ellie <3 libraries

sooooo much!

ALA 2008 – BIGWIG Showcase July 9, 2008

Filed under: ALA 2008,Conferences — ellie @ 8:46 pm

I have immense respect for this group and all they do, but I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with this program, although I think my own high expectations are mostly to blame. I wanted it to be geared to people who already know this stuff but want to go deeper, but the interest (at least in the LibGuides group) was at a more basic level.

But back to the praise. If for some reason you’re not familiar with the BIGWIG folks some of the reasons to love them include their incredible initiative, their dedication to making the process open and inclusive, to exploring new technologies, and to putting all their resources out on the public web.

Jason Griffey began by explaining that BIGWIG began as the Blogs, Interactive Media, Groupware, and Wikis Interest Group, but really they have carved out their own space. They have a site where they worked to democratize the process. They made a list and let people vote on what they wanted to see presented. They found people to present on those topics and asked them to put their presentations online before the conference. The goal was to push presentations out and bring conversations to annual, to allow us to talk about these things and find ways to use them in our libraries. There was also a WordCat APIs discussion going on live online during the showcase.

The presenters gave 5 minute versions of their presentations, then they broke out to tables for discussion. The program was also being live streamed.

Lorena O’English’s presentation was on citation bookmarking tools like Zotero, CiteULike, and Connotea. They’re all free and powerful resources. Zotero is open source and has a big community and money behind it. It’s a great way to do outreach – giving them a tool. Zotero was created to work with scholarly resources, it integrates all the steps of the research process into one place.

David Lee King’s presentation was Community Building & Experience. What do people do on our website besides content ? They’re having an experience. Hopefully it’s a good one.

Rachel Vacek’s presentation was Apps in Facebook & Opensocial, and Why Librarians Should Pay Attention.

Cindy Trainor’s presentation was on LibGuides for web based content management. She was particularly excited about cool things you can do with RSS.

Jason Griffey’s presentation was Video 2.0 and the new Media Revolution. We had 6 people watching the live stream at that point. Increasingly tools allow this. Gik – streams live to the internet from your cell phone.

Katie Dunneback was not there but her presentation was on Niche Social Networks: The Power of Yarn like Ravelry which are very different than MySpace/Facebook. [As an aside – MyFolia is another fun one – for gardeners.]

Robin Hasting’s presentation was on OpenID.

Chris Bar also couldn’t make it. His presentation was VuFind : Social Features.

There are also three presentations up on WorldCat

Melinda Gottesman lead the WorldCat API discussion at the showcase. Karen Coombs was live on Talk Shoe.

After the intros we broke out for discussion. The room was super crowded, but it seemed like we made it work. I joined the LibGuides group in a far corner.

Cindi explained that they started with a tag free for all, but since so many were only used once they’re all the same size, so they might make a taxonomy and go through again.

She also uses the delicious RSS feed to populate link lists. That was my original plan as well, but LibGuides has its own built in function that seems to do the same thing and I’m not really sure why I would use one over the other. For now we’re teaching our staff to use the built in feature since most of them aren’t using delicious – that way it’s not yet another thing to learn.

Cindi also pointed out that LibGuides makes us rethink how we’re doing subject guides and that’s a good thing – I agree! Subsequently, that is why it’s NOT a bad thing that you can’t just import your old site.

LibGuides also has a Facebook application and a widget maker.

At her library they did two all day training programs – LibGuides bootcamp. We probably won’t dedicate that much time at ACC, but it’s a good idea.

I’m also interested in exploring the idea of using LibraryThing to generate new book feeds, though I’m not sure exactly how they were doing that. So if you know – feel free to leave a comment. I would love to make a new book feed available, but we haven’t pinpointed an effective method with our system (Millennium) yet.

Read more about why BIGWIG is awesome at Rachel Vecek’s post.

ETA – I wanted to come back and put in something about next level tech skills/discussion and Rachel’s comment below increased my motivation. So I’m putting my reply up here rather than bury it in the comments. I think BIGWIG did a great job with their program and provided not only exactly what they said they would, but also what the majority of the attendees wanted. The showcase saw a need and filled it. I completely commend them. I feel pretty safe saying there is also a contingent of people who would love to have something just like what they’re already doing – but at the next skill level. Maybe BIGWIG’s huge success this year will allow them to have a BIGWIG (basic) and a BIGWIG (intermediate/advanced) next year. Or, maybe they’re already doing plenty and another group will see a need, step up and fill it.

Also covered at Bluebrarian

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2 Responses to “ALA 2008 – BIGWIG Showcase”

  1. Ken Liss Says:

    Hi Ellie –

    I use LibraryThing for a new books feed. There’s a widget for it on their Tools page. I started doing it before we got LibGuides – see http://www2.bc.edu/~lissk/newbooks/ – and later added it in a LibGuides box — http://libguides.bc.edu/communication. We’ve since added new book RSS feeds from out catalog, but I like the way LT lets me tag books in different areas of my subject (communication studies). The catalog feed is a single feed with all books charged to my fund code.

    – Ken

  2. Rachel Vacek Says:

    I am so glad that you were able to come to the Showcase, but I am sorry that it wasn’t quite what you had expected. It is hard to put something together like this when you don’t know who your audience will be. I think there were more people present who were curious about the format, wanted to see what some of the latest trends in technology were in action, or who had just heard of BIGWIG and wanted to see what we were up to. I hope that we can have a discussion on the Yourbigwig.com site in the future to address meeting the needs of our wide-ranging audience as well as scalability. It’s going to be hard to keep the discussions small and engaging if we continue to draw people to the Showcase.


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