6

Library Association of UNC-Chapel Hill (LAUNC-CH) Conference (Chapel Hill, NC) – March 13

Metrolina Library Association Tech Summit (Charlotte, NC) – March 13

Southeastern Library Association (SELA) Joint Conference with the Alabama Library Association (Point Clear, AL) – April 7-10

TALA Paraprofessional Conference (High Point, NC) – May 13

NASIG Conference (including joint programming with the Society for Scholarly Publishing) (Washington, DC) – May 27-30

Metrolina Library Association Conference (Charlotte, NC) – June 11

North Carolina Library Association (NCLA) Conference (Greensboro, NC) – October 20-23

Kevin at The Collective 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015 9:07 am

At the end of last week, I attended The Collective 2015 – a new conference drawing on the ‘un-conference’ model – held in Knoxville, TN. Chelcie and I were part of a panel session on digital humanities in libraries: we talked about our plans for build.ZSR, a service for scholarly digital projects at WFU; folks from the Scholars’ Lab at UVa Library talked about their work with experimental humanities; and a librarian from USC-Lancaster shared how she is applying core LIS competencies to digital humanities work.

Other sessions included discussions and applications of:

  • ephemeral leadership and the competency trap
  • methods for parsing messy data
  • project management and the work breakdown structure
  • data curation and digital humanities
  • similarities and differences in the roles of instructional technologist and librarian

Beyond these topics, I had many discussions both in and out of the sessions with other interdisciplinary librarians. It was an excellent conference.

Like, Follow, Tweet, Share, Comment: Traversing the Social Media Landscape at the Social Media Marketing Conference

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 8:34 pm

Last Thursday, February 12th, I attended the Social Media Marketing Conference (SkillPath Seminars) in Charlotte, NC with fellow Communications Committee members Chris Burris & Rebecca Petersen. This conference was billed as “a real-world guide to understanding social media” and offered lessons for how to use social media to connect with your audience, expand your market reach, drive website traffic, and grow your brand.

What follows is a summary of some lessons learned and considerations for how to implement them into our current social media practice.

Getting off to a good start
There are many social media platforms (check out Brian Solis’ Conversation Prism), and many ways to use (and misuse) social media. 3 important questions we should ask when managing our social media platform(s):

  1. Why is this social marketing campaign being launched, and what are our goals and objectives?
  2. Who is target demographic? How are these audiences best engaged?
  3. How should patron relationships change as a result of this social media application? How will the success of the campaign be measured?

Knowing what you hope to achieve before you begin is key, and committing to an ongoing cycle of planning –> implementation –> measure/evaluate –> adjust will help keep social media strategies focused and effective.

Establishing goals and developing targeted social media strategies are practices that I would like to see us use in our communication efforts. Especially since we serve a diverse audience with multiple social media platforms and frequently have opportunities to share upcoming events, services and resources with our community.

The art of writing for a social audience
(A few quick tips)

Writing for a social audience encourages concise, engaging commentary. You want to make your point quickly, but with an entertaining emphasis. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Do your research– know what type of content your readers/audience want and expect. Have an audience (or audiences) in mind when you are writing a blog, tweet, post, status update, etc.
  • Write a “grabber” headline– lead with a compelling opener. Everyone appreciates as well-crafted hook.
  • Make your writing conversational– conversational writing lends itself to a more welcoming and engaging style.
  • Be a resource for your reader– provide links to other information sources, share resources that will enhance your reader’s understanding.
  • Use bulleted lists– make your content easily scannable.

Using Social Media Metrics to measure your efforts
One way to evaluate the performances of our social media platforms is to use measurements from available platform metrics and track our progress across these measurements. Social Media metrics can provide information about conversion rates, leads generated, increased site traffic/number of new followers, or brand awareness/perception. Establishing a consistent review of these metrics could help us determine what areas of our social media practices are working, and what areas could be further developed.

For example, a breakdown of our current fan base on facebook (people who ‘like’ us within the past 28 days) indicates that approximately 45% of our fan base are women & men between the ages of 18-24.

Breakdown of people who like our Facebook page.

Breakdown of people who like our Facebook page.

However, if you take a look at our “engagement” metrics, you will notice some interesting shifts in the levels of engagement across our fan base . . .

The people who have liked, commented on, shared our posts or engaged with our page in the past 28 days.

The people who have liked, commented on, shared our posts or engaged with our page in the past 28 days.

 

Reviewing our metrics regularly, and defining and monitoring key performance indicators to help evaluate our social media practices is a worthwhile endeavor and something we should establish for future strategic communication efforts.

Overall, I found the Charlotte Social Media Marketing Conference to be a valuable experience and I will use the lessons learned to help develop social media strategies and campaigns with the Communications Committee to enhance and complement the work that we do here at ZSR.

Meghan, Chris & Rebecca pose for selfie.

Obligatory Social Media Conference selfie!

 

Hu and the First-Year Experience Conference 2015 in Dallas

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 6:57 pm

The annual FYE conference isn’t a typical conference for a librarian. Dean Sutton first made me aware of FYE a few years ago and this is my second conference. There were 2000 attendees from 17 countries. Many were from Offices of Orientation, Advising, and First-Year Experience, but more and more divisions of the university are represented each year, including libraries! This is a friendly conference where we are not bound by our institutional role but rather by our desire for first-year student success. Like many library conferences, discussions spontaneously occur everywhere at FYE. Each session has an interactive segment where participants engage with the material and each other. The conference was held in the Dallas Omni, which meant most attendees were able to stay in this hotel and all the sessions were in the hotel. This size and structure encourages great discussions!

Here is a selection of sessions and speakers I attended while at FYE:

Opening session, featuring Adrianna Kezar, from the University of Southern California.

Kezar is the author of 14 books and over 100 articles. She examined and discussed the national trend of decreasing tenured faculty. Many aspiring academics are looking for work in a tight labor market and taking adjunct positions. She encouraged us to each find out the numbers of tenured and non-tenured faculty at our own institutions! (So I did just that!) She also encouraged us to look at how we support adjuncts across campus. Do the serve on committees? Do they have access to resources from the Teaching and Learning Center? Do they have time to use these resources? You can find more info on this issue and on how to support adjuncts at: The Delphi Project on Changing Faculty and Student Success

Orientation 101: The Basics of Orientation
Scott LeBlanc, Education and Program Director, NODA
Andy Cinoman, Director New Student Programs, Florida Gulf Coast University

I was unaware of NODA prior to this session. NODA is the “Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education.” They have resources for schools to evaluate their orientation programs. We also discussed the recently published the CAS Guiding Principles for Orientation. It is always good to hear about best practices and to learn other schools share similar issues when conducting orientation for new students. The take away here was that there is not just one correct way to do orientation.

Enhancing an Established Common Reading Program
Tiffany Shoop, Associate Director for Special Programs, Virginia Tech
Megan O’Neill, Associate Director for First-Year Experiences, Virginia Tech

Common Reading Programs and Peer Mentoring Programs were two common themes at this conference. Virginia Tech has an excellent common reading program that gave me some ideas for our program at WFU. One key point here, students want to read books about an individual’s journey, not books that tell them what they should do. (We learned that lesson here last year with P.M. Forni’s “Choosing Civility.” It was not well-received!) There also needs to be more transparency in the selection process, something we are already doing here at WFU, taking suggestions from faculty, staff, and students for this summer’s common reading program. I attended several sessions on common reading programs, but this one was by far the most informative and relevant to WFU.

The Conference Awards Luncheon

Each of the eight winners present to receive the “Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award” gave a 2-3 minute talk on someone who was an advocate for them when they were a student. This prompt for the winners, provided by FYE, made this a much more meaningful event. The most touching stories came from two recipients in particular who described how they were first generation college students who came from households where English was the second language. They didn’t find an advocate during their first-year, so they focused their careers to become the advocate they didn’t have. It was worth waiting in line to get a seat!

Supporting a Diverse Student Population: The First-Year Residential Experience
Lauren Ramsay, Faculty Director Leeds Residential Academic Program, University of Colorado, Boulder
Mazhar Ali, First-Year Student, University of Colorado, Boulder

Boulder has an interesting program where students can join a residential academic program (think living-learn communities) that focuses on a particular discipline (in this case, business) The best part of this session was breaking up into small groups and discussing issues of reaching underserved populations from the application process to graduation.

Librarians at FYE

On Sunday night, I tweeted out to the Librarians at FYE and we met for drinks and discussion in the lobby bar! It was great to find other librarians at the conference and to exchange our ideas for engaging first-year students. (Twitter is such a great conference tool!)

Connecting the Common Read with Information Literacy and Student Success
Lisa Kerr, Interim Associate Provost, Enrollment Management, Auburn University at Montegomery
Lisa Farrow, Director Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, AUM

Bloom’s Taxonomy and Harvey Daniel’s Literature Circles were featured in this session. I learned some great tools to help student unpack a reading assignment individually and in groups. Like all the sessions I attended, we had to participate and try out the tools in a small group! This was so much better than a traditional conference presentation, but it also made it hard for me to check email and work on my blog post! (ohh, maybe that was the point!)

Crucial Conversations: Empowering Peer Educators to Facilitate Dialogue
Lauren Bosselait, Assistant Director First Year Experience and Learning Communities
Susie Mahoney, Assistant Director, Leadership Initiatives, University of Cincinnati

This session was packed! As I mentioned earlier, Peer Mentoring was a major theme at this conference. As an academic adviser, I appreciated the scenarios we examined in this session. Scenarios are a great way to practice these difficult discussions around social justice issues. It reminded me of the moderator training WFU has for the deliberative dialogues!

Meaningful Academic Collaborations Through Information Literacy for First-Year Students
Leah Tobin, Assistant Director of Student Engagement, Gemstone Program
Rachel Gammons, Teaching and Learning Librarian, University of Maryland

The Gemstone program does an amazing job of connecting the common reading program to information literacy, but we reach a larger percentage of our students for a longer time with our numerous sections of LIB100. Between our LIB100/200 sections and our “one-shot” research instruction sessions to First-Year Seminars we reach a number of students that other schools envied! That was nice to hear. Still, this session had me thinking how we could reach even more students. Leah and Rachel are rock star presenters! Rachel has a great description of why “libraries are weird” If you want a toothbrush on Amazon, you search “toothbrush” and click “Buy.” If it were set up like a library database, you would need to call the toothbrush a “dental hygiene device” in your search, and you would be taken to a site the a description but not the actual item. Also, there would be an embargo for one year or you would need to borrow the toothbrush from another place. The room cracked up at this. (We all asked for blanket permission to steal her description and use it ourselves!)

I appreciated this opportunity to branch out from traditional library conferences. There was much content that I’ll be able to leverage as an Outreach and Instruction Librarian! I hope I’ll be able to attend FYE again in a few years!

MBL at ALA-MW

Friday, February 6, 2015 2:42 pm

The start of my ALA Mid Winter experience was spent attending two days of pre-conference meetings for the participants in ACRL’s “Assessment in Action” (AiA) project. This is the second year of the grant funded project meant to build capacity for doing assessment projects in academic libraries, allowing libraries to better tell their stories and demonstrate their worth to the academy. ZSR’s project involves investigating how students define success in their own lives, and identifying ways that the library can assist in helping them reach success. Since ZSR’s mission, as we all know, is ‘to help students, faculty and staff succeed,’ it is going to be very interesting to discern how the students define success, and then to develop programming and spaces that will help in that effort. ZSR’s team includes: Meghan Webb, Le’Ron Byrd, Ryan Shirey (Writing Center), Glenda Boyles (the Bridge) and John Champlin (PDC). The first of the two days was spent getting each participant caught up on where all of the other participating libraries are in our cohort, (there are over 70 libraries participating this year,) and identifying ways to either help them through difficulties or learn from their successes. On the second day we learned of techniques and methodology for analyzing and reaching conclusions about our data. We now know what we need to do, and what elements we’ll need to include in our follow up reports to ACRL. We all need to have completed some form of our assessment by ALA Annual in June as we will all be expected to present a poster session there.

After the two Assessment in Action days, I also attended the ARL Space Assessment session with Susan reported on so ably. Since our Assessment in Action investigation also will have a component related to space use in the library, it was a helpful session. One of the presenters described a focus group study wherein students were shown photos of different types of study spaces, (high soaring ceilings and heavy wooden tables, comfy couches, individual study carrels) and asked which kind of space they would prefer for different activities and what words would best describe those spaces. They used this information to inform future furniture purchases and renovations. I thought this was a powerful exercise and we might pursue that here as well.

I also attended the Sustainability Round Table discussion group. SustainRT is a very new group in ALA, just established last mid-winter meeting and it’s just now finding its legs. Primary among the topics discussed was promoting a Sustainable Libraries Resolution similar to the one just approved by the New York Library Association. This resolution will be modified in the ensuing months, and then be presented to Council at ALA Annual. One big success of the SustainRT group was the inclusion of places to recycle ALA badges at the end of conference. If you saw one of those “recycle your badge” containers in the Conference Center, you can thank the members of SustainRT.

The great Chicago Blizzard of 2015 interrupted the conference and both of the sessions I had intended to go to on Sunday, (as well as the SustainRT ice skating social) were cancelled. But I did manage to make it to the vendor floor and visit McFarland, Atlas Systems, and Agati my favorite library furniture company before the big storm hit. I expected to visit others too, but the number of attendees to the conference, and the number of vendors on the floor seemed to me to be way down. Which brings me to another point raised by the SustainRT group…will MW continue to be necessary much longer? Indications are that many of the sections do their planning for Annual by email and conference calls before they even come to midwinter.

And now for the obligatory snowmagedden photos: both taken from the hotel window. The first just as the snow started to fall Saturday night, the second mid-day on Sunday when nearly white out conditions were present. It was an impressive snowstorm!

BIBFRAME, BIBFRAME, BIBFRAME

Friday, February 6, 2015 10:45 am

It was good to visit my home state of Illinois for ALA Midwinter 2015 in Chicago. I was able to get together with a few cousins with whom I was close growing up in Decatur, three hours south. And who doesn’t like 18 inches of snow? Somehow the weather didn’t actually interfere too much with the conference. If anything it brought attendees closer, I daresay.

At the meeting of the ALCTS Copy Cataloging Interest Group, Angela Kinney from the Library of Congress talked about restructuring at LC, specifically reductions in acquisitions and cataloging staff; this is a theme at many libraries, unfortunately. Roman Panchyshyn from Kent State (whom I’ve also seen present on an RDA-enrichment project similar to the one we’ve just undergone with Backstage) then talked about the considerable proliferation of e-resource bulk record loads in recent years and the need to build copy catalogers’ skills in this area (at their library this work has traditionally been done by professional catalogers and systems staff). Necessary skills include PC file management, FTP/data exchange, basic knowledge of RDA, comfortability with secondary applications such as MarcEdit, and the ability to follow instructions and documentation. Here at ZSR, our copy catalogers, I must say, have these skills in spades, and I do not take for granted the fact that they are so sophisticated; nor should any of us. Not only are they able to follow workflows and documentation, but they create their own. Every record load is a little bit different, and these operations require attentiveness, diligence, and accuracy.

I also attended a session by the ALCTS MARC Formats Transitions Interest Group. The central topic was BIBFRAME, the new encoding format being developed by LC in collaboration with several libraries that eventually is meant to replace MARC as a more linked data/web-friendly format. Nancy Fallgren from the National Library of Medicine talked about the need for BIBFRAME (I think I’m going to get sick of typing that word before the end of this paragraph) to be flexible enough to work with the different descriptive languages of various sectors of the cultural heritage community – libraries, archives, museums, etc. She emphasized that BIBFRAME is not a descriptive vocabulary in and of itself and is built to accommodate RDA, not compete with it; it is a communication method, not the communication itself. Perhaps most importantly, this new format has to be extensible beyond library catalogs, as BIBFRAME-encoded data must go bravely off into the web to seek its fate, alone. Xiaoli Li from UC-Davis described her university’s two-year pilot project, BIBFLOW (BIBframe + workFLOW), in which they are actively experimenting with technical services workflows using the new format. She concluded that “Linked data means an evolutionary leap for libraries, not a simple migration.” This seems fair to say.

In July 2014 I started on two committees, and Midwinter was my first official meeting with both. On the ALCTS Acquisitions Section Organization and Management Committee, or, less conveniently, ALCTSASOAMC, we are planning a preconference for Annual in San Francisco entitled “Streaming Media, Gaming, and More: Emerging Issues in Acquisitions Management and Licensing.” The gaming component of this, in particular, is interesting to me, because I know absolutely nothing about it. I have high hopes for the program, which will be comprised of librarian presentations, a vendor panel, and guided group discussions. I am also on the ALCTS Planning Committee, which has been working on a fairly exhaustive inventory of all ALCTS committees’ and interest groups’ activities with an eye to how they support ALA’s initiatives of Advocacy, Information Policy, and Professional and Leadership Development. It’s been an interesting exercise; one gets a broad sense of the many and diverse efforts being made to support librarians and to advance the profession. In the end we will draft a new three-year strategic plan.

What exactly someone who decided to drive back to Winston-Salem from Chicago can really contribute to strategic planning is a question for another day. I’ll close with the dreary view from inside the hotel room I shared with Steve Kelley, who at the time seemed to be dying. Fortunately blue skies (see above) emerged.


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