ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Notes by Fran
I attended the conference on
Thursday, May 8. ULA is always an interesting event-a time to attend some
informative sessions, meet with colleagues from other libraries, and see
what's new with the vendors. This year's conference was no exception.
My sincere thanks goes to Joan Hubbard for paying the registration fee
for my attendance.
This year's keynote speaker
was Joan Frye Williams, a librarian and consultant, who spoke about new
trends in technology which might be applied to libraries and how we can
use technology to lure patrons to use library resources. She emphasized
that it is better to experiment with new technology than to do nothing
while you wait to see how the technology develops. She thinks our quest
to be neutral or non-judgmental works against us since it makes us slower
to change. She advocates looking at new technologies to see how they might
be applied to library functions.
Convenience is a major deciding
factor in library use. Libraries should consider the following:
Vibrating pagers -now
found in some restaurants, these could be used in libraries where patrons
have to wait in line (for computers, etc.)
Wireless "point of sale"
computing -enables staff to be mobile, to be where needed
Fully interactive web sites
with plenty of in -links (electronic outreach)-she advocates having
a web presence on any of those sites your patrons use. Many don't think
of the library as the first place to go
Credit and debit card transactions
-Stewart Library is ahead of the game!
Magnetic strip/chip based
cards -she says bar codes on library cards are out of date. Magnetic
strips are more widely used
Accommodation for user -
supplied hardware such as PDAs, cell phones, PCs, portable mass
storage devices, etc.
Voice recognition (VIVO)
-this technology is better than the "press 1" sort of options
- Presentation technologies
Emerging formats, such as
books on MP3
filtering (take a look at www.movielens.umn.edu). Users want recommendations
from peers (take a hint from Amazon.com) This concept ties into Kathy's
ideas about building a library community with our web page.
systems -Distance ed systems like Blackboard and WebCT offer applications
for general library use. She suggests them as an easy way to create bibliographies,
Infrared listening systems
-Systems with headsets which let users control the volume and allows
the speaker to speak softly could be useful for library tours or other
Game-style navigation -Our
younger library users have a different orientation than we do when it
comes to the web. The traditional way of reading, from top to
bottom, left to right, no longer applies to web navigation .
Instead, think top center of the page (like google.com)
- Instructional/Mentoring technologies
Think mentoring rather than
instruction. This change in philosophy is being
echoed elsewhere in the literature.
Dual workstation screens
-let patron do the keyboard stuff rather than being an observer while
the librarian shows "how to"
Webcasts- Put your
programs on the web!
- Productivity technologies
Radio frequency i.d. circulation/security/security
systems -like Salt Lake City Public's new system. They are expensive
but much faster.
This cataloging system developed for the publishing industry and
used by Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc. will replace MARC records in her
Services for Public Libraries
I attended this session since
I was scheduled to do several presentations on WSU's genealogy resources
at Utah Genealogy Association's Ogden regional meeting and thought I might
get some pointers. Unfortunately, it was pretty disappointing. The speaker,
Lloyd Bockstruck from Dallas Public Library, has done presentations at
other genealogy conferences but I thought he had a boring style. One thing
I learned was to be aware of regional differences in both the meanings
of words and the pronunciation of names. The surname Tarwell, for example,
could possibly be Tawell or Tallwell, depending on regional dialect.
Evolution of an Information
Literacy Course: From Workbook to WebCT
This program turned out to be
much more interesting than the previous one. Presenters were Richard Eissinger
and Scott Lanning from SUU. They discussed the evolution of SUU's Library
Media 1010 class. It is a one credit, self-paced online class focusing
on library research. They do not see it as a duplication of Internet Navigator.
Information may be found at http://www.li.suu.edu/lm1010/syllabus.htm
They use WebCT for the quizzes
and they paid about $750 to use turnitin.com for plagiarism. They thought
it was worth the cost. They also recommend www.camtasia.com
as providing inexpensive, easy to use ways to develop training packages,
incorporate animated gifs, etc.
As the program evolved, they
kept various statistics and found that from Fall 2000 to Spring 2001 the
failure rate for students taking the class actually increased
from 11.3% to 13.5%. To combat this, they added first day in-class
orientation sessions, letters reminding students of drop dates if they
hadn't already started doing the assignments, and live help sessions (which
were poorly attended.) In return for their efforts, the failure
rate jumped to 22% in Spring 2003. For the several terms combined,
the grades were as follows:
10%--C 4%--D 16%--F
85% of the F's went to Freshmen
50% of students receiving F's
did no assignments, 64% of those were Freshmen
The next thing the staff considered
was a pre-test, post-test. They based their pretest on one that Bowling
Green State University developed. It asked 16 basic questions. Some
of their findings:
98% used the Web 95%
knew Google 77% had some understanding of call numbers 49%
knew about truncation 36% knew something about Boolean operators
26% had an understanding of where to start their research
Only 12% had used Pioneer in
The post-test numbers increased
dramatically. Students' comments indicated they either love or hate the
program. Students also wanted deadlines. Evaluations showed lower
teacher satisfaction with the online classes (78%) than the
overall campus in-person classes (92%). Teachers with the highest
satisfaction level sent the most email to students.
Their suggestions about developing an online class:
Use minimal graphics and avoid
Offer easy print options
Be aware of different learning
Offer an audio option with text
read by students
Require students to use Word or
WordPerfect, and limit email to WebCT or campus email only to minimize
Problems they've had
Connections with other courses
isn't always apparent. (Why is this "library stuff" important to me?)
Some faculty assume that because
students have taken the online class, additional subject-specific instruction
Most students have not had online
classes before and they don't understand the demands and difficulties
on an online class.
Some students lack computer skills
The need for the course must
be constantly justified
Digitization Projects at BYU
Another program I attended at
ULA was about the digitization project going on at BYU. Whether or not
you are LDS or originally from Utah, they have some very interesting journals,
photos, theses, etc. available. Currently they have about 73,000 total
pages in their digital collection! The Overland Trails collection includes
pioneer diaries, and the Wiliam Henry Jackson collection includes over
1500 photos of Utah scenes, native Americans, etc. Really interesting!
And that's just part of what they've digitized.
The University of Utah has also been
actively digitizing documents dealing with Utah history. Their historic
newspaper collection has three Utah newspapers from the 1890s to 1922
and more will be added. Both universities have used technologies which
make the collections easy to browse and search. I highly recommend them.
Since I was in charge of planning
the banquet, I had to be there. And it was certainly worthwhile. The food
was delicious and all of the people receiving awards gave very gracious
speeches. Lt. Governor Olene Walker was there to present the distinguished
service award to Amy Owen. Nancy Tessman received Librarian of the year
Award for her work with the new Salt Lake City Public Library, and Carol
Hansen received recognition for her work in promoting information literacy
with an award from the Library Instruction Round Table.
All in all, a great day!