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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.

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