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Following the Computers in Libraries Conference Online

March 21, 2011 Comments off

Computers in Libraries 2011Once again, this year, I will not be attending the Computers in Libraries (CIL) conference in D.C. Bummer for me, really, because it is such a great conference for libraryland.

For those who may not be familiar with the Computers in Libraries conference, the website describes it this way:

The conference program is filled with ideas, innovative practices, tips, and techniques for identifying community needs and opportunities as well as designing and delivering strategic and creative services that are of primary importance to our communities. The emphasis is on creating strategic value for our user communities and using new web tools to build innovative and priority services.

CIL 2011 kicked off this morning. If you are like me and (1) are not at CIL 2011 and (2) wish you were, there is hope thanks to online connections. Here’s a quick rundown of 4 ways that we can follow CIL 2011 online:

  1. LibConf.com – A very handy blog provided by Information Today (who organizes the conference). It provides access to a lot of great information and resources about/from the conference (especially in the Computers in Libraries section). Some of the goodies you will find there are listed below.
  2. Twitter – Following tweets with the hashtag #cil11. This can be done several ways. You can follow the tweets feeds at LibConf.com or TweetChat.
  3. USTREAM Computers in Libraries Channel – Live streaming (complete with live chat) of the 3 keynote addresses. If you miss the live streams, the videos are usually archived at USTREAM for later viewing. I imagine that will be the case for CIL 2011 live streams. (Note: The Monday morning keynote speaker, James Crawford from Google Books, is MIA due to a flight delay. However, Information Today stepped up and did a great job of putting together an impromptu panel, and it is being live streamed.)
  4. Blogs – Quite a number of librarians in attendance at CIL 2011 will be blogging from the conference.

These are some good ways to begin connecting online with the conference. (The nice thing is that a number of these resources move beyond simply stalking the conference to interacting with those in attendance.) Other ways will surely surface as the conference continues. Many presenters, for example, will likely post their presentation slide decks at SlideShare.

Go quickly and enjoy. The conference is already underway!

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Webinars and Virtual Conferences

October 5, 2010 1 comment

Do you and your staff struggle to find funds or time to travel and attend professional development events such as conferences, workshops, and seminars? If so, have you considered webinars and virtual conferences? A number of online staff development opportunities exist–many of them at very little cost. And in some cases…for free. That’s right. Free.

This is certainly true in the library world. Free (or very low-cost) webinars abound for library staff development and training. Likewise, virtual conferences can be very affordable alternatives when it simply isn’t feasible within your budget or work schedule to hit the road or take to the skies for overnight/multi-day events.

Marianne Lenox has written a post in praise of the free webinar over at the ALA Learning Round Table blog. Her post includes a handy Google Reader Bundle that she put together to keep track of free webinar offerings with relevance to libraries. You can add the bundle to your favorite RSS reader and learn about upcoming free webinars that may be of interest to you or other members of your library staff.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the one-day virtual summit, Ebooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point, presented by Library Journal. I have attended a number of webinars, but this was my first experience with a virtual conference. I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I heard some interesting speakers and took away some informative thoughts and ideas–all for a very, very reasonable cost well within our limited staff development budget this year. One thing that impressed me was how much interaction was available between attendees, presenters, and vendors. When done well–as was this conference–there is much to be said for virtual attendance at such events.

Do you know of any good sources of information on free or low-cost webinars? Feel free to share them in a comment below.

If you are reading this but don’t work in a library, chances are there are free or low-cost webinars, etc. related to your job or area of interest that are available. Search the web. Ask others in your profession. Check with professional organizations. With a little investigating, you just may find something of interest.

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6 Ways I’m Following CIL2010 Online

April 13, 2010 8 comments

For the last three years, I have enjoyed a trip to Arlington, VA about this time for the Computers in Libraries (CIL) conference. Alas, CIL2010 began yesterday, and here I remain on the homefront. I was not able to attend this year due to library budget restraints, but I have tried not to let that fact dampen my spirits. No standing in the corner pouting for me. Rather, I have chosen to use this as an opportunity to reach for the silver lining. I can’t be there in person, but (thanks to today’s technology) I can be there–to a large extent–virtually.

So I did some homework last week, and here are 6 ways I am following CIL2010 online:

  1. LIBCONF.com – This website/blog, provided by Information Today (who organizes the conference), serves as a grand central station of sorts. From here, you can access Resources@CIL2010 (including such things as the conference agenda, program, and wiki), CILLive (for live streaming of the 3 keynote addresses and an additional Tuesday morning session), follow a nearly real-time stream of tweets coming from conference attendees with Twitter@CIL2010, see a list of Bloggers@CIL2010, and more.
  2. Twitter – Following tweets with the hashtag #CIL2010. This can be done several ways. You can follow the tweets feeds at Twitter@CIL2010 or What the HashTag?!, use Twitter Search to search for the hashtag #CIL2010 (which regularly prompts you to refresh the search), or build a custom Twitter search column in TweetDeck or HootSuite to monitor tweets that include #CIL2010. (I am experimenting with all these approaches, but my favorite is the feed at What the HashTag?!.) Following the Twitter activity from CIL has been an interesting, close-to-real-time exercise. It was informative and down right fun to watch, for example, the tweets that were rolling during a session on transliteracy by Bobby Newman, Matt Hamilton, and Buffy Hamilton. You could sense the connection being made between the session’s audience and the presenters.
  3. USTREAM Computers in Libraries Channel – Live streaming (complete with live chat) of the 3 keynote addresses as well as Michael Edson’s Tuesday morning session “Strategic Planning & Encouraging Change” at 10:30am. Thanks to the live streaming, I was able to watch Lee Rainie, director of Pew Internet & American Life Project, give the opening keynote address on Monday. I always enjoying hearing him speak. (Thanks to David Lee King for operating the live stream!) The next keynote is Tuesday (that’s this morning!) at 9:00am if you’re interested. If you miss the live streams, no worries. The videos are archived at USTREAM for later viewing.
  4. SlideShare – Here you will find session slideshows uploaded by session speakers. Only a few slideshows are currently available, but over time, I expect the number to grow.
  5. Blogs – Quite a number of librarians in attendance at CIL2010 are blogging from the conference. I already follow many of these blogs with Google Reader, but CIL has also created a handy-dandy list of Bloggers@CIL2010 which has proven useful as well. The nice thing about blog posts is that they can be read over time.
  6. Delicious – A number of folks are bookmarking links to web resources mentioned at CIL2010. This allows for some interesting browsing.

So there you have it. Yesterday I began immersing myself as much as possible in “virtual conference attendance”–something that will continue for the next couple of days and beyond. This is my first foray into this type of exercise, and yesterday’s experience went well. While it is not quite the same as being there, I look forward to the rest of my online monitoring of CIL2010.

Barring any major setbacks, I hope to be able to make the physical trip to CIL2011 in about 12 months. In the meantime, allow me to offer a heart-felt thanks to all those who have contributed to making as much of the CIL2010 experience available online for those of us unable to be there. Conference planners, presenters, and attendees who are collectively posting, tweeting, streaming, and blogging–thank you all!

Pic credit: NASA via WikiMedia

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