As a first-time attendee, my expectations were non-existant for the Innovative Users Group (IUG) conference held last week, May 7-9th, 2014 in Detroit, MI. Having attended a variety of library conferences of all sizes, IUG is the most detailed, practical conference even though it had 1000+ attendees. My hunch is that since all of the libraries are on Innovative integrated library system (ILS), either Millennium or Sierra, this allows for much deeper and more instructive discussions and presentations. Also, the schedule’s format packs in a full day, too.
Wednesday, May 7th
Opening session, 9-11 a.m.: The day started off with a keynote by Amy Dickinson, writer/columnist/library supporter and literacy advocate. She shared her personal story about libraries and reading, how her mother’s love of learning inspired her, and described her literacy work and passion as a story-time reader at her hometown library. At the end of her talk, Innovative presented her with a donation towards the literacy charity that she works with. Innovative CEO, Kim Massana discussed the year in review and the future for Innovative. Rice Majors emceed and presented awards to 15 year Crystal Attendees of IUG, which was quite a crew this year. Also, the Beacon Award was given to Martha Rice Sanders.
RDA clean up, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Marta Rice Sanders (HELIN Library Consortium) shared her tips and tricks for tracking down pesky RDA indexed headings in need of changes. Swetta Abeyta (Innovative) discussed how she helped Sanders when she had issues with the automatic authority control processing; which has now been resolved.
Shared data for shared projects, 3-4 p.m.: Tim Auger (Innovative) gave an overview of the company’s vision for the future and then presented various sharing initiatives planned for INN-Reach. Also, the open discussion and question time at the end generated great ideas and thoughtful aspects to consider.
Innovative professional service, 4:30-5:30 p.m.: Marina Keating (Innovative) presented on the variety of ways in which Innovative can provide libraries with support, training, consultation, and contracting. With the myInnoU portal due out in July, there will be self-paced e-learning opportunities and also new API services.
Thursday, May 8th
Cataloging and authorities forum, 7:30-8:30 a.m.: Swetta Abeyta (Innovative), Katie Enright (San Antonio Public Library), and Lisa Robinson (Michigan State University) reviewed the IUG enhancement ballot winners, with many dealing with rapid/global update. As with most things, the updates focus on Sierra.
Google Analytics part 1, 9-10 a.m.: Robert Sebek (Virginia Tech) showed how he set up Google Analytics for the catalog and walked through the different reports for statistics on how users access and search the library’s catalog. Based on the data collected, his library made changes to the catalog and provided better, clearer answers where needed.
Data bricolage, 10:30-11:30 a.m.: Kristina Spurgin (UNC Chapel Hill) shared her scripting codes and workflows for wrangling metadata for cleaning and maintaining the catalog. She showed examples for a database URL location change, checking URL access for links, and dealing with payment data.
IUG seated lunch! Great time to catch up with my University of Michigan Law Library previous co-workers. Sine they were only coming from 30 minutes away in Ann Arbor, many of them made it to the conference.
Ebooks access and management today and tomorrow, 3-4 p.m.: Swetta Abeyta (Innovative) and Sarah Hickman Auger (Innovative) presented on ebooks and the various ways in which they can be accessed and managed now and shared ideas for the future. During the open discussion and question time, they solicited other priorities, concerns, and ideas, which many people shared.
All about e-content, 4:30-5:30 p.m.: Lori Roholt, Julie Woodruff, and Kathy Setter (Indianhead Federated Library System) described how their public library system deals with e-books and e-media. For e-books, they walked through the loading record process and editing/clean up of metadata. Their library also provides access to Freegal music and videos.
Friday, May 9th
Sierra REST APIs, real world applications, 9-10 a.m.: Steve Schoen (Innovative) discussed the APIs available, some of which work with both Millennium and Sierra but new ones are only for Sierra. After strong feedback from IUG attendees, Innovative will revisit the fee-based model for the APIs and its sandbox. Also, a white paper is coming in a few weeks and then they will do case studies, so be in touch if interested. Ample discussion and question time addressed many topics and concerns and desires for the APIs.
More elusive errors, 10:30-11:30 a.m.: Lisa Robinson (Michigan State University) discussed various metadata clean up in the catalog, both prior to and after loading records. She covered global update commands, how to find certain diacritic problems, hunting down local fields and delimiter 5 issues from other libraries. During discussion, others in the room also suggested fixes to questions asked.
Google Analytics, part 2, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Robert Sebek (Virginia Tech) continued his Google Analytics presentation, introducing segments, campaign tagging, and event tracking. Again, his slides were well-annotated and showed the various settings to provide the information and statistics that he sought.
They were long days but had many breaks, the one hour session format was perfect, the booklet descriptions are useful since they usually provide details, presentations are very specific and usually walk through the process or code/script, breaks are 30 minutes and provide great time to talk further with other attendees, IUG is a hands-on conference with an active membership, Innovative staff are all-ears during the conference and love speaking with attendees, IUG is a palpable dialogue throughout the week with attendees sharing their trials and successes with each other as well as direct interactions with Innovative staff.
I truly enjoyed myself at IUG and learned so much! Even with its larger size, it felt like a smaller, cozy conference where everyone knew and conversed with each other. The atmosphere of a shared ILS system helps bring IUG members together in a unified cause to improve the system and use of it for everyone. What a great conference! I am not sure if I will go every year, since there are so many possible conferences to attend, but I would love to go again.