|Online Bibliographic Services
Special Interest Section
|From the Chair|
The year is flying by! It always does, but when there is a long list of things you want to accomplish, it goes amazingly fast. Things are busy on the OBS front. In terms of what is happening behind the scenes, I communicate frequently with the OBS Board and Committee chairs. There are many details that must be worked out to provide you, the OBS members, with the services that you need and deserve. As I write this in November, planning for the OBS meetings to take place in Minneapolis in July is in full swing. I have been coordinating OBS meetings with Alva Stone (TS-SIS Chair) and the other SIS chairs through the coordination of Kristin Gerdy (SIS Council Chair). The aim, as always, is to minimize meeting conflicts, though a small amount is impossible to avoid. Believe me, we have tried.
Educational program planning is set now! In my last column, I told you about the program proposals put forward by OBS. The AALL Annual Meeting Program Committee has done its work and the final outcome is very favorable for OBS. The accepted programs for the AALL annual meeting in Minneapolis are:
There are also TS-SIS accepted programs which OBS is co-sponsoring:
The hard work is now on the shoulders of the program coordinators. I want to thank them for their efforts on behalf of OBS and wish them well as their programs develop throughout the course of this year. When these programs are considered along with the other accepted programs sponsored by TS, I think it will be clear that a trip to Minneapolis by technical services staff this July will be well worth it. Mark your calendars now for July 14-18, 2001.
A lot has been happening with the OBS Web site lately. I am happy to officially announce that Maria Okonska is the new Webmaster. We are thrilled that Maria agreed to take on this position and she has been hard at work already. In fact, she has been so responsive to my requests that I find myself getting a little too ambitious in the changes I would like to make to the OBS Web site. I will try to temper this and not to overwhelm Maria or the members of the newly re-formed OBS Web Advisory Committee. WAC consists of: Maria Okonska (Chair), Corinne Jacox, Anna Belle Leiserson, and Anne Myers. Check out the changes (http://www.aallnet.org/sis/obssis/). If you have any comments or suggestions about the OBS Web site, I would love to hear them.
The work of the OBS Strategic Planning Committee continues under the careful guidance of Sally Wambold, Chair. She and the members of the Committee have been hard at work this Fall conducting an environmental scan. I know you are busy, but I hope you took a few minutes to respond to their plea for input when they polled you to find out your impressions of OBS. One of the most basic tenets of strategic planning is to solicit input from your stakeholders. After all, we do not want to waste time by focusing on services that may not matter to you. We cannot try to give you what you want unless we know what that is.
The members of the Committee also spent a lot of time this fall discussing a mission statement for OBS. As many of you know, a mission statement is a very tricky thing to craft. It is usually quite brief, but it attempts to convey the heart and soul of an organization. The draft that OBS members have been asked to react to is:
"The Online Bibliographic Services Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries provides information related to online systems and databases and their administration, provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, provides educational programs and materials for its members, and promotes leadership, research and publishing opportunities that contribute to the professional development of law librarians. The SIS strives to facilitate dissemination of all relevant information to its members and associated organizations."
We need to call on your good graces one more time. It is essential that you fill out and return the OBS annual membership survey. Ismael Gullon (Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect) is now hard at work creating the survey. If all goes well, it will be distributed in November and due back in December. This year an experiment is underway. There will be a separate volunteer form, so that the survey itself can focus entirely on your feedback about OBS and program planning ideas. With imitation the sincerest form of flattery, we are following TS’ lead from last year on this. We will try our best to have the survey and volunteer forms available on the OBS Web site.
And there will be a giveaway this year! From all the surveys returned by the designated due date, one will be drawn. That person will be the proud winner of a handmade afghan, created by none other than your very own OBS Member-at-Large, Susan Chinoransky. The versatility of your OBS officers is truly amazing.
OBS public relations efforts are ongoing. So far, there has been a mention of OBS in every AALL Spectrum SIS column since the May 2000 issue. With the assistance of the Committee chairs and Board members, we hope to keep this streak alive. Peter Beck is assisting in the professional design of the OBS brochure. Look for that at the OBS Activities Table in the exhibit hall in Minneapolis.
Georgia Briscoe and Karen Selden unveiled a new feature called the "Legal Web site of the Month" in October on the OBS-SIS electronic list (firstname.lastname@example.org ). We have made a conscious effort to post more to the OBS e-list, so I hope you stayed subscribed after re-ceiving your wel-come message this Fall. I was gratified to get a big response to my offer posted there for copies of Rhonda Lawrence’s MARBI report. I mailed out a number of copies, but the report was also placed on the OBS and TS' Web sites shortly thereafter, so all can access it easily now. Please feel free to post questions or items of interest to the OBS e-list. It is our best tool of discussion during the year, so let’s use it! [Editors’ Note: The MARBI report was also published TSLL, v.26:no.1 (Sept. 2000)]
So I start and end this column on the same note: Communication—it’s essential! Among the officers and committee chairs, between the leadership and the OBS members, and between OBS members. Let’s all talk to each other as much as possible about OBS, about the challenges of our work, about our insights … whatever.
How can you do this?
Your OBS leadership is committed to making OBS into what you want it to be. But don’t forget, we are volunteers, often doing our OBS activities on our own time. If you can go the extra step and volunteer yourself to help out, we would be thrilled, of course. But at the very least, you must talk to us. We are listening and trying our best. Thanks!