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Wrap Up – ASIST 09 Conference November 11, 2009

Posted by asistubc in conferences, events, events@ASIS&T, meetings.
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by: Ro McKernan

Today was the final day of the 2009 ASIST Conference and it was sad to walk out of a session and see everything being all packed up.  The last two days were a whirlwind of sessions, if you haven’t checked out the conference backchannel do so and read the thoughts from the participants to get a sense of what people thought were the most salient points during each session (and other conference news). Very insightful.  It would be interesting to see if they organize the twitters a little more next year so that every session gets some coverage (although anything about social media may get flocked) as well as whether ASIST is going to work to preserve the tweets for their digital archives. Worthwhile stuff.

Other people have also been blogging about their conference experience.  Alan Cho put up a post about historians of information that can be found here: http://www.allanslibrary.com/2009/11/asis-and-historians-of-information.html.  If anyone else has blogged the conference, be sure to tag your blog posts with #asist09 for easier retrieval – tagging can be such a great tool!

Although the commute never got any better (today’s parking woes involved a ticket machine that did not dispense tickets … I think I paid thrice…) I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend the conference as a volunteer.  It truly was an amazing experience.

Next conference in Pittsburgh, PA – will you be there?

Conference Musings Day 2 November 9, 2009

Posted by asistubc in conferences, events, events@ASIS&T, meetings.
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What a difference a day makes – I brought my power cord with me so I had juice in my laptop and was able to tweet with a frequency that would ordinarily have concerned me – I try not to normally overwhelm my followers – but there was so much information to share and so many mindblowingly insightful tweets to retweet that I am temporarily justified. #asist09

I went to many sessions today and I think I found my favorite (so far) …  Mike Crandell and Karen E. Fisher’s presentation “Free Access to Computers and the Internet at the Public Library”.  From the iSchool (is your school) at UW, they did a fabulous presentation about the research they’ve done (also in book form) and I hope that they develop a model to share with other libraries on how to identify the impacts of PACs (Public Access Computers) in their communities as I feel this would be a good tool to help us evangelize in these tough economic times.  The early finding that they shared with us (on a difficult to read slide – fix please <grin>) were that the top domains of PAC use are social inclusion, education, employment, health & e-government which feels right to me as I observe the patrons in my rural library.  I wish there was more research for public librarians (in general) at this conference …

There was no lunch today …  for a conference of nerds they sure aren’t feeding us.  I had crepes with some fellow attendees including the other student conference blogger (http://crywhite.blogspot.com/) at a wonderful crepe spot on Robson street (turn right).

By the end of the last session today – I was failing at understanding all the new information.  I think I can only absorb so much info in a single day so I left the conference for the day with much fonder memories and a history of tweets I will have to one day turn into a long form blog post, complete with high quality links…

And I also realized that no matter what I do, I always get turned around at skytrain stations and spend many minutes panicking when the parking lot looks completely different and unfamiliar until I realize I need to find the entrance and backtrack from that because the exit always exists you somewhere completely different.  It’s not me, its bad user design.

Ro McKernan

The Killer App of the Internet is Other People – ASIST Day 1 November 9, 2009

Posted by asistubc in conferences, events, meetings, outside events.
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Wow!  That was quite the first day for us at the ASIST 2009 conference.  This was my first time attending and I was given a wonderful opportunity to blog my experiences by the conference organizers (thanks Letisha!).  This year the conference is being held in beautiful Vancouver (can be seen through the raindrops if you squint) and the hotel is conveniently situated right next to the skytrain station.

Us volunteers (around 20 or so?) were given our marching orders then we were set loose to mingle.  I am very amazed at the awesome friendliness displayed by everyone.  Complete strangers, introducing themselves!  I can be shy – so if I look alone please introduce yourself (or if you want to say something on this conference blog – going to try for one post a day… input is always appreciated).

The lunch was entertaining and the plenary session by Tim Bray (@timbray) was very insightful.  Here of the highlights of what I though were some of the more poignant tweets:

@emmalawson: There’s no substitute for human judgement–@timbray

@bezanson: “This community isn’t that concerned about marketing” – Bray. Really? We should be!

@joe_sanchez: Virtual Worlds have more immediacy than email/twitter/sms more so than phone perhaps? @timbray@danhooker: Twitter’s “hideous grievious flaw” is that it’s owned by a company

@kjersti: Tim Bray: What happens on the Internet stays on the Internet… forever.

@asistpratt: Tim Bray, “The culture of online is epistolary…we are in a golden age of writing…a golden age of archiving and libraries.”

The twittering was fast and furious at times – everybody seems to have adopted the #asist09 hash tag and there is a list of ASIST twitterers compiled here if you want to follow everyone in one fell swoop (let me know if I’ve missed you or if you want off).  Many people were tweeting the individual sessions, its quite educational and informative to search back through the tweets (http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23asist09)

Things to note beyond the official program:

Monday 8p – 10p at Smiley’s Pub, Pender & Hornby http://tinyurl.com/y8t877o (too late at night for me!).

Sig Knit
(saw someone with a sign – can publish time and place …)

That CD in the conference tote – not a coaster – it seems to contain the full text of all the papers at the conference.  Should be good reading material for those times where you’re waiting for the next session.

Posted by: Rowena McKernan (romckernan@gmail.com)

InfoCamp Seattle 2009 August 5, 2009

Posted by Emma Lawson in events.
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Just registered for InfoCamp Seattle 2009!

From the wiki:

InfoCamp is an unconference for anyone interested in user experience, information architecture, user-centered design, librarianship, information management & related fields. It features an egalitarian, community-driven format in which most presentations are designed and delivered by attendees. And it’s a lot of fun!

October 10th and 11th in Seattle. Cheap for students, or free if you volunteer! Seattle’s not too far away…

Zotero workshop: Citing up a storm February 1, 2009

Posted by Emma Lawson in events, events@UBC.
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“Oh, Xuemei, I’m glad I came today!” Cindy Mack, SLAIS student

9 students and 1 prospective student gathered in the SLAIS Terrace lab on the 29th to learn about Zotero.  In just two hours we explored the ins and outs of this amazing free citation management tool.  All participants were very impressed with the extensive features and flexiblity Zotero could offer.  Xuemei Li, 2nd year MLIS student, did an excellent job inspiring us all to learn this new tool and all participants plan to make the most of Zotero for our upcoming research activities.

Xuemei Li at the ASIS&T Zotero workshop
Xuemei Li at the ASIS&T Zotero workshop

For those who missed the session, the Google site is still available with step-by-step instructions and screenshots:
http://sites.google.com/site/zoteroworkshopsite/. This is an incredible resources for anyone getting started with Zotero.  Thanks Xuemei!

Xuemei prepared this workshop as part of the Digital Media Project, a partnership between SLAIS and the Chapman Learning Commons.  This project focuses on social networking and digital media tools to enhance student’s learning experience.  For more information about the project and other upcoming workshops please visit the Digital Media Project blog: http://ubcdigitalmediaproject.wordpress.com/

Don’t forget to come to the ASIS&T sponsored iGoogle and Delicious session, next Wednesday from 12-2pm in the SLAIS Terrace Lab.

Upcoming events January 20, 2009

Posted by Emma Lawson in announcements, events, events@ASIS&T, events@UBC.
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ASIS&T at UBC is pleased to announce several upcoming workshops for SLAIS students on techy tools to make your life easier. These workshops were designed and will be taught by the digital media interns at SLAIS.

Zotero – The Next Generation of Research Tools

Terrace Lab, Jan 29th, 12-2pm

Zotero is a Firefox that helps you collect, organize and cite your research sources. Come to the workshop if you’re tired of RefWorks — or (like me) copying down citation information by hand.

Delicious and iGoogle – Gateways to Academic Success

Terrace Lab, Feb 4th, 12-2pm

Can Delicious and iGoogle be beneficial to students and academics? Yes! Come find out how.

Delicious is a social bookmarking service that allows users to tag, save, organize, search and share web pages through the web. iGoogle provides users with a customizable web site, allowing users to put all their favorite online gadgets in one place — RSS feeds, Google Calendar, various social software, etc. It also manages URLS, usernames and passwords!

Liveblogging CAIS 2008: Writing Ourselves In: Institutional Ethnography as a Strategy for Understanding and Contesting the Marginal Positioning of Public Libraries in Community Partnerships June 5, 2008

Posted by JR Dixey in events, events@UBC.
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Rosamund K. Stooke, University of Western Ontario

[Please note: These are merely my notes on the presentation, taken live while the presentation was in progress and edited for sense afterwards. They are not a verbatim transcription of the presentation. Please contact the researcher directly for more information on her work. — JRD]

Notes on the presentation:

Public librarians and very young children’s development. Somewhat more focused on methodological issues because of Dorothy Smith’s work in institutional ethnography.

25 public librarians, 1/3 had responsibility for children’s library services.

Conundrum faced by the public library community: how can we get more involved in community efforts for young children’s education and development? Public librarians have always felt strongly about children’s development; also, librarians always feel that they need to demonstrate their usefulness in the educational world.

Methodology: institutional ethnography

“local site of institutional activity” (library, hospital, etc.) — in support of institutional work, ‘networks of social relations organized around a distinctive function such as healthcare, education, & the economy’ (Smith, 1987?) (Dorothy E. Smith)

Institutional ethnography aims to ‘explicate, not explain’ — focus on how something happens (“What do you do to support young children’s education and development?”) rather than establish a course for something happening.

Book recommendation: Institutional Ethnography as Practice (edited by Dorothy Smith).

Back in the 1980s Smith was trying to ‘turn sociology upside-down’. Informed by ethnomethodology, marxism (concept of ideology), and feminism. Ideology names a process by which ordinary activities that take place in local sites like libraries are turned into what we call ‘discursive entities’ (i.e., a ‘checked out item’ reduces all the work that goes into the exchange into something that can be ‘accounted for’). Feminism’s influence is to emphasize ‘life as usual’ (an ongoing social accomplishment, the product of work carried out by insiders and outsiders). ‘Work’ includes all work that doesn’t get written up in a workplace report.

Local and extralocal organization. Advice from outside (such as from CLA and ALA) connects local work to other local work (that must be where the network part comes in).

The problematic:

“In the search for community assets … public libraries are frequently overlooked … libraries are often left out of community initatives” (the typical explanations, I decided to ignore these explanations and look instead at the work)” (quote from an article in a public library publication from the U.S.)

Competitive public marketplace, ‘competing for children’.

Local work <–> institutional work.

It’s like unraveling a ball of string … one conundrum led to another. “It was impossible to talk about children’s librarians’ work without talking about the difficulties many of them face in the workplace.” Part of the folk wisdom of librarianship is that children’s librarians are marginalized within the field.

“What do children’s librarians do?”

Outreach and Story Hour. But they couldn’t do either one without layer upon layer upon layer of relationship building. Categories for this work come out of public administration, doesn’t acknowledge this as real work. Collision between gender and power makes this work ‘disappear’ (it gets ‘disappeared’). What are the work processes by which this happens? Look for the texts … in post-industrial societies almost all work in the public sphere is mediated by text. Not necessarily printed form.

Two examples: Report forms and applying for grants. Work gets ‘disappeared’ from both of these places.

Virginia Walter: Children and Libraries, Getting it Right

“My informants were in synch with the official version”. But when we talk to librarians we find out that the relationship work is there, just unnoticed. ‘You had to earn their trust before they were willing to bring big questions …’ Trust also has to be developed at the inter-agency level.

What discourses organize librarians’ work? The ‘politics of stats’ (“Ann”) — ‘it’s very important to bring people into the library’ … “they sweat the stats” … “it’s part of our culture to think about how many people attended” our events. “Your activities have to serve the people you serve, but you also have to serve the library” — “the gift that keeps on giving” — “everything you do has to function in both directions” — “all of my informants were charged in part with caring for the library” as well as the patrons.

Bowker & Star, 2000, Sorting Things Out. A classification scheme is a systematic encapsulation of values (something like that). “does not apply at this time” (i.e., organizing recreation). Visibility attracts the “glare of enlightenment science” [Example of leech therapy in nursing literature] “How can you capture humor in nursing?” Laughter at storytime? It’s all ‘situated and subjective action’.

DeVault, 1991 — ‘feeding the family’ — it’s hard to call it work because you don’t want to commodify something you’re giving freely

Fine-grained accountability is problematic, though, especially when others don’t see the value in your work (how do you quantify imagination? example: old keys for kids to open a “secret special place” for storytime)

But, if work doesn’t get recorded, what happens to librarians? Creates a false sense of security for admin, because you’re not representing the actual work that’s getting done, they never have to budget for the work that isn’t being accounted for, and the caring work can get eroded when this work is more and more needed yet less and less accounted for/budgeted for/funded.

“For public libraries the consequence is the erosion of our community service mission” (i.e., ‘work that just gets done’)

Managerial level talked about positioning, workers talked about relationship-building/equalizing relations. Writing ourselves in will help us flip it around and rethink how we do things.

Question from the audience: Thinking about the ethical implications of not calling work ‘work’, is there another way to come at it, instead of commodifying it?

Answer: I thought I’d invented this until I discovered the work of Roma Harris … she wrote that we have to change the way society values care … in part it’s about advocating for the people we work with.