Archive for the ‘conferences’ Category.

What’s your favorite nonlibrary conference?

Penguin car at BEA

I’m about to leave BEA 2010, which is my new favorite nonlibrary conference of all time. Yes, partially because of all the free books and ARCs you can carry. But really: A conference all about books? Authors, authors, everywhere? A most awesome librarians lunch where I got to hear Adriana Trigiani (who is hysterical), Joshilyn Jackson, Susan Isaacs, and more — and got copies of their newest books? Priceless.

Book tunnel

Then, there’s New York. The Strand. The food…

So what’s yours?

I know I haven’t blogged much (OK, at all) lately, but I’ve been thinking a lot about our need to take a lot more from fields outside librarianship in order to evolve — and survive. So, what are your favorite nonlibrary conferences?

Speaking of liminal

The other thing that always strikes me about smaller conferences like Computers in Libraries or Internet Librarian is the importance of the in-between places to the conference experience and vibe. Regular attendees know that the real action is sometimes less in the sessions than in doing lobbycon, and some local folks have been known to come in just to hang out there — why register? So my next question of the day in my own in-between space before the next conference commitment here: Is lobbycon something you can deliberately replicate with things like unconferences and camps, or does it need to grow organically?

The value of your web presence

While I’m at it, let me “liveblog” another one I took notes on yesterday:

Analyzing, eval, and communic the value of web presence. Amanda Clay Powers and Michael Porter

MP –

love libraries, hopeful for libraries, yet very concerned for libs. Don’t let “that’s the way we’ve always done it” or “we’re too busy” kill our libs.

AP –

Acad ref. lib. lib 2.0 summit — ms state univ. gung ho since then. Emerging tech summit this yr.

mgs virt ref dept. how integrate social networking/tech. All abt building community.

MP -

ROI — what it is for libs and why you care and maybe why you don’t need to care. how attitude changed over last year even. Investing staff time and resources into tracking success of social media for your lib need to do well — ppl who do best are from bus world.

oliver blanchard Having a social media presence nowadays is equiv of in yellow pgs 10 yrs ago. Not enough just to be there.

Social media means to an end, so need to know the end. Create goals, what trying to accomplish. Need measurable obj, strategies to meet them, tactics to accomplish strat. Jason falls

Don’t have time for full ROI report. Hoping for easier soln. No easy way to do business quality wo heavy investment — not mean can’t prove story but means data may be more anecdotal. Over last year, value of tools bec more app, ways permeated culture and society not have to make case as much.

youtube — socialmedia roi — socialnomics — sources

just need to tell story/demonstrate value — not full-blown ROI.

Knew was worthwhile (webjunction) but didn’t have stats. Starting compiling what ppl said on FB, twitter, etc about wj and doing in summary on first page. Anecdotal ev.

Weren’t reading, so pared down to 4 pgs. then stopped a hwile. Now. Need simple data every months. NUmber fb fans, # tweets, etc. Pared way down bc value has been proven already. Just part of what we do.

AP –

Metrics are out there. “So much for the fluff.”

twitter guide — has tools for analyzing feeds. at mississippi state univ under libguides.

facebook insights — on fb page over group — gets data over time, can dl and manipulate.

Spike in traffic — rave in library. Got on it, took pics, posted, students engaged with. First ones to have photos up (was a 10 minute study break rave). So huge spike.

What’s your target? What are you trying to do with this info? No longer have to prove fb and twitter good idea — done deal. On every page lib/univ website etc. So what data good for?

About building relationships. building community. and listening. Never had this kind of contact with patrons before to know what they thinking about. Sometimes they’re thinking about us/libraries/ needing help. Not just linear stats.

Also — getting your resources noticed. Added new resources. Could see who tweeted, where they were, how many followers they had — could see how word getting out. Multiphase, multilayered process — blanchard. Peeling back payers of rich nonlinear exc. data never had before. Shows how bec. relevant.

No instant answers.

Are you being retweeted? Why did they retweet you? What gets liked? What provokes comment? Who is engaging w/ you? So what’s interesting, what not, and why.

What are you doing that’s sticky? What matters, what brings patrons in, what are they doing with it? Opp to listen.

Create own assessment tool bc every lib is different. Engagement is a very interesting stat.

I’m ba-ack — at CIL, that is

Um. Yeah. It’s been a while. Hi. So I’m at CIL 2010 and figured I’d try some mild conference blogging to ease back in. Mostly because my favorite name for a session ever is… “Black Ops Ninja Style Tech Projects.” This one’s Sarah Houghton-Jan, John Blyberg, and Amanda Etches-Johnson, so you know it’s going to be good — and here’s what my scattered notes summarize. I can’t call it liveblogging because this session was yesterday — it would have been liveblogging had I been able to get internet to work in that particular room. Nice touch: Taking ?s from twitter during the session.

Sarah Houghton-Jan

Exciting projects get thwarted early by barriers that sometimes don’t make sense. Hear no once, think no always be the answer. New tech mgr herself found ways to get around: Be a bully, be subversive, be sneaky, read the policy manuals and find huge examples of policy to quote.

John Blyberg

Things are done just because they are done. Asked mom: Why you do this thing with the pie crust — because my mother did it, because my grandmother did it, no reason.

how get into culture of libs and win hearts and minds?

Every lib has staff who are lead employees — take initiative to look at innov. things going on and want to implement. As mgr, embed these ppl different areas of lib so c/b change agents, give responsibility so they can spread those thoughts among staff. And give feedback what ppl thinking and real-world elements in play.

Amanda Etches-Johnson

manages tiny team, her and two dev, web dev, digital exp, emerging tech at her lib. High degree autonomy.

know your lib’s strategic plan and make sure your black ops fit in. Esp with tech projects — don’t implement just for sake of impl, but bc strategic, fits in w/ lib’s goals.

Ex: 2 yrs ago resp. website redesign project and dec. implement a CMS, retrospect, not good idea same time. Had some Drupal exp. for nonlib projects, wanted use. Not sold because this will be easy. Fits in with strategic plan: Free and open source.

Sarah H-J

Blending into env. and sneaking up on ppl last minute. Make chngs w/o ppl noticing. By the time they notice, been going a while, can say, hey, it’s been up for months with no problems. Ex: Catalog — added links so could ask circ desk for help. Thought won’t say yes to that, think will be overloaded. Didn’t realize in a month. Uptick 5-10% in traffic, but that’s another 5-10% ppl getting ?s answered and finding contact info they need. Also covertly introduce ideas through emails, little mentions at meetings. Start sending out notices. Ex: Want to start twitter? Start sending out notes: Stats on twitter, what this lib is doing w/ twitter, so when you introduce idea it’s familiar. If heard of idea before they’re much more apt to say yes when formally introduced bc it’s familiar, not foreign.

John B

SOPAC: Integrates w/ drupal, merges CMS with catalog for seamless UE. Back in 2004 — post content and solicit comments from users, very new and scary thing, let alone let users add metadata, reviews, etc. to records. Scared the crap out of librarians. Couldn’t understand diff between adding metadata held in separate repository but connected to record as opposed to changing record = FUD. Got it done — really we just did it. Said we were doing a website redesign. Very literal about it: Doing a CMS that allows the site to be more dynamic, didn’t provide a lot of info. If did, process would have been bogged down with what ifs, which wasn’t going to get the project done. As IT staff, were experts, didn’t want to have process hijacked by ppl not know what talking about. Went ahead and launched, = huge success. So bc huge success, very little pushback from staff, they got excited by prospect being content mgrs. Provide countervision for ppl to latch onto. easier to ask forgiveness.

Amanda E-J

Follow evidence based practice. Borrowed from evidenced based practice from medical field. Questioning approach to practice leads to scientific experimentation. Some ppl hide behind use as excuse not to innovate. EBL for her = innovation. Start with what do we do, lit search, not out there, turn to network. Ask colleagues for experiences. All of that = ev based practice. If no evidence, do anyway, but collect ev self as go along and share it part broaded body prof knowledge.

Not a lot at point — mechanics of drupal. How create subject guide, how use modules do spec things on website. Wrote blog posts about it, writing article for her intranet, etc.

Sarah H-J

Avoiding collateral damage. Someone gets excited and blazes ahead w/o talking someone else. Sometimes us or sometimes we exp. collat dam. Don’t step on toes power- or support- or staffing- or funding-wise. Move ahead in thoughtful way. Talk to write ppl, dept heads, make sure no unintended impact on them that will crash project and create sit they don’t trust you for future projects. Get ppl who going to be affected involved at early stages. Have help define goals and scope of project. Forget other ppl smart too and smart about things we may not know about.

John B

What if you’re wrong and the new thing not a success, not what ppl want? Twitter ?

When deploy things need to deploy like a fire jumper. Drop in and establish a foothold and stay there. Give it resource you need to succeed. Great successes built on a legacy of failure. If you are wrong, own up, apologize, put effort to analyze why not make it work. Was idea bad? or bc didn’t have enuf resources? or bc didn’t implement it well? APply lessons to next time.

Audience comment: Sometimes just too soon and if you try 6mos later will work. Timing is everything.

Amanda E-J

cb hard to recover from no. NO right now doesn’t nec. mean no 6 months from now. Keep pushing ideas forward.

Committees bad, project teams, good. b4 user exp. libn, was ref libn and chair of web team. Had resp but not auth. Typical webteam. 12 ppl. Bad, spent hours discussing color of input button. No real auth to make dec. When bc user exp libn got auth. No mandate, just “make website better.” Disbanded web team and assembled project team based on site redesign. Ppl not problem, structure problem — some same ppl from webteam came to project team. Project team lasted 6 months, had 4 tasks, based around redesign. Had 2-day retreat at student center next door. Built wireframes figured out top level nav. Needed project team to buy into process.

Sarah H-J

twitter ? — how decided when push forward w/o talking to ppl vs. getting stakeholders on board?

Judgment call. In circ. ex. knew from previous exp. that group of circ mgrs would present unrealistic fears and staffing impact expectations — knew would happen again this time. Instead letting fear get better of them, just blaze ahead and do it. Think about past exp. w stakeholders and likely repercussion if do it wo asking. If notice the next day, repercussions, admit wrong, back track, and go the other way.

trust and follow instincts. Have sense what serv will help users. User focused. If done research and looked topic in depth, trust instincts and move forward. Current web redesign horrible project. Paid graphic designer — they did 3 samples, crap. Did 2 new, crap. Admin said make it work cause we paid. Spent 9 months trying. New web libn — 2nd day mocked up a new design. She loved, but back of head oh we paid for old thing, did bunch of work need to undo. Slept on it, trusted instincts, went with what was better. Everyone thrilled. If brain and heart tells you to do, do it. yOu know what you’re doing, have conf. to convince others.

John B

Know when to quit. If you need to scrap work, then that’s the way to go.

? from audience — when good to implement a stupid idea when someone really attached. John: Do user prototyping stage internally and then open outwards if not sure.

Audience comment — think in terms of undermining trust in your work. But if going ot help someone work w/ you better if implement their idea and doesn’t undermine project/trust in long run, then worth it.

Ppl want stability, want to be able to do their jobs. Make sure keep basics running before push new. Move from culture of reaction to culture of innovation. Make sure your staff sees you at the person trying to make things work so when roll out new ideas they trust and know you have their best interests at heart, will support you. Take care of back end first.

Sarah H-J

? from audience — what if someone comes w/ you w/ untenable project, how say no.

Hold to same standards. What evidence do they have, what libs have done it and it worked, etc. Say let’s think about it and you tell me why you think it’s important. take it to x group or team and then come w/ ideas and concerns — sometimes other group says no for you.

john b – make sure they are personally invested in idea. If not invest own time or staff resources that tells him they’re not really serious. Will listen if they know what they’ll invest and do to make idea a success.

a e-j — usually rel to website. If not think will fly, paper prototype, test, let testing decide. Sometimes her instincts wrong.

Audience comment — don’t show all cards up front. Leave out things know people want so they give sugg thing you’re going to implement anyway.  Say we’re willing to do xyz if that will help you out.

Audience comment — say a positive no to build political capital.

RT — 10th thing — it’s all about the politics.

Going to Internet Librarian?

Going to Internet Librarian this month? Want to talk about publishing with InfoToday? Have book ideas to kick around? Drop me a line… and I’ll buy you a coffee! Or maybe even lunch — yes, lunch. Such a deal. :)

And on the theme of speaking and conferences again…

Not to pick on again, but I’m catching up on reading my Friday newsletters. And hurrah! I’m on today’s, which talks more about the impact of budget cuts. (That’s not a hurrah for budget cuts, but for whittling down my email.) They explain:

There are several things we have done or plan to do in order to offset the budget cuts, including not giving any staff raises this year. We will also be cutting down on food provided at staff, board, and other meetings, travel, institutional dues, public relations, paper mailings, and supplies. We’re also looking for a more economic way to handle our phone system; more calls may be forwarded to voice mail. Unfortunately, the search for our vacant Member Liaison position has been put on hold. In the area of professional development, program fees will increase and the number of “big name” presenters brought in for programs will be reduced.

I guess I’m semi- “big name” — I do have three of them, after all! But I’m thinking we’re going to be seeing a lot more of this, and am wondering what the impact on conferences, professional development funds, travel, and association membership will be as new fiscal years and budgets roll around.

On speaking and libraries and conferences redux

I was on the Internet Librarian conference site today and saw this under a new “Why I must go to Monterey” section.

Need help justifying your trip to IL-09?
Sometimes all it takes to get permission is using the right words.  Tell your boss why you MUST come to Monterey.  Here’s a draft memo to get your started . . .

Now, that’s interesting. Think it would work with your administrator? But I’m also wondering if this is a preemptive move, or a sign that registrations are probably down at this point — although it’s a little early yet to tell (this being an end-Oct. conference).

And on a personal note (and yes, full disclosure, I’m still affiliated with the ITI books division) — Internet Librarian is my absolute. favorite. conference. So if you think the memo would help, go for it, and I’ll see you there!

On speaking and libraries

I’ve been thinking lately about speaking and libraries and the effects of the economic crunch on library conferences. By this point in the summer, I’m usually confirmed for at least 3-4 presentations or workshops for the fall — and right now, I’m scheduled for a big, fat, zero. Now, it could be that I’m just not so interesting to hear anymore, but I’m pretty sure it has more to do with the craptacular economy than anything else. Invited speakers are a logical place to cut back.

Then, I just read in LJ that the Ohio Library Council has cut its entire convention this year — largely because people just can’t afford to go:

OLC made its decision in the wake of a survey of library directors that showed that very few could afford to send their staff to the event. “In light of the recent developments in the state’s public library funding and the drastic adjustments that all libraries have been making to their operations, the OLC made the most fiscally-responsible route for both members and the organization,” OLC said in a news release.

Ohio of course is an extreme case (and if you want to help, check out some of the links over at Pop Goes the Library). I presented there a few years ago and remember the conference organizers as committed and energetic people, so it’s disturbing to read this.

Then again, ALA attendance appeared to be great, although the number of vendors was down. Are smaller conferences going to be more heavily affected? Have those of you who do the conference circuit noticed huge drops in attendance, or a decline in speaking invitations?

More ITI author signings at ALA!

The following authors will be signing at the Information Today, Inc. booth [#4525] on Saturday July 11 from 1:00 — 2:00 p.m.

Tasha Squires, author of Library Partnerships: Making Connections Between School and Public Libraries

Pop culture mavens Sophie Brookover and Elizabeth Burns, authors of Pop Goes the Library: Using Pop Culture to Connect With Your Whole Community

They. All. Rock! Come on by :) .

Student rates and not commenting

I usually blithely repost announcements on Beyond the Job without comment, whether or not I find something personally interesting or agree with its focus. But, this one made me snort coffee. I just gave a talk at UM-Milwaukee last week for their “Get That Job!” day about career building in a down economy, one part of which stressed free/low-cost professional development opportunities (including student rates and volunteer opportunities at conferences). So the topic’s been on my mind — then this crossed my inbox last night:


The Northeast Document Conservation Center Welcomes Students of Library and Information Science to join us at:

DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Fundamentals of Creating and Managing Digital Collections

MAY 27-29, 2009
Westin San Diego
San Diego, California

CONFERENCE FEE: $700 (includes a Networking luncheon on Day 1 and the Conference Reception)

DISCOUNTED STUDENT RATE: $595 with a copy of a valid student ID (emphasis mine)

(See: for Student Rate instructions)

Coffeesnort! I haven’t been a student for a while, but in what world is $595 a good student rate? And here I was thinking the $140 ALA wants to charge was a bit high… No disrepect intended to NEDCC in particular (hey, it is $105 off the regular rate!) but especially in the current economy, I think some of these conference structures bear rethinking.