Saturday, December 30, 2006

Internet Librarian 2006, Day 1

[The one other post on my other professional blog. Again, saved for posterity.]

Soon after I created this blog, my life took off in lots of unexpected ways. My apologies for the radio silence. I hope to correct that moving forward, with the initial goal of posting once a week.

For now, though, I'm going to use this space to semi-blog the Internet Librarian 2006 conference. I say "semi-blog" because the wifi at the conference center is a) not free, and b) of unknown cost (because you need to type in your card # before it gives you a price). So, I'll use the free wifi back at the hotel and do morning summaries.

Day 1: Preconference Workshops

"Project Management For Libraries" was exactly the cure for the past week of uncertainty. In September, I started a class at a local college in Project Management and was almost immediately overwhelmed by all the involved arithmetic. Had I had more time outside of class to work on learning this stuff, I might have made it. As it was, I dropped the class last week and felt awful. Today, I asked the presenter about all the bits that frustrated me, and she told me in no uncertain terms that "there was software for all that," and that my professional judgment meant more. Yay, rah!

I took four pages of detailed notes that all boils down to PLAN PLAN PLAN (pause) EXECUTE EXECUTE EXECUTE Celebrate! But the how of getting there made this three-hour workshop fly by.

"Creating an Online Tutorial In 30 Minutes" was equally useful, but could have been half as long. Greg Notess reminded me of a friend of mine -- down to some of the speech mannerisms -- and was lovely to listen to, but he rambled more than a bit. He used Camtasia as his demonstration software, but the rules and suggestions for screencasting were applicable across platforms.

The possible uses for screencasting in public libraries are nicely varied, from "How To Use Our Catalog/Databases" to "Internet Basics" to "How do I download audiobooks?" Screencasts won't replace the text descriptions, but they'll help less-savvy patrons to go through the process the first time. They may also help walk folks through a subject search across a number of resources (catalog - database - Web).

The other thing this workshop decided for me is that I need to have a Windows box of some form of my own. A nubmer of bits of software that do the things I want to do (project management & screencasting among others) seem to have Windows-only apps. I'm also more familiar and comfortable with a Windows environment for file management. I know the new Macs have Intel chips and might work for me, but we'll see how the cost bears out.

In the past day, I've done a bit of soul-searching as well, but it's not quite at a point where I can share with the class. I promise, you'll see it once I've figured it out. This post was getting a bit long, anyway.

On deck for today: social computing, web-based outreach, user-centered experience, staff tech competency and a vendor reception. But first, breakfast.

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