MLA 2011: Early Registration Deadline, Hilton Rooms, and Following Online

Don’t forget the deadline to take advantage of the Early Registration discount for the annual meeting ends after April 13th.  On April 14th the price goes up considerably, so take advantage of the opportunity and register now. 

If you have already registered and you are planning on attending you better get a room fast.  The Hilton is comepletely out of rooms, leaving the Hyatt as your hotel option

If you are going there a lot of online resources to help connect you with others:

Now if you are bit like me and look this list and think, wow those are a lot of places to find out about MLA. I don’t have time to look at every site.  Never Fear, use a feed reader (that is why I included the feeds for these sites) to group all of these things together.  That way you go to one place to see updates from all of these sites. 

I use Netvibes to gather feeds, take a look at my screenshot.  On the left hand side I created a tab for Annual Meeting Info, underneath are all of the feeds I subscribe to for the meeting.  In the main frame, all of the feeds are displayed for me to read.  Take a look at the icons underneath More than 2 days ago, you will notice they are different.  That shows you where the feed is coming from.  As you can see there are multiple icons meaning that my multiple feeds are all in the main frame available to read.  Easy peasy.

If I want to share my feeds I simply hover my mouse over thet title and a curved arrow, clock, and double arrow are displayed. (On the screenshot look at the Nicollet Mall article, listed third below More than 2 days ago.)  The curved arrow allows you to share that “article” via Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.

So not only are you able to read about what is going on but you can participate and continue the discussion by commenting on events.

Hurry up register, get your hotel room, and set up your feeds.  If you can’t make to Minneapolis this year we will miss you.  I highly recommend you registering for the e-conference (only $100 if you register before May 16th) and follow events via the feeds.

Be a Star Behind the Camera

MLA is looking for people who are interested and willing to help video the conference. If you are interested take a look at Max Anderson’s call for videographers.

(reprinted from Medlib-l)

Are you handy with a handycam? Do you like technology? Do you yearn for a public outlet from which you can espouse the glories of the MLA conference 2011 in Minneapolis?

Why not apply to be an official videographer for MLA ’11? Official conference videographers earn 3 AHIP points and learn some new skills along the way. 

Last year the videographers took 100’s of videos of section programming.

This year, we will focus more on casual conversations in the hallways, out at dinner, by a giant cherry sculpture, or wherever! (If you are not familiar with Minneapolis, there is a sculpture park and one of the sculptures is a cherry on a spoon.)

 Applications will be accepted until 4 pm CT April 22nd, 2011. Official videographers will be announced April 29th, 2011.  Apply here:

Diversity at Conferences?

Sarah Milstein is TechWeb’s General Manager, Co-Chair for Web 2.0 Expo and a tech writer.  In a recent post on radar O’Reilly she writes, “Would I attend my own conference? Why conferences need more diversity.”

Sarah specifically mentions technology conferences where the slate is heavily slanted with men.  She points to popular conferences like TechCrunch Disrupt’s NY 2010 show and the Web 2.0 Summit where 10% or less of the speakers were women.  This is no surprise to Sarah, she says “It’s well-documented that women are underrepresented in the tech sector.” 

As a techie librarian who responsible for some of the section programs for this year’s annual meeting and as a co-chair for the 2012 meeting, Sarah has me wondering about MLA and other library conferences.  Are we diverse enough?

The library world has more women than men, and I like to think that we try and think about physical diversity (women, men, cultural, ethnic, etc.).  But are we providing diverse enough speakers regarding their library background (hospital, academic, special medical, government, etc.)?  Do we provide enough diversity in the program or is it too tech heavy, consumer health heavy, or reference heavy? 

Since I am librarian who likes to work with technology, I tend to focus and attend tech programs, but I do have other interests and I realize there are other librarians who are not as interested in technology.

So in your opinion do medical library conferences (MLA, regional, local) have diverse topics and speakers, or are we trotting out the same people with the same topics?  If you think we could be more diverse, then what are you looking for and in what ways can you think we can accomplish this? Let me know.

MLA Annual Meeting Reminder

Don’t forget to register for the MLA’11 Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN before April 13th to take advantage of the early registration discount. 

As a one of the section programmers I can tell you that there are a lot of great programs on a fairly wide variety of topics.  I always seem to come back from the annual meetings with several things that I can use at my work.  Some things seeem to be tailor made and fit perfectly into my situation, while others are interesting ideas that with some creative tweeking could work well too.

While I would love to see you at the meeting, I know that getting the money to attend a meeting can be difficult.  That is why I encourage everybody who is unable to attend the meeting in person to register to attend virtually through the e-Conference (Package D).  Last year was the first time MLA offered e-Conference registration and at the time I was a little unsure of what an e-Conference attendee would get.

If you register as an e-Conference attendee you will have online access to audio recordings of most of the meeting sessions with related visuals, video of selected plenary sessions and posters. 

To get an idea of what all that entails, I looked what things were/are available to e-Conference attendees (and other attendees) online. 

If you phyically attended the conference or virtually attended you can access videos, MP3, PDF, or slides for the following things:

  • Plenary Sessions I, II, III
  • NLM Update
  • NPC Program Session
  • MLA Business Meeting I, II
  • Open Forums: Informal Publication Methods, Interviewing Tips & Techniques/Branding, MLA Librarians without Borders Issues
  • Section Programs: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
  • Lightning Poster Sessions

I counted it and there over 40 audio or video downloads available for the 2010 meeting.  Based off of what is online from 2010, I am pretty sure if you spend $100 for the e-Conference package for 2011, you will get your money’s worth.

If you are attending the conference in person, stop and say hi to me at MLA 2012 booth.  But if the 2011 meeting is not in the cards this year, consider attending virtually.

Bloggers for 2011 Wanted: Apply Now

Sign up to be an MLA blog correspondent! This year the official MLA ’11 meeting blogwill have covering the meeting from different points of view in order to avoid excesive duplication and to also to cover as many topics as possible.  

For information on these changes and the types of bloggers that are needed go to the annual meeting blog.  Applications will be accepted Monday, January 31st – Monday February 28th, 2011. Bloggers will be announced in early March.

Wireless cards are available for select positions (indicated on the website).

As a blogger who has participated several times on annual meeting blog, I can say that I have always found it a great experience.  Here are some of the postive things I have found about blogging a meeting:

  • Notes – I usually always take notes at the meeting but writing a blog post helps me take those notes and turn them into something more permanent for me to remember. 
  • Feedback/Discussion – I always enjoy discussing librarian topics with others and the meeting blog is one of the best places to do it.  Some helpful people comment on things that I missed making the post more in depth while others give their opinions on certain topics adding to the discussion.  All of that feeds the librarian circle of communication.
  • AHIP – It is a nice way to get some AHIP points in addition to the points you get for going to the conference.
  • Writing – There are different writing styles for writing an article, book chapter, review, letter, or blog post.  The only way to become a better writer is to practice and keep writing.   When I first started blogging years ago, the mere thought of writing an article scared me to death but I developed more confidence and later published my very first paper “The Use of Blogs in Medical Libraries” in JHL. 
  • Free wifi – I gotta say I am a sucker for free wifi.  I wish I could say that I can disconnect from technology, but really I can’t.  So if somebody offers me free wifi to write, I will jump at the chance.

Despite all of those positive things, I will be really busy during the 2011 meeting and I am not sure I will have the time to write good blog posts.  I would love to write something about the 2012 program and the things the NPC are doing, the 2011 meeting as a section programming chair moving to section chair, and finally my experiences as a new MLA Board member at the annual meeting.  I will have to see how my schedule shakes out.

Don’t Know Much About eScience?

So what were you doing on January 20, 2011?  If you were attending the GMR’s webinar on eScience then you are ahead of the game.  If you are like me and can’t remember what you had for breakfast but are pretty certain you didn’t attend the webinar then you will be happy to know that the program recording and resources are available on GMR’s Online Education page

About the course:

e-Science is an emerging research methodology with an emphasis upon data and networks. As researchers in biomedicine and other health-related disciplines increasingly utilize today’s technology in their work, they produce immense amounts of data that can, ideally, be shared and repurposed to speed up scientific discovery. Similarly, they use networking tools to find, develop and work in a collaborative environment no longer constrained by geographical limitations. Can health sciences librarians with their skills in information management and organization, as well as success in building partnerships across areas, find a role in this new area? The answer is “YES!” Presenter: Sally Gore.

Unfortunately there was a audio problem during recording BUT it was captioned.

Planning the National Meeting part 2

In May at the DC meeting I wrote a post about what it was like serving as one of the co-chairs of the NPC and planning the Seattle meeting.  Through out this year we have been working (primarily online using Google Docs) on the meeting.  On Monday and Tuesday I was in Seattle with my fellow co-chair Teresa Knott meeting with the MLA folks, LAC, and the meeting planners. 

During this year we have been working choosing the theme, logo, speaker, and creating committees.  As I mentioned most of the work we have been doing has been online through Google Docs where we post documents discussing those things for the rest of the committee to look at, edit, vote on, and discuss.  I am happy to report we have our theme and our logo and we are actively in the process of finding a speaker and forming other committees. 

While we were in Seattle we stayed in the conference hotel and toured the convention center (which is right across the street).  The hotel is very nice and located near lots of shopping and restaurants and is short walk to the Pike Place Market (see map to view places around the hotel). 

We have a lot of things still left to do, but we are working on them.  We have already chosen our them and our logo which will debut at the 2011 meeting.  As our meeting date gets closer and we finalize more items I will report on them.  In the mean time don’t forget about Minneapolis where I will see you in the 2012 booth.

Changes for the 2011 Annual Meeting Blog

The theme for the 2011 Annual Meeting is Rethink and Molly Knapp, 2010 Annual Meeting blog administrator and 2011 member of the National Program Committee, writes in the MLA News about rethinking the Annual Meeting Blog (full text available to MLA members). 

The Annual Meeting blog has evolved significantly over the years.  In the beginning it was just a few people who submitted some posts that were aggregated on the blog site.  Now people apply to be bloggers and write on various aspects of the meeting, those who are accepted get AHIP points and possibly free wifi courtesy of MLA.  I managed the 2009 Annual Meeting Blog and I told Molly when she was handed the reigns to the 2010 blog, that we might be growing a little big to be randomly writing on topics and that we may need to think about how we organize things.

Well, based off of the 2009 Annual Meeting blog and 2010 Annual Meeting blog, Molly decided to rethink the way the 2011 meeting blog will be handled.  During the last two annual meetings we sometimes had multiple people blog about the same thing, and while it was nice to get two different perspectives on an event, we really didn’t need four posts summarizing the Presidential Address.  I wasn’t just the only one who felt this way, based on the 2009 Annual Meeting blog survey I conducted, members wanted more variety and coverage of different events.  In years past when there was only 4-5 bloggers it was difficult/impossible to cover that much stuff.  But in 2009 we had approximately 20 bloggers and in 2010 there were 17 bloggers. 

With that many bloggers, there are certainly opportunity to change things so that the blog can be more relevant to members.  One of the ways is to have a little more structure as to who will be blogging and what they will be blogging about. 

In the MLA News, Molly writes there will be section and special interest group (SIG) themed bloggers who will cover sponsored programs, interesting papers, highlights of section business meetings, and other section/SIG related programming.  There will be perspectives bloggers, people who write about the meeting from their professional perspective whether as a new MLA member (0-5 yrs membership) or distinguished MLA member (10+ yrs membership). 

Other types of bloggers will include:

  • Plenary session blogger (post about the plenary sessions)
  • Poster/Rethink blogger (post items of interest within the poster sessions)
  • Exhibits blogger (items of interest from exhibitors and the exhibit hall)
  • Early Riser blogger (events like the Sunrise Seminar and Major’s Walk)
  • Social Butterfly blogger (parties, Bearded Pigs, receptions)
  • Dedicated Student blogger (post on continuing education courses taken at meeting)
  • NLM blogger (NLM update, Friends of NLM reception and other NLM news)

MLA will continue to sponsor some of the blogger’s wifi access by issuing wifi cards but those who don’t have a wifi card don’t have to worry.  This year the Hilton Minneapolis will provide complimentary guestroom Internet access for MLA ’11.  (Yippeeeee!)

Look for the official call for bloggers in February 2011, but if you have any questions about the 2011 blog or blogging the meeting contact Molly at mknapp(atsign)lsuhsc(dot)edu.

MLA E-Books Webinar Update

As I mentioned Marian and I only had about 5 minutes max to describe what we are doing at our library and why.  There was a lot of stuff we just had to leave out for the sake of time.  So here are some of the things we could have talked about if we had more time.

Why did we have an HTML page with titles and subjects of ebooks?

Many patrons don’t use the catalog to find things.  They preferred looking on a web page that listed the books and browsing through that list either by subject (very general subject) or title.   We actually have usage statistics supporting this.   When we looked at our annual usage statistics for the library website the ebooks title and subject web pages had some of highest usage statistics for our site.  Therefore we felt it important to have the ebooks listed on a web page in addition to the catalog.

You mentioned that having a website list them all by title and subject became difficult and time consuming, how does the ERM help?

The ERM allows us to display resources by subject or by title. We created the very general subjects such as database, ebook, alternative medicine, EBM, etc. and assigned those subjects to each resource in the ERM.  People can browse for resources (ebooks, databases, internet sites) according to subject and title.  Please note the linked page in the previous sentence is still under development, so what you see is not the final product.  Instead of people typing in the title they will be able to browse titles by A-Z and we will actually have two subject search boxes, one for resources and one for just ebooks. That way people can just browse the ebooks not all of our resources (databases, internet sites, etc.).

Ideally we will be able to link to the page featuring the alphabetic title list option and use that as our “browsable web page of ebooks by title.”  Same idea for subjects.  We are in the process of setting everything up and we have been making several changes since we recorded our webcast video and I predict several more changes to come.  So this is by no means final, but it offers you a glimpse of how we are trying to still meet our users’ needs by having a browsable “webpage” but also make it more manageable for everyone as we acquire more ebooks.

How can I get an ERM, do I have to have an Innovative Interfaces ILS?

Innovative can be a pretty big and expensive system so some smaller to medium hospital libraries may not have it.  However there are several ILS companies that offer ERMs for their systems, one company specializing in small hospitals that offers an ERM as a part of their system is Cybertools for Libraries. 

One thing to note: We have found that cost is just one of the factors involved in an ERM.  The other MAJOR factor that few fully understand is time.  It takes A LOT of time to import the data of your resources into your ERM.  We were able to get a lot of it imported in during our initial set up and training, and that did save some time.  But that doesn’t mean that everything was able to be imported and the stuff that was imported was correct.  If possible you will want to have your information imported during set up and prior to training (that will help a lot), but don’t think that this will solve all of your time issues.  An ERM is only as good as the information you supply it, so not only do you have to make sure the imported information is correct but you have to MAINTAIN and UPDATE the information within the system. 

Personally, I liken ERM system to when a library first begins the process of getting their electronic journals into a Open URL system and maintaining that system.  Once you have the guts of the data in, you will find you need to go into it to update subscription information, invoice and payment information, usage statistics, changes in contacts, etc.  Are you in it everyday doing something?  No but you may be in it several times for several days depending on what time of the year it is and what needs to be done (renewal time, budget time, your sales/support rep emails you saying they are leaving and somebody else is your new contact).

I was following the Twitter discussion #mlaebooks while I was watching the webcast and one person mentioned “An HTML list or an Electronic Resource Mgt system does not seem scaleable to me. Seems self limiting.” 

The HTML list is indeed limiting and not scaleable.  It really only works well with a small list of ebooks (about 100 or so I would say) after that it becomes a pain to deal with (from the librarian side of things) and a pain to browse (from the patron side of things).  The HTML list was really one of our first method of organizing ebooks for discovery (besides the catalog).  While we are technically moving away from it, I think it is still a good option for small libraries with small ebook collections.  As I mentioned many users just don’t search the catalog, but they will browse a web page. 

The ERM is scaleable.  You can add almost as much information as you want in the system and you can remove or hide resource records (ebooks or whatever else) as you want.  However as I mentioned the ERM has a lot of up front work and does require maintenance to keep it running, but once you start having a lot of ebooks and other online resources that you need to display and make available to patrons, it offers a lot more options than a simple HTML list and it is scalable.

I really enjoyed watching the webcast and found a lot of stuff to be interesting.  Following the discussion on Twitter was also interesting and I am sure a lot of discussions on and offline will follow.  If you have questions with what we are doing please feel free to comment and I will do my best to answer them.

MLA Election Reminder

Believe it or not I am now just really starting to feel better from whatever I had that had gottten me.  It took me a while but several types of antibiotics and a steroid inhaler later I am feeling more like my old self.  A lot of stuff went on while I was out on my blogging leave of absence, and there is no way I can cover all of it.  So I will just go forward with what is going on now. 

You thought November 2nd was the end of the elections for a while, but if you are a member of MLA then election season is not quite over. 

The MLA 2011/2012 election is now underway, and the deadline for voting is December 7th.  Email messages with a link to the ballot have been sent to all MLA members with email addresses, and paper ballots have been sent to those without email.  The participation rates for the 2009/10 and 2010/11 MLA elections were 42.37% and 39.75%, respectively.  We hope to see the level of participation in MLA elections rise.  These elections are important because they determine who will lead MLA, set its priorities, and allocate its resources during these difficult times.  Please take the time to cast your ballot by December 7th.

So read through the ballot and the candidates and select the people you think will lead and represent MLA.  Be involved and vote!