Professional Development

In the 'NASIG' Category...

Chris at NASIG 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013 8:03 pm

Several weeks ago, I attended the NASIG annual conference in Buffalo, New York. This year, I took a special interest in sessions that dealt with licensing, such as using templates and “model” licenses as well as how to effectively negotiate licenses without an extensive legal background. The care and feeding of electronic resources was also a highlight, giving me a chance to brush up on concepts such as TERMS (Techniques for Electronic Resource Management) which I learned about while attending the virtual ER&L Conference earlier in the spring.

I did find three additional takeaways from this year’s conference, all of which I found interesting in their own way. If you have any questions about them, please let me know.

Vision sessions. NASIG has always had thought-provoking vision sessions, but this year there were two sessions centered on a similar idea but operating as counterpoints. The first session was facilitated by Bryan Alexander who spoke on “Libraries and Mobile Technologies in the Age of the Visible College”. Mr. Alexander explained how mobile technology has changed the world of higher education in recent years, starting with smartphones and extending into touchscreen interfaces, clickers, smart pens, and even marker-based augmented reality (such as QR codes). Mr. Alexander also highlighted four possible futures for technology on college campuses- phantom learning, open world, silo world, and alternate residential. Although each concept has merit there is an uncertainty about which one would be the actual direction to be followed.

Conversely, the title of the other session was “Googlization and the Challenge of Big Data, or Knowledge and Integrity in the Era of Big Data”, presented by Siva Vaidhyanathan. With the knowledge of Edward Snowden and his connection to the NSA entering the national dialogue, as well as the revelations of Google, Verizon and other corporations turning consumer data over to government agencies, Mr. Vaidhyanathan discussed the downside to big data. He proposed that the silos around the management of data, particularly those since the abuses of the 1970s, have eroded steadily over the decades since. In Mr. Vaidhyanathan’s words, we live in a cryptopticon, a stage beyond Bentham’s Panopticon where we’re being monitored for a variety of commercial purposes, such as grocery store discount cards that are linked to our buying habits. Digital literacy instruction, he suggested, was the next frontier for information literacy itself. For further explanation, he suggested the films Minority Report, The Lives of Others, and a double feature of The Conversation and Enemy of the State.

E-Resources Acquisition Checklist. This was one of the most productive sessions of its kind I’ve attended. Based on the TERMS guidelines, it focused on the e-resource lifecycle that I could remember as largely nebulous only a few years ago. Now, the basic steps have been captured so that anyone who works with electronic resources can see the entire landscape.

These procedures also incorporate the process of re-evaluating an e-resource, a definite departure from the standards of print materials. By doing so, it incorporates a measure of flexibility for resources that may have a shorter span of value to an institution and a set of guidelines for either their removal or replacement. With the growing number of similar databases on the market, this process can have added value in the years to come.

Showcase. This was a new feature, which went far beyond the poster sessions of previous conferences. In addition to posters which highlighted what a particular library was doing well in terms of technical services, this was a chance for libraries to feature what they were doing well as an organization. This was a “show and tell”, and the Showcase featured a broad mixture of ideas. There were two that caught my eye:

  • A demonstration of 3-D printing, which students are using to build constructs for classwork and special projects.
  • A description of how one library used relaxation techniques for stressed-out students during exams, including pet therapy. The idea of puppies in the library was a popular one!

Another memorable event of note from Buffalo was this year’s all-conference reception. It was held at the Pierce Arrow Museum, which featured the cars from the popular luxury car manufacturers of the early twentieth century. This was a unique site for the reception because of the conversation pieces (cars) that held everyone’s interest. I had my first taste of sponge candy (pure heaven) and saw the construction of a gas station that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright but was never built. This glimpse of architectural history was remarkable. If you’d like to see all of my photos from Buffalo, follow this link.

Chris at NASIG 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011 3:18 pm

This year, the 26th Annual NASIG Conference was held in St Louis, Missouri. Sessions were devoted to several trends that have emerged for serials and other continuing resources, such as e-books, RDA, and the “Big Deal” for journal packages. Also, there were many sessions that highlighted a specific workflow that a library was doing well in terms of serials management. So, without further ado…

Vision Session 1: Science Re-Imagined. Adam Bly of Seed Media Group spoke in favor of a new set of policies that needed to be created to address the growth of new areas of research. Because scientific advancements have been made across the world, a culture shift has begun to look beyond the West for innovation and discovery. He postulated that today’s model of “open access” would become the norm in society within a few years: it would happen as the public become more scientifically literate. This would help science become more widely understood both as a tool and a lens for understanding.

Vision Session 2: Books in Chains. This presentation was given by Paul Duguid of the UC Berkeley School of Information about the supply chain between the authors of various works and their respective readers. Even in today’s world of Apple’s iTunes and the smartphone apps, this is a paradigm that has continued to endure since the early days of the printed word. Along with the supply chain, knowledge certification has remained dominant as people must understand how specific items such as format changes and compatibility would make a difference as they interact with media. The actual replacement of tools has been a rare circumstance; rather, they evolve into new products (example: blogs leading to Twitter, yet both currently exist). To sum up, the chain endures but the links that create it will inevitably change.

Strategy Session: Continuing Resources and the RDA Test. Since Steve covered this topic in his report, I won’t rehash what he has already said. It’s worth noting that RDA has not yet been a settled format for the three primary libraries in the United States and that there will still be a measure of time before it is fully adopted on a wide scale.

Strategy Session: Leaving the Big Deal. Presenters Jonathan Nabe (Southern Illinois University Carbondale) and David Fowler (University of Oregon) described how their respective institutions decided to pull out of the “Big Deal” for journal packages. Because of the economic downturn, both libraries faced shortfalls in their budgets due to a lack of state funding, and they were forced to make the decision of leaving specific packages. To compensate for the loss of several titles, they introduced several options such as pay-per-view for articles along with a heavy push of ILL. The result was little resistance from either students or faculty, as the results were mostly invisible to their users. One school, however, did have trouble with the initial refusal by one publisher to adhere to their LOCKSS contract.

Strategy Session: Polishing the Crystal Ball – Using Historical Data to Project Serials Trends and Pricing. The authors of the annual serials pricing article in Library Journal- Steve Bosch (University of Arizona); Kittie Henderson and Heather Klusendorf (both of EBSCO Information Services)- described the resources they used to write it. By comparing the Library Journal Periodical Price Survey and the U.S. Periodical Price Index, the authors were able to draw on a standing price list, which has been composed of print journals with pricing data from EBSCO. Both resources used different approaches to deliver their data, but they came to similar conclusions: they showed that journals inflated between six percent and nine percent each year. The authors emphasized that libraries would have to determine which resource would be needed in conjunction with their own budget planning.

Tactics Session: Managing E-book Acquisition: The Coordination of “P” and “E” Publication Dates. Gabrielle Wiersma of the University of Colorado at Boulder gave a presentation on her experiences with establishing e-book services at her library. She established an approval plan for e-books with their primary vendor Coutts (represented by Sarah Forzetting) with the goal of addressing the problem with delays in e-book publishing patterns. On the front of public service, additional notes were used in their catalog to inform patrons of the availability of an e-book. In technical services, Ms. Wiersma added a condition to their e-book approval plan to ship a print version of a specific book if its electronic counterpart were not available after a specific number of days. The approval profile was also adjusted at the request of each academic department for the number of e-books they wanted to receive. Additionally, invoices that were paid in acquisitions were passed to catalogers to assist with MARC overlays. Interestingly, Boulder uses a demand-driven acquisition model that is similar to what is used at ZSR.

Tactics Session: On Beyond E-Journals – Integrating E-books, Streaming Video, and Digital Collections at the HELIN Library Consortium. Martha Rice Sanders of the HELIN Consortium and Bob McQuillan of Innovative Interfaces, Inc. reported on the trend among contemporary collection development librarians to determine whether to acquire materials as single purchases or to acquire in groups/bundles. The outgrowth of this has been to determine how users will find these resources by way of the library’s discovery layers. The HELIN Consortium introduced features such as allowing users to tag records in their respective catalogs. Additionally, records for streaming media resources as well as traditional media resources are listed in their catalog, identified using additional MARC tags in their bibliographic records. Records also had links to licensing information, stored externally. Finally, the catalog was modified to include reviews for books and audio-visual materials. HELIN was clearly finding the limits of their catalog to deliver more tools to their patrons.

Tactics Session: One Academic Library – One Year of Web Scale Discovery. Tonia Graves of Old Dominion University described the experiences of her library following an article by Marshall Breeding about library discovery tools. In the article, Mr. Breeding encouraged libraries to evaluate all of their discovery tools and focus their efforts on improving those services that would have the greatest appeal to users. Ms. Graves explained that after a review by several committees, the decision was made to leave their ILS in place (they are running Innovative’s Millennium), but efforts were made on a redesign of the library website, the development of a mobile app for the library, and incorporating WorldCat Local into their array of discovery tools. All of these efforts were favorably received by library users.

Tactics Session: Preparing for New Degree Plans – Finding the Essential Titles in an Interdisciplinary World. Following a directive by their incoming president, the University of Texas at Dallas dramatically expanded its focus on an interdisciplinary curriculum for its students. Ellen Safley explained the process that was taken at the library: the library director gives permission to begin collecting in these new areas of research, multiple resources (similar programs at other institutions, indexes, etc.) are searched for journals information, and incoming faculty are consulted about the journals that should also be included. Journals are re-evaluated between the first three and five years of the introduction of a new program in order to determine their continued relevance and their impact on the overall budget. Other factors that tied into the evaluation included database coverage, ILL usage, the demand for articles versus complete journals, and the question of purchasing back issues /backfiles.

Tactics Session: Using Drupal to Track Licenses and Organize Database Information. Drupal is an open source content management system and Amanda Yesilbas of the Florida Center for Library Automation demonstrated how she had adapted it into a de facto ERM. It became a depository for licenses, contact information for vendors, login-password information, and so forth. They were also able to use Drupal as a shared resource with other members of their consortium by modifying user permissions for each potential user. Although it was not a perfect replacement for an actual ERM, it was able to perform as one for this institution.

One other sidebar about technology: last year, I saw one iPad at the conference. This year, they were all over the place! They easily outnumbered laptops by 3-1.

Once again, the NASIG conference left me with several things to consider about serials management. This was my second visit to St. Louis (the first was in December 1990) so I made sure to capture the occasion. I have a gallery of photos from this trip on Flickr, and here’s a photo that says it all!

Phone Pics #142

Steve at NASIG 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011 1:19 pm

At this year’s NASIG Conference, there were plenty of sessions on practical things (which I’ll discuss in a bit), but there were also several apt phrases and interesting concepts that jumped out at me. The first phrase came from a session on patron-driven access, where the speakers quoted Peter McCracken of Serials Solutions, who said, “What is interlibrary loan, but patron-driven access?” I thought this was a nice way to show that patron-driven access isn’t so foreign or new to libraries, we’ve been doing it for a long time, just under a different name. The second interesting concept came from one of our vision speakers, Paul Duguid, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley School of Information. He spoke about the importance of branding information in the information supply chain, as it supplies context and validation for information. When someone in the audience said that as librarians, we are experts in information (and old saw if ever there was one), Duguid responded that actually we’re experts in information structures. He went on to say that that’s one thing we have over Google, because an algorithm isn’t a structure. I found that very interesting. The third thought-provoking phrase/concept that appealed to me came in a session on getting the most out of negotiation. The speakers discussed the Samurai idea of “ordered flexibility,” which is essentially the idea of studying and developing a plan, but being prepared to deviate from that plan as necessary to deal with changing conditions and opportunities. I really like this idea of “ordered flexibility,” as it fits with my philosophy to planning large-scale project (if you develop a thorough plan, you have more room to adapt to changing conditions on the fly).

Now, as for the meat-and-potatoes of the sessions I attended, the most interesting one was called “Continuing Resources and the RDA Test,” where representatives from the three US national libraries (Library of Congress, National Agricultural Library, and National Library of Medicine) spoke about the RDA test that has been conducted over the last year and a half or so. This session was on June 5, so it was conducted before the report came out this week, and the speakers were very good about not tipping their hand (the national libraries have decided to delay implementing RDA until January 2013 at the earliest, but still plan to adopt the code). The session covered the details of how the test was conducted and the data analyzed. The 26 test libraries were required to produce four different sets of records. The most useful set was one that was based on a group of 25 titles (10 monographs, 5 AV items, 5 serials, 5 integrating resources) that every tester was required to catalog twice, once using AACR2 rules and once using RDA rules. The national libraries then created RDA records for each of the titles, and edited them until they were as close to “perfect” as possible. During the analysis phase, the test sets for each item were compared against the national libraries’ benchmark RDA records, and scored according to how closely the records matched. The data produced during the RDA test will eventually be made available for testing by interested researchers (maybe you, Dr. Mitchell?).

Another interesting session was conducted by Carol McAdam of JSTOR and Kate Duff of the University of Chicago Press. JSTOR, or course, provides backfiles to numerous journals, but they have begun working with certain partners to publish brand new content on the JSTOR platform. They are still trying to iron out all the details in their pricing model, but this move makes a lot of sense, it seems to me, especially for university presses. If all their material is eventually going to wind up residing on the JSTOR platform anyway, why not just make the new issues available with the backfiles to subscribing institutions?

I also saw a presentation by Rafal Kasprowki of Rice University about IOTA, which is a new NISO standard designed to measure the quality of OpenURL links. Briefly, here’s how OpenURLs work, when a patron clicks on a citation, a Source OpenURL is generated, which, in theory, contains all of the information necessary to adequately describe the source. This Source OpenURL is sent to a Link Resolver, which consults a knowledge base to find the holdings for the library. If the library holds the item, the Link Resolver generates a Target OpenURL which opens the full-text. Prior to the development of IOTA, there was no way to test the reliability of this data, but IOTA tests the Source OpenURL and provides a standard for how much information it should contain, in order to properly identify a resource.

I also attended a session by Amanda Yesilbas of the Florida Center for Library Automation, who discussed how FCLA uses a Drupal-based website in place of an ERMS. I can’t say that I fully understood everything she said, but it might be an inexpensive, low-maintenance alternative to implementing a full-blown ERMS here at ZSR.

This was a busy conference for me. In addition to attending the last meeting of my two year term as a member of the NASIG Executive Board, I started working on a new NASIG committee. And the conference was in St. Louis, my hometown, so I came in early with Shane, so he could spend time with his grandparents , aunts, uncles, and cousins. I also took him to his first-ever Major League baseball game, and the Cardinals beat the Cubs handily.

NASIG 2009- Behind the Scenes

Friday, July 31, 2009 4:17 pm

My professional development experience at the NASIG Annual Conference in Asheville, North Carolina was a different one this year. I was involved in the operation of the conference as a member of the Conference Planning Committee (CPC), which was jointly chaired by Eleanor Cook of East Carolina University and ZSR’s own Steve Kelley. I served as the audio-visual coordinator for the conference, and while it was a rewarding experience, there was a lot of work involved.

Planning for the conference began over a year before anyone arrived in Asheville. The CPC met as a group for the first time during the 2008 conference in Phoenix, Arizona and assigned all of the tasks and responsibilities necessary to operate the conference: food, registration, transportation, and so forth. Meetings continued during the year with monthly conference calls to keep all areas on target as well as to resolve any issues that developed. Along the way, the Program Planning Committee (PPC) was meeting independently to line up all of the sessions and speakers who would appear.

My role began to take shape earlier this year, as the PPC started to send details about the schedule to the CPC. Steve forwarded them to me as soon as he had received them and included room assignments as they became known as well. Using that information, I created a series of spreadsheets that evolved over time. They broke down the details for each session in three different categories: by each day of the conference, a summary of equipment needs, and a list of needs for sessions happening concurrently. (Please let me know if you would like to see an example!) From there, I sent the various incarnations to the event technology manager for the conference hotel. We worked closely to lay out the needs for each presenter and the equipment required in each room. Steve, Eleanor, and I also traveled to Asheville for site visits at the conference hotel, familiarizing ourselves with the facility and getting acquainted with the staff who would be working with us.

When the conference began in June, I became the primary contact for all AV needs. As the event technology manager set up rooms, he would check with me to make certain that everything was in place. Conversely, I served as the point person for any last minute situations that developed during the conference itself. These included:

  • A printer for the registration desk
  • A lapel microphone and Mac connection cables for the last Vision Speaker
  • Feedback from several microphones
  • Recording the Vision Sessions on cassette for conference reporters
  • Display stands for the poster sessions

As Steve indicated in his report, the conference was a success. For me, the conference was a chance to expand my professional growth by giving me experience in areas that were not part of my normal responsibilities. I have worked with conference preparation in the past, but the preparation and effort that was needed to put on this conference was truly astonishing. Effective leadership made a significant difference (thank you Steve), but I had to be on point with my own contributions to guarantee a smooth operation.

And there’s always the most valuable lesson: never underestimate the value of comfortable shoes.

NASIG 2009 – Saturday & Sunday

Monday, June 8, 2009 10:01 pm

OK, by now you’re probably getting tired or bored with NASIG, so for my last post I’ll try to give you the short version.

First, evidence that Chris and Steve really were there …

Chris & Steve take a well-earned break

Saturday’s opening session was by Dr. Carol Tenopir of the Univ. of Tennessee School of Information Sciences, who discussed her research on calculating return on investment for library expenditures with respect to research/grant funding.Her research is based on surveys of university faculty, asking, for example, how important citations are to obtaining funding, and what percentage of their citations do they find via online library resources.It was an interesting methodology.

Next I went to a session where three librarians talked about their respective experiences with implementing various Pay-Per-View (PPV) products.This was a very interesting and helpful session.The only products that received favorable reviews from the panelists were Science Direct (at Trinity) and EBL (at U.Texas).Common problems with PPV products included the inability to block PPV access to content subscribed to elsewhere, cumbersome user registration, and a “shopping cart” interface that tended to scare away users.I was glad to hear the U.Texas librarian describe their EBL pilot launch as “extraordinarily successful.”

My final Saturday session was a panel discussion with 3 librarians and 2 publisher reps about the process of license negotiation-top concerns/risks, difficult points to negotiate, whether the licensing process is improving (all agreed it is not), and whether licenses are doing what they were intended to do.There was discussion about how to improve some of the inefficiencies in the process (including a new standard, ONIX-PL), and whether it might be feasible to abandon license agreements and rely instead on copyright law.Another very good discussion, and I’m glad I had the background of the preconference to give me some context.

The first two Sunday sessions were kind of disappointing; I won’t bore you with the details.The final plenary session was about identifying trustworthy content online.Geoffrey Bilder of CrossRef talked about how we judge credibility of print resources (title page, publisher blurb, cover art, trust of the library, etc.); think about how you can tell at a glance whether an article is from a popular magazine or a scholarly journal.He then pointed out that the relatively quick evaluation we can do with print resources doesn’t work well in the online world.He batted around some ideas for making it easier to judge the credibility of online resources, including CrossMark, which is being developed by CrossRef.Another one is Hon Code which, if I understood correctly, is a registry of websites, with a Firefox plugin that displays an icon when a user visits a registered site.

Overall an excellent conference.I’m afraid I’ve come away with more ideas than I know what to do with at this point.But that’s good, right?

NASIG 2009 – Friday

Saturday, June 6, 2009 8:03 pm

It is now Saturday evening, the NASIG conference has finished its second full day, I have taken 12 full pages of handwritten notes, and I write small.I am struggling with how to condense all that into a blog post or two.I could just transcribe my notes straight across, but I doubt many of you would be that interested.If you are, we can talk next week.Anyway, here’s Friday … the short version.

Friday started with a “Vision” (=plenary) session, with speaker Peter Morville, author of the book Ambient Findability.His presentation dealt largely with website design and designingbetter search interfaces.It was a good presentation, and there are now a few books I want to look up (including Ambient Findability).In a world where the haystacks are becoming bigger and more numerous, he addressed some ways to create bigger needles.We need to figure out how to capture our “about-ness” and our uniqueness.He spoke some about faceted navigation as a promising trend, as well as the requisite sample websites doing cool things (e.g. Songza and Everyzing).

I attended a session where people from two different universities discussed their implementation of the CUFTS open-source electronic resource management system (ERMS).I was hoping to be impressed, but came away instead with the impression that this product isn’t quite ready for prime time.What the session did do was give me some food for thought about ERMS functionality.

Friday afternoon I went to a session about cost data for electronic resources.The presenter first spoke about a new NISO standard (currently in draft form) called CORE (= Cost of Resource Exchange), which seeks to standardize the elements and format of cost data in ILS and ERM systems and facilitate their communication between automation systems.She then explained the method she has used at her own library to extract cost data from their ILS and move it into their ERMS.

My final session Friday was presented by a librarian from U.Tennessee-Chattanooga and a representative of the non-profit organization that makes the Gold Rush suite of e-resource management tools (link resolver, A-Z list, etc.).They talked about the U.Tenn.-Chattanooga library’s recent migration from their previous vendor to Gold Rush.I took two pages of notes on this one.They talked about the selection and implementation process, and discussed lessons learned, like the importance of live product trials (not just demos), and making the vendor work for the sale.

Whew! Six pages down!In the evening was an optional event at the nearby Biltmore House.We were bussed over, had a nice dinner on site, then went on a tour of the house.Then to bed to rest up for another day of conferencing (stay tuned).

NASIG 2009 – Preconferences

Thursday, June 4, 2009 4:16 pm

This post comes to you from Asheville, NC, where I am attending the 24th annual conference of the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG).Steve and Chris are on the conference planning committee, but I came on the scene late enough that I get to attend the conference as a participant.The conference begins in earnest on Friday, but I attended two pre-conference workshops yesterday and today.

Wednesday’s pre-conference was called “Navigating your way through the E-journal rapids.”It was a workshop taught by a “panel of experts”:2 librarians, and representatives from a subscription agent, a university press, an e-journal platform provider, and SerialsSolutions.For those unfamiliar with NASIG, one of the organization’s hallmarks is that although the majority of members are librarians, representatives from other parts of the serials supply chain also participate as members on an equal footing.NASIG also has a non-commercial stance, so the presenters from commercial companies give their perspective without trying to sell their product.

I thought the presenters did a good job of talking about the aspects of journal management that are unique to the online environment.An initial overview talked about the new complexity-more players, more pricing models, new workflows.Also covered were the many different types of publishers and the new roles of subscription agents, platform hosting companies, etc.A couple of gems:I learned the phrase “There is no ‘one’ anything,” and the subscription agent pointed out that with all the new workflows and entities involved, it still often takes as long to start up an e-journal subscription as a print subscription.

Today’s preconference was a half-day workshop on licensing.The primary focus was on understanding license language, learning key terminology, and recognizing and mitigating potential problem elements.Again, the publisher perspective was valuable.For example, one publisher employee in the class pointed out that if they monitor excessive downloading from a specific IP address, they need to be able to shut it down immediately.I also learned that some publishers may want to prohibit electronic course packs, not because they want to limit access to their materials, but because they want users to link into the publisher’s web site; usage stats can be a major selling point for a publisher.

We were given a copy of an actual license agreement and asked to identify 16 key elements (site definition, perpetual access, indemnification clause, etc.).Later, we evaluated the license and identified some problem areas.Then we worked in groups to come up with alternate language to mitigate the problems.Participants also received a flash drive with some sample licenses, boilerplate language, and other resources.The plan is to create a wiki so that we can continue to share model license language.I was impressed with the practicality of this workshop, and am looking forward to the rest of the conference.


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