Friday I spent much of the day fulfilling my obligation to volunteer 4 hours as part of the condition of my ATRT stipend. ATRT hosted the Net Fair and Technology Showcases in the exhibit hall. I helped set up internet connections, passed out some hand outs, and manned the booth a little. The Technology Showcase had 2 stations of vedors and I was going back and forth between them and the booth, so I didn’t get to see much. The Net Fair was only one booth, so I got to see a bit more there.
I do have some suggestions for organizing the volunteers next year. I wasn’t really sure who to report to or what I was supposed to be doing. This wasn’t a big deal as there wasn’t much going on, but a sheet of paper at the main booth saying “Welcome, thanks for volunteering, here’s what we need you to do (In this case, set up the laptops, here’s the DNS info), here’s who to call if you need help (someone with ATRT and someone with TLA or the convention center).” I also recommend having a flyer about what ATRT is, what we do, why you should join, something like that. Being brand new and a volunteer, I didn’t really know what to say when people asked me about the organization.
12 – 12:50 PM
What Can the Library of Texas Do for You: Federated Searching and Associated Service Enhancements for TexShare Libraries
Kevin Marsh, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Want to simplify commercial database searching for your patrons? Want to find resources in nearby libraries as well as online resources? Want to include local subscriptions as well as TexShare content? Considering a commercial federated search service? Wish it were all easier? Come see how the Library of Texas service can meet these needs and more at no cost to your library.
This was a look at the federated search feature at the Library of Texas provided by the Texas State Library. I have a one sheet handout on this which includes logging in, setting up collections and groups, ILL, and some features in the works.
On my lunch I took a whirlwind tour of the exhibits. Is it just me, or was about 90% of it for school libraries and/or children?
After lunch I was back to volunteering. This time I got to see Diane Neal present on usability.
2 – 2:50 pm
Through the Patrons’ Eyes: Library Web Site Usability
Diane Neal, School of Library and Information Studies, Texas Woman’s University.
Your library’s website is a “virtual branch,” and you can’t always be there to help patrons navigate it. So, it is important for your website to be as easy to use as possible. Learn simple, inexpensive methods for determining whether your library’s website and OPAC are easily usable. Find out how to improve your library’s website based on their opinions.
She had a bibliography handout if anyone would like a copy. Her Power Point won’t be available until after some journal publication, but she suggested many easy ways to set up simply usability tests. She suggested focus groups of 5-10 people and questions such as “How often do you use the library Web site?” and “Did you find what you were looking for?”
My last session for the day was one I had been looking forward to:
3:00 – 3:50 PM
New Developments with Search Engines
Learn what’s new in the search engine world and what exciting changes are ahead. What new features are they offering? How have they changed their search functionality?
Nancy L. Buchanan, director, content development, Questia Media. Sponsored by the Automation and Technology Round Table.
And I was not disappointed! Nancy was a fabulous speaker and I was sad to hear she doesn’t have a personal page or blog. I have a handout with all the URLs she mentioned. Hopefully her presentation will wind up on the TLA site.
- The Big Guys
- Google news archive – has NYT, so you can use it as a more detailed index. Can search by price – limit to free.
- Google has a new notebook feature.
- Ask is playing with the ideas of narrower/broader/related terms (see the left hand column after a search).
- Specialized, Automatic, and Human Intervention
- Kosmix forces the reference interview. Interesting and useful view of results, currently limited to specific categories.
- Visual Search Results
- Grokker categorizes for you, clustering your search results.
- She likes to search words to confuse the computer to see how it handles items like – “woods” (forrest vs. Tiger Woods) and “IRA” (finances vs. army)
- Swiki – “Swikis are a cross between search engines and Wikipedia – the community can add, delete and improve the results. Please play around with the Harlem Renaissance Pathfinder Swiki created by Fullerton Public Library. What a great use of a new technology!
- Google now also lets you make a personalized search like swiki.*
- Like.com – shopping site that is completely visual, showing like items. Do a search and play with the features by adjusting which aspects are most important: color, shape, or pattern.
- Retrievr will bring back images similar to the one you sketch. Try going for blue sky and snow. (Draw blue on the top of the drawing area.) It does better with simple queries.
- There was also a list of places to compare search engines and keep up, including Search Engine Showdown and Search Engine Watch as well as checking in on Google Labs, Google’s blog and Librarian Central.
Sad I missed:
10:00 – 11:20 AM
Geeks Bearing Gifts: Unwrapping New Technology Trends
Attend this fast-paced and informative introduction to today’s hottest technology trends. Learn to identify and integrate them into traditional library services. A wide variety of technologies including instant messaging, podcasting, open source
software, blogs, and wikis will be demonstrated.
Michelle Malizia, public health outreach coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region (Houston). Sponsored by the College and University Libraries Division.
10:00 – 11:50 AM
Immerse Yourself in Academic Library Instruction
Whether or not you have attended an
Association of College and Research Libraries Immersion program, you can benefit from its approach to teaching information literacy. Panel members discuss their experiences in Immersion and how they applied its concepts to their instruction programs, including both successes and ongoing challenges.
Celita DeArmond, instructor and reference and distance learning librarian, San Antonio College Library; Michelle Millet, information literacy coordinator, Trinity University (San Antonio); David Rankin, social sciences reference and government documents librarian, Texas A&M University-Commerce; and Linda A. Reeves, reference and instruction librarian, Northwest Vista College (San Antonio).
12:00 – 12:50 PM
What’s Driving Open Access?
This non-technical overview of the open access movement addresses progress with federal legislation, institutional repositories, and open access publishing, presses, and higher education projects. The speaker also covers how the open access movement may reshape academic library services.
Dorothea Salo, digital repository services librarian, George Mason University (Fairfax, VA). Sponsored by the Conference Program Committee.
12:00 – 12:50 PM
Take the Cloak of Invisibility Off Your E-Collections
To draw patrons past Google, we need to revolutionize how electronic resources are promoted. Making ‘E’ Visible author Lesley Williams suggests how librarians and vendors can “uncloak” electronic collections, such as TexShare databases.
Lesley Williams, head, information services, Evanston Public Library (IL). Sponsored by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Electronic Resources and Serials Management Round Table.
While I missed this one, I did look up the presenter’s paper, “Making ‘E’ Visible” ahead of time. Worth a read, though the biggest push seems to be to make vendors market to users directly.
Mentoring Students Through Student Group Organizations
Connecting with student organizations at the University of North Texas is discussed as an alternative means of teaching library skills to students.
Randy Wallace, librarian II, University of North Texas.
At the end of the day I met up with a friend for dinner. We stopped by Half Priced Books and I picked up a few treasures. Did you know that Half Priced Books offers a 10% discount to librarians? It’s good to network!
* In relation to the search engine session, I updated my Astronomy subject page to include a Google specialized search. I plan on doing this for each of my pages as I do the rounds of updating them.