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How to Volunteer at the IA Conference February 26, 2008

Posted by JR Dixey in announcements, events.
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If you can make it to Miami, FL April 10-14 to volunteer at the Information Architecture Conference, ASIS&T has a 2008 Summit Scholarship with your name on it! (OK, you have to be a student member of ASIS&T, so it would cost you $40 if you’re not already a member, but this is still a very big savings from the regular cost of attending.)

Here’s the rest, as sent to the ASIS&T mailing list. (This isn’t actually a verbatim quote, as the words “smile and be friendly” were in ALL CAPS on the original. Since I think it’s a little strange to yell at someone when asking them to be friendly, I changed it when reposting it here. Anyway we’re all friendly, right?)

Without further ado:

To help ASIS&T student members who might not otherwise be able to participate in ASIS&T meetings, we provide an opportunity to attend the sessions and network with other members in exchange for assisting us in running the meeting. Students who have participated in our program have found the experience “terrific.”

How the Program Works

In exchange for complimentary registration, we’ll ask you to help us run the conference. You’ll serve as a room monitor for about three sessions each day for three days. In addition, you’ll help out either at our registration desk or conference headquarters for a 4-hour period on one day of the conference. We’ve listed below the activities that you are expected to perform as part of the program.

1. Monitoring Sessions
We’ll solicit your choices of sessions, by time period, and try to schedule you into the sessions you prefer wherever possible. Monitoring involves assisting the speakers and moderators, checking for name tags at the door, ensuring that the necessary AV equipment is on hand, encouraging participants to complete evaluation forms, and generally helping makes the session go smoothly. (Additionally, you will be expected to smile and be friendly!)

2. Registration
Registration assistance involves facilitating the registration process, keeping a record of registrants, handing out materials, etc.

3. Headquarters
The Headquarters office is kept open throughout the meeting for the convenience of ASIS&T Committee members, members of the Board of Directors and members of the Conference Committees. Your function will be to ensure that everything runs smoothly and to assist where needed.

How to Participate

If you would like to be considered for this program for the 2008 Summit, to be held April 10 – 14 in Miami, FL Please forward your name, address, phone, fax and e-mail numbers to:

American Society for Information Science & Technology

ATTN.: ASIS&T 2008 Summit Scholarships
1320 Fenwick Lane, Suite 510
Silver Spring, MD 20910
FAX: (301) 495-0810
e-mail: dagnew@asis.org

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Online Northwest 2008 – 25th Annual Library Conference February 23, 2008

Posted by drybones1 in outside events.
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I went to my first library conference this week! Online Northwest’s 25th Annual Conference in Corvallis, Oregon seemed like a great opportunity to meet some librarians & hopefully learn a thing or two about what’s going on in the online library world. And of course, it was also a great excuse to spend a few days in Oregon. I love Oregon. There’s just something about it … Anyway, Corvallis is located in the Willamette Valley, about 80 miles or 130 km south of Portland. The region is full of vineyards and is especially known for its Pinot Noir, which we sampled at a great little Spanish Tapas restaurant called La Rambla in McMinnville. (Thanks to the McMinnville Public Reference Librarian who recommended this place!)

Online Northwest

Usability expert Jared Spool was this year’s keynote speaker. Spool is the founder of User Interface Engineering, whose research team helps clients solve design problems, and also a faculty member of Tufts University’s Gordon Institute. Unfortunately I arrived a little bit late and missed his presentation, Why Good Content Must Suck: Designing for the Scent of Information.

I did, however, meet a lot of librarians (mainly from Oregon) and also managed to see four very interesting presentations. Unfortunately, with four panel speakers per hour, you can only see one quarter of everything that’s going on. Nevertheless, here’s what I saw:

  • Kitty Mackey and Robert Hughes of Clark College described how librarians collaborated with students in an Interface Design and Interactivity class to perform usability testing and make recommendations for remodeling the library’s website.
  • Michelle Drumm and Barrett Havens from Centralia College demonstrated how RSS technology can help libraries reach out to online communities.
  • Ann Whitney from the University of Washington Health and Sciences Libraries gave a start-to-finish explanation of the ABC’s of podcasting and vodcasting for libraries.
  • Maureen Kelly and Kim Griggs of Oregon State University described a project at their library to shift away from subject guides, which they claim undergraduates rarely use, toward Interactive Course Assignment pages. They used Ruby on Rails and agile development methods to build a tool that librarians and faculty could use to create dynamic course-based web pages with reference information.

I definitely recommend this conference to anyone interested in online library technology, or anyone looking for an excuse to spend some time in Oregon. I had an excellent time.

New Officers Elected February 15, 2008

Posted by asistubc in announcements, news.
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Our email election of new officers is completed. Here’s our official executive roster:

Chair: Jennifer Dixey
Vice Chair: Catherine Boden
Communications: Christina Nilsen
Secretary: Cobi Falconer
Treasurer: Rowena McKernan

A very warm thank you to outgoing 2007 officers Desy Wahyuni, Webmaster, Lili Wang, Vice-Chair and Kristina Batiste, Communications Officer.

Welcome back to continuing officers Jennifer Dixey, Cobi Falconer and Catherine Boden, and welcome incoming officers Rowena McKernan and Christina Nilsen.

Please note that the responsibilities of the former Webmaster position now roll up into the Communications role.

Getting Spammed? Help Scan a Book! February 6, 2008

Posted by JR Dixey in news.
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Humans are apparently much better than machines at decoding words than OCR scanners are, so Carnegie Mellon University is putting the unreadable words online for the world to decipher. All in the interest of enhancing their digitizing efforts for the Internet Archive.

They’ve set up ReCAPTCHA, a free CAPTCHA service that gives webmasters the opportunity to add spam-defeating interfaces to websites. What’s the connection? Well, you’ve seen those small forms that force you to type in a word in order to successfully submit? On a ReCAPTCHA form, there is a second word in the CAPTCHA image that an OCR scanner couldn’t read well enough to decipher while scanning a book for the Archive.

If a website user decodes the first word successfully, the system assumes that they also decoded the second word, which becomes a candidate for being marked as deciphered. The system sends the second word to a second tier of CAPTCHAs, and if all of the second set of CAPTCHAs come up with the same reading, it is considered decoded and sent back to the database.

Their tagline? STOP SPAM. READ BOOKS.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Google Books February 4, 2008

Posted by JR Dixey in news.
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In Educational Technology there’s a longish article pointing out the “good, bad and ugly” of Google Books. Includes a detailed view of how one university library system — University of California’s — is working with Google Books to get books online.