Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

Posts Tagged ‘virtual

How to attend a virtual conference

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computer on a desk

With the 2012 ALA Virtual Conference right around the corner, I’m sharing some tips for attending online conferences and webinars. Below are things I’ve learned while completing an online master’s degree, presenting content virtually, and organizing/attending the ACRL virtual conference back in 2011:

1. Clear your schedule.

Multitasking is a fabulous thing, but it’s easy to slip into mindlessness during a virtual conference, particularly if the slide deck is less than scintillating. Don’t double book yourself to be on-call or monitoring emails during the time you’ve set aside to learn a new skill. Chances are you or your institution paid quite a bit of money for this opportunity and it’s important that you engage actively with the presenters, audience, and content. Lock your office door, block out time on your calendar, and force quit Outlook. It’s time to learn.

2. Get yourself a rocking headset.

There’s nothing more attractive than a earphone/microphone combo unit. I jest, but honestly, if there is any kind of audience/presenter interaction planned, you’re going to want something more than your built-ins. Most online conferences allow audience members to chat/IM with the presenters or moderators in order to ask questions. Only a few sessions I’ve attended have allowed people to actually speak to one another and usually these were smaller, more intimate events. I can only imagine what kind of nightmare would occur if hundreds of attendees tried to speak over one another. If you’re attending a virtual conference from work, wearing headphones sends a non-verbal message that you are busy. If attending a virtual conference from home, I’ve found that wearing headphones helps me concentrate on the session instead of wandering off to wash the dishes or organize my colored pencils.

3. Forage for noms.

Having some delicious snacks can help you stay focused on the task at hand: learning. Plus, carefully selected, healthy foods can give you a quick energy boost when staring at a screen just… becomes… too… boring… zzzz. I recommend coffee (it’s one of my main food groups), fruit or veggies like green peppers, apples, or carrots (just make sure your mic is muted!), and little bit of trail mix with raisins, nuts, and chocolate.

4. Cue up conference hashtag.

We all know and love tabs and multiple windows, right? Use them to open the webinar software and Twitter simultaneously so that you can monitor off-site mentions. Most events will have a designated #hashtag and this can be a great resource. You can connect with other attendees to build your network. Sometimes people will live-tweet the webinar and non-attendees will chime in with their own thoughts and questions. Presenters will often interact via the hashtag pre-event to drum up excitement and curiosity. And if you blog about the virtual conference, be sure to tag your post to maximize reach.

5. Take breaks.

It’s really, really tough to sit for an extended period of time and maintain focus while looking at a screen and hearing a disembodied voice. I recommend taking a few breaks throughout the day. Some virtual conferences have these built in as transition time. What I’d love to see is a virtual conference that incorporates some sitting/standing/stretching exercise techniques for attendees to go through during the down time (ALA, go!). This leads right into my last tip, which is…

6. Find out if the sessions will be recorded.

Attendees often have access to recorded sessions for a certain period of time after the event. This allows you to take breaks when you need them while still getting the most out of the virtual conference. Another thing you can do if you have access to recorded sessions for an extended period of time is pace them out. For example, if you had access to 9 recorded sessions, you could watch one session a week for 3 months. You could learn a new skill from a new presenter each week!

I also encourage you to check out Jo Alcock’s Ten Tips for Presenting a Webinar, if only to get a feel for what it’s like on the opposite side of the screen. So, what other advice do you have for attending a virtual conference? Feel free to share in the comments!

Image CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 courtesy of Pörrö

Written by Erin Dorney

July 9, 2012 at 7:14 AM

Women Who Tech TeleSummit 2012

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I first heard about the Women Who Tech TeleSummit back in 2010, after reading a blog post by librarian Bobbi Newman. I have been trying to expand my professional development to areas outside of librarianship, so this affordable ($20!) and accessible virtual conference seemed like just the ticket. And I was not disappointment.

Mostly, I attended the sessions relating to startup culture. Half the time, I had no idea what was going on. Awesome! That almost never happens at library conferences. But it was really neat because I was so intrigued by the things I didn’t understand. I feel like I’ve been exposed to an entirely new vocabulary and I’m definitely going to be investigating some of the speakers’ recommended resources. As someone who dreams about owning her own business someday (there, I said it), it was inspiring to hear from this dynamic, creative, tech-focused group of women. It was also interesting to listen to the discussion with my ears bent library-wards… à la Brian Mathews’ recent “Think Like a Startup” whitepaper. Lots of possibilities for applying these principles within higher education and librarianship.

I definitely recommend attending the 2013 Women Who Tech TeleSummit if you can! Below are my notes. Do you have any thoughts on startup culture or how it might be applied in your field?

Funding Your Own Startup
Amy Errett (Maveron Capital), Amanda Steinberg (DailyWorth), Joanne Wilson (Investor) & moderated by Pemo Theodore (EZebis)

  • Can you have an idea funded? It’s difficult – you need proof of concept to gain traction. Business is 1% idea, 99% execution.
  • You usually have to give something for crowd-funding models (not equity, but a product) so it might not work for something like an online media company. Music, arts, consumer products have been successful there (i.e. Kickstarter).
  • CircleUp just launched 6 weeks ago. Depends on the amount of money you want to raise, but at least crowd-funding gives people options.
  • Understand the character, values of the people who are investing with you. You will live with them for a long time. Investments go through cycles of good and bad.
  • Entrepreneurs often don’t think they have the luxury of being picky about investors, particularly in the early stages when they are just excited to be funded.
  • Focus on revenue to have negotiating power. Quality of business model and financial model are very important. Investors have their own agendas.
  • (Steinberg recently got a $2 million investment) Now looking at ways to segment her audience at DailyWorth (daily email about money geared to women), launching CreateWorth, hiring more people. Bridge between financial services and women.
  • Required reading on start up culture/entrepreneurship?

Harnessing Your Power
Elisa Camahort Page (BlogHer), Lynne Johnson, Susan Mernit (Oakland Local) & moderated by Jill Foster (LiveYourTalk)

Professional purpose & one critical decision that has shaped you as a leader?

  • Journalism background, technologist, critical cultural thinker. Wants to bring those things together in her profession. Shape young people, is overjoyed to see them surpass her. Critical decision: To start blogging in 2000/2001, lead to her being seen as a leader on and offline (Johnson).
  • “hyperlocal site” Oakland Local. Critical decision: thinking about non-traditional career paths, what work would utilize her strengths and be rewarding to her? (Mernit)
  • Creating opportunities for women. Critical decision: took a job in an industry she knew nothing about, was confident about succeeding or failing, then moving on to something else (Page)
  • What does asserting your power mean within the industry you’re working in? Context/culture matters. Know what battles to pick. I will always pick the battle for the customer, for the user. Back down when it will truly demoralize your staff.
  • Learn to understand group dynamics and how to harness that power for the greater good. Confidence is very important for a leader. Taking risks enables self-confidence, absolutely.
  • Engage others, bring them in on the conversation, listen to their ideas.
  • Women competing with other women? You’re often competing to be the token woman, so it’s understandable. But that’s not a solution.
  • Be strategic & display assets that you have that the rest of the group doesn’t.
  • As a new manager, how would you form relationships with existing employees? It’s difficult in a corporate environment, people below you may have interviewed for the job. In a small company, things are flatter and it’s easier to assimilate into the culture.
  • Ask questions as often as you make statements.
  • Practice public speaking – presentation means a lot in leadership. Find mentors. Reach out and help others.
  • Make time for yourself, don’t make yourself the last person on the list. Be willing to go around obstacles instead of over them. Don’t stay in a place where you’re stalled.
  • “Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does allow freedom.”

Agile Development and Failing Fast
Sarah Allen (Blazing Cloud, Mightyverse, RailsBridge), Shaherose Charania (Women 2.0, Founder Labs), Tara Hunt (Buyosphere) & moderated by Jen Consalvo (Tech Cocktail, Thankfulfor)

  • Agile Manifesto – 2001. Emphasis on working together nimbly. Refined & primarily adopted by the engineering side of software. Promoted on business side through lean startup movement.
  • Idea generation, validation, prototype. Cutting out the fat – what can I build today, quickly, at a low cost to test my assumptions? Lean startup – getting data from customer, making iterative changes (small changes each day), designing your product in real time with your customers (early adopters who are OK with a fuzzy product and will give you feedback).
  • Minimum viable product (MVP)? When should a product be pushed out? Different viable products for a beta customer vs general population.
  • Do you want press or do you want polished product? Get feedback from more than just your friends & supporters. Test with your target audience. How will you define your market? Early MVP can be the smallest unit of work that you can use to test your key assumptions. Doesn’t promise more than you can deliver. Release a tiny product with A feature, not the all the features.
  • Failing fast? Take customer data and your vision and merge them. No one is 100% right (you or the customer).
  • It’s a challenge to not be afraid of failure. Things we can prove vs things we believe. Assumption might not be completely wrong, but we need to know more about it.
  • Is this failing fast culture killing creativity? What are we measuring as failure? What are the metrics? “pitch deck” Failing fast versus succeeding slowly.
  • Agile practices – balancing art vs science? Unique to your team, the vision for your startup & their appetite for risk. Startups are creating something from nothing, isn’t that what artists do?
  • The Starfish and the Spider, by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom
  • Find tools that work for your team. It’s about communication and collaboration.
  • Don’t take funding for as long as possible. Be independent. Allows you to tweak, think about things differently.
  • ⅔ of new startup ideas right now are not new, they are mashups, derivatives. Not that those aren’t important.
  • “Creative Fridays” – stretch your mind in a different way for a few hours.
  • Intellectually give yourself permission to do stuff that seems completely unrelated on a regular basis. Something that seems fruitless to keep your mind alive.
  • Have a personal board of advisors during this time. A startup can be chaotic and lonely.
  • Write down what you think the vision of your product is, what your key assumptions are and how you intend to test those assumptions.

Written by Erin Dorney

May 31, 2012 at 2:27 PM

ACRL 2011 Virtual Conference, Friday

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Please consider completing this evaluation for any of the virtual sessions you attended at the ACRL: You can fill it out as many times as you want for different sessions and it will be very helpful to the Virtual Conference Committee for future planning as well as presenters who would like to improve their skills. Thanks in advance!

9 AM: Harnessing Your Projects: Using Project Management Techniques and Basecamp in Libraries, featuring Barbara Lewis (Coordinator for Digital Collections at University of South Florida).

  • 105 audience members
  • Audience Poll: What experience do you have with project management? 49% I have managed many projects, 30% I have managed one or two projects
  • A project has a specific beginning and end, doesn’t go on and on forever (that would be more a program). There is a defined scope of work at the beginning to avoid project creep. It often requires multiple participants, skill sets, and resources to provide a deliverable.
  • Project management = skills, techniques and tools
    • Planning – what is the end product going to be? Put together a project team. What specific things need to happen? List of tasks to be completed along with schedule. What are the milestones? What are the risks?
    • Tracking – identify completed tasks, ensure quality, recognize and resolve bottlenecks.
    • Reporting – communication with your team, boss, and end-user/customer/client.
  • Work breakdown structure – list of tasks and sub-tasks
  • PERT chart (Program Evaluation Review Technique) – a visual graphic of the dependencies
  • Gannt chart – project task and schedule
  • Product breakdown structure – list of components for the deliverable
  • Project Management Tools – Microsoft Project, Open Proj, Trac,, AceProject, @task, Basecamp, Omniplan
  • Audience Poll: Have you ever used project management software before? Majority = no
  • Basecamp:
    • You can set up and RSS feed for updates
    • Not different levels of permission – you have access to the project or you don’t
    • You can customize your colors/settings
    • Can assign tasks and due dates to a specific person
    • You can have reminders sent to people before their tasks are due
    • You can track how long you spend on tasks – good for time management/tracking
    • Limitations – no calendar, tasks can only be assigned to one person, no view only users, search doesn’t search the Writeboards, can’t globally change users assigned to tasks (as when a student worker leaves), can’t covert a To Do list to a template.
  • How does Basecamp ensure user privacy? Not sure. Each institution has separate and secure space on their servers.
  • How steep is the learning curve? About an hour, then a few random questions. Very intuitive. Good video tutorials on the Basecamp site.
  • Can you archive files outside of Basecamp? You can do an XML output.

10:30 AM: Humanities by the numbers: evaluating usage data of collection areas, featuring Arianne Hartsell-Gundy (Humanities Librarian at Miami University), Masha Misco (Catalog & Slavic Librarian at Miami University), and Jeffrey Hartsell-Gundy (Miami University).

  • 101 audience members
  • Talking about their research project
  • Audience Poll: What areas of responsibility do you have? 74% Collection Development, 70% Public Services, 46% Subject Specialist, 44% Technical Services, 35% Administration, 35% Acquisition
  • Areas evaluated include folklore, communication, linguistics, composition and rhetoric, and theatre; Russian orthodoxy, history of Russia, political science, slavic literature
  • Research questions:
    • How close are we to the 80/20 rule?
    • Which call numbers in our collection circulate the least/most?
    • Break down numbers of materials in call number ranges.
  • Something happened to my computer at this point and I wasn’t able to follow the rest of the presentation 😦

12 PM: Integrating the Library into Online Courses, featuring Susan Thompson (Coordinator Library Systems at California State University San Marcos), Thoreau Lovell (Head of Library Information Technology & Media Services at Leonard Library, San Francisco State University), Hillary Kaplowitz (Instructional Designer at California State University, Northridge), Danielle Skaggs (Coordinator of Online Instructional Design at California State University, Northridge) and Christina Mayberry (Science and Engineering Librarian at California State University, Northridge).

  • 132 audience members
  • Online classes are increasing at their universities (classes only online AND hybrid with significant online component).
  • Changing assumptions of how students interact with the library – they expect to find their resources in the course container. Faculty may bypass library for course reserves and upload them directly into the CMS.
  • We can’t expect students to proactively come to the library – instead, we need to go to them. We have also lost control over what the student sees in the CMS, the professor has that control. We can’t provide a consistent set of information that we want students to have access to.
  • So, how can librarians participate in a meaningful way?
    • Independently contact and collaborate with individual instructors – takes a lot of time and is inconsistent.
  • Change in course management system = several campuses switched to Moodle due to funding. This allowed customization.
  • Audience Poll: What LMS does your institution use? 15% Moodle, 42% Blackboard, 12% Desire to Learn
  • San Marcos:
    • 7-year-old library building with solid technology infrastructure
    • Planning for Moodle required collaborative planning with library systems, web development librarian, reference/instruction librarians, access services staff and campus IT.
    • Things they wanted to offer: access to reserves, video, improve and simplify back-end processes, ability to contact librarians, search catalog and databases, ability to renew items, ILL…
    • Ended up offering 3 primary services: Reserves, Video on Demand, link to the library homepage.
    • 2 methods to add content: dedicated reserves role (campus IT/library controlled) librarian role (faculty controlled)
    • Reserves & Video on Demand = Convenient access for students at point of need, easy for the library to comply with copyright.
    • Future: want content to be automatically generated based on course subject & a “sticky” block to group all library material.
    • Audience Poll: Who manages the course management system at your institution? 52% Central IT, 32% Academic Technology, 10% Other
  • Northridge:
    • Site level block – includes link to library webpage with information about course resources (a pared-down page with the essentials). Appears in every course in Moodle, instructors cannot opt out. Sticky.
    • DIY embedding – actions instructors can take on their own without a librarian to embed the library into their course. Instructions within Moodle and on the library website.
    • Librarian role – similar to teacher role. Added by instructors within courses, can push resources, create activities, interact with students and provide assessments. Target instructors who are already using the library, who are already collaborating with you. It’s an easier sell and can spread visibility and create library advocates among faculty members.
    • Import librarian-created content.
    • Librarian-run Moodle sites – librarian in the teacher role. Library research site – classes can enroll. Having students view the lessons before an in-person instruction session made them more engaged. Could be stand alone, could be in addition to.
    • They have 1,800 (34%) courses with a Moodle component & 30,000+ student accounts
    • They wanted front-end enhancements not back-end modifications (hosted by vendor).
    • Multiple options for different levels of integration. Many opportunities available for collaboration.
    • Outreach to campus community = faculty retreat presentations, teaching and learning bytes, Moodle training workshops, and Library Message in a Minute (you tube videos on different topics).
  • San Francisco State:
    • Displaced due to a protracted library renovation project (I NEED TO CONTACT THEM RE: OUR PROJECT AT MU).
    • Are working from tent annexes (looks awesome).
    • Moodle re-branded as iLearn, managed by academic technology.
    • 2,400 courses using iLearn
    • Got a phone call at this point so I missed a large portion of this section 😦
    • Three tiers of integration: top-level, course level and instructor level.
    • Future: Want to improve article search, move eReserve system into iLearn, explore what student bookshelves would look like (instead of faculty bookshelf), add librarian role, and better understand how faculty and students would like to see library resources integrated into iLearn. More outreach, too.
    • Lessons learned: cross unit collaboration is always hard, it feels like losing control but the relationship is KEY!

1:30 PM: Listening to users…. Closing the feedback loop: Just do it! featuring Meg Scharf (Associate Director for Public Services at University of Central Florida) and Lisabeth Chabot (College Librarian at Ithaca College).

  • 120 audience members
  • Audience Poll: Does your library have a suggestion box? Electronic or print? How do you respond to questions?
  • Ithaca College – Ask us or Tell us – invites feedback, scolls FAQ with REAL answers right next to it. Librarian who answers has photo posted near response. Awesome idea! They use Subjects Plus.
  • Within 24-hour turnaround time.
  • Popular topics = heating, cooling, cell phone usage, comfortable seating, requests for food, need for outlets.
  • Central Florida gets more paper suggestions than electronic. 5 boxes are located throughout the building. Best questions come from the box in the staff lounge. Very interesting! Answered electronically on the website.
  • Also have a guestbook – look up article by John Lubbens (L&M Magazine). Sometimes this grows to a running commentary with students replying to one another. Using a homegrown form that feeds to their intranet for a response.
  • Interesting to look at the words that are being searched for on the library website. This can help in the development of FAQs and website design – give them more obvious options if they miss the drop down menu.
  • Dealing with inappropriate comments – skip over the curse words, don’t publish derogatory remarks. Very little misuse, more just emotional or dramatic. Kill them with kindness in the response to fight this.
  • Closing the loop with webpages – web is a customer service medium. Table with slips of paper with magnets on the back with categories/topics from webpage. Then students arrange them as they see fit. They take digital photographs. Do this with faculty as well. Also have red dots to indicate what is most important to them on the library website. Also a visibility thing – looks like a game, attracts attention.
  • Tell faculty members that you need their comments electronically or physically to use as evidence when trying to bring about change to services/resources.
  • Get rid of library-speak! Articles, not journals.
  • Tailor description of resources to course outcomes within course guides.
  • Mystery Shoppers – not used to “catch” your staff, but to reveal design flaws. They got some from human resources at their university (CHECK INTO THIS). Found out students were struggling with a consistent greeting when answering the phone. Easy to remedy.
  • Complaints – we all get them. A complaint not resolved or answered leaves the patron feeling they have been ignored on purpose.
  • Community dialogue about cell phone use in the library on the web. Identified different perspectives. Comes down to community ethos. Asked for student perspectives on how to address this. Distilled the comments and came out with some “best practices” and signage indicating “Phone friendly” areas.
  • When framing a reply, pause. Don’t escalate the situation by answering quickly. Get the whole story. Take your time, ask them questions. Give them your full attention. Make them think you have all the time in the world to devote to this. Even with email complaints. Then they know that this is important to you.
  • Librarians should aspire to surprise and delight their customers.

3 PM: When Nontraditional is the Norm: Shifting the Instruction Paradigm for Adult Online Students, featuring Erin Brothen (Education Librarian at Walden University), Erika Bennett (Information Literacy & Instruction Librarian at Capella University) and Kim Staley (Reference Librarian and Liaison to the School of Public Service Leadership at Capella University).

  • 120 audience members
  • Their courses are all online, asynchronous, libraries is completely online.
  • Audience Poll: 71% regularly work with adult learners
  • Origins of adult learning – 70% of adult learning is self-directed and highlights practical applications (Tuft).
  • Malcolm Knowles – Andragogy (adult learning theory, as opposed to pedagogy) 6 assumptions:
    • The need to know. It’s not enough that it’s just on the syllabus.
    • The learner’s self-concept. Adults want to be self-directed within the classroom.
    • The role of learner’s experience. Wealth of experience can enrich and impede classroom learning.
    • Readiness to learn. Best when there is a need for the learning.
    • Orientation to learning.
    • Motivation. Internal motivation drives adult learning.
  • Limitations to andragogy – it’s a model not a theory, not a lot of empirical evidence, is it exclusive to adult learners?
  • Constructivism vs. Instructivist/Objectivism.
  • Andragogy in the library – Ingram 2000 – Immediate need for practical help, fear of looking stupid (don’t underestimate this! It’s not enough to say call the library, say there’s no shame in calling the library. It’s not their fault), desire to become independent (crossover between millennials and adult learners).
  • Adult online students come with diverse technology skills. They don’t necessarily choose online because they like technology – convenience is one of the main factors.
  • Professional experiences seem very important e.g. business professionals (used to reaching trade journals) v. nursing professionals (are more familiar with continuing education). This can impact their experience of the library.
  • Conflict between need for practical help and desire for self-actualization. Time crunch dominates because things are DUE.
  • Audience Poll: Does your institution have standards or guides for publication or tutorial creation? 56% no, 31% working on it 13% yes
  • Design best practices:
    • Inclusion of level (basic, intermediate, etc) so that learners can pick and choose.
    • Have objectives to help situate students in the learning process.
    • Tutorials should be problem-based. Focused to solve immediate need.
    • Time – keep tutorials short and to the point, let them know how long it’s going to take. Break it into pieces for they don’t have to sit through the whole thing each time.
  • Accessibility concerns – font size, color, audio (pacing/narration and word choices), personalization (adjustable screen size, close captioning), format (text, video, printable version).
  • Example: Joyner Library –
    • + You can change size of screen, close captioning, pauses for you to review and volume control.
    • – Graphics make it hard to load on different connection speeds and screen readers.
  • Example 2: Syracuse University Library –
  • Example 3: Capella University Library –
  • All examples were PRIMO from ACRL.
  • Make sure your tutorials are findable!
  • Continue the discussion:

4:30 PM: Checklist Manifesto for Electronic Resources: Getting Ready for the Fiscal Year, featuring Lenore England (Digital Resources Librarian at University of Maryland University College), Li Fu (Digital Services Librarian at University of Maryland University College), and Stephen Miller (Associate Provost at the University of Maryland University College Library).

I was pretty much shot at this point in the day, so I am planning on viewing this webcast at a later point in time since they were all recorded (stroke of genius, ACRL!).

Written by Erin Dorney

April 1, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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ACRL 2011 Virtual Conference, Thursday

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(As a reminder, all of these sessions were streamed live and recorded, so if you missed them, anyone who registered for ACRL can log into the virtual conference website and watch them in a few days)

9 AM: On the Front Lines: New Opportunities for Embedded Librarianship, featuring Jenny Dale (First Year Instruction Coordinator at UNC Greensboro) and Lynda Kellam (Data Services and Government Information Librarian at UNC Greensboro).

  • First virtual session: 110 audience members
  • Part of these efforts were to increase retention, “mandate” from the UNC to work on this.
  • Audience Poll: How would you describe your institution? 28% large public university, 25% small private university/college, 23% medium public university
  • Librarians are tenure-track, 90 staff members.
  • Living Learning Communities = students work together in the same classes and live together in (sometimes) themed dorms (e.g. leadership, service). Usually smaller groups/cohorts of students to help them develop a community they feel comfortable with.
  • They have librarians embedded in academic courses, in academic departments, and in learning communities (focus of the presentation today).
  • Audience Poll: Are  librarians on your campus embedded? Yes in online classes (12%), Yes in traditional face-to-face classes (20%), Yes in some other way (14%), Yes in a combination of the above ways (54%), No (24%)
  • Case Study: Warren Ashby, oldest living-learning community in North Carolina. Started by doing select outreach events there (on-site), but that developed into more (office hours, curriculum development – helping faculty create assignments that integrate research and the library, library instruction in the dorms). Attended a lot of events there as well (e.g. student unconference).
  • Library First-Responder – A student was trained for about 15 hours. In the dorm who has familiarity with the library services, contact info., and could help direct students in the right direction to get help from a librarian. Library ambassador. Student volunteered for the job (and is paid based on time she spends answering questions). They advertised her dorm room and chat/IM name (with her permission). She decided that whenever her dorm door was open, she could help.
  • Create a LibGuide specifically for a living-learning community was very popular.
  • Audience Poll: Does your campus have learning communities? 55% yes, 42% no
  • Best practices:
    • Identify potential partners
    • Define your relationship with your assigned unit. Could be hands off approach is best.
    • Balance outreach with other responsibilities
    • Redefine the library’s role
    • Connect with the institution’s strategic goals

10:30 AM: Personal Branding for New Librarians: Standing out and Stepping up, featuring Bohyun Kim (Digital Access Librarian at Florida International University), Erin Dorney (Outreach Librarian at Millersville University Library) and Kiyomi Deards (Assistant Professor at University of Nebraska Lincoln).

This was my first virtual presentation ever! I think it went well judging from tweets? Perhaps someone will blog about it and I can link to their coverage here. If you attended, thanks! There were more than 107 audience members.

12 PM: Depending on our Users: Collecting User Feedback to Assess and Improve Research Consultations, featuring Carrie Forbes (Instruction Coordinator and Reference Librarian at University of Denver Penrose Library) and Erin Meyers (Student Outreach Librarian and Research Center Coordinator at University of Denver Penrose Library).

  • 134 audience members
  • Audience Poll: Do you offer reference or research consultation services? 90% yes
  • Noticed a decrease in number but increase in complexity of research questions at the reference desk.
  • Wanted to offer consultations in a visible, dedicated space – essential element, enclosed by glass walls, first floor for referrals.
  • Audience Poll: Where do you offer these services? 53% in librarian office, 18% at reference desk, 15% in another dedicated library space
  • Need to assess interactions – length, type, #.
  • Data from Sept. 09- Sept. 10 from surveys following the consultation. Demographic information, service awareness, satisfaction & open-ended question designed to get at learning outcomes.
  • Needed buy-in from all reference faculty and GAs who worked at the research center for this feedback survey. It’s online and built-in survey monkey. Worked together on wording (verbal and written). Tweaked it as they went during the first quarter.
  • They average about 300 instruction sessions/workshops for the size of their university (10k students)
  • Instructional assessment – they asked: What was the most important think that you learned in the library workshop? If you were to attend a follow-up workshop, what topics or resources would you want us to cover?
  • Research sessions are one hour in length, sometimes 1-1, sometimes 1-many
  • Social Work, International Studies, LIS, Business & Clinical psychology (top 5 graduate majors seeking help in the research center). Important data for marketing the services.
  • Satisfaction rate: Out of 938 individuals surveyed, 93.8% would recommend to a friend or classmate
  • When did students seek help? How far before due date did you seek help – 5 or more days before the due date (66%)
  • 7 faculty reference librarians who are liaisons as well. 10 grad students working at the research center consultation room. Very robust training program including shadowing librarians.
  • They have the ability to have 4 consultations going on at the same time.
  • They work with faculty to market the service via faculty, campus events, orientation, liaison advisory group (faculty across campus who attend 2 meetings per year).
  • Some students like to tell their professors that they sought extra help at the research center.
  • They have written a more complete article about this service (“The Research Center…” in Reference Services Review Volume 38, Number 1, 2010).
  • How did you hear about the research center? From a professor, in a library instruction session, new student orientation.
  • Audience Poll: How do you assess your reference services? Counting reference questions (on-going) 79%, counting reference questions (sampling) 17%, user surveys/feedback 6%
  • Graduate students are staffing on weekends.
  • They want to modify some of the learning outcomes questions (due to low response rate), work on assessment of non-students (community, faculty), talk to faculty about the quality of work they are seeing & look for correlation, follow students over a period of time to determine long-term impact.

1:30 PM: Training Volunteer Library Teachers: Novice to Professional in a Few Painless Steps, featuring Suzanne Julian (Library Instruction Coordinator at Brigham Young University).

I took a break for this session to work on some homework due tonight for my poetry class. If I find someone who blogged it, I will post the link here for you.

3 PM: Benefits and Challenges of Academic Librarians in Virtual Worlds, featuring Robin Ashford (Reference & Distance Services Librarian at George Fox University), Beth Kraemer (Information Technology at University of Kentucky), Diane Nahl (University of Hawaii) and Denise Cote (Associate Professor at College of DuPage).

  • 112 audience members
  • Audience Poll: Have you created an avatar in a virtual world? 50% yes 50% no
  • Many virtual worlds are used by young children
  • Virtual worlds are currently in the trough of disillusionment (according to Gartner’s Hype Cycle)
  • They found that the primary responsibilities of academic librarians in second life were pretty much evenly distributed among the various areas of library work.
  • Used social media to get the word out about the Google Docs survey. Was out for about a month.
  • Successes = library events and traditional reference work, collaboration, professional development and content creation.
  • Texas Wesleyan University Genome Island
  • Challenges = technical difficulties, steep learning curve, insufficient value and unknown application.
  • Their study represents a sounding taken 5 years after academic librarians began working in second life.
  • 62 respondents to their survey.
  • Second life is open source so other virtual worlds use its code.
  • We can’t replicate traditional library work in the virtual world environment.

4:30 PM: Digital Library Interdependence: Building external partnerships with cultural heritage organizations, featuring Darren Poley (Outreach Librarian at Villanova University).

  • 87 audience members
  • Geared towards external partnerships developed.
  • To have a trusted digital repository is really at the heart of what a library offers to an institution.
  • Audience Poll: Do you have a trusted digital repository? 38% in development, 38% growing for some time, 24% not yet
  • Factors: (RLG-OCLC Report, May 2002)
    • Scope of collections (looking for a fit for what you’re already building in your collection). What special collections do you already have? What subjects are descriptive of your institution? What associations does your library already have?
    • Preservation and life-cycle management (in order to be trusted, needs to be able to migrate and be preserved)
    • Wide range of stakeholders (most important factor to creating interdependence. Library has a commitment to look outside of itself to see who would have a shared stake in preserving this heritage)
    • Ownership of material and other legal issues (proper documentation, owner and copyright permissions). Make friends with the legal department. Discuss real situations you can envision.
    • Cost implications
  • Institutional latitude – Do you think your institutions gives you the latitude to build digital partnerships?  Are digital initiatives, technology development, and public affairs handled inside or outside of the library?
  • VuDL –

Did you attend ACRL on-site or virtually? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences.

Written by Erin Dorney

March 31, 2011 at 5:26 PM

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ACRL 2011 Virtual Conference

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ACRL Virtual Conference Banner

Due to the unexpected passing of a family member, I will not be attending the ACRL 2011 Conference on-site in Philadelphia this week. However, I will be attending the virtual conference in full force, including blogging about the live webcasts and even presenting online. While I am disappointed to miss the in-person interaction with my academic library colleagues over the next few days, I look forward to participating electronically and connecting with many of you over Twitter, Facebook, and the virtual conference website.

As a reminder, the virtual conference website is open to anyone registered for the virtual conference AND everyone who is attending on-site in Philly. Conference material will be archived there for up to a year later, so face-to-face attendees can go back at any time and watch the webcasts they may have missed. Slidecasts (recorded PPTs with synched audio) from every contributed paper, cyber zed shed presentation, invited paper, and panel session presented in Philadelphia will be posted to the virtual conference site a few days after ACRL wraps up, so they can be accessed as well. Handouts can already be downloaded, for attendees to preview before sessions.

I want to thank my co-chair Scott Vine from Franklin & Marshal College as well as our entire ACRL 2011 Virtual Conference Committee for their hard work on organizing an excellent slate of online programming for Thursday and Friday. I am honored to be presenting “Personal Branding for New Librarians” with Kiyomi D. Deards ( / @kiyomid) and Bohyun Kim ( / @bohyunkim) on Thursday at 10:30 AM EST. Maybe I’ll see some of you there!

What are your plans for ACRL? Is this your first time attending?

Written by Erin Dorney

March 30, 2011 at 3:03 PM

ACRL OnPoint Chat: Proposal advice for ACRL 2011

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I’m not sure if I’ve talked about this extensively yet, but I’m on the Conference Planning Committee for the 2011 Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) conference. Specifically, I’m a co-chair for the Virtual Conference Committee (along with Scott Vine, Deputy College Librarian and Reference Services Librarian at Franklin & Marshall College). It’s my first time working on an ACRL Committee (I joined ACRL when I graduated from library school back in 2008) and 2011 will be my first time attending an ACRL conference.

On April 8th, I’ll be participating in an ACRL OnPoint Chat about the conference. Here’s the blurb from the website:

April 8, 2010: Maximize Your Chance of Success:
Advice for Writing a Winning Proposal for ACRL 2011
12:00-1:00 CST/1:00-2:00 EST/11:00-12:00 MST/10:00-11:00 PST

The deadline for National Conference proposals is fast approaching! Our presenters will help you think more strategically about your presentation options, writing, and content. This is an excellent opportunity to tap the experience of seasoned ACRL national conference leaders and organizers who can help you understand the art and science of developing a successful proposal.

Join us on Thursday, April 8, for an OnPoint chat moderated by Steven Bell, co-chair, Keynote Speakers Committee; Trevor Dawes, co-chair, Poster Session Committee; Erin Dorney, co-chair, Virtual Conference Committee; Marie L. Radford, co-chair, Contributed Papers Committee. The moderators have written winning proposals and served on previous National Conference committees responsible for selecting proposals.

If you have any questions about the ACRL 2011 conference or the virtual conference, I strongly encourage you to attend the chat! It’s free, open to the public and takes place in a Meebo chat room. Keep in mind that only 80 people can join the chat on a first-come-first-served basis.While most of these library celebs will be talking about how to write a winning proposal, I’ll be on hand to answer any questions about the virtual conference and explain what the committee is looking for and hoping to achieve with the virtual conference this year. I am also willing to take any feedback or suggestions you have back to the rest of the committee.

If you’re thinking about sending in a proposal, you have until May 10, 2010 to submit contributed papers, panel sessions, preconferences, and workshops. You have until November 1, 2010 to send in submissions for cyber zed shed presentations, poster sessions, roundtable discussions, and virtual conference webcasts. Check out the full call for proposals at the ACRL 2011 website.

So, what are you going to submit for the conference? I have a few random ideas rolling around in my head… If you have any questions about the ACRL Virtual Conference, please let me know!

Written by Erin Dorney

March 29, 2010 at 9:07 AM

Social networking: Be an active, responsible user.

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Image by m-c and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License.

I have been thinking about social networking websites lately. I think it’s because things are becoming increasingly integrated/cross-platformy. I wouldn’t say that this is a “manifesto” per say, but I’d like to talk a little bit about my philosophy on said sites.

I try my best to be an active yet responsible user. Let’s break that down into two parts, shall we?

I think it’s pretty important for me to have a profile on some of these sites. The age demographic I encounter most at work is the “millennial” generation, amongst faculty members, staff and adult learners. Even if the students never know I have a profile on Facebook or another site, I feel like it brings me closer to seeing their way of life. Which in turn makes me a better librarian because I can gauge their wants and needs more effectively. I can catch a glimpse of what issues are riling up the campus (based on student-created groups, pages and posts) and use this information in a number of ways. As the outreach librarian, I coordinate some of the library  events and exhibits – if a group of students create a Facebook page protesting/welcoming a particular guest lecturer, I can design something based on that interest. Heck, maybe we even have some of the visitor’s books to display, or could invite him/her to host a post-event debate in the library.  As a subject liaison, I teach some library instruction sessions – if I notice lots of students tweeting or commenting about a certain news story, I can pull that into my search strategy to try and keep their attention. It gives me a way to create connections between the library and student interests.

In addition to working with millennials, I am a millennial. I have already had three cell phone numbers in my lifetime and more ridiculous screen names than I care to share (Starbeam3? What was I thinking…). I would be on some of these sites regardless of my career because technology is something that is tightly integrated with the way I live my life. I use social networking to keep in touch with friends from high school, college and grad school as well as professional contacts, co-workers, and people I respect. I find support and knowledge in these connections each time I log in.

When doing anything on the Internet, we should try to be responsible. That can range from locking down certain profiles to protect your (and others’) privacy to limiting the frequency of your updates. I have recently found myself un-following Twitter accounts that were posting too many messages because I was missing posts from everyone else. It’s nothing personal and it’s not because the tweets were uninteresting or bad. I simply look forward to seeing a variety of information when I log in to Twitter – posts from my friends, recording artists, organizations and professional contacts all jumbled into one stream of consciousness. I guess this might stem from one of the traits of my generation – many of us enjoy multitasking and jumping from one thought to a completely unrelated topic. It’s exactly this reason that I don’t have separate Facebook or Twitter accounts (one for work and one for personal). It is an idea that seems foreign to me because my online identity is so closely tied to the one I display walking around every day.

Another aspect of responsibility that I am referring to here is the strength to know when enough is enough. A few years ago I deleted my Facebook account for approximately 6 months. I needed a rest because things were getting too intense with a relationship breakup and transitioning from college to something more closely related to real life. And there are still days when I go into work and have to say “Today I will not get on Twitter”. You could engage in endless conversation and having the power to control yourself is very important. If you say something in haste, it might stick around on the Interwebs forever to haunt you.

I try not to post tons of updates so that I don’t tip the scales of my readers. When I do, I send both personal and professional updates because I am both of those things online and in real life. I advocate for being an active, responsible user of social networks. How about you?

Written by Erin Dorney

August 21, 2009 at 10:57 PM