Get Your MLA 2014 Schedule Figured Out

The online program planner for MLA 2014 is available.
http://www.eventscribe.com/2014/mla/index.asp

Either I am getting used to working with the online planner or it is getting a lot better.  Perhaps a little bit of both.

As we have noticed in the past, your browser could impact your experience with the program planner.  So I want to let you all know that primarily I used Firefox 27.0 as my browser when I went to the planner site and logged in.  I did also call up my schedule using Explorer 9.0 and Chrome 33.0 but I only called them up once I had selected things.  While they displayed just fine in Explorer and Chrome I did not have the opportunity to play around with how it worked in those two browsers as I selected things.

Register first so that as you make selections it saves them to your account.  Once you are done selecting events click on My Plan – Sessions, then you can download it as an iCalendar file which can be uploaded to your favorite calendar program.  I use Google Calendar.

*Tip* Between 2 adults in a family with 3 kids, work schedules, other shared calendars, and other life events my Google Calendar has A LOT of information.  So I don’t clutter up the rest of my calendar I created an MLA 2014 calendar under My calendars in Google Calendar.  I gave it a really obnoxious purple color too so that it is obvious it is MLA stuff.

I imported the iCalendar file into my Google Calendar under MLA 2014 calendar and everything went in nicely in bright purple.

Things To Know:

  • You need your registration badge to login every time.  I understand this to verify meeting attendees to access the planner, but I do wish we could later change this to a customized password for use later.  I will just get to know my badge number for a while.
  • Posters are treated different than Sessions.  I recommend first selecting all of the sessions you wish to attend (click the star) then go into posters (I personally like viewing them by Session Time) and select the posters.  There is no way to get the posters to download as an iCalendar file to upload into your calendar.  In the past I have put poster numbers in my calendar but it really clutters things up, I am experimenting with uploading them as an Excel file that I will save in Dropbox and call up as needed.
  • You cannot add an events to the program planner that are not already on the site.  In other words you cannot add that killer vendor party that you are dying to go to.  HOWEVER, you can easily add the killer vendor party to your calendar.  So after you have imported the program planner into your calendar of choice, go into your calendar and simply add that party yourself.  I already did this in Google Calendar for a few after parties and it is easy. Hardest thing for me was to add it under my MLA 2014 calendar I created not my default calendar.
  • If you are not in Central Time, then watch out for your calendar automatically switching times to “help” you.  I wish I could give you pointers on how to make sure this doesn’t happen but I am only successful at preventing this about 50% of the time.  I am able to fix it once it happens but it usually involves some swearing and random troubleshooting.  Perhaps somebody will leave a comment as to how to prevent this problem.  I only bring it up so that you are aware.
  • Sync your calendar one last time before you leave for the meeting.  I noticed that some of the sessions I want to attend don’t have room names yet.  I know that information will come.  The main reason I am already fussing with the program planner is to figure out any conflicting sessions.
  • Finally, don’t be afraid to chuck your schedule at MLA. If you are having a great in depth conversation with a vendor or librarian then feel free to stick with it and not run off to the next session.  If you are dog tired and need to take a nap during the middle of the day so you can finish out strong…sleep away.  I see way too many people with their heads buried in their planners running to the next meeting.  The programs, meetings, and posters are important, but it is also important to stop and smell the roses or talk to somebody.  Another big part of MLA is the people and if you are busy running off to every event, you miss the people.

 

See you in May. :)

 

Tips to a Cheaper MLA

I just renewed my MLA membership and registered for the annual meeting in Chicago.  While my annual meeting expenses will be reimbursed, my membership is not. Quite frankly it always hurts to see that much money leave my account at one time regardless of whether it is work related or fun like a vacation.   I am cheap.  My kids know all too well I am always looking for deals or ways to save money.

First: If there is no way on God’s green Earth that you can afford or physically be able to attend MLA in Chicago, seriously consider attending online by registering with the e-Conference attendance. At $120, it is a pretty good deal and is half the cost of one night in the hotel.

Second: Find a roommate.  Even though my institution reimburses me, I am asked to find a roommate.  I find the majority of the meeting expense is the hotel and splitting it with at least one person helps a lot.

Third:  While I love staying at the conference hotel, I also realize that isn’t always an option.  Sometimes the rooms are too expensive or sometimes they are sold out. Find a cheaper hotel or go on AirBnB. I found several places to stay on AirBnB in Chicago from $10-$150.

Fourth: Get a conference only registration.  This saves about $160 off of the registration price.  Now that means you will not be able to attend some of the receptions that include food and networking opportunities.   So you will need to figure out your own cheaper food and networking opportunities to make the savings count. Don’t let your conference package savings get lost on the cost of getting meals that the receptions normally would provide.

Fifth: There are a lot of ways to eat well and save money at MLA. Buy snacks and breakfast stuff at CVS, Walgreens, or a nearby grocery store.  That food is always cheaper than what you pay for at a restaurant or in the hotel.  Go to Sunrise Seminars. Not only are they informative but they often have food.  There are also some vendor seminars that are during lunch time that have food. There aren’t a lot of them and they are trickier to find and often require an RSVP in advance.  Go to vendor parties for your dinner.  I love food, I don’t skip meals and I found I have never gone hungry at MLA and my food budget is very very small.  I also have stopped buying snacks and breakfast stuff at the local grocery store. I found I often didn’t eat it because there were other food events for me to attend that sounded more appetizing than my CVS bagel.

Sixth: Apply for a travel award from every section, group, etc. that you belong to.  Many travel awards are graded based on the applicants’ need to be at MLA.  So submit a paper or poster to MLA to show that you are contributing to MLA as well as needing financial assistance.  Obviously it is too late to submit a paper or poster for this MLA, but do it for the next one.  If it gets accepted and you still can’t go (btw institutions are more apt to fund somebody presenting) then you can ask to be removed. It sucks but it isn’t the end of the world.

Seventh: Try budgeting a year in advance. I have Browns season tickets…they cost me a pretty penny each year.  Every May like clockwork the Browns organization wants their pound of flesh.  If I had to come up with that money all at once I would be dead.  Instead I have created a Browns account that I put $200 in every month.  By the time May rolls around I have $2400 ready to send and while I hate to see it leave my account, I don’t feel the pinch.  If people buy my tickets, I direct the deposit to that account. I have also created an MLA account that operates much the same way as my Browns account.  I auto deposit a relatively small amount every month into that account and by the time MLA rolls around I am set.

I love going to MLA.  Not only do I consider it a professional activity but it is also fun.  While it isn’t a vacation exactly, I find I am refreshed and looking at librarianship in different ways….almost as if I was on a real vacation. OK I’m a nerd…I kind of think of it as a vacation.

MLA 2014 Poster/Paper Deadline Nov 1st!

Wow! November is just around the corner.  If you have been planning to submit a paper or poster for MLA 2014 you better get moving because the deadline is Novmeber 1st.

(reposted from MLA-LMS email list)

NOVEMBER 1 DEADLINE – CALL FOR PAPERS/POSTERS, MLA’14, “BUILDING OUR INFORMATION FUTURE”

You are invited submit an abstract for a paper or poster that reflects on the best ideas for the future of information practices in health sciences librarianship at the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting, May 16–21, 2014, Chicago.  To begin, review the paper/poster FAQs at: http://mlanet.org/am/am2014/sect_prog/index.html, then begin the online submission process.  Avoid the last-minute rush and submit your abstract before November 1st.

Be inspired to think how you can be an architect of a health information landscape that responds to the challenges of growth and an ever-evolving environment.  How will you design your blueprint for the information future? What tools will you need? What skills will be required? How will you know if what you construct is useful?  The MLA Annual Meeting will offer you an opportunity to plan and style an information future that reflects expanding roles to reach new heights.

Join your colleagues for MLA’14 in Chicago and build your information future at the largest meeting of medical librarians and health sciences information professionals in the world!  In January, preliminary programs will be mailed to MLA members and meeting registration will officially open.  For more information see: http://mlanet.org/am/am2014/index.html

MLA 2013 Blog: My Summary

Wow there were a lot of bloggers who wrote great stuff at MLA 2013.  I tried to attend as much as I can but of course I can’t hit everything so I have come to really enjoy reading the Official Meeting Blog  after the meeting to review the things I wasn’t able to attend.  I have taken it upon myself to organize the posts from the blog into some general categories and I thought I would share them. (I am such a librarian I am organizing blog posts…sigh..)

The organization is very rough.  I tried to group like posts on the same topic together, but I am sure I made some mistakes.  I also added some extra details such as the section program title on some of the blog titles where it wasn’t immediately obvious as to what it referred to. 

One thing to remember…. The e-Conference stuff is not just for those who paid for the e-Conference.  Those who physically attended the conference can also access all of the great stuff online using their badge number.

Prior to a conference

About MLA and Getting Involved

CE’s

Sunrise Seminars

Plenary Sessions

Exhibitors

Section & Sig Stuff

Posters

Programs

NLM Stuff

Other things

After Conference and the e-Conference

 

Go to MLA’13 Blog for Recent Posts

In a few days a bunch of medical librarians will be heading to or already in Boston for the Medical Library Association’s 2013 Annual Meeting.  I will be there and I will be blogging, along with other people. There will be “Early Riser” bloggers who will writing about sunrise seminars and all sorts of stuff that happens at 7 am.  There will be  “First Timers” and “Distinguished Members” writing about the conference from their perspective.  The complete list of bloggers can be found here.

I will be writing as the “Unofficial MLA Insider.” What does this mean?  Well it is a blogging title that I made up and pitched to Kate and she thought it would be a good idea. 

Bascially this is my idea of what my title and what types of posts I will be writing:

I am not an MLA newbie and while I am technically distinguished with 10+ yrs of MLA-ness, I certainly don’t feel like I’ve been around that long.  I feel like somebody who is in the thick of their career and involvement within MLA.  I feel like somebody who is active and wants to be more active and help get others active as well.   I know when I first decided to get involved (way after my newbie years) I didn’t know how to do it and how things were done within MLA.  Everything seemed to be a great mystery to me.  As the “Unofficial MLA Insider” I will be blogging about how things work at MLA so that if you are interested in getting involved you have a better understanding of what is going on. 

So if you are interested in my posts or that of other MLA bloggers, please check out the MLA’13 Conference Blog. For the couple of days I will be posting there as well as tweeting using the hashtag #mlanet13.

MLA Members Running for Boston Survivors

Dear Medical Library Association Members,

(from MEDLIB-L listserve) 

In the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy, Montie’ Dobbins and Bart Ragon want to raise money to help support the victims and families affected by the events that occurred on April 15, 2013. During the conference they are going to attempt to run a total of 26.2 miles. This roughly works out to be 5-6 miles a day. For those members who are interested, They are for a donation of $1 for every mile they run. If they accomplish their goal, this means that the total donation would be $26.20. Donations would be made to The One Fund, a charity set up by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino. Donations are on the honor system and you make your donation directly to the charity. They will not collect any money or track donations. They will send an e-mail at the end of conference to those who choose to participate with an update on the total miles ran. During the conference they will provide updates via Twitter, including maps of their route. They are currently working out a running schedule and if you would like to run some or all of the runs, please indicate below. They plan to run a slooooooooow pace (10-12 min miles).

For more information about the charity please see www.onefundboston.org

 To register go to http://t.co/eljJqzZ2sX 

 Questions can be sent to bart(atsign)virginia(dot-thingy)edu.

 Thank you for your consideration. We know that Boston is going to be an excellent host city for our conference!

Be an MLA Mentor

There is still time to apply to be a mentor to a new MLA member or first meeting attendee.  To be a member just volunteer for the Colleague Connection Program at this year’s annual MLA meeting.

Colleague Connection is MLA’s mentoring program that pairs newer members or first-time meeting attendees with returning, more experienced members during the annual meeting. The purpose of Colleague Connection is to introduce new attendees to the association and help them get the most out of the MLA annual meeting.

Sign up to be a mentor today: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KZBMKD7!

I was a mentor a few times and I can say that it was a great experience.  Each time I met a new person that had different and fresh ideas that I loved hearing about.

MLA is only 2 weeks away…. click on the link now and be a mentor.

 

 

Pack Your Floss for MLA’13

This was also posted on MEDLIB-L but I thought it was important to also post here.

Before you head off to Boston, drop an extra pack of dental floss in your bag.  In honor of the Dental Section’s 80th Anniversary (impressive) they will be collecting dental floss for needy populations in Guatemala and Mexico.  Dental students from Boston University go on mssions to these areas to provide treatement and according to organizers their is a scarcity of floss (compared to other oral hygiene products) there.  There will be a donation box at the conference registration desk.

Floss is so small you can probably pack a couple of packs in your carry on.  Don’t forget!!!!

MLA 13 Scheduling Tool

Every year it seems I wrestle with the annual meeting’s scheduling tool.  Perhaps I am too picky, asking it to do more than normal people would like or perhaps I am not savvy enough in the way of calendar apps.  Whatever the case, I always seem to have problems getting it to sync correctly.  So I thought I would share my experience this year in hopes that it might help others who might also be having problems.

I used Google Calendar synced to my iPhone.  I have synced Google Calendar to Androids and the practice is pretty much the same.  I don’t sync to my Outlook calendar, so I can’t help you there. If somebody wants to comment on how they did it in Outlook and any problems/tricks they found, that would be helpful.

I signed into the scheduler using my Facebook.  I admit I did it because I am lazy and didn’t want to try and remember another ID and password for a one time event, plus it is kind of nice seeing my picture and other librarian pictures next to events.

I clicked the star for every event I plan to attend.  I found information (abstracts or other details) on most of the events if I hovered over them.  Those that didn’t have abstracts when I hovered, included a link for me to get more information.  I discovered there is no way to add events that are not on the official MLA Scheduling Tool.  The only way I have been able to do this is to put the added event into my Google Calendar.

Speaking of Google Calendar and exporting.  I clicked on the Facebook and Twitter icons to see what exporting would happen.  Facebook did nothing, it didn’t post to my timeline or anything.  Clicking on the Twitter badge sends out a generic tweet for people to check the scheduler with a link to the scheduler.  (Both the Facebook icon and Twitter icon are kind of useless IMHO.)  Clicking on the phone icon gives me the option to use their mobile web app to view your schedule or to download your schedule into iCal for Google Calendar, Outlook and Apple iCal. 

I downloaded it for Google Calendar to my KraftyLibrarian Google account.  (I have a personal Google Calendar with my entire family life on it and I don’t want my MLA schedule cluttering the family calendar and vice versa.)  The import goes fairly easily, but it Google treats the scheduler calendar as a imported calendar that you can’t edit.  So if you want to add any events you have to add them to your home calendar (in my case KraftyLibrarian calendar) and they will show up in a different color and under that calendar. 

Because it is an imported calendar you will also have to sync it to your mobile device’s calendar. If you are following multiple calendars then make sure you scroll down for the link to syncing multiple calendars.  https://support.google.com/calendar/answer/151674?hl=en&ref_topic=13950. Thank you @dearbeth on Twitter for the link to syncing it to my phone.

Once I was able to sync it to my phone I was able to see everything I needed and add additional MLA personal events (to the non-mla calendar) to show up on on my phone’s calendar to keep me on track for the meeting. 

Anybody else have any tips or tricks?

See the Midwest Chapter Members Presenting at MLA

The ConnectMidwest blog has a list of Midwest Chapter members presenting at MLA in Boston.  Very busy group of people, scroll through it and see what your colleagues are doing or have done.

The Midwest Chapter is also looking for a blogger or two who would like to post about the conference for the MidwestConnect blog so non attendees can keep up.  If you are interested send Elizabeth Moreton a email. emoreto[at sign] siue [that dot thing] edu.