Friday, October 24, 2008

MLA Conference & more

This week I attended the Michigan Library Association's Annual Conference. At the MEL update, I learned that (kid's) InfoBits will read articles out loud. MEl has a section on Content Expectations for K-12 Teachers in MI, and under LearningExpress News, there are practice tests for the ACT, along with the new citizenship test and Grad school entrance exams. The NoveList database had a "describe a plot search" that I would like to try, and I want to explore the "Michigana" tab.

WMU is moving to an product which sits on top of the Voyager catalog called VuFind (like the Encore product for III?). This seems to make it easier for students to find library resources. They conducted usability exercises & will modify the product based on the results.

Of course I went to Amy's talk on the future of cataloging, posted at She did well, especially for a first-timer. Bottom line is that she doesn't think that RDA will come about any time soon, that libraries do have to take advantage of other info producers' & consumers' data (like, user tags, etc.), and that no matter what, catalogers will find ways to "muddle through."

Jeffrey Trzeciak, dean of libraries at McMaster University (in gorgeous Hamilton, Ontario) spoke at lunch about the innovations during his 2 years there. Amazing, interesting. See the ACRL website for details in the documentation for the award they got. Also watch Library Journal for a column by McMaster's gaming librarian.

Attended a session on digitizing the Great Lakes Maritime collection which includes the NOAA Sanctuary in Thunder Bay: see and Fascinating project/s...huge amounts of materials digitized, which took tons of grant money & staff time & other collaborative resources.

Fun final keynote speech Jim Van Bochove on "Laughing in the HOT Seat: Living Life with Extreme Enthusiasm and Extraordinary Service!"

The other important meeting I had was outside of the conference, with an independent information professional/entrepreneur, Liga Greenfield, CEO of BioMedPharmaIS. The funny thing is that she was my 1st babysitter, 39-44 years ago! The last time I had talked to her was 20-22 years ago, when I was interested in both the Upjohn Co. libraries (where she had worked) & the Upjohn Institute library (they aren't the same company!).

I was fascinated at this meeting to hear Liga's insights on working alone, working with a spouse, working from a home office, how different working alone & from home was from working in a group in a large company, the state of the info business in the current economy, competition, pricing, approaching potential customers, specialization, associations to join & meetings to attend for solid support, etc. I went with Amy so I can better understand and support her business, and of course because I wanted to catch up with Liga. That was great.

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