2010 Vol. 13 Issue 4

Wired West volume 13 issue 4

News from Your Chapter Board

Professional Development

News & Resources

This issue of Wired West sponsored by:

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President’s Message

By Richard Matiachuk

For the last few years the first President’s message of the year has been to report on the SLA Leadership Summit.  The Summit is for introducing new presidents / president-elects to the broader aspects of involvement in the SLA.  Often we are focused on our local chapter but we are part of a larger, international organization.  The Summit helps reinforce that perspective and offers a time and place to meet both SLA headquarter and chapter leaders from around the world.

For me the most meaningful aspect of the Summit was the opportunity to meet other SLA leaders from the Canadian Chapters.  Cecily and I met, and met with, Jennifer Burns (Toronto Chapter President), Laura Warner, (Toronto Chapter President-Elect), and Isabella Moreau (Eastern Canada Chapter President-Elect).  From our talks I sensed there is a growing interest in having a united Canadian voice; where our Canadian chapters dialogue and intentionally give feedback to SLA headquarters.  Not that we would necessarily disagree with, or give critique, but that we are at least discussing issues across our country and communicating a ‘Canadian’ perspective to the SLA.

Summit Keynote: Susan Robertson, Executive Vice President at ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership spoke about “The Decision to Volunteer and the Decision to Join”

Susan provided much to think about but what stood out for me was her comment about influencers.  From their research they found that 77.7 % of association members joined an association because they were encouraged to do so by: a colleague / coworker, professor / instructor, or a university program.  It made me wonder, when was the last time I recommended a colleague or student join the SLA?

Susan also pointed out that people do not join associations because of member benefits like discounts at bookstores.  They join because they are looking for access to the most up-to-date information on their profession and for professional development and education.  They also join in order to be able to make a difference in the lives of others by their involvement in the association.  Would you say that is true for you? I know if was for me.

Conference planning session
In 2014 the SLA Conference will be in Vancouver and we will be the host Chapter.  People love to come to Vancouver and everyone I talked to is looking forward to coming here for the Conference.  The question on my mind has been, ‘what is involved in being the host chapter?’ What is expected?  What are the financial costs to us?  To find out more I met with Kristin Foldvik (Director, Events) and attended the 2012 planning meeting.

The planning for the 2014 Conference will begin next year.  The 2012 SLA President will appoint a Conference Chair and that person will assemble a team to plan the event.  We will need to establish a host chapter team with a liaison to work with the 2014 planning team.  In 2013 we will need to provide a table display at both the Leadership Summit and at the Conference in San Diego.  Listening-in at the planning meeting, and hearing from the host chapters, and talking to members at the summit helped stimulate my enthusiasm for our 2014 event.  This will be an event where we can really shine and show-off our chapter (which spans half of Canada!).  I will send out a more detailed email to the chapter so we can all begin thinking about 2014.

There is so much more I could relate from the Summit but let me focus on two more highlights: the financial realities of the association and the new website / email addresses

Financial realities

The reality is that the SLA will have a deficit in 2010.  Dan Trefethen (Treasurer) has been advocating for no more deficits and the budget will be balanced.

The impact is that:

  • Services will be maintained but reduced; for example, in 2010 there were 25 Click U webinars, in 2011 there will be 10.
  • Staff levels have decreased from 28 (June 2009) to 18 (as of Janaury 2011).  Fewer people means that things cannot be the done same way; changes need to happen.
  • Salaries and benefits have not increased (and in some cases gone backward).

How can we help our Association?  Encourage people to join (membership fees are flexible based on income) and promote (and attend) the annual conference.  Register early for the Conference because this sends the vendors and sponsors a message that the event is going to be well attended.

Website and email addresses

The WCC Board has already been testing the new email addresses and, our website now includes the standardized email addresses.  These standardized email addressed are provided by a partnership between SLA and Webgator.  The move to standardized email addresses will be a good move that will bring continuity to contact information from year-to-year.

SLA has also initiated a new website template for units (chapters, divisions and caucuses).  The move to the new website for the units (using WordPress) has had 5 objectives:

  • Stable and modern website hosting
  • Affordable (only $40 USB/chapter/year)
  • Brand compliance (there are too many designs among chapters leaving a disjointed appearance to the SLA)
  • Promote common content management
  • Rebuild the Webmaster community

Some advantages to this new website using WordPress include:

  • Incorporating ‘widgets’
  • Allows for the application of themes (skins) to provide some variation while retaining a brand appearance
  • Permits workflow with multiple authors
  • A job board plug-in is available
  • Member-only component for units can be offered (a Wiki for internal programming maybe???) and
  • Ability to include a Google map plug-in for event locations.

In phase 1 there have been 17 early adopters (both WCC and Toronto are early adopters).  SLA is now looking for the next set of adopters for phase 2.  Our chapter can go live anytime so we need to update our website content to ensure we are not just migrating old information.
Thank You
As I begin this year I would like to thank Frances Main and the Board for all their hard work in 2010, and I look forward to working with the new Board in 2011.
Volunteers
SLA WCC is always looking for volunteers in a variety of capacities. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact me, at president@wcanada.sla1.org, or

Richard Matiachuk is Reference Librarian at Regent College.

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Chapter & SLA News

Chapter & SLA News

  • The members of the 2011 SLA Western Canada Chapter board have been announced: Richard Matiachuck takes over the President role, and Frances Main is the Past President. Welcome to the new members of the Board: (President Elect – Cecily Walker and Secretary – Tania Alekson). Many thanks to the outgoing members of the Board (Past President – Debbie Schachter and Communications Director – Shirley Lew).
  • The next board meeting is on Wednesday, February 9th at 8:30 a.m. PST (9:30 a.m. MST, 10:00 AM CST) at the Department of Justice, 900-840 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC. Minutes from the September 2010 meeting will be posted soon.

Thanks to our Sponsors

  • Yet again, we would like to extend our most sincere thanks to our sponsors. We could not have produced the range of programs we have, or continued to produce quarterly issues of Wired West, without their support.  Many thanks to our program sponsor FP Infomart and to our Wired West sponsor – Andornot Consulting.

SLA News, Events & Conferences

  • Quite appropriately for the theme of this issue of Wired West, ClickU is offering a webinar on what kind of information can be found using social tool, and how to use social media tools to locate information quickly and effectively. The presenter is Scott Brown, of the Social Information Group. Register here.
  • How are you future ready? SLA wants to know – and it wants your contributions (250 words, a handful of images, even audio and video) with with ideas, insight and knowledge on how we can better prepare for the future. Send stories to futureready365@sla.org. There is also a Future Ready Begins Today subgroup of SLA on LinkedIn.
  • Registration for 2011 Conference in Philadelphia is open! The early bird registration rates are good from February 2nd to April 1st. Mark your calendars!
  • More SLA News can be found here

 

Adrian Mitescu is Reference Librarian at Simon Fraser University Library.

Posted in 2010 Vol 13, 2010 Vol 13 Issue 4, Wired West1 Comment

Editorial

By Allan Cho

Welcome to Volume 14, No. 1 of Wired West. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this issue. For this issue, the theme is very much about experiences. In particular, the experiences of SLA WCC’s members who have either attended special events like celebrating SLA WCC’s 25th anniversary, or attending an interesting conference session, or even collecting responses for an upcoming conference session at BCLA. It’s an exciting issue of ideas and experiences. I hope you enjoy the read.

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.

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SLA WCC Members Partake in a West Coast 25th Anniversary Celebration

By Rebecca Martens

On the evening of Wednesday, November 24, 2010 approximately 50 members of SLA-WCC gathered together at the Terminal City Club in downtown Vancouver to celebrate 25 years of special librarianship in Western Canada.  As promised, it was a night of nostalgia and vision.  I had the privilege of attending this event and, as a graduating student at SLAIS, was thoroughly inspired by the enthusiasm and involvement of these devoted information professionals.

The evening began with a cocktail hour, complete with scrumptious appetizers, breathtaking views of the Burrard Inlet and the North Shore Mountains, and boisterous conversation as colleagues reunited with one another and with the numerous special guests who shared in this momentous occasion with us.  Included in this list of special guests was a plethora of former SLA-WCC presidents, Jane Evans of LexisNexis and Cindy Romaine, SLA President, who contributed her own insights and perceptions on the past, present and future during the second portion of the evening.

Following a brief ceremony in which she was awarded the chapter’s Outstanding Information Professional Award for 2010, Patricia Cia led this second portion.  Patricia moderated a five-member panel of information professionals, three of whom have themselves been recipients of the Outstanding Information Professional Award in recent years.  Jan Wallace of UBC’s David Lam Library, Carol Williams formerly of the BC Securities Commission, Barbara Holder of FPInnovations-Wood Products Division, Debbie Schachter of Vancouver Public Library and Peter Tyrell of Andornot Consulting all shared their insights into the past 25 years of SLA-WCC and what the next 25 might possibly bring – something that all of the panellists agreed is one of the most challenging predictions they have ever encountered.

The first question that Patricia posed to the panellists dealt with their predictions for advancements in special librarianship in the past 10 to 15 years, to what extent these predictions came to fruition and which trends surprised them most.  What surprised me most was the similarity in all of the panellists’ responses, namely that they hadn’t been able to predict so much of what has happened in our field, with technological advances playing a major role in this.  Another common thread in these responses was the need to adapt to this unpredictability and the subsequent need to continually redefine who were are as information professionals and what exactly it is that we do – and learn how to explain this to people outside of the industry.  It was also interesting to note how the perspective of Peter Tyrell, the baby and self-proclaimed techie of the panel, differed from other perspectives.  Peter’s extraordinarily high expectations and considerable degree of accuracy in the realm of technological advancement included such things as RFID, image recognition technology and gestural computing, a technology that is being implemented in many modern video gaming systems.

From here, the conversation moved towards a discussion of the trends that have really taken hold among information professionals in recent years.  As you might expect, the big topic here was the use of technology to foster community-building, with a notable emphasis on technologically-assisted collaboration and the proliferation of Web 2.0 and open-source software.  Patricia noted that just because we may not work in a public or academic library, community-building remains a crucial component of our work, with many of us having the benefit of being involved in an array of communities within our individual organizations.  To this, many of the panellists agreed that we can learn much from becoming involved in these communities, both in giving to and receiving from them, and that this involvement will lead to greater collaboration and cooperation, establishing a more secure place for information professionals in their individual organizations.

The issue of establishing relevance with one’s organization continued into the panellists’ responses to Patricia’s third question – what do you predict will be issues of importance within special libraries in the next 25 years?  Both Jan Wallace and Carol Williams noted the necessity for information professionals to be flexible and willing to adapt in order to carve out their roles in their organizations.  Barbara Holder echoed these sentiments, stating that the users will define what they need and if we cannot meet these needs, we ourselves will no longer be needed.  Some of the ways in which the panellists suggested we maintain our vitality to our organizations include staying abreast with technology; becoming lifelong learners by continually upgrading our skills through workshops, conferences, online courses and even second Masters degrees; and developing stronger relationships with our IT departments through collaboration and cooperation.  While all of these responses were valuable and accurate, I think Cindy Romaine’s struck me the hardest; summarizing what all of the panellists had discussed, Cindy suggested that what this really boils down to is attitude: we must embrace transformation if we are to remain relevant and vital in our organizations.

The evening concluded with Patricia’s final questions – what advice would you provide to new information professionals and what do you wish you’d known from day one?  This was an excellent question to tie together all of the many topics that had already been discussed.  The key theme that emerged from this question included the need to be confident and competent in our many roles as information providers, employees, colleagues, and supervisors.  This can include working on being more flexible and open-minded, learning new skills and abilities, finding your inner competitive spirit, and perhaps most importantly, believing in what you do.

In closing, I must extend my gratitude to Andrea Freeman, SLA-WCC’s Vancouver Director, and her event planning team for organizing such a terrific and memorable evening and for providing me with the opportunity to work alongside them.  A huge thank-you also goes to Patricia Cia for agreeing to moderate the panel and to the panellists who provided a vibrant and engaging discussion: Jan Wallace, Carol Williams, Barbara Holder, Debbie Schachter, and Peter Tyrell.  Finally, I must also thank LexisNexis for sponsoring this event and FPInformart for sponsoring all SLA-WCC programs, making the evening a resounding success!

Rebecca Martens is a recent grad from the University of British Columbia’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies.  She currently resides in Victoria, BC.

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Internet Governance Forum: Is the Internet Sustainable in your Community?

On Wednesday, November 10, 2010, I attended the Internet Governance Forum.  This forum was  hosted by the Canadian Internet Regulation Authority (CIRA) based in Ottawa, and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), based here in Winnipeg.

I was pleased to have been invited to this event, along with representatives from a variety of sectors as follows: government of Manitoba;  climate change advocacy groups; aboriginal banking; marketing consultants; information management (me); farming; consulting.  Although I found myself wearing several hats, I was ostensibly invited to represent the perspective of Special Libraries.  The forum in essence was an intense, but, in my opinion, fulfilling beginning of a discussion about the future, and visions of that future, of internet infrastructure across Canada.

By way of introduction, each participant was asked to comment on the question, “what should / could the future of the internet in Canada be like”.  Not surprisingly some common themes began to emerge: universal access, security, environmental sustainability.  I for my part, had thought of the geographical and socio-economic impacts.    I hope to develop these thoughts more fully elsewhere, but I did comment that while many were making comparisons to previous massive changes to the country’s infrastructure, I’d argue that the implications for this one are quite different (and in many cases unknowable) .  We are unlikely to see the same degree of population movements that we have seen with canals/ railroads, roads, and even telephone. The implications may be more socio-economic, and we have a rare opportunity to create more sustainable communities without large geographical movements of peoples.  I further echoed what other participants said about internet service in Canada,  that it needs to be an ongoing commitment.  I think I heard a consensus that there needs to be ongoing, direct support from governments at all levels, and that it needs to be treated as a utility like electricity, heat, water.  I note that there was some debate about how internet access ranked, but it became clear in the discussions, that it remain a top priority for ongoing development of all communities.
CIRA representative Mark Bueller gave a brief introduction to the ideas behind this forum, and reminded participants that we are entering a critical period for the global internet; under the currently existing protocol for IP addresses (IP v. 4) we are rapidly running out of unique  IP addresses, and need to brace ourselves for the roll out of IP v.6.  This was the first time I hear of this, but IT teams of large institutions have been working on this, we were told, for a while, and it has been the mandate of organizations like CIRA to coordinate / manage the information about this.  Naturally this will have implications for the University, and the Library.

The IISD then presented very briefly on their background paper that had been shared with the participants a day before the forum.  Not surprisingly, it sought to identify and raise discussion about economic opportunities, key issues that might benefit from public policy development; how do internet public policy decisions affect Canada’s capacity to respond, its strengths and weakness?

The bulk of the discussion can best be described as brainstorming, first as individuals, and second as groups.  As individuals we were asked to present 4 of 5 issues related to the future impact of infrastructure; as a group we were organized into broad categories, about 4 or 5 in the end.  The discussion that ensued was meant to be around 4 main questions:

  • What is the current status?
  • What are the barriers to this?
  • Who needs to act, and
  • Who are the stakeholders?

My group was tasked to address concerns related to internet access.  In response to the aforementioned questions, the status of internet access was generally thought to be poor.   For obvious reasons this has huge implications for Special Libraries (as well as any Library, for that matter).  One of the most obvious barriers to adequate internet access is cost.  We were told that to get everyone in Canada up to a reasonable level of internet access would cost between $40 and $60 per person per month.  How we could address this was only very briefly discussed, and certainly not resolved.

In our discussion I learned that while most, if not all schools in Manitoba have reasonable access to the internet and the technology and infrastructure is in place to provide access to neighbouring communities, especially in off-peak hours, it is legislation that prevents schools from making that access available.  I further reminded my colleagues, from the point of view of information providers, that a serious barrier to access is the current uncertainty of existing copyright legislation.  To overcome this barrier, we need clarity in the legislation, currently before the house as bill c-32, and of course education about how and when we can use materials gathered on the internet.  So, most barriers we identified seemed to be essentially legislative, and limited by our imagination.  Since this meeting was held, Industry Minister Tony Clement has announced plans to begin auctioning off bandwidth that is anticipated to be freed up as TV signals move to other frequencies by late 2012 (Industry Canada Press Release, November 22, 2010).

The nature of these barriers provided a glimmer of optimism and reminded members to return to their constituents, and to keep pressure on MPs and MLAs.  We did not, in the short time provided, identify an exhaustive list of stakeholders, but there was, I think, overwhelming consensus that while the expectation is that government at all levels take on a strong leadership role, it is up to communities to remind them what it is they want.  The meeting ended on an optimistic note, but a clear sense that the job was far from complete.  Similar meetings were held throughout the ensuing week in other parts of the country in preparation for a national forum, scheduled for February 2011.  The discussion is now ongoing at various levels, and I’d encourage Special Librarians in Canada, especially, to follow this.  The United Nations, and no doubt other NGOs have weighed in, and just today, in the United States, a Republican politician has expressed her concern over that organizations: “It has become increasingly clear that international governmental organizations, such as the United Nations, have aspirations to become the epicenter of Internet governance. And I’m going to do everything I can to make sure this never happens,” Bono Mack, the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade said in a statement. (cited in Goldstein, 2011), last accessed January 27, 2011).

This is a short summary of the beginnings of what are some very interesting discussions that I think have a lot to bear on Librarians of all kinds in Canada.  In the meantime, I am following CIRA and IISD through all available media, and trying to keep track of other events and announcements related to this issue in the upcoming months.

I am reminded here, to reread Castell, M. (2001) Internet Galaxy: Reflections on the Internet, Business, and Society. This is now 10 years on, and deserves a revisit.   A slightly more current discussion, although still international in scope is Jonathan Zittrain’s  The Future of the Internet and How to Stop it.

Philip Wolfart is SLA-WCC Manitoba Director and Reference Librarian at the University of Manitoba.

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Member News

Allan Cho, Rex Turgano and Aleha McCauley are conducting an informal survey about MLIS and are really curious to know more about the different career paths folks have taken and the various ways the MLIS can be applied in non-traditional settings or roles.  Each of them joined this profession motivated by our love of books and dreams of doing reference work but have ventured out on different career paths since graduating. They are putting together a presentation at BCLA called “The New Age of Librarianship?  The Different Roads that Lead to ‘Librarianism” to celebrate this. They will also be sharing our stories for this presentation, but we think it would be much more interesting if we could also share yours!

Please send Alan Cho an email (allan.cho@ubc.ca) with as much info as your willing to share. In particular, it would be helpful to know:

  • Your job title/name
  • A brief description of what you do/where you work
  • How you landed the position
  • What you enjoy most about your role/environment

Publications

Schachter, Debbie“Internalizing the Love of Learning .” Information Outlook. 14.6 (2010).