Conference 2.0

What do you think of all the 2.0 coverage of the 2009 Midwest Chapter/MLA Conference? Did you enjoy following conference happenings in the Twitter widget webmaster Allan added to this blog for the conference? Have you looked at all those photos of the conference over there on the Flickr badge? As I write this there are 424 photos tagged midwestmla09! So much photo fun! It looks like everyone enjoyed the conference events and were able to do some touring around town as well.
ConnectMidwest coverage of the conference was ably coordinated by our newsletter editor Jason. He even created an online tutorial to show our conference bloggers how to post to Movable Type. Thank you so much Midwest Chapter bloggers for sharing your experience of this year’s conference!
One of the conference GMR Technology Forum presenters, Krafty Librarian Michelle Kraft, blogged about the conference as well. Most notably she shared much of the information from her part of the panel discussion. She posted her slides on SlideShare as did fellow Tech Forum panelist Eric Schnell. Michelle also recorded and posted video of the conference poster session.
And lastly, the conference Program Committee has posted the presentation slides from all of Sunday’s Contributed Papers on the conference website here.

Winning Ways

The most exciting part of the annual Midwest Chapter business meeting is, of course, the announcement our annual award winners by Sheryl Stevens, chair of the Awards and Scholarships Committee.
The 2009 Jean Williams Sayre Innovation Award was awarded to our conference city’s own Prior Health Sciences Library Center for Knowledge Management for their development of an Internet-based continuing medical education portal. The $500 award was accepted on behalf of the team by Pam Bradigan, the library’s director. Congratulations!
The biggest suspense is reserved for the announcement of the Distinguished Librarian of the Year Award. Last year’s winner Logan Ludwig dramatically introduced this year’s winner. About halfway through his reading of the exerpts from the nomination letters, I realized who the winner was and started watching her reaction. And what a joy it was to see her totally surprised to hear her name announced for this, the chapter’s highest honor! Congratulations to Mary Markland, 2009 Distinguished Librarian of the Year!
After receiving her well-deserved award, Mary, in her role as chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee, reviewed the results of this year’s election of officers:
President-Elect: Clare Leibfarth
Treasurer: Sue London
Chapter Council Representative: Bette Sydelko
Recording Secretary: Charniel McDaniels
Chapter Council Alternate Representative: Pam Rees
Potential Candidate for Membership on the MLA Nominating Committee: Melinda Orebaugh
The new Executive Board members took office at the end of the business meeting with the “transfer of the gavel” from Deborah Lauseng to incoming president Elaine Skopelja. Your intrepid blog editor is looking forward to serving the members of the Midwest Chapter for the next three years as part of the fantastic Executive Board team!

A few random notes and thoughts from Midwest MLA ’09

These are from a first-timer, and I like linking: this is my disclaimer.

  • Clifford Stoll is an incredible speaker and story teller with a whole lot of energy.  These traits make for an excellent keynote, and (jumping from one session to another, in this case, the administration panel) also a librarian who is good at talking to leadership.
    • Here is the inscription from the Hayes Tower bell: “All truth is one. In this light may science and religion labor here together for the steady evolution of mankind from darkness to light; from prejudice to tolerance; from narrowness to broadmindedness.”
    • If you ever get a chance to hear Cliff, and you weren’t at this meeting, ask him about that inscription.  I loved its meaning, and wanted to share it after looking it up. 
    • Klein bottles!
  • This was my first chapter-type meeting, and I much appreciated the number of group sessions!  It was tough to decide which 5/15 papers I was going to go see.  Are the presentations going to be posted somewhere? 
    • The Vital Pathways project looking into the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) standards is fascinating, if disappointing.  The current standard for residency programs simply states “ready access” to library without any mention of librarians!  But at least MLA/ACGME are now in conversation, and this is only the beginning.  Education standards for allied health, etc. should also be identified.
    • The University of Michigan group had an excellent survey presentation (2nd one down).  Interesting numbers generate lots of audience response!  Do your users know how to search Google Scholar so that they can get access through your link resolver?  And do you know what an H-index is?
    • Library collaboration with a new department can have major benefits for both groups.  The example in this paper was collaboration with the Research Division, and began when the division approached the library about licensing a tool.  Take advantage of those rare times someone comes to you!  Now the library has several new avenues of promotion (including faculty orientations to the division) and the division’s Tech Commercialization department no longer pays lawyers to find patent articles!  The author also noted that sponsorship matters: classes by “the pharmacy no rx Library” may not get as big an audience as classes by the “Research Division.” 
    • I’m biased because this (I’m going to say it) Totally Awesome presentation was done by a co-worker: using web-conferencing software in new ways.  In this case, there was an institutional subscription to Adobe Connect, but the ability to capture simple presentations to post as online tutorials or to use conferencing software to see a patron’s screen while they’re at home in order to help them can be done through several programs.  And the point was that you may have some great little tool that can be used for so much more than its stated function! 
    • The evidence-based nursing practice presentation has already been described on this blog, so I’ll just add that I was excited to get a little of the nursing perspective and vocabulary having just taken the EBHC CE course from one that was more clinical!
  • I have several pages of notes from the final two panels, but they’re on my laptop.  🙂  Fortunately, someone already posted information on the Scholarly Communication one.  I’ll just mention that I thought it was an excellant example of two presenters tag-teaming and giving the audience a great overview of the issues at hand.  This was close to my heart since I was physically at NLM when the mandated NIH Policy began, and I’m really excited to see the directions OA is going!  The tech panel, as the last thing, is the most recently (and maybe the most prolificly) twittered #midwestmla09 topic, so check the tweets out while you can!  Maybe someone can capture all of those?  Maybe that’ll be my next post.

The day after I got back from the conference I’m still kind of reeling from all the wonderful people I met (both new friends and those I only previously knew at a distance!) and from all the wonderful content.  And so much has been captured online, through this blog, twitter, and the Flickr pool!  Be sure to check it all out.  I’m so glad I got to have this experience, and I’m counting down already until Midwest MLA 2010!  Now time to find some committees…

Super Searcher CE Course: Tuesday, Oct. 6 / Instructor: Max Anderson

This is mainly a chronology of the course, with a few statements from the content and my personal impressions.
Pretest-Things to think about: What do you already know? “Baseline” to compare what you know after the class. This is a very helpful feature for self-assessment. I think all courses should provide a simple pre and post test so that participants can more objectively evaluate what they have gained from a course.
Search engine versus directories – Search engine is not human powered (algorithm); you hit a limit where you can’t go any further in terms of the pages of results.
Directories-for the most part human powered; most feature breadcrumbs.
Examples: dmoz -open directory project. 84,000 editors (only 4 million sites as opposed to billions), Librarians’ Index to the Internet.
Google and Yahoo directories are at least 75% human powered.
Mamma- metasearch engine – shows where search results came from.
Exercise 1- Evaluation (sites other than Google)- Can you tell where the information is coming from? How clear are your search results?
Exercise 2: Advanced searching techniques (either menu or search string) of Yahoo and Google
Exercise: 3: Clustering and Previewing Search Tools (bypassed during class). Try the links on your own:
Exercise 4: Emerging Search Engines: Bing, Wolframalpha, Google Squared
Exercise 5: Specialized Search Tools
Exercise 6: Real Time Search (e.g. searching Twitter and Facebook)
My impressions of the course are as follows:

  • I don’t think it was necessary to have an classroom exercise for using the advanced search features of Google and Yahoo because information about these functions is readily accessible through the Yahoo Help file, the Google Cheat Sheet, and the Google Quick Reference.
  • I still learned new things from the course. I found the exercises where we compared non-Google sites (particularly the “emerging” search engines) to be the most useful.
  • Max is an effective instructor who is always very responsive to questions.
  • Overall, I found the course to be worthwhile.
  • I think that for future iterations of this course, the NN/LM course developer(s) should focus more of the course content on the emerging search tools. I think participants are generally either less likely to be aware of those tools, or are are at least less likely to have used them on a daily basis.

News from Executive Board Meeting: Virtual Meetings, Here We Come!

*Posted on behalf of Elizabeth Smigielski, Recording Secretary*
The board met on Friday evening, the 2nd, for a five-hour meeting. The meeting was well attended with about 15 people present. Throughout the meeting we were joined by Allan Barclay, our Chapter webmaster, via DimDim, virtual meeting software. Allan listened to the meeting over the phone and we could see him through web streaming. Using DimDim was an experiment to test the feasibility of having a future virtual meeting. The MLA Executive Board has been successfully holding virtual meetings during the last year. Incoming Chapter President Elaine Skopelja will be scheduling a two-hour virtual board meeting in January or February as a trial. We will still have a traditional face-to-face spring meeting in 2010. The intention is, assuming the trial January/February meeting works, that we may shift from the traditional all-day face-to-face spring board meeting and instead have smaller monthly or bi-monthly virtual meetings. Many thanks to Karen Anderson, Allan Barclay, and Brian Finnegan from the Communications Committee for their work in bringing virtual meeting technology to the Chapter.