SLA Annual Conference (2013, San Diego)

SLA San Diego

The 2013 SLA Conference theme was “Connect, Collaborate, and Strategize” – with an eye towards the Millennials. Many sessions and many speakers identified the importance of engaging and harnessing the knowledge of Millennials – not only as the next information users, but as the next information professionals. How this generation uses and understands information is fundamentally different from previous generations.

Many thanks to DC/SLA for the Annual Conference Stipend award and supporting my first SLA Conference!

Takeaways
Hearts to LinkedIn
LinkedIn was the site everyone wanted to take to the prom. The site was featured and analyzed from a variety of angles and perspectives and within a number of different sessions. By this time next year, the next “it” site/app will be analyzed in much the same way as LinkedIn this year.

Social media shouldn’t be used in a vacuum
(1) Keep statistics by using social media analytics and metrics and understand how your organization is using social media and (2) think about what else social media sites and applications can do as a research toolkit.

Don’t just use it right out of the box
Think outside the box when applying social media, online productivity tools, web applications, and web-based programs that you’re using (i.e. how else can these tools be used? How would they work with each other? What other information can I gain?).

What can IT do for you?
Building on the above, information technology tools and methods – like IT ticketing (and as featured at Speed Geek) – can be applied to reference and knowledge management functions as well. More strategically, librarians should be thinking about how they can engage other knowledge and data professionals within their organizations to accomplish projects.

If it’s not out there, make it yourself
If you can code, take advantage of open source. If you can’t, find (usually for free) web applications that can help with aspects of your project, like making infographics. Speed Geek & 60 Sites in 60 Minutes are good sessions for this type of work.

Click on the Continue Reading link for first-timer tips and a roundup of sessions…

First-timer observations & tips
Online Conference Planner
…makes selecting/viewing sessions easy and (when paired with your LinkedIn account) easy for your network to find you (and sharing your attendance might help organizers with room assignments).

Presentation materials
Even if you don’t have time to review these ahead of time, knowing that they’re available, allows you to more readily engage in the session and strategize if you need to be in two sessions at the same time.

Levels (fundamental, intermediate, advanced)

You should certainly not shy away from sessions based on levels alone, but rather cross reference them against the host division(s). That way, you’ll know how much time you’re likely going to spend in a given session. For example, if there was a session an intermediate session on text mining hosted by the pharmaceutical division, I could plan on listening to the introductory parts to get a sense about text mining, but maybe not the application examples.

Buddies, Rising Stars, Fellows, & First-Timers
Many thanks to Greta, my DC/SLA Conference buddy. For first-timers, it can be nice to have a friendly face to see at the conference and to answer first-timer questions. The First-Timers Meet Up is another way to get into the conference/networking mode, and, the SLA Fellows are also on hand at this event too! I missed this event, but definitely saw the value of connecting with SLA Fellows and Rising Starts at the opening general session and roundtable.

Start and End Times made it difficult to plan on attending all desired sessions, so using the strategies above will help. For organizers: staggering start/end times would help.

Featured Sessions
Librarians As Intelligence Analysts, Edna Reid
Edna Reid’s presentation was both enlightening and pragmatic. She led the audience through the parallels between intelligence and library skills jargon (like “influence analysis” vs. bibliometric and citation database retrieval). I also appreciated her emphasis on open source intelligence as the launching point for librarians into the community.

Edna Reid gave a similar presentation at Catholic University a few years ago that was led me towards entering library school. Her updated presentation highlighted her upcoming study on the parallels between intelligence analyst job skills and library program curriculum. I will be following this study and will be interested in how it aligns with my own academic research and professional interests.