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Steamy Saturday: ALA Annual Las Vegas

29 Jun

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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