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Presentation Day @ MLA

As you can see, I was an official speaker at the 2009 Massachusetts Library Association Conference.  The people on the conference committee did a fantastic job of making sure everything was all set up for us and that we had everything we needed.  Thanks MLA!

I was fortunate enough to speak at this year’s Massachusetts Library Association conference on May 7th.  I actually co-presented with Kelcy Shepherd the Digital Interfaces Librarian at the University of Massachusetts, which was a first for me.  Our talk, “Avoiding Deju Vu All Over Again” [slides] focused on the best practices involved in managing an academic library web site.  While we were planning our talk, we realized that there were endless topics that we could have covered, but we decided to narrow it down to some key elements that would apply to just about any library.

. 1.Who is responsible for running your site? – Our point here was to emphasize that it’s critical to establish who is in charge of the site and, most importantly, what their authority is.

. 2.What is the purpose of your web site? – The goal here is to figure out what your web site’s primary purpose is and build from there.  Articulate this purpose in a mission statement so that everyone knows what you are trying to accomplish.

. 3.What policies do you need to support web site maintenance? – Web teams easily get bogged down in the details of running a web site.  Establish clear policies about key issues, such as who can create new pages, and post them so that everyone is aware of them.

. 4.How does your web site relate to your parent institution’s web site? – Just about all library sites are sub sections of an overall institutional site.  Know what their mission is and establish a good working relationship with the people running the institution’s site.

. 5.What workflows and software do you use to maintain your web site? – If you have the ability, pick something that is easy to use, flexible, and capable of growing if you need it.

As you can see, our talk was framed around a series of questions about the key points that we wanted to discuss.  In an effort to encourage audience participation, we created a survey for everyone to fill out as they were waiting for the session to begin.  The questions on that survey were tied directly into our talking points and the goal was to get them thinking about each subject before we brought it up.  It either worked or we were lucky enough to have a very vocal audience (probably a little of both), because a lot of people shared their experiences, frustrations, and what worked for them.  Their comments really enhanced our presentation and I feel that everyone came away with something new to take back to their own libraries.  I know that I did.

Before I wrap up, I’d like to thank a couple of people.  First, the conference organizers who did a fantastic job of taking care of us.  The facilities were great and we had everything we needed.  Most importantly, I’d like to publicly thank Kelcy for inviting me to join her for this presentation.  She was a great person to work with and made the whole process seem effortless.

Categories: Technology
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