Volunteer to join the LITA AV Club

oldmovieprojectorYou know you always wanted to be part of the cool gang, well now is your big chance. Be a part of creating the LITA AV club. Help make videos of important LITA conference presentations like the Top Tech Trends panel and LITA Forum Keynotes. Create the recordings to share these exciting and informative presentations with your LITA colleagues who weren’t able to attend. Earn the undying gratitude of all LITA members.

Sound right up your alley? We’ll need a couple of chief wranglers plus a bunch of hands on folks. The group can organize via email now, and meet up in San Francisco say sometime Friday or early Saturday, June 26th and 27th. Details galore to be worked on by all. If you have enough fun you can always turn the Club into a LITA Interest Group and achieve immortality, fame and fortune, or more likely the admiration of your fellow LITAns.

To get started email Mark Beatty at: [email protected]
I’ll get gather names and contacts and create a “space” for you all to play.

Thanks. We can tell you are even cooler now than you were before you read this post.

Amazon Echo Update

I wrote about Amazon Echo a few months back. At the time, I did not have it, but was looking forward to using it. Now, that I have had Echo for a while I have a better idea of its strengths and weaknesses.

It doesn’t pick up every word I say, but its voice recognition is much better than I anticipated.  The app works nicely on my phone and iPad and I found it easy to link Pandora, my music, and to indicate what news channels I want to hear from. I enjoy getting the weather report, listening to a flash news briefing, adding items to my shopping list, listening to music, and being informed of the best route to work to avoid traffic.

My favorite feature is that it is hands-free.  I’m constantly running around my house juggling a lot of things.  Often I need an answer to a question, I need to add something to a shopping list as I’m cooking, or I want to hear a certain song as I’m elbow-deep in a project.  Having the ability to just “say the words” is wonderful.  Now if it just worked everything…

I hope updates will come soon though as I’d like to see increased functionality in its ability to answer questions and provide traffic information for different locations other than the one location I can program into the app. I also want to be able to make calls and send text messages using Echo.

In my first post about Amazon Echo, I stated I was really interested in the device as an information retrieval tool. Currently, Echo doesn’t work as well as I was expecting for retrieving information, but with software updates I still see it (and similar tools) having an impact on our research.

Overall, I see it as a device that has amazing potential, but it is still in its infancy.

Has anyone else used Echo? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the device.

Jobs in Information Technology: May 27, 2015

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Head of Technical Services, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

Digital Content Specialist, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL

Digital Humanities Specialist, Purdue University Libraries, West Lafayette, IN

 

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Learn to Teach Coding – Webinar Recording

Tuesday May 26, 2015.

Today we had a lively half hour free webinar presentation by Kimberly Bryant and Lake Raymond from Black Girls CODE about their latest efforts and the exciting LITA preconference they will be giving at ALA Annual in San Francisco. Here’s the link to the recording from todays session:

LITA Learn to Teach Coding Free information webinar recording, May 26, 2015

For more information check out the previous LITA Blog entry:

Did you attend the webinar, or view the recording?  Give us your feedback by taking the Evaluation Survey.

Learn to Teach Coding and Mentor Technology Newbies – in Your Library or Anywhere!

Then register for and attend the LITA preconference at ALA Annual. This opportunity is following up on the 2014 LITA President’s Program at ALA Annual where then LITA President Cindi Trainor Blyberg welcomed Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code.

bgcblack

The Black Girl Code Vision is to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.

Navigating Conferences Like a Pro… When You’re a Rookie

I’ve recently attended some of my first conferences/meetings post-MLIS and I thought I’d pass on the information I learned from my experience navigating them for the first time.

 

Courtesy of Jatenipet. Pixabay 2014
Courtesy of Jatenipit. Pixabay 2014

Always be prepared to promote

This is the most dreaded aspect of networking. It essentially implies schmoozing and self-aggrandizement, but if you consider it as a socializing you’ll realize it’s an essential part of getting to know others in the profession and the roles they play in their organization. If you’re new to the information profession, it can be a great opportunity to ask other professionals about the path they took to enter the industry. More often than not when they find that you’re new to the profession, they’ll offer you advice. They’ll be curious to know what your career goals are and why you’re attending. This is a great opportunity to ask for their business card or contact information. If you find that you’ve built a good rapport and want to become more familiar with their work/organization, you should offer your business card (more on this later).

 

The thing about promotion

If you’re at a conference on behalf of an organization, then you’re on the company dollar. Therefore your mission is to network, learn and share. Since I plan on attending conferences to learn more about the profession and network, I couldn’t talk shop about procedures and management. If you are attending on behalf of an organization you’re expected to create professional networks and trace them back to your institution. It sounds intimidating, but if you allow yourself to soak-up as much information as possible, while being open about what works and doesn’t for your information environment, you’ll find others may want to emulate your framework and share theirs in return.

 

You have leverage too

Believe it or not the pros don’t know everything. Sometimes when you’re new to a profession you can become caught-up in what you don’t know and the list of skills you need to get to that ever distant “next level.” I was very surprised to find that many of the resources I was familiar with escaped the purview of individuals working in the digital records management and archives field. I introduced The Signal Digital Preservation and the Cancer Imaging Archive into a conversation and a few individuals took genuine interest in my explanation of their services. While earning your degree or working in different information environments, you are exposed to a variety of resources and ideas that others aren’t aware of. Don’t count yourself out, you have something to add to the conversation.

 

Think outside the box

There is no need to be intimidated about approaching new acquaintances during a professional conference. Most of the time you’re meeting with people who remember what it’s like to be at the forefront of a new career. It can be exciting and informative to strike-up a conversation with a presenter. There is nothing wrong with inquiring about lunch plans and meeting outside of the conference venue during scheduled breaks. The relaxed atmosphere of a restaurant is where funny stories of the trade can be passed along and you’ll get to know each other on a personal level. There are several factors that account for good networking and having an outgoing personality is one of them. While being personable is fine, doing so in a respectful manner is most apt.

 

Handy business cards

If you’re using a conference to network for future employment, then you need to have business cards. At larger conferences you can be one in hundreds of attendees. Business cards are a great way to establish that you’re prepared and professional. However, providing an acquaintance with your contact information is not enough. Perhaps you may want to ask for their card if you want to continue the conversation after the conference concludes. It’s likely that they’ll never take a look at your business card again, so it’s important to follow-up with an e-mail to remind them of the highlights of the conversation you had and how you’d like to collaborate with them going forward.

If you’re hoping to enter a new field post-graduation, at a minimum your business card should include: your name, degree(s) and university, your phone number and e-mail. You can also add a specialization to encompass your career trajectory such as Librarian, Electronic Resource Specialist or Certified Webmaster. For points of contact beyond your phone number and e-mail, providing your website, online portfolio or LinkedIn URL is a great way to showcase your web presence. If you can connect with another professional’s LinkedIn, you will not only increase their awareness of you, but you will be exposed to their extended network as well.

 

An added bonus

If you are networking for employment, one thing that you don’t want to do is outrightly ask about potential employment with another attendee’s organization. I’ve seen this happen before and it can be off-putting for the person being asked as well as anyone involved in the conversation. If you’re a new graduate or changing careers, the conversation will naturally flow into questions about your career plans. If the person you’re speaking with feels inclined to mention an upcoming opportunity, then it is an added bonus. Otherwise, enjoy yourself and take advantage of the learning opportunity. You’ll be in a room filled with like-minded professionals and everyone wants the most of their experience.

 

Are you planning on attending any conferences this year? What takeaways do you have from conferences you’ve attended in the past? Let me know in the comments section.

Should LITA oppose Elsevier’s new sharing policy?

It’s come to the LITA Board’s attention that the Confederation of Open Access Repositories is circulating a statement against Elsevier’s new sharing policy. (You can find that policy here.) COAR is concerned that the policy imposes long embargoes for open access content (up to 4 years); applies retroactively; and restricts author’s choice of Creative Commons license. Numerous individuals and library organizations, including ALA and ACRL, have signed on to this statement; the LITA Board is discussing doing likewise.

But we represent you, the members! So tell us what you think. Should LITA sign on?

Jobs in Information Technology: May 20, 2015

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Director of Information Technology, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO

Associate Product Owner, The Library Corporation (TLC), Inwood, WV

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Call for Writers

blogger meme
meme courtesy of Michael Rodriguez

The LITA blog is seeking regular contributors interested in writing easily digestible, thought-provoking blog posts that are fun to read (and hopefully to write!). The blog showcases innovative ideas and projects happening in the library technology world, so there is a lot of room for contributor creativity. Possible post formats could include interviews, how-tos, hacks, and beyond.

Any LITA member is welcome to apply. Library students and members of underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

Contributors will be expected to write one post per month. Writers will also participate in peer editing and conversation with other writers – nothing too serious, just be ready to share your ideas and give feedback on others’ ideas. Writers should expect a time commitment of 1-3 hours per month.

Not ready to become a regular writer but you’d like to contribute at some point? Just indicate in your message to me that you’d like to be considered as a guest contributor instead.

To apply, send an email to briannahmarshall at gmail dot com by Friday, May 29. Please include the following information:

  • A brief bio
  • Your professional interests, including 2-3 example topics you would be interested in writing about
  • If possible, links to writing samples, professional or personal, to get a feel for your writing style

Send any and all questions my way!

Brianna Marshall, LITA blog editor

Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself – Volume 6

robot6What’s new with you TYBYWYers? I’m sure you’ve been setting the world on fire with your freshly acquired tech skills. You’ve been pushing back the boundaries of the semantic web. Maybe the rumors are true and you’re developing a new app to better serve your users. I have no doubt you’re staying busy.

If you’re new to Tech Yourself, let me give you a quick overview. Each installment, produced monthly-ish offers a curated list of tools and resources for library technologists at all levels of experience. I focus on webinars, MOOCs, and other free/low-cost options for learning, growing, and increasing tech proficiency. Welcome!

Worthwhile Webinars:

Texas State Library and ArchivesTech Tools With Tine – One Hour of Arduino – May 29, 2015 – I’ve talked about this awesome ongoing tech orientation series before, and this installment on Arduino promises to be an exciting time!

TechSoup for LibrariesExcel at Everything! (Or At Least Make Better Spreadsheets) – May 21, 2015 – I will confess I am obsessed with Excel, and so I take every free class I find on the program. Hope to see you at this one!

Massachusetts Library SystemPower Searching: Databases and the Hidden Web – May 28, 2015 – Another classic topic, and worth revisiting!

I Made This:

LYRASISLYRASIS eGathering – May 20th, 2015

Shameless self-promotion, but I’m going to take three paragraphs to draw your attention to an online conference which I’ve organized. I know! I am proud of me too.

eGathering 2015
eGathering 2015

But not as proud as I am of the impressive and diverse line-up of speakers and presentations that comprise the 2015 eGathering. The event is free, online, and open to you through the generosity of LYRASIS members. Register online today and see a Keynote address by libtech champion Jason Griffey, followed by 6 workshop/breakout sessions, one of which is being hosted by our very own LITA treasure, Brianna Marshall. Do you want to learn ’bout UX from experts Amanda L. Goodman and Michael Schofield? Maybe you’re more interested in political advocacy and the library from EveryLibrary‘s John Chrastka? We have a breakout session for you.

Register online today! All registrants will receive an archival copy of the complete eGathering program following the event. Consider it my special gift to you, TYBYWYers.

Tech On!

TYBYWY will return June 19th!

Storify of LITA’s First UX Twitter Chat

LITA’s UX Interest Group did a fantastic job moderating the first ever UX Twitter Chat on May 15th. Moderators Amanda (@godaisies) and Haley (@hayleym1218) presented some deep questions and great conversations organically grew from there. There were over 220 tweets over the 1-hour chat.

The next UX Twitter Chat will take place on Friday, May 29th, from 2-3 p.m. EDT, with moderator Bohyun (@bohyunkim). Use #litaux to participate. See this post for more info. Hope you can join us!

Here’s the Storify of the conversation from May 15th.