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11/6/2014 4:49:14 PM
Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium Recap
In mid-October I attended the Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium at the University of Toronto. Papers were selected from proposals submitted in May of 2014. The conference was subject-specific and had an information science focus. I found it to be an excellent opportunity to connect with librarians practicing in non-legal areas, yet sharing a common interest. It was a great way to learn about new things and get a feel for other areas of the profession.
"Queering Order" Panel. Left to Right: Melodie Fox, Cait McKinney, D. Grant Campbell, & Melissa Adler.
The conference included presentations on a number of different subjects: web-based communities, internet filtration, archives, name authority records, Library of Congress subject headings, pornography, academic libraries, collections development, and art exhibits. All the works addressed gender or sexuality in some way. Two presentations focused on legal information as a key component, though many others also raised interesting legal questions. Melodie Fox, a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee iSchool provided and excellent analysis of legal classifications of sex and gender compared with gender classification in different editions of the Dewey Decimal System. My presentation focused on difficulties in researching asexuality in legal research databases and the resulting social justice implications.
In addition, inherent in several of the non-legal presentations were issues such as intellectual property protection for transient materials, harassment in digital creation spaces, and archiving hate crime material.
The conference was an excellent opportunity to learn about the roles that different individuals play in addressing contemporary library issues. “There were 100 attendees. [One attendee reporting on the conference estimated] that library and information studies professors and PhD students made up 50%, library school grad students made up 25%, and the other 25%. . .were practitioners, who work almost exclusively in academic settings.” Tara Robertson’s Blog. Attendance was higher than expected, but still small enough for presenters and attendees to meet and engage in discussion with individuals from institutions all over the continent.
A compilation of articles edited and compiled by the organizers of the conference, the Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader, is available for those seeking more information on Gender and Sexuality in the library and information profession. In addition, many of the works presented at the conference will likely be published in the coming years.
© AJ Blechner, 2014. Reference/Outreach Librarian, University of Miami Law Library, Coral Gables, Florida. email@example.com.
Posted By 11/6/2014 4:49:14 PM
12/19/2013 7:00:00 PM
A Law Librarian at the Internet Librarian Conference
I had the good fortune to attend the Internet Librarian Conference (Internet Librarian) this year. The conference began in 1997 and is currently held every year in Monterey, CA. And, it will be in Monterey next year, too (October 27-29, 2014). Internet Librarian is organized and produced by Information Today, Inc. It bills itself as the “internet conference and exhibition for librarians and information managers.” This well-attended conference had about 1000 attendees visiting from 45 states and 6 countries.
Theme and programming
This year’s theme was “Community Engagement: Strategies, Services & Tools.” Internet Librarian has an interesting set up. There were 3 primary days of programming with a daily keynote address. Programs are divided into 5 daily tracks with each program from a track in the same conference room all day. For example, Day 1 had the following tracks: 1) Discovery, Navigation & Search, 2) Transforming Web Presence, 3) Engaging our Communities, 4) Library Issues & Challenges, and 5) Internet@Schools. And, each room has a host for the day. The host introduces the program and presenters and then facilitates questions at the end of the program. Attendees can attend all the sessions from a particular track or hop around from room to room.
Two keynote speakers addressed the state of libraries, but they seemed to contradict each other. The opening keynote speaker, Peter Morville, president of Semantic Studios, thinks libraries have a problem. He says the perception of the library as a knowledge gateway is declining. However, the perception of the library as a purchasing agent is increasing. He went on to say that the library is an idea at risk and that we need more than just information architects, we need “inspiration architects.”
On the other hand, Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Center talked about how libraries are deeply important and that people love libraries and librarians. Pew research shows that even those who don’t use the library are fans. Rainie thinks we can leverage that to get involved in community issues and to become community leaders. He suggests that we should feel empowered to speak up because librarians’ voices are some of the most valued in our communities.
One of the more interesting programs was “The Next Big Thing.” As you can imagine, it involved a panel of librarians sharing what they thought was the next big thing in libraries. But, the more interesting aspect of the program was that the bulk of it was spent on audience members’ predictions. For instance, I learned that libraries are already using 3d printers to lure patrons into the library. Also, big data is big already, but one person said we’ll be using metrics even more than we are already to demonstrate how effective we are as librarians.
There were also a couple of evening programs for attendees. The Tuesday evening session was very interesting. Titled “Community Engagement Info Blitz,” 5 librarians shared innovate ways they engaged their communities. There, I learned about EveryLibrary, a political action committee dedicated to helping local library ballot measures pass. They’ve already earned local libraries millions.
Attending a non-law library conference
Often it can help to step out of the law librarianship world to see how other libraries are transforming services. Maybe a public library has created an innovative service that would be useful in a law firm. An undergraduate library could have developed a web page for video tutorials that a law school library could use to model its own web page. Also, some things are universal to libraries. For example, patrons use catalogs to locate resources in all types of libraries. A couple librarians at Creighton University shared their experiences setting up iPad kiosks stationed around the library for patron access to the catalog.
And, if you must have some law library programming, not all hope is lost. There was one law library related program. Amy Affelt at Compass Lexecon presented a program titled “Continuing the Engagement.” Her informative program discussed getting attorneys engaged through various activities such as unique book discussions where the librarian reads the book and tells others what it was about. She also maintains alert subscriber lists. She uses them to show new attorneys what their colleagues are using for current awareness to encourage them to sign up too.
While I think the overall conference is more useful for public and undergraduate academic libraries, I certainly picked up some things that I brought back to my own library. I found my Internet Librarian experience valuable and I think you will too. And, did I mention that the conference is in Monterey, CA?
Karen Skinner is a research services librarian at the USC Gould School of Law.
Posted By 12/19/2013 7:00:00 PM
11/5/2012 10:38:06 AM
How to Save 100 Hours, See a Beautiful City, and Expand Your Horizons
Those of us fortunate enough to have travel budgets have probably attended the AALL Annual Meeting at least once, so we know what to expect--lots of programming, some more and some less relevant to our needs, but all of it related to some facet of law librarianship. So what happens when you send a law librarian to a conference that has nothing to do with law librarianship?
Posted By 11/5/2012 10:38:06 AM