The first week of April, Robert and I attended Electronic Resources & Libraries (ER&L) and Designing for Digital in Austin. We returned with our brains full of ideas and our tummies full of tacos – so it was a successful week on all counts.
In fact, as I’m writing this up, I realized that it needs to be broken into two bite-size chunks, so this first post will cover ER&L and I’ll follow up tomorrow with a post on D4D.
ER&L kicked off with a thought-provoking, fantastic keynote by Dr. Dawna Ballard (@dawnaballard), Associate Professor in the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin. Shes an expert in chronemics. What’s chronemics, you might be asking? Watch the archived livestream of her talk “Finding Time: From Industrial Mythology to Chronemic Literacy,” which (good news) is still available via the ER&L site at http://sched.co/5ZPJ. The big ideas I took home from this talk were around how we experience time personally, organizationally, culturally – and how time functions as an agent of societal structure (which changes over time, by the way). She contrasted the idea of chronos – time by the clock, a conceptualization which came into primacy with the industrial revolution – with the idea of kairos where time is event-driven, a pre- and post-industrial concept (harvest time doesn’t look at a calendar or a clock, for example). She broke down some myths about time and time management, then got us all pumped up about seeking mindful alignment in our lives rather than chasing work-life balance. Balance and motion aren’t simultaneously attainable or sustainable – as she pointed out, that yoga person in tree pose? Not moving.
I should have done a quick Storify before the conference stream went cray-cray because so much was captured in the tweets – and it was really interesting and actually encouraging to see how much this spoke to the audience.
“Focusing on balance can create unending frustration.” I want a twitterbot that tweets these truthbombs at me every Monday afternoon. #erl16
— Sasha Griffin (@griffingate) April 4, 2016
From there, it just kept rolling – so many great sessions. If I wrote them all up in detail, this post would be so far beyond the ‘tl;dr’ territory I feel I’m already approaching. A few highlights that resonated for me in terms of projects I’m thinking about at work these days included:
- “e-Books as Course Materials: Demonstrating Value with ‘Free’ Textbooks” [slides]
The folks at LSU Libraries have compiled a list of texts used in courses and are cross-referencing that against another compiled list of e-book holdings; from this, they’ve created a really user-friendly search, focused on end-user impact, and are re-framing e-books/e-texts questions proactively in terms of the library and library collections. Check out the student interface for the e-book service.
— Kait Neese (@kaitneese) April 4, 2016
— courtney mcdonald (@xocg) April 4, 2016
- “Data Informed Decision Making for Digital Resources” [slides]
Big idea here: an open library assessment dashboard/toolkit. Yes, this is a great idea. This session went through some case studies on library digital projects, but they focused on pithy takeaways that we all need to think about, for example:
- Importance of continuing to move library assessment initiatives from being reactive to strategic (some improvement, but still progress to be made);
- Increasing communication and clarity around organizational strategy so that employees not only know and understand it, but can act on it.
Let me also point you to two great sessions by fellow Indiana library school alums – Stacy Konkiel on “Altmetrics in Practice: Librarian and LIS Faculty Views” [slides linked from session description], and Galadriel Chilton on “Using the Scrum Project Management Methodology to Create a Comprehensive Collection Assessment Framework” [slides linked from session description].
Finally, gotta give a shout out to my husband’s panel, “The Role of Choice in the Future of Discovery Evaluations,” [slides linked from session description] where in addition to some helpful background on the development of the discovery interface in the ILS market and good thoughts about interoperability and data portability, there was also a slide about cheese, giving us a new (and in my case extremely personally compelling) way to think about what happens to user experience when we make those ‘good enough’ choices.
— courtney mcdonald (@xocg) April 4, 2016
Beyond the great content, the sense of community at ER&L is fantastic – not only did I get to connect with so many folks already in my network, but also had a chance to meet new folks and talk about shared challenges, new ideas, and of course the best places to get tacos in Austin.
I wasn’t able to attend the closing keynote as it conflicted with the opening keynote for Designing for Digital … but more on that later.
That’s it for now, be sure to come back tomorrow for the second exciting episode of “#libux Awesomeness in Austin!”