Today was about moving forward and ensuring that the future is better and more useful and effective than anything now or in the past. A refinement, if you will.
That said, my day began early with the 8:30 session PVLR (Publisher/Vendor/Library Relations) Interest Group Forum that focused on the topic of enhance ebooks. This is of great interest to me since I catalog ebooks, and have seen a few “enhanced” with links out to other material but that’s it as far as enhanced. Jake Zarnegar from Silverchair Information Systems gave the most comprehensive explanation of the myriad of different types and levels of ebooks, along with the some challenges and benefits. Susie Stroud from Credo Reference demoed their enhanced ebooks, which are more like interactive websites with immediately playable embedded videos and interlinking to other relevant articles and research materials. It’s a great way to think about content and the learners, meeting them where they are and chunking the information up (you’ll see the next tie-in shortly!). Nancy Gibbs from Duke University Library focused on the challenges of faculty by-in and how hard it is to get the library involved. On her campus, different professors created one-off ebooks solely for a class. One professor had the grad students create the content to be bundled at the end as an ebook but then the professor merely deleted it at the end of the semester, finding no future value in it and wanting the next year to do their own, possibly on a different topic. Even for just preservation reasons if nothing else, how can they convince a faculty member to involve the library to save a copy if the professor himself doesn’t value the end result of the students creating an enhanced ebook? It’s tragic but if they create the project on their own and don’t include the library, it’s a huge hurdle to get involved later on in the process, or at the end; this is something to work on. Andrea Twiss-Brooks from the University of Chicago science libraries discussed more of the hurdles with enhanced ebooks, concerning use, pricing, and support. Ebook apps, while a great idea and cool, aren’t sustainable for libraries and check-out or reserve shelf, etc. Questions around ILL, upkeep, cataloging, and acquisitions were also discussed. While it brought up more thinking points than it resolved, this session truly stimulated the room and myself into considering what is out there, what’s to come, and what do we do about it?
My final session of ALA was Taking a New Look at Training and Learning that centered around small group discussion that filtered back into the larger group. People from Web Junction facilitated the event and kept an agenda and plan going to keep us in the time limits. But with all the great ideas and comments, the time literally flew by, with most of us wanting to continue on talking. What do learners need? What motivates people? How do we apply these lessons to training to better serve the learners? Despite not teaching or supervising in my cataloging role, I have taken webinars for software and helped teach my grandparents and parents about the iPad, and my uncle about his Windows laptop. From these experiences, I could relate and project these take aways into future situations to ensure the best learning environment for me or others. I dropped into this session last minute and loved it, learning a lot too. That’s what ALA is great for an can be really fun–stepping outside your usual bounds and seeing what you can learn and apply later. Ideas abound!
Lastly, I walked the exhibit hall one last time. Besides following Steve around on his booth business, I peeled away to explore on my own. One of the best stops was at the LC booth. At the RDA update, Beecher Wiggins discussed the training that they are wrapping up for all of their staff, including overseas. At the Learning session, one lady asked me about assessment tools for those RDA modules online–yes, she was a cataloger too! I didn’t know but thought it a great questions so I headed over to LC to get an answer. No one there could give me one at that point so they put me in touch with a couple of people in their training office, so hopefully in the next week or so I’ll hear back from them. Being able to talk in person can really get the ball rolling, if not work things out.
And since I avoided all of the swag, I just couldn’t resist those darn cute mini read tote bags and a call number tea mug!
And, of course, our shot glass for each new city that we visit.