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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Sultry Sunday: ALA Annual Las Vegas

Stamina can be an issue for ALA conferences not only due to the vast cavernous conference centers and treks to off-site meetings but also the all-day stream of back-to-back sessions and exhibit hall events, booths, and demos. There’s always something to do from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the least, with a few 6/7 a.m. meetings if you’re one of those lucky ones. Then some meetings occur anywhere from 5 to 9 p.m., not to mention the evening social events. In addition, there’s always something that you’ll miss–trades offs need to be made since many sessions are at the same time block. Co-workers, classmates, or library spouses can help tag team topics and sessions, but even then there’s something cool going on too that you will want to be at.

So how do you tackle ALA? This is still a mystery. Up until today, I was doing well at pacing myself but here I am at a 3 to 4 p.m. session that’s about to start, and it’s my ___ today. Yup, I’m feeling it. This is my last today…I swear. There was just so much to learn and hear about that pacing went out the window. But Sunday is always the most packed day, it seems. Good thing that Vegas is a city that sleeps early and doesn’t have a vibrant nightlife. Riiiiight. I’m actually loving Vegas more than I thought I would and have adjusted to the weather–evenings by the rooftop pool are amazing. But enough about that, let’s get on with my full day of awesome sessions…once this presentation ends.

Today began with the 8:30 a.m. Digital Preservation IG on which the presenters discussed their libraries’ current practices or plan for preserving digital content, especially research data. Part of the conversation grappled with how other campus stakeholders including IT fit into the equation.

The Continuing Resource Standards IG was a NISO update, with the focus on linking to journal content with OpenURLs. The speakers spoke about IOTA and KBART. Also, there are recent best practice recommendations and white paper available on NISO.org

Over the lunch hour at the ALA Job Placement Center, Open Cover Letters Revealed had a panel of four recently hired librarians providing advice and the inside scoop on the hiring process and search committees. Check out the event hash tag #alaocl on Twitter.

The CAMMS Forum’s large room filled up and many, including myself, pulled up a seat on the floor in order to hear about linked data, BibFrame, and the semantic web. Presentations varied from conceptual to practical. The Library of Congress’ MARC to BibFrame online convertor was live demoed successfully and excited the room.

My day rounded out with the Collection Development and Electronic Resources IG that discussed usage statistics, both why they are useful and how to obtain them. Although not all statistics, tools, and reports are equal, so there is no one right way or answer.

Good thing Monday is lighter on sessions!

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Posted by on June 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Steamy Saturday: ALA Annual Las Vegas

The heat increased today and so did the number of conference sessions. With so many available and of interest, it can be difficult to choose. However, chairing committees means that part of my day was planned for me.

Before heading off to my first session, a quick trip through the exhibit hall proved successful. Dropping by LC’s booth, I found out that the BibFrame convertor would be discussed and likely demo it during the two talks today. But my schedule was booked so I didn’t make it back. However, a quick stop at ProQuest as well paid off as I had a personal demo of the new beta eBook reader for their ebrary and EBL books. It looks great, easy to use, and has many capabilities. The roll out in August for opt-ins will really prove how well it works in more library settings and it will be interesting to hear about.

The morning began with Cataloging Norms Interest Group session. We had two excellent presentations. For the first, Liz Woolcott and Clint Pumphrey from Utah State University gave a talk entitled “Responsive workflow design: creating collaborative cross-departmental teams for cataloging, digitization, and archives”. The second presenter, Yuji Tosaka from the College of New Jersey spoke on “RDA training, continuing education, and implementation”.

Next, I had lunch with COAPI (Coalition of Open Access Publishing Institutions) to discuss open access and find out how everyone and their libraries were doing.

As my final chair responsibilities of Annual, I helped run Library Code Year Interest Group’s Tech Speed Dating event during our session this afternoon. Six experts covered a variety of topics to give attendees a taste of each and answer any questions about: MakerBot – Emily Thompson from SUNY-Oswego, MongoDB – Emily Morton-Owens from Seattle Public Library, WordPress and library websites – Chad Haefele from UNC Davis, Drupal and Islandora – Cary Gordon, President of Cherry Hill Company, Python script – Harrison Dekker from UC Berkeley, and hardware and libraries – Jeff Branson from SparkFun. Group discussion followed about code literacy.

As an audience member for the first time all day, the Preservation Metadata Interest Group had three presentations about BitCurator and its capabilities and comparability with other applications. While it’s mainly for archives and digital forensics, it was great to hear about the important considerations, needs, and tools available for preserving born-digital content and its underlying metadata.

The serendipity of conferences especially ALA is always the best part. Suddenly, a UM School of information alum meet-up occurred naturally as I caught up with fellow classmates and other alums walked by and joined us. Back at the hotel, I ran into one of my co-chairs and had dinner with her and her colleague. Sometimes it is good not to have too many plans, since you never know what might work out.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Flashy Friday: ALA Annual Las Vegas

First time in Las Vegas and there’s much more to it than I expected. Okay, the airport had slots machines right at the gate as we arrived and many more in baggage claim, along with billboards for various shows and acts in Vegas. Flashy indeed! However, the desert local makes for an interesting juxtaposition of unmanned land, ritzy city, and Spanish mission homes of the Vegas locals. Plus, The Strip is only one portion and truly itself only at night when lit up with all kinds of visitors permeating the hotels, sidewalks, and streets. There’s also the old-school downtown area, fun areas off The Strip, and even a Chinatown, without even mentioning the surrounding nature and Hoover Dam nearby. The Convention Center, however, is like most and doesn’t boast the Vegas feel, which might be a good thing to help keep us all focused on the reason that we are all here: ALA Annual!

To kick off the conference, I attended the unconference session Friday morning from 9-noon. For someone who hasn’t been to one before, the event is casual and led by the attendees: there’s a call for and vote on topics for discussion then people sit at the table with the topic that interests them. “How to talk about eBooks” was the one for me, which should surprise no one. The best part about our table was the fact there were public, school, and academic librarians all sharing their perspectives and insights based on their environments. eBook complexities have even more complications depending on the type of library as well as the user group. And apparently middle schoolers still prefer print over electronic–go figure! Another aspect of unconferences is each topic reporting out on their main points and pithy moments, so look for #alaunconf (or some Tweets might be #alauncon; always search the other possible versions like a good librarian). Other topics ranged from promoting digital collections to managing library staff to work burnout to middle schoolers and library social media.

Anyone who is keeping up with #alaac14 on Twitter knows the basics about Annual in Vegas this year: glitz and glam, booze and gambling, starstruck and sunstroke. Yes, it’s sunny and hot–beautiful weather. However, it is hotter than you think. More than any other ALA location, drinking water is crucial and in higher quantities than you typically do. The lack of humidity is drying out my hands and my hotel doesn’t provide hand lotion but I remembered Chapstick thankfully.

Pro tip: take the shuttles to and from the Convention Center. Walking even a short distance in this hot weather is too much, trust me. Locals even carry umbrellas for shade but even then take the shuttles or a cab. Plus many hotels have their own shuttles to The Strip or other Las Vegas areas if they are owned by the same property. Springhill suites shuttle driver told me that Caesar’s (Bally’s, Harrah’s) has shuttles that go to the Rio.

Also, if you have the time, get out to Red Rock for the 13 mile drive through nature’s desert beauty. Hiking might not be possible since it’s even hotter than Thursday when I went but the drive, though, is worth it and there’s a visitor center.

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Posted by on June 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Technology Speed Dating at ALA Annual in Las Vegas

Join us for Tech Speed Dating in Las Vegas! Learn about 7 different technology topics plus participate in a SparkFun demo at the Library Code Year IG session at ALA Annual.

Topics and experts

  • MakerBot — Emily Thompson, Learning Technologies Librarian, SUNY-Oswego
  • MongoDB — Emily Morton-Owens, Library Applications and Systems Manager, Seattle Public Library
  • GitHub — Coral Sheldon-Hess, Web Services Librarian, University of Alaska Anchorage
  • WordPress and library websites — Chad Haefele, Emerging Technologies Librarian, UNC Davis
  • Drupal and Islandora — Cary Gordon, President, Cherry Hill Company
  • Python script — Harrison Dekker, Head of Library Data Lab, UC Berkeley
  • Hardware and libraries — Jeff Branson, SparkFun Educational Outreach, and Nate Hill, Assistatnt Director, Chattanooga Public Library

Add it to your ALA Scheduler today: Saturday June 28th, 1:00-2:30 p.m. Convention Center N119 Don’t miss out on the speed dating fun in Vegas!

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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