CLA Conference – Holly's Take

[2008-03-21 – Holly is a classmate who I think posted her impressions on our class's private Yahoo! group and who gave me permission to reprint them here.]

The good:
Sessions – “Is one stop shopping all we dreamed it would be? The Single search interface in action”

This
was great, it was a LAC librarian and two librarians from Memorial
University who are doing research on the usability of the single search
interface in their online catalogues. The LAC research was done via
survey on their website, and the Memorial one is with their search
technology that they’ve tested with a small group of undergrads, grad
students, and profs. The university used a capture program so they
could actually record and analyze how information was searched and what
threw people off track or was inconvenient, so it was very interesting
to see which aspects of design were a problem. Also, they noted that
undergrads would just go crazy and click on every result to see what
they could find; profs and grad students would take their time and read
through everything.


The government info track sessions were good;
learned some helpful reference tips from a U of T prof in the first
session, learned about various efforts to save digital government
information in the second and about the future of gov docs in the
third.


Also went to a cultural-type session on the library of
Alexandria – the ancient and the new one- which talked about how
countries from around the world contributed to re-build a library in
Alexandria. It was a nice break to hear about more positive things in
the library world.


The not so good:
I agree 100% with Paul
and Kelly re: the food and the random trade show “entertainment”. At an
early morning session I went to, the speaker brought Timbits for
everyone b/c she felt bad about us being up so early and obviously we
weren’t going to have anything beyond water available.


Also, first
timers breakfast was poorly organized. The food wasn’t served on time
and the speeches started after we all had food, so it was running
behind, once you finished your plate you couldn’t have anything else
and the waiters were taking away plates during the speeches, which was
a distraction. Not worth the money, for an $18 for breakfast in a
hotel, it was disappointing. I was impressed that early on, Barbara
Clubb made the rounds and made an effort to speak briefly with everyone
at the table.


Re: the tradeshow, I found the government booths to
be informative and “student-friendly”; corporate ones, not so much (not
that that was a surprise). It’s nice to do a tour around and talk to
exhibitors on the first day, and then on the second day vendors were
trying to get rid of as much stuff as possible so they didn’t have to
take it home, so it was a good time to stock up on free stuff.

Also,
for those of you who remember Trish (from U of A) from the pub crawl,
here’s the site where her shirt’s from: http://www.librariangear.com/
It’s a site with library related t-shirts, etc.

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