This post is about a week overdue, but I have really been going nonstop lately! I wanted to write about my experience at this conference by listing what I liked about the conference, a few take-aways, and some advice for library school students. I don’t plan to recap, since MSU librarians have done that beautifully on the conference blog. There is also a great conference recap at Technolust & Loathing.
The MSU Emerging Technologies Summit was a one-day conference (September 17, 2010) focused on “the effects of emerging technologies in a post-2.0 world. Now that academic libraries have adopted social networking, mobile technologies, and social research tools, where do we go from here? What sort of assessment of these programs is available or appropriate? How have these emerging technologies been incorporated into academia, and what are the ramifications of their adoption?”
This excellent premise, coupled with the fact that Starkville is only 90 miles away from Tuscaloosa, prompted my co-presenters and I to submit a revised version of our Alabama Library Association conference poster to the MSU summit. The poster session was from 8:15-9:15, the first item on the conference agenda, and we think it was a success! We gave away all 50 of our handouts and received a lot of great feedback. If you’re interested, the poster is “The Web Beyond Google: Innovative Search Tools and Their Implications for Reference Service,” and you can view our poster here and download the handout here. The other poster sessions were great, too, even though we didn’t get to spend much time talking/looking since we needed to be with our poster.
Favorite things about the conference (besides the sessions, all of which were great):
- It was local, and only a day long, so I didn’t become exhausted and burned out from 3-7 days of an overwhelming conference in a new city. It was also on a Friday, so it didn’t interfere with my schedule too much.
- The keynote speaker was Jason Griffey! You can view his slides here and read a recap of his talk on the conference blog. I got to meet/talk to him, and as you’d expect, he’s super nice, very smart, and an eloquent, entertaining speaker.
- Most of the sessions were liveblogged by an MSU librarian. Also, each session was recorded into a podcast, and will be available on the website soon. I think these are excellent ways to disseminate ideas with those who couldn’t make it, or those who were there and had to miss great sessions (I’m looking forward to catching up on what I missed).
- There was a wrap-up session at the end of the conference where people discussed things they had learned. It was a nice refresher, and it was interesting to hear what others were taking away from the conference. This is also on the conference blog.
A few take-away thoughts:
- From Jason Griffey’s keynote: The internet removes the middleman between creation and consumer – and libraries are the middleman. Mobile is the future. We cannot compete with Bittorrent. Essentially, we have to rethink how we serve our patrons, and we have to be ready to embrace technologies and be innovative with them. We cannot be late adopters.
- From Ellen Hampton Filgo’s “Embedded by Hashtag”: Twitter is a great tool for embedding a librarian into a class. Students thought of her as “their” librarian, she provided instant research help and information, and the students learned to really use Twitter. The best practices are really worth reading – I love this idea, and would love to be someone’s embedded Twitter librarian!
- From Lisa Campbell’s “Web Mashups meet Freshman Instruction”: We can do a lot more with LibGuides, and less text is more. We need to make them more visually appealing while still providing important information. Embedding widgets and other tools can be incredibly useful. Everything I know about LibGuides I’ve learned from working with Lisa at Gorgas Library, and this presentation did not disappoint (I can’t find a blog summary of it, though – boo! Some attendees did tweet during it, though).
- The wrap-up session provided food for thought – I really liked the ideas thrown out there, especially that of not being afraid to fail when trying new things, being informed and proactive with vendors, and keeping abreast of non-library statistics.
Advice for library school students:
- If you have the chance to attend a local conference, do so! You will meet local (and sometimes not so local) professionals and get to hear great talks. You can do some networking in between sessions or at lunch. MSU also had a networking dinner/drinks event after the conference which I unfortunately could not attend.
- A local conference is also the ideal place to present your first poster. All 3 of my posters have been presented at local conferences, and they are a lot less pressure than, say, an ALA poster session. After presenting at two local conferences, I feel more confident about submitting a poster or presentation idea to a larger conference. Even if you never want to work in an academic library and publish for tenure, if you have an idea you’d like to put out there and get feedback on, this is the place. Posters–and the conferences you present them at–are great for professional development, and show initiative on your resume/CV. And a hidden perk: you may get registration and/or free lunch for the conference (we did)!
- Try to join in the on the conference conversations on Twitter. The hashtag for this conference was #msuet10, and during the conference I made sure to read tweets from my fellow conference attendees, as well as add some of my own from time to time. Sometimes these tweets just perfectly summarize an idea you liked, or presented the idea in a way you didn’t think of. You can use a Twitter search engine like Topsy to go back and read conference tweets after the fact.
I greatly enjoyed this conference. My only regrets are not being able to attend all of the sessions, and not being able to attend the dinner/drinks after the conference. Did you attend #msuet10? What did you think? Do you have any local conference tips?