2012 Vol. 15 Issue 3

Wired West — Volume 15, Number 3

News from your Chapter Board

Reviews and Updates from the SLA 2012 Conference

News and Resources

  This issue of Wired West, complied and published by Ann Dreolini, Web Editor for Wired West.

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President’s Message

By Richard Matiachuk

It’s NOT (just) a conference it IS professional development.

The word conference is easy to use and ‘everyone’ understands where we are going when we say “I’m going to a conference” but my experience at the 2012 SLA ‘Conference’ has changed my thinking.

Yes, there were the usual conference components: information desk, trade fair (vendors), committee and board meetings, networking opportunities (formal and informal, with and without refreshments). As Information Professionals we also have the ‘Social Media Lounge’ [sponsored by ProQuest] and ‘Cyber Connection’ [sponsored by Elsevier].

I am (we should be) very thankful for vendors / partners who continue to provide these services and pay to be at these annual ‘conferences’. Their support makes these events possible so “THANK YOU!” to ALL the vendors including ANDORNOT (Western Canadian service provider).

BUT, first and foremost this event is for professional development. This can get lost with all the glamour of travelling to another city, (experiencing the 35 degree high humidity days that cool to 28 at night, airport delays etc.), seeing their tourist sites (if you can find time), attending the receptions, attending meetings, wandering through the vendor INFO-EXPO, etc. etc. BUT, first and foremost this event is professional development.

In the sessions I attended I took notes: tips and ideas and methods and tools and strategies for doing my job better and for making me a more valuable member of my organization. As I did this I realized that in my role on staff in an academic library I provide services to students and faculty but do the administrators (VPs, etc) know what I can do for them? (Am I perceived as ‘just’ the reference librarian that does not understand their world or research needs? If they have that impression it is not their fault. What do I need to do to make them think differently?)

In the sessions I was introduced to online resources (e.g. websites) that would benefit our External Relations (and marketing) department. I heard of ways information is received in fields outside my daily focus. I saw a broader picture of what ‘Information Professionals’ do. It is not that I was unaware of the breadth but, when you work in the narrow focus of your own organization, it is easy to forget about the bigger picture. My colleagues in those other situations have resources and tools which are transferable to my context.

Not every session is riveting. Some sessions miss the mark (are billed as more than they offer). These are the realities of attending professional development opportunities but we can usually learn something at every session. Nevertheless, in the process of sitting through these sessions and gleaning new ideas I am engaged in professional development. One of our mandates is to be lifelong learners. This is a trait that is needed – is required – in our work context. Professional development is part of that lifelong learning process. Conferences are one way to do professional development.

So, yes, I went to a conference this year but I did more than that; I engaged in professional development. When looking for funding to attend the next SLA conference (in San Diego) we need to speak in terms of professional development opportunities and that we are learning to be more valuable members of our organizations. Our employers want us developing our skills and abilities and for us, ‘conferences’ are professional development.

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Chapter & SLA News

Compiled by Adrian Mitescu

Chapter News:

  • We are looking for candidates for the next year’s Board; if you are interested, please contact any of our current leadership team.
  • The next Chapter Board meeting will take place on Wednesday September 12, 2012 at 8:30am (PT).

SLA News

  • According to this press release from SLA, this year”s conference has attracted “3,473 information professionals and representatives of SLA’s exhibiting partners. Of these, 1,613 paid to attend the full conference, which represents a 20% increase compared to attendance in Philadelphia last year.”
  • For those that have missed this year’s conference, the Conference Planner is still accessible; for some of the sessions the presentation slides have been uploaded (for example, the slides for ever-popular Spotlight Session 60 Apps in 60 minutes – from Tuesday, July 17). The SLA Chapters and Divisions have also begun to update their websites with the slides from the conference – they’re worth a look.
  • This SLA blog has compiled a list of testimonials from attendees at this year’s Conference; there is also an Eventifier page with pictures from Twitter from Chicago.
  • The latest issue of Information Outlook (subscription required) has focused on identifying the skills for tomorrow’s information professionals; also, an article on what to do when the boss tells you do stuff and how to use the inexperience of new staff to your organization’s advantage. Check it out!
  • More SLA news can be found here.

Adrian Mitescu is Communications Director at SLA Western Canada Chapter.

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Conference Report

One person’s overview of the 2012 SLA Conference

Two years of planning and preparation go into an SLA annual conference. The Conference is THE major event and gathering for the Association and draws vendors and SLA members from around the world. Though the Conference officially starts on Sunday, for those that can come earlier there are courses which begin on the previous Friday.

This year the pre-conference included half-day and day-long highly focused professional development courses such as: Taxonomy and Information Architecture for SharePoint, Conducting Financial Analysis, and Using the Data Curation Profile as a Means to Engage Researchers. The pre-conference time is also used for planning, division board meetings and networking dinners.

For most of us the conference began with the “Taste of Chicago Welcome Reception” in the INFO-EXPO with food stations strategically placed. This was our first opportunity to see the vendors and begin to connect with colleagues. By the way, ‘a taste of Chicago’ meant hot dogs, and both vegetable and meat shish-kebab.

At the opening session the keynote speaker was Guy Kawasaki. Guy’s presentation was lively, entertaining and applicable to Information Professionals across all disciplines and practices. Guy focused on “Enchanting” (enchanting people to do things). Taking examples from his experience as a (former) chief-evangelist for Apple and entrepreneur, Guy chose ten key actions. Two actions stood out.

The first was on developing ‘reciprocation’: in other words, do things for people without the goal of getting something in return; don’t be calculating about what ‘you’ do for others and . . . give others the opportunity to return your generosity. The second point is to ‘Enchant down’: make the effort to engage those who work for you, provide them with a clear understanding about what they need to do in order to master their jobs, give them autonomy (don’t breath down their necks) and articulate purpose, explain how their part has purpose in the larger scheme of things.

As for the sessions, with over 200 sessions during the conference it would be difficult to report on a fraction of them. The sessions I attended were all enlightening but I will comment on just two.

“Seeing your career from the outside, in’; some titles, like this one, are cryptic. As it turned this panel discussion presented by the SLA Fellows was on the qualifications (skills etc.) that will enhance our careers.

Among the skills (qualifications, competencies) highlighted were: ‘problem solving’, ‘relationships’, and ‘leadership’. For me, take-away quotes and thoughts were: ‘leadership is the process of social influence of bringing people to a common organizational goal’ (paraphrase Ken Haycock). I am not sure where the quote originated but one panelist said: “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.” Problem solving is . . . ‘finding the right problem first’. And again with respect to analysing problems . . . ‘we are quick to jump to [and assume] the person is the problem when it is the system or structures’. [This one really hit home; how often do we assume that the person is the problem when she/he is only responding to the systems in which they find themselves powerless.]

At the end of the session each panelist was asked to contribute one final soft skill. These included: ‘do what the stakeholders want’, ‘balance life over time’ (some things take years), ‘ask questions’, ‘always be learning’, ‘always test your assumptions’, and ‘consider ROTI’ (return on time invested) which is to say that not all things are of equal time value so do not spend as much time on them.

The second session to highlight was “60 sites in 60 minutes”. This was a very lively and fast-paced hour. The two presenters introduce 60 website in less than 60 minutes (because the 60 minutes also includes the introductions!). To name only seven: Klout.com (for determining your influence in the Web), ita software (cheapest flight matrix includes a breakdown of all taxes), opentable.com (restaurant reservations online), catchafire.org (share your skills, volunteering), Google drive (save it / share it in the cloud), digitaltrends.com (self-evident), and scoop.it (push news, create an online magazine). I really like ita software and have used it several times since returning home but mostly for dream vacations.

It was a privilege to attend the conference this year. I do not expect to be able to attend the 2013 conference in San Diego. However, I am very much looking forward to the 2014 Conference in Vancouver!

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Infomart Links

Mitchell Praw from Infomart sent over a couple great blog posts, that were posted during the SLA Conference.
Infomart is an SLA sponsor.

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The 2012 Canadian Reception

The 2012 Canadian Reception hosted by the WCC and sponsored by Eureka.cc was a GREAT success! It was a great time to visit with colleagues and friends and to meet new people.

The reception was held at The Berghoff; a 114 year old restaurant with the distinction of being the first restaurant in Chicago to receive a liquor licence after the of prohibition. The room itself was ideal and the staff were ever-present with trays of appetizers.

About 130 people attended the reception. Guests represented academic libraries, the Canadian Forces, the CBC, a number of Canadian government agencies and libraries, law, geological, and engineering firms, corporate libraries, vendors, service providers and contract information professionals.

The guests came from across Canada and the US. Among those seen in the crowd were . . . both SLA President-Elect candidates: Kate Arnold and Juanita Richardson, Stephen Abram (former SLA President), Debbie Schachter (Chapter Cabinet Chair Elect), Laura Warner (SLA Toronto President), Kimberley Silk (Toronto President-Elect), Isabelle Moreau (ECC President), Susan McConkey and Keith Low (both former WCC President), Kathy Bryce (ANDORNOT), current SLA WCC Board members (Suzanne, Adrian and Alex), Ken Haycock (SLA Conference panel member), and Louis-Rene, Maude, Mauricio and Philippe (CEDROM-SNi).

The event was such a success because of the location, the people present, and the very generous support of our partner/sponsor CEDROM.SNi / Eureka.cc. CEDROM.SNi has sponsored the Canadian Reception for the last several years and thanks to their financial and practical contributions this event was able to take place.

Next year’s Canadian Reception will be hosted by the Eastern Canada Chapter in San Diego.


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New Members — June 2012

There are a variety of new members for June 2012:

Brenda Ireland — Saskatchewan Provincial Library, Regina SK

Bev Theriault — Saskatoon Health Region, Saskatoon SK

Heather-Ann Laird — Ministry of Health Services, Victoria, BC

Kristin Hodgins — Ministry of Justice, Victoria, BC

Brittany Vis — University of Victoria Libraries, Victoria, BC

Pat McKenna — PHM Information Consultants, Victoria, BC

Mandy Ostick — Courthouse Libraries BC, Vancouver, BC

Christina Tribe — Harper Grey LLP, Vancouver, BC

Thora Gislason — Metro Vancouver, Burnaby, BC

Mary Hearnden — University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Jason Ross — Hatch Ltd., Vancouver, BC

Leanna Jantzi — Kelowna, BC

Steven Gibson — BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Vancouver, BC

Dan Wilson — University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Genevieve Hillsburg — University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Heather Hadley — Richmond, BC

Katie Sloan — Langara College, Vancouver, BC

Michelle Gruda— Vancouver, BC

Mele Avery — University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Bernadette Duffy — Vancouver, BC

Diane Thompson — NRCan, Vancouver, BC

Adedoyin Adenuga — University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Kimberly Buschert — Vancouver, BC

Katharine Bryce — Andornot Consulting Inc., Vancouver, BC

Denise Bonin — Andornot Consulting Inc., Vancouver, BC

Ken Haycock — West Vancouver, BC

Linda van Soest — University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Alexandra Bradley — Harwood Information Associates Ltd., West Vancouver, BC

Catherine Chiba — Vancouver, BC

Paul Hazlett — Mergent Inc., Newark, NJ

Margot Price — Talisman Engery Inc., Calgary, AB

Annette Melvie — TransCanada, Calgary, AB

Colleen Maier — Bennett Jones, Calgary, AB

Andria Williams — Golder Associates Ltd., Calgary, AB

Sarah Gibbs — Calgary, AB

Patrick Lawless — Banff Centre Library, Banff, AB

Teresa Bendall — Alberta Government Library, Edmonton, AB

Gary Weber — Alberta Government, Edmonton, AB

Barbara Storms — Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures, Edmonton, AB

Tawnia Daughton — Edmonton, AB

Melissa Hathaway — FMC Services LLP, Edmonton, AB

Janet Meek — Robert F. Lunney Library, Edmonton, AB

Jodi Turner — Department of Justice, Winnipeg, MB

Karen Sawatzky — Tapper Cuddy LLP, Winnipeg, MB

Philip Wolfart — Volunteer Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB

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