2010 Vol. 13 Issue 3

Wired West Vol 13 Issue 3 (Summer 2010) 25th Anniversary Issue

News from Your Chapter Board

Professional Development

2010 SLA Conference Reports

News & Resources

This issue of Wired West sponsored by:

Posted in 2010 Vol 13 Issue 3, Wired WestComments Off on Wired West Vol 13 Issue 3 (Summer 2010) 25th Anniversary Issue

President’s Message

By Frances Main

25th Anniversary

Welcome to this special 25th anniversary edition of Wired West. I hope you enjoy reading the articles about our chapter’s history. This is just one of the ways in which we are celebrating this event. You will notice that the website now has a 25th anniversary banner and a flickr photo stream of images from past and present chapter events. The board has also commissioned 25th anniversary buttons to mark the occasion and thank chapter members. These buttons have been made and will be distributed to members at local events and by mail. I would like to recognize and thank Richard Matiachuk, our President-Elect, and Andrea Freeman, Vancouver Director, for their hard work on this project.

SLA Annual Conference, New Orleans

This year, the annual conference was held in New Orleans and was a very successful event with 3,469 attendees. Sessions covered a range of topics including mobile technology, new media, search technologies and taxonomy. The conference opened and closed with high-profile keynote speakers. Political pundits James Carville and Mary Matalin got things going and the conference closed with a talk by author Nicholas Carr, considered one of the world’s foremost voices on information technology and its effect on business and culture. Mr. Carr has a new book out, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains, and in his address he expounded on the main theme of this book – that the Internet is changing our brains and the way we think. He asserts that the Internet is eroding our ability to read deeply and absorb knowledge, skills he believes we develop and nurture by reading books. His talk was very interesting and ended in a lively discussion with audience members.

One new development for this year’s conference was the virtual conference component for those who could not travel to New Orleans. For the first time, sixteen of the sessions were presented live as part of a virtual conference package. Initial reports from virtual conference attendees from the Western Canada Chapter have been very positive.

At the Annual General Meeting, the association leaders discussed some of the fiscal challenges currently facing the association and their plans for addressing them and moving the association forward. The SLA board is reviewing the current budget structure and reconsidering the way that SLA does business. For those of you who were unable to attend this year’s annual conference, the links below are for presentations made at the Annual Business Meeting held in New Orleans.

You can also watch the video of these speeches, as well as the entire 2010 Annual Membership Meeting on the “Annual Conference” channel on SLA TV

SLA WCC in New Orleans

For me, one of the highlights of this year’s conference was the opportunity to meet (and party with!) SLA WCC members. The chapter was well-represented with members from across our wide geographic region attending. We had members from Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver Island and Vancouver at the conference. New Orleans is a wonderful city and I enjoyed discovering its culture, and food, with new and old SLA WCC friends. Below are three of my favourite memories from New Orleans: café au lait and beignets at Café Du Monde, the Mississippi, and SLA WCC members getting together.


Alignment Update

At the Leadership Development Institute held during the conference, chapter and division leaders received an update on the Alignment Project. The SLA board is now working on the last two pieces of the alignment project – developing an alignment toolkit and adopting a new mission, vision and core values statement for the association. Mary Ellen Bates is heading up the toolkit project and is working with the alignment ambassadors and chapter members to create a “23 Tools” alignment toolkit.

2011 Board Candidates

As always, the conference also provided the opportunity to hear from and meet the nominees for President and Board positions. Now is a good time to review candidate names and profiles in preparation for the elections in the fall. You can find details about all the candidates and read their responses to specific questions at: http://www.sla.org/content/SLA/governance/11election/2010cand.cfm

Chapter News

Although summer is always a quieter time, there are still events happening around the chapter:

  • In Calgary, first Tuesday gathering are continuing throughout the summer.  Members gather for drinks and appetizers on the first Tuesday of every month.
  • In Vancouver, Ulla de Stricker is in town in August and a lunch-time Roundtable with Ulla will be held on August 12th.

The next meeting of the Western Chapter Board will be held on September 8th and may be attended by WCC members.

Wishing you all a wonderful summer

Frances Main

Frances Main is a Research Specialist at Canada Revenue Agency.

Posted in 2010 Vol 13, 2010 Vol 13 Issue 3, Wired WestComments Off on President’s Message

Chapter & SLA News

By Shirley Lew, Communications Director

Chapter News

  • SLA WCC is celebrating 25 years this year! To mark this milestone, we’ve updated our website with modified logo, Flickr feed of photos from the last 25 years, and link to our Twitter and LinkedIn pages. Check us out!
  • SLA Chapter Cabinet Chair-Elect candidate Ulla de Stricker was in Vancouver on August 12th and took part in an Ask Ulla round table discussion. Attendees asked Ulla questions about the future of the profession and of SLA, among other topics. It was a well-attended event. Many thanks to Teck Cominco for providing the space.  Thanks to our program sponsor FP Infomart for supporting this event.
  • FIRST TUESDAYS gatherings in Calgary have gotten off to a great start. This is a casual monthly gathering, on the first Tuesday of every month, for drinks and appetizers. Meeting place is the James Joyce Irish Pub.
  • The next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 8th at 8:30 a.m. PST (9:30 a.m. MST, 10:00 AM CST). Note the next meeting place will be at Vancouver Public Library, in the Systems Meeting Room on Level 7.   Board meetings are open to SLA members; if you would like to attend please contact your local director or Frances Main, SLA WCC President.
  • Minutes from the April 2010 meeting are available.

SLA News, Events & Conferences

  • SLA’s candidates for the 2011 Board of Directors are listed on the SLA website. There are photos, bios, and video recorded responses to the question: How does SLA help its members become essential in the new knowledge economy?
  • Contributed papers from SLA 2010 Annual Conference have been posted. Missed papers or handouts from previous years? Find them here.
  • Registration for 2011 Conference in Philadelphia is already available! Register now and receive SLA 2010 registration rates.
  • SLA CEO Janice R. Lachance’s blog is a great way to stay connected with SLA. Her most recent post taslks about SLA at the IFLA conference in Goothenburg, Sweden.

Shirley Lew is Coordinator of Library Systems at Vancouver Community College Library.

Posted in 2010 Vol 13, 2010 Vol 13 Issue 3, Wired WestComments Off on Chapter & SLA News

Editorial

By Allan Cho

Welcome to Volume 13, No. 3 of Wired West. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this issue. As you will notice from these articles, the theme of this Wired West is technology. Whether it is a the standalone one-person library or the monolithic academic institution, technology has pervaded the working lives of information professionals of all backgrounds and job titles.

Covering the SLA Conference in New Orleans as well as the 25th anniversary of SLA Western Canada Chapter, this issue is jam-packed with an intriguing series of articles. We look back at the inception of this chapter through the recollections of those who had laid the first bricks. Then we move forward to the current day 2010 conference which is still fresh our memories, but not quite capturing all that happened (since one can be in one place, at one time only). Hopefully, this is where our conference colleagues can share with us their side of the conference story.

Thank you for taking the time to read and explore these important issues of the SLA Western chapter world.

Share your news

Have you changed jobs recently or been promoted? Have you received an award or recognition of any kind lately? Have there been significant movements or changes in your organization? Are you an SLA WCC member taking a leadership role in other library/information organizations? Did you participate (as panelist or speaker) at a conference recently? Wired West wants hear and publish your news!

Conference season is upon us. If you are participating in a panel discussion, presenting a paper or facilitating a workshop, please take a moment to send your news to the editor.

Articles of interest to the SLA WCC community are always welcome, some suggestions for article topics can include:

  • interesting projects you’ve tackled
  • interviews with members
  • marketing your library or services
  • trends in library computing
  • new tools you like
  • cataloguing
  • managing an electronic collection
  • plus any other ideas…

I am also looking for a volunteer for our next virtual tour. Email me if you’re interested.

Wired West is currently produced quarterly: November 15, February 15, May 15 and August 15. Deadline for text is normally the first day of the month before the next publication date e.g. November 1, February 1, May 1 and August 1.

Submissions to the SLA WCC Web journal are welcome at any time. Please send comments, ideas, or suggestions to the Wired West Editor.

Allan Cho is Program Services Librarian at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at the University of British Columbia.

Posted in 2010 Vol 13, 2010 Vol 13 Issue 3, Wired WestComments Off on Editorial

The Inception of SLA’s Western Canadian Chapter

By Diana Broome

It all began in late 1981 at a restaurant in Calgary where a group of corporate information professionals met regularly for lunch. I had recently relocated to the city from Vancouver and was fortunate to be welcomed into their network. They were — Bev Bendell, Montreal Engineering (Moneco); Rodney Muir, Home Oil; Carl Harvey, Dome Petroleum; and Liz Johnson, Energy Resources Conversation Board — all recognized leaders in the Calgary community.

I was working for the Alberta Energy Company, now EnCana.

The main topic of lunch conversation was the fact that there was no professional association representing their interests. The bloom was off the rose for the once-booming petroleum industry and information professionals were very concerned about threatened layoffs and library closures. Library technicians were being hired for professional positions, particularly in Edmonton which was the nucleus for government libraries. Records managers were making a foray into the library profession, pushing information professionals out of their libraries and into the RM world. Academic and public librarians had the Canadian Library Association for support, but CLA offered little for information professionals working in special libraries.

I shared my very positive experiences about belonging to SLA’s Pacific Northwest (PNW) Chapter.

At that time, SLA had two Canadian chapters – Toronto and Eastern Canada. There was no representation for Western Canada. With the exception of BC, most information professionals in the prairie provinces belonged to the Toronto chapter but were not able to participate in programs or networking opportunities. There were no local SLA programs in any of the Western Canadian cities.

Economically, BC had a strong affiliation with the U.S. Pacific Northwest, primarily because of the forestry industry. Because SLA had chapters in Washington and Oregon states, BC information professionals had closer ties to their American neighbours rather than their Eastern Canadian colleagues. Most information professionals in BC chose to belong to the PNW Chapter which was based in Seattle.

Being an SLA member in Vancouver, I was able to take advantage of occasional chapter meetings in Seattle and PNW members would come to Vancouver in April to host a dinner meeting for their Canadian members. Our American friends loved to have a weekend in Vancouver during the spring when the blossoms were in full bloom!

Our Calgary founders believed there were very valid reasons for wanting western Canadian representation. For example, the annual SLA salary survey covered eastern Canadian information professionals but did not accurately reflect the salaries of their western Canadian counterparts. There was also no local programming at an appropriate professional level, with the exception of the annual PNW meeting in Vancouver.

As a result, the Calgary group decided that it was an opportune time to have an SLA presence in Western Canada.

We conducted a survey of Western Canadian association members to determine their chapter affiliation preference — a proposed Western Canada Chapter, the Toronto Chapter, or the Pacific Northwest Chapter. Based on the survey results which expressed a favourable interest in a Western Canadian chapter, we submitted a petition to SLA requesting provisional status. We were required to specify the geographical area for the proposed chapter and included British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the territories in our petition.

The SLA Board of Directors granted provisional status in 1982. Bev Bendell was the first president of the provisional chapter.

The two Canadian chapters were very supportive of a new Western Canada chapter and did not object when we were granted provisional status. We had two years to secure 25 members and to sustain that minimum membership level for twelve months in order to be eligible to apply for full chapter status. We had our work cut out for us.

For the next year we focused on building our chapter membership, putting in place local contacts in each major city in the region, and drafting our bylaws. The core membership was based in Calgary. Our goal was to apply for full chapter status in time for the June 1985 Board of Directors meeting which was going to be held in Canada.

The road to full “chapterdom” was not without major bumps along the way.

In January 1984, we announced our intention to apply for full chapter status, so that the other chapters affected by the boundary change could adapt their by-laws on membership affiliation accordingly. SLA members residing in BC would belong to the new chapter unless they chose to belong to a different chapter.

The PNW Chapter strenuously objected to BC being included in the provisional chapter’s boundaries. We had advised the PNW chapter executive of this proposed change in 1982, but the information was not passed on to the next executive. The PNW chapter executive realized its membership base would be reduced if BC members belonged to the Western Canada Chapter rather than PNW. This would mean less funding from SLA as the annual chapter financial allotment is based upon the number of SLA members within a chapter’s boundaries.

Of even greater concern, the PNW chapter had a loyal following of several influential members in Vancouver who were rightfully very upset that the new provisional chapter included BC in its geographical boundaries. The community was split between long-term PNW members,  and information professionals who wanted to belong to a Canadian chapter, preferably western-based.

We reassured BC members that they could still choose to belong to PNW rather than Western Canada. It would be their choice. We also had many phone calls with the PNW executive to explain our position and to reassure them that we would not actively persuade SLA members in BC to join the new chapter. It was a stressful, emotional time.

We were deadlocked for months over the boundaries issue. SLA established a Special Arbitration Committee to decide on each chapter’s boundaries. At the SLA winter meeting in Philadelphia in January 1985, the SLA Board of Directors approved the Committee’s recommendation that British Columbia be included in the Western Canada Chapter. With the dispute resolved, the members residing in the provisional chapter’s geographic area adopted the by-laws on April 18, 1985.

June 7, 1985 was a proud, historic day! As provisional chapter president, I attended the SLA Board of Directors meeting in Winnipeg. The annual conference was in Canada which was very fitting. The board voted in favour of granting the provisional chapter full chapter status. On this day, the Western Canada Chapter was officially born.

That night I celebrated with our SLA sisters from the southern states who were determined to find a good rib joint in Winnipeg. And they did!

The PNW chapter executive gradually accepted the new chapter but the emotional rift amongst the Vancouver members remained for a number of years. Eventually, we successfully held a joint PNW WCC meeting in Vancouver in the spring, carrying on the April meeting tradition. Both chapters have engaged in other collaborative ventures over the years.

The Western Canada Chapter could not have happened without the vision and determination of Bev, Carl, Rodney, and Liz. They are truly the founders of the chapter and I was fortunate to have been a part of their journey to create an SLA presence in Western Canada.

Where are they now?

Bev left the profession in the early 1990s to move to Canmore and pursue her first love —mountains. An avid climber and skier, she found her true calling working for the Alpine Club in Canmore. Always committed to her roots in the library profession, Bev was the club’s volunteer librarian for several years.

In 2007, Bev Bendell donated $100,000 to the club. The club decided to user her donation to create a permanent library fund, the Bev Bendell Library Conservation Fund, which is committed to the growth and enhancement of the club’s library collection.

On a sad note…Bev died of pneumonia in July 2008.

Carl left the profession in the 1990s to move to the Crow’s Nest Pass region with her family.

Rodney eventually left Home Oil for a position with the Calgary Police Department. She took early retirement in 2004 and returned to the police department on a contract basis in 2008.

Liz stayed with the Conversation Board until her early retirement a few years ago. She resides in Calgary.

Their legacy lives on. The chapter planted its roots in Calgary and now thrives in all corners of the region. Thanks Bev, Carl, Rodney, and Liz. It is all because of you and your dream.

Diana Broome is Information Services Co-ordinator BC Teachers’ Federation

 

Posted in 2010 Vol 13, 2010 Vol 13 Issue 3, Wired WestComments Off on The Inception of SLA’s Western Canadian Chapter

SLA WCC 1997-2003

by Patricia Cia

After many promises I find myself still struggling to write about my time as an active member on the board of the SLA Western Canada Chapter (1997-2003). I started off as Acting Secretary/Treasurer, became Communications Chair and then Communications Director, and finally President-Elect, President, Past President. During my years I worked with generous people who allowed me to “play”.

Much of my work is already documented on the SLA WCC web site as articles in Wired West, the Chapter’s history pages and meeting minutes (thanks also to Internet Archive site). When trying to express my thoughts, images from those early years keep popping up:

  • Chapter dinner during the 1997 Annual conference;
  • learning and practising CSS;
  • exploring the concepts of a new logo and colours while waiting for a late night bus;
  • scooping the other Chapters with Stephen’s story (1997-1998);
  • chatting via email and getting advice from colleagues at the Toronto Chapter;
  • being at an SLA Bulletin Editors’ workshop where everyone else was concerned about print layouts;
  • writing to SLA headquarters about their communication issues
  • our 20th Anniversary celebration in Calgary;
  • meeting colleagues who have influenced and helped me throughout my career;
  • learning from and with you

It all began by helping out a friend. Earlier, I had mentioned wanting to be more involved in the Chapter to Donna Hanson, the Secretary/Treasurer. She was leaving for new adventures overseas in April/May 1997 and was wondering if I could help out for a few months. Sure, sounded straightforward and harmless. I enjoyed the couple of months and was considering stepping forward for the new term. At this time I also expressed an interest and facility in maintaing the website (at that time only a few pages) and the incoming President asked if I wanted to take that on instead. Perfect, a way of flexing my creative side, learning new things, and being near the beginning of the SLA’s online adventures.

One moment did stand out for me as acting Treasurer. During the annual conference in Seattle and we had a huge turnout for the traditional Chapter dinner. As occasionally happens with large groups, splitting-the-bill discussions ensued. As some of the board was present, Past President Grace Makarewicz recommended that the Chapter help subsidize the event …. approved by the Treasurer of course. This decision that help make the conference successful and memorable for us. Lesson learned: Annual conferences are fun; can expose you to great local restaurants; and quick decisions are sometimes best.

Of course, Seattle also stood out as one of the first conferences where I learned to meet, mingle, and work the exhibit halls and receptions. Special thanks to Rita Penco, President 1997/98 and Queen of Social Conferencing.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, Rita Penco had offered the Western Canada Chapter as the beta chapter for SLA’s Virtual Association Initiative which at the time meant we would develop an online presence for our members. This was a very good move for us, especially taking into consideration our geographical size and member dispersion. However, in the summer of 1997 our web presence was basically two issues of an online bulletin last published in February. Accepting the position of Communications Chair, I was the discussion list owner, bulletin editor and website manager. This was one of the first such positions at SLA and for several years, they couldn’t quite figure out where to place me in their leadership lists. By default, it tended to be as bulletin editor.

My first task as bulletin editor was to produce a new issue for our members. Due to a variety of reasons, we couldn’t use the existing name and so I produced Issue Three, Change As Opportunity. We put out a call for name for our online bulletin and with the fall issue, Wired West: Web Journal of the SLA Western Canada Chapter was born. With a tip off from Randy Reichardt who acquired the ISSN of our original print bulletin, I acquired a new ISSN: 1483-9288 (new title, online only format). A small thing, but exciting for me! In Fall 1997, we rolled out Vol. 1, no. 1 of Wired West. Okay, I am cringing now at some of my layout choices, but the contributed content was always great. Articles varied over the years as I learned to solicit articles while networking at Chapter events and when meeting people at the Annual conferences. Several contributions consistently received a high number of hits including Stephen Abram contributions: Snappy Librarian Comebacks and his “Adventure” with Cancer. Many articles stand out: Canadian Library Delegation to Russia by Nigel Long; several in vol. 1, no. 3:Leadership Roles for Information Professionals by Jan Wallace and Leadership: an Act of Courage by Xenia Stanford. Take the time and explore other issues in Wired West.

This retrospective has gone on long enough for now. I hope Allan Cho, Wired West’s current editor will indulge me by allowing another article in the next edition.

 

Patricia Cia is Coordinator, Technical Services & Library Systems at Langara College.

Posted in 2010 Vol 13, 2010 Vol 13 Issue 3, Wired WestComments Off on SLA WCC 1997-2003

Memories of the History of SLA Western Canadian Chapter

By Carol Williams

A member for many years, but never on the executive of SLA, I was recruited in the spring of 1996-7 as nominations chair for the Western Canada Chapter. By 1997-98, I was president-elect, a leap uncharacteristic of long standing SLA chapters, and an indication of the “newness” of ours. As president-elect, I was guided by our very capable president, Rita Penco, whose vision for our chapter resulted in a higher profile at international headquarters, as well as a promise of growth and development.

It was as exciting time to be president of WCC during my term, 1998-99, as we were the designated “virtual chapter”. We used electronic tools – website, listserv, web journal (Wired West), and meetings by conference call — to connect our geographically diverse chapter.  In those early days of the internet, we had many talented volunteers who could make the virtual promise a reality. Patricia Cia, one of the first librarians I knew to have web-editing skills, was our communications chair during my term, a role that, given its growing importance in our status of virtual chapter, was soon elevated to communications director.

One of my personal goals as president was to encourage broader-based involvement in the chapter executive. Not all positions needed to be filled by persons in the same local as the president. SLA Western Canada Chapter was started by special librarians in Alberta, as you can see from the list of executive on the Chapter archives section. Jan Wallace became the first Vancouver-based president in 1993-4 after which the board was dominated by Vancouver members for a number of years. We already had directors in each region, but now we worked for more geographical distribution of some of the other board members, an initiative made possible by our virtual progress. To help bring the chapter together physically, as well as virtually, Debbie Millward (President, 2000-2001) and I, partnering with Calgary members and supported by headquarters, held “Convergence 2000” in Calgary, a joint program for all SLA WCC members. This was an opportunity to build conference and team-building skills.

Another goal, again made possible by our virtual tools, was to make our chapter activities more transparent to all members. Patricia Cia and I developed and posted a history of the chapter with a list of all board memberssince 1983. Adding board minutes on the website was another step in making the chapter activities accessible. As we more clearly defined some roles, such as past president, using the website we shared the position descriptions with the members.  Thanks to work of future boards, all this information is now contained in a comprehensive procedures manual. Clearly defining the roles and making the information easy to retrieve on the website helped future nominations chairs fulfill their duties and has provided continuity to board functions. Through SLA WCC, I witnessed the importance of documentation and transparency, basic knowledge management principles I was able to implement in my work environment.

Continuous learning is one of the competencies advocated by SLA, and through active participation in SLA WCC, I learned the power of new technologies and was able to bring some of these to my own library setting. When speaking to students at the library school, we learned and then used power point, a rather new presentation tool in the late 90s. In my organization, the library had the first web-page and later became responsible for content and information architecture of the public website and the intranet. Our SLA colleagues proved to be an invaluable support network such new technologies.

The greatest advantage was leadership training, gained through chairing chapter board meetings from ensuring continued action on all activities, as well as by attendance at SLA’s winter leadership summit and annual conference. At one of these SLA meetings, Stephen Abrams provided a session on how to develop a strategic plan. Stephen was and continues to be a wonderful mentor and an inspiration. He has supported the activities and development of our chapter, frequently visiting and speaking at our events in all provinces. On one such occasion, he spent several hours with the WCC executive sharing his expertise on developing a strategic plan, a meeting which led to the first version of the chapter strategy. This document is now entrenched in the procedures of WCC, with a regular schedule for its review and revisions. In the manner of “passing it forward”, we shared our learning experience and held a similar strategic planning training session with members of the SLAIS student chapter, soon after its creation in 1999. Interaction with these students provided the additional advantage of aiding recruitment by exposing us to potential new hires.

SLA provides access to constantly growing resources. I used the original SLA competencies document to raise my profile at work, to create more meaningful job descriptions for information professionals, and to establish a guide for hiring staff. By demonstrating the many advantages of active participation in SLA WCC, I was fortunate to have continued support from my organization to spend work time on SLA president-related tasks. Today, the SLA website, greatly enhanced during the tenure of Past-President, Stephen Abrams, is a vast resource for members.

I mark my term as president of SLA WCC as a turning point in my career and professional development and have tried to demonstrate the many advantages in the previous paragraphs. It is wonderful to witness the strength of the chapter today; to be grateful for and inspired by today’s exceptional board members; and to know that many more information professionals will benefit from the networking, resources, and leadership opportunities of SLA Western Canada Chapter in the future.

 

Carol Williams is a librarian retired from BC Securities Commission.

Posted in 2010 Vol 13 Issue 3, Wired WestComments Off on Memories of the History of SLA Western Canadian Chapter

SLA 2010 Conference in New Orleans; I Was Virtually There

By Richard Matiachuk

Attending a conference can be a fabulous experience.  New Orleans, with its history and culture, is one of those places that make a conference even more interesting so it would have been great to attend the 2010 SLA Conference this year.  But, what if you can’t attend?  Life, work, whatever, happen and though we might want to attend the SLA conference in person we might not have that opportunity.  In the past this meant hearing about the conference from those who were there.  And though interesting, hearing it second hand is just not the same as being there.

This year those of us who could not go to New Orleans had the option of joining the conference through a virtual component for a mere $200 US.  This component offered eight spotlight sessions along with the opening and closing ceremonies; up to 16 hours of virtual participation.  I was one of those that took this virtual option.

What was it like?  Was it worth it?  Would I do it again? Wouldn’t a podcast be just as good? What about the technology?

What was it like?
Attending virtually was better than I expected.  I felt like I was part of the sessions.  A conference is far more than sitting in an auditorium listening to a person or panel of speakers on a stage.  A conference is the interaction with like-minded people from all over the world; it is networking, making contacts, developing friendships.  A conference is an experience.

The virtual component offered some of this.  Most virtual participants were from the States.  Several were from Canada.  And there were people from Italy, New Zealand and the UK.  We were from around the world.  I ‘met’ a librarian south of the border and we emailed back and forth.  I briefly chatted with another librarian from our chapter.  I ‘listened’ to the chat discussions taking place while the presentations were going on.  The session moderators took questions from the virtual audience and directed attention our way.  I almost felt like I was there.

As a virtual participant, when the speaker mentioned a website of interest I could open a new window and have a look at the site while listening to the presentation.  If I were there in person it would have been rude to talk to the participants around me or use a mobile device to go online and check out a site while the presenter was speaking.  But attending virtually allowed me to expand my conference experience beyond the auditorium walls.

Wouldn’t a podcast be just as good?
No.  Audio is good but audio with video is great!  With the video we saw the presenters in real time with their gestures and the visual cues that go along with a live presentation.  When they turned to direct our attention to the slide on the screen we felt like we were also directed to look at it.  This technology would be really useful for us in our chapter.  Real time, streaming audio and video of our board and annual meetings would help us to feel more connected.  Putting a name and face together is important and the body language, gestures, smiles at jokes adds to a sense of community and camaraderie.

What about the technology?
There were two ways of virtually joining the conference: 3D and 2D.  The 3D utilized “VirtualU” software from Activeworlds Inc. and was brought to us by Digitell Inc.  The Digitell people were the technical providers moderating and maintaining the technology for the virtual participants.  If you have ever created an avatar, entered Second Life or another virtual world you will know what VirtualU was like.  “You” can walk around, move from one exhibit hall to another, sit, wave, chat or whisper privately to other participant.   There is flexibility with what you can do with your avatar.  You can even do cartwheels though I couldn’t figure out how.

In my case the 3D did not work that well.  I am not sure if it was a problem of my computer’s inability to render the content fast enough or something else.  I logged in to the 3D so I could access features not available in 2D but I ‘watched’ the sessions through the 2D option.  The 2D was seamless, presented in a browser using Microsoft Silverlight and, suffered fewer glitches than the 3D mode.  A third, fallback, option was a Windows Media Player live feed.

Were there any drawbacks?
Nothing is perfect but the drawbacks did not outweigh the benefits.  The presenters provided Digitell with a ‘deck’ of slides.  But if, between submitting the deck and the actual session, the presenter added a slide or two, then we in the virtual world did not see those additions.  Not a big issue but it happened and it made us wonder if there was something wrong with the video stream.

Sometimes the 3D video or audio stalled and required the participant to click ‘stop’, wait a moment, and click ‘play’ to restore the connection.  But this is the first time the SLA has offered this option; SLA, Digitell and those of us in the virtual audience were all learning to apply new technology across different platforms and systems.

Time zones were an issue.  Sessions in New Orleans began at 8am which meant 6am PDT for me and next year it will mean starting at 5am because Philadelphia is one zone further east. Fortunately, the sessions will be available after the conference for 30 days.

The other drawback was of course the absence of face-to-face interactions and the meals out sampling the New Orleans cuisine that everyone was raving about.

What about next year? Was it worth it? Would I attend virtually again?
Yes, it was worth it even if it meant sitting at a computer all those hours (by the way I did not attend EVERY session).  My plan next year is to attend the conference in person (in Philadelphia).  I miss the opportunity to attend the Canadian reception, or visit over coffee, or visit the host city.  But when I cannot attend in person the virtual component is a valuable option that I would consider again if it is offered in the future.

Finally, I would suggest our chapter explore using this technology for our board meetings, annual meeting, and our professional development sessions.  If the cost is comparable then it would be much better for our virtual chapter.

“See” you at the next conference.

 

Richard Matiachuk is Public Services (Reference) Librarian at the John Richard Allison Library at Regent College

Posted in 2010 Vol 13, 2010 Vol 13 Issue 3, Wired WestComments Off on SLA 2010 Conference in New Orleans; I Was Virtually There

Highlights from the SLA 2010 Conference in New Orleans

By Bernice Koh

I am pleased to report on the 2010 SLA Conference and Info-Expo and give a taste of my experiences in New Orleans.

The opening speakers, James Carville and Mary Matalin, welcomed the conference attendees to their city. They both spoke about the importance of books and libraries (or, in the case of Carville, the visiting bookmobile) in their formative years.

(c) The Photo Group 2010
Many of the sessions that I attended focused on using technology and social media in our work. As a counterpoint, Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, spoke at the closing session about deep reading as a balance against the detrimental cognitive effects of extended Internet use.

(c) The Photo Group 2010

The contents of many sessions are available online through handouts and papers. I will be interested to see how the Virtual Conference Component was received and how it might develop in the future.

Networking is always one of the key benefits of attending a conference in person. For instance, a librarian from NCSU attending the Computer Science Roundtable later put me in touch with her colleague who had started a Facebook group on ebook readers in libraries.
The conference and exhibition were well-organized and the service projects and book drive were very worthy, but I would particularly like to echo the message that Carville and others offered: the best way to support and contribute to rebuilding the region is simply to come and visit and partake of the many pleasures of the area.

(c) The Photo Group 2010

The unique cultures provide an opportunity to experience wonderful music, food, history and architecture. The people are welcoming and hospitable and the sights are remarkable. If you go, you will have no shortage of activities to choose from: historical walking tours, a paddleboat cruise on the Mississippi, swamp or plantation excursions, riding streetcars, enjoying the French Quarter or sampling Creole and Cajun cuisines in world-famous restaurants. This was a terrific destination for a rewarding and productive conference.

(c) The Photo Group 2010

 

Bernice Koh is the Reading Room Coordinator for ICICS/Computer Science at the University of British Columbia and operates a bookbinding and design studio, Green Tea Bookworks.

© All articles are copyright by the authors.

Posted in 2010 Vol 13, 2010 Vol 13 Issue 3, Wired WestComments Off on Highlights from the SLA 2010 Conference in New Orleans

Member News

New Members

The Western Canada Chapter welcomes all new and returning members. If you are a new member, please take a moment to send a short bio to Allan Cho, Editor, which will be published in the next issue of Wired West

Roen Janyk obtained her BA in Psychology from Acadia University in 2008, and recently graduated with her MLIS from the UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies. Roen has worked in all types of libraries as a student assistant in the Technical Services department at Acadia University’s Library, a Reference Librarian at Gibsons & District Public Library, the volunteer Librarian for the Association for Mineral Exploration BC, and the Librarian for Silvercorp Mining Inc. Her keen interest in technology, information retrieval, usability, and social media, will useful in her newly acquired dream job as the Web Services Librarian at Okanagan College.

Vancouver Science and Engineering Librarians Group Meets at Aquarium

This is an informal group that has been active over the last few years using a similar model to the former VOLUG group (http://www.netpac.com/volug/) but WAY more casual. Our Modus Operandus is to meet at a library for a tour, have a Round Table discussion to hear about new initiatives, issues, challenges, opportunities and resources, and then go for lunch. Lunch is a key feature – to meet new people, catch up and network. We usually meet mid-week, starting mid-morning, and meet a few times a year. It’s great to talk with our academic, corporate, and public library colleagues with similar collections and similar interests.  Generally ten to twenty people show up to meetings. There has been on-and-off discussion about resurrecting the venerated local ‘serials list’ in a new format….stay tuned.

Please visit our blog at http://vanscilib.wordpress.com/ where you can see a summary from our last meeting at the Aquarium. Contact Diane Thompson at Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) (Diane.Thompson@NRCan-RNCan.gc.ca) or Kim Feltham (library@klohn.com) at Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd., if you have questions about the group or to be added to our listserve.

Kim (SLA Member)

Kim Feltham M.Sc., M.L.I.S.
Library and Records Coordinator & Intranet Webmaster

Northern Exposure to Leadership Institute

The eleventh (11) Northern Exposure to Leadership Institute (NELI) will be held in Emerald Lake, British Columbia, from December 2-7, 2010.

The Institute’s mission is to assist professional librarians aspiring to leadership roles to develop, strengthen, and evolve their leadership potential so that they may be better equipped to lead Canada’s libraries or information service organizations or programs in the 21st century.

Based on the premise of experiential learning, the Institute includes group and individual learning experiences, and the opportunity to learn in conversation with mentors, who have been chosen for their own accomplishments and their leadership skills.

Northern Exposure, at this call, will be targeting seventy-two (72) librarians, with the successful participants chosen from the nominees and assigned to participate in one of two Institutes each with a cohort of thirty-six (36) participants.  The first will be held, as noted above, in December, 2010 and the second will be held in the latter part of 2011.

Nominations must be received by October 1st, 2010.

You will be able to consult the NELI website after August 4, 2010.
www.ls.ualberta.ca/neli/

Ernie Ingles,
Executive Director,
Northern Exposure to Leadership Institute,
5-07 Cameron Library,
University of Alberta,
Edmonton, Alberta,
T6G 2J8

Publications

Schachter, Debbie“Changing the Way We Do Business Together.” Information Outlook. 14.3 (2010).

——– “Developing Your Own Best Practices .” Information Outlook. 14.4 (2010).

 

 

© All articles are copyright by the authors.

Posted in 2010 Vol 13, 2010 Vol 13 Issue 3, Wired WestComments Off on Member News