Oh yes, the Mary Tyler Moore jokes start now because IASSIST is headed to Minneapolis for the 41st annual conference. IASSIST is all about data and is an excellent conference if you want to meet data professionals from all over the world. Even though my job is only part-time data support, I keep going back because of the network.
This year is special because I was co-chair for the program. The biggest benefit of being a program planner for a conference is learning patience. I was never good with that, but hey, who says you can’t teach an old girl new tricks. But the program is (mostly) set and is looking good. Just like Mary’s hat. I’ve already promised someone I will post notes, so come back for more data if you are interested.
Admittedly in addition to the learning and networking, I attend conferences because I like to eat in all of the wonderful places. I’ve been reading and researching Minneapolis food and put it all on my handy IASSIST/Minneapolis google map. Let me know if you have any suggestions for eating, relaxing, drinking, etc. I haven’t gotten to St. Paul yet, but soon soon.
PS: Ever listen to the sexist second verse of the MTM theme song: “You have the looks and charm and girl, you know that’s all you need.” Sheesh.
Today I participated in the first Empirical Librarians Symposium at NC A&T. The goal of the symposium was to showcase librarians conducting research and librarians supporting (mostly high-level) researchers. The organizer, Nina Exner, said it best that these two tracks mutually reinforce each other. As we support high-level research, we learn more about the research process thereby helping us to create our own research agendas. These are the highlights in my notes from the session. I hope the Power Points will go online because there was great information in them.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Diane Kelly from SILS at UNC Chapel Hill. Her talk was entitled “Why Empirical Librarianship?” and gave an excellent overview of empiricism and empirical research. A few points that stood out to me as reminders:
- Empirical research tends to be associated with quantitative methods, but empirical research does not have to be quantitative. The goal is to use observation in order to inform what we know about the world. This can be done with qualitative methods.
- She also had a great breakdown of the different empirical approaches (surveys, interviews, and why you would do them). Nice reminder that surveys are not the only way!
- She also gave some readings that sound great including Lincoln and Guba’s Naturalistic Methods.
The Lightning Talks covered a range of topics. Here are the highlights:
- Jess Bellemer at Hood Theological Seminary talked about supporting the research needs of commuter students. They shaped a thoughtful approach to supporting the unique needs of this population. I especially like that they email a summary of interaction after each consultation. I’m not sure I could scale that for my consultations, but I might be able to create a template that I could cut and paste into. Something to consider.
- Mary Scanlon from WFU talked about business datasets and the unique considerations for those sources. She did a fabulous job discussing the differences between free and for-pay data sources and when researchers might need each type.
- Jahala Simuel at Shaw University presented on a faculty workshop called “Copyright Law in the Digital Age”. They got a grant to create the workshop and hire an outside expert in copyright law. It sounded really cool and I wish we could do something like that.
I also talked about supporting the patron’s research life cycle. Mostly theoretical musings but fun to put together.
I also presented on supporting research data management on a shoestring. Most of the resources I discussed are available on our library’s Research Data Management website.
Finally Chris Eaker of the University of Tennessee and Chelcie Juliet Rowell of Wake Forest University talked about their experiences supporting data curation through a research-driven approach. In other words, their decision-making about data curation is being driven by their research into the data curation practices of peer institutions or specific user groups. They developed their projects through the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship, which sounds like a great opportunity! Definitely fun to meet some more folks interested in data issues!
Overall great symposium. Looking forward to #2!
I know blogging is dead (long live blogging), but in a few years it will probably be considered retro cool and those of us who kept up will be … oh whatever. So, I’m heading to Chicago in the winter for ALA midwinter 2015. Despite the cold it will be a good time. Rather than a schedule (because I never stick to it and really, who cares), here are my highlights. What are yours? Got time for a coffee with the lyndamk in that hectic weekend? If so, dm me.
- Stumping for JP Porcaro for ALA President! JP is an old friend and a good guy with the charisma and care for leadership. Want to know more about his agenda for Pres? Stop by the booth. I’ll be there Friday after the exhibit opening (I think)
- Writing for Against the Grain! Oh yeah, I’m press again this year. I love to write and I get to learn all about collections and stuff I would never learn on my own. Plus people see my press credentials and tell me their life stories. It’s a hoot.
- My first ALA Awards Committee meeting! Very excited to award some awesome people. But I can’t say much more because it is all secret
- Seeing old friends. Lots of old friends. And eating lots of good Chicago food
- Superbowl! I’m not really excited about this, but it’ll be fun to hang with people who care. And I’m rooting for the Seahawks … Who are they playing?
- Chicago in the winter! Januarys in the mid-west are why I fled Wisconsin. So good to be back for a short visit though.
Those are the highlights. What’s your plan for ALA?
Whichever wonderful soul decided to have ALA in Vegas gets mad props from me. I’ve never been, but that’s just it … I’ve never been! Super excited. Want to travel now.
I haven’t been doing these posts lately, but I want to prove to my co-workers and family that I will be working … some :) So here is my ALA schedule. I’ve reined my ambitious self in quite a bit this year. It will be gloriously low key compared to every other ALA. But if you know of something I should attend, let me know.
Thursday – Fly in and play … I mean network. Bar crawl while networking. Will get lots of business cards. ;)
- 1 pm: GODORT Steering – I’m a co-chair of the GODORT Education Committee (Which recently put on this great webinar about sustainability and the government. You should check it out. Very informative.) Gotta go be a boss.
- 3 pm: Emerging Leaders poster session – Check out these new awesome leaders!
- 5ish pm: Conference kick off in the exhibit hall
- 6 pm: GODORT social at Margaritaville (no joke. i’m going to order a margarita. just watch me.)
Monday – Going to the Hoover Dam!
Tuesday – fly out!
It is going to be awesome. What’s your ALA like?