Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Foolery #27: Work-Life (Balance?)

The night before the MLA Work-Life Balance webcast (which I was a site coordinator for, couldn't take typed notes to share), I dreamed that I was the host of webinar using Adobe Connect. This is nothing unusual, in fact part of my regular job duties, but in the dream there was a continuous odd noise that kept disturbing the presenter's discussion. There's a little icon next to the participants' names that identifies if someone is making noise so I can mute individuals if necessary, but if it's just under a certain volume it won't show up and that was the case here. I was frustrated that I couldn't figure out the ruckus and was beginning to get agitated, then woke up.

My beloved husband was snoring.

I laughed.

I currently do not have work, life, or any other type of balance because right now things from every area are uncertain and up in the air at once. I'm hopeful that by the end of April things will be a bit more clear. At times like these my family, cake & humor are my modi operandi. An example:

No, I did not eat a Smurf, but had cake during a staff meeting with blue frosting balloons.

I first emailed the picture to my beloved while I knew he was at lunch & he replied ROFL, not something I was expecting in email! Our son exclaimed AWESOME! when he got home from school & saw it. 9 friends on Facebook have thumbs up 'liked it'. Another colleague saw me in the hall, smiled, and asked if my tongue was still blue so I was perfectly justified in sticking it out at him.

It's the little things.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Like to Shove and Make It!

LSW / S & M

SAFE FOR WORK: This isn't nearly as naughty as it may appear.

Celebrating Ada Lovelace: Women in Technology

Who was Ada?
Ada Lovelace was one of the world's first computer programmers, and one of the first people to see computers as more than just a machine for doing sums. She wrote programs for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, a general-purpose computing machine, despite the fact that it was never built. She also wrote the very first description of a computer and of software.

What does “in technology” mean?
It’s up to you how you interpret the phrase “in technology”. We’re not just interested in hardcore ninja programmers, but any woman who creates, invents, or uses any technology in an innovative way. Feel free to interpret it as widely as you like.

As of right now, we're only 20 away from double the amount of bloggers the pledge strove for!
Sign my pledge at PledgeBank

First and foremost in my heart is one of my best friends whom I have already honored in my blog, Dr. Jen Hiller. Just look at her next to her synchrotron! I think 'hardcore ninja programmer' applies to the operation of equipment that is 10 billion times brighter than the sun (source is also where the picture is from) that will be used to scan Egyptian artifacts, wouldn't you? She and I are already Champagne Ninjas but that's a long story from San Diego...

I also want to honor Alison Aldrich, Technology Outreach Coordinator at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Northwest Region. Her tireless efforts in understanding technology needs & working with medical librarians in our region to implement ways to meet them are phenomenal. It is easy for many to assume that because we're in Seattle that our region (spanning from Alaska to Montana) would be similarly wired when nothing could be further from the truth. Keep a close eye on her Technology Tuesday & other technology posts if you don't already!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Producing Webinars: Or, How Being a DJ in College Was Not a Total Waste

(Monitor Board by Micah Taylor)

If you've been around me in person, you have probably heard about my time as a DJ & news director at my (pre-online days) old college radio station and may have noticed that I sound a little different when I'm on the phone with a customer. This escalates even more when I'm hosting a webinar that's streaming both my voice and image live.

The truth? When I'm hosting webinars I'm not a librarian. I'm back on the air in the sound booth with a live audience whose attention I must work to captivate and sustain. I will never have the finesse Ira Glass displayed at ACRL 2009, although after his performance there I'm convinced he has club DJ/mashup work as part of his background in addition to NPR.

It was with great anticipation that I attended Producing Webinars for Nonprofits & Libraries last Thursday. Yes, it was a webinar about webinars. They delivered well not so much with ideas that I'd never heard of before, but rather affirmation that the lessons I've carried forward to hosting webinars from countless hours of radio editing & live soundboard work were not in vain.

Among them from my more comprehensive notes (including a great screenshot) are these

  • Having live, regularly scheduled synchronous events is a really good tool for building relationships in an online community.
  • Create a consistent webinar experience for your users
  • Multiple voices keep people more engaged instead of just one voice
  • Host can help interject charisma and interact with audience if the presenter doesn't have it.
  • Think about This American Life and how Ira Glass uses stories, they are really interesting and compelling. (I about died laughing at this point, good thing I was on mute)
I see much of this same best practices information for webinars applying to podcasting, video tutorials and other media forms involving voice narration and highly recommend at least a quick scan of my notes, checking out their PowerPoint, and/or listening to the recording.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Foolery #26: Mr. Bacon vs. M. Tofu

There can be only one survivor.

Thanks to Marie, who is apparently too embarrassed to include this gem on her ACRL 2009 Flickr group ;)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

ACRL 2009 - Information Literacy Assessment

One would think I was already done with my blog coverage of ACRL, but the truth is I had to turn all my attention to work and the upcoming Washington Medical Librarians Association (WMLA) conference I'm program chair for next week! After this entry I still have one more ACRL entry mulling on the back burner that integrates thoughts and experiences from the two keynotes given by Sherman Alexie and Ira Glass.

The last session I attended at ACRL was The Right Tool for the Job: Picking the Best Method for Information Literacy Assessment. This was nothing fancy nor glitzy compared to other session options going on at the time, but provided a good introduction and overview of how and when knowledge tests, integrated assessments & rubrics are appropriate assessment measures to use as part of library instruction.

As usual, a brief summary of my more extensive session notes

  • Knowledge tests focus on cognitive domain (recall, understanding, knowledge, analytical)
  • Use knowledge tests to assess at the cognitive level, not for behaviors or attitudes, or opinions.
  • Integrated assessments involve collaborating with professors to include information literacy assessments within the course assignment in meaningful, authentic way
  • Audience response to this is that annotated bibliographies have worked very well for students as an integrated assessment tool
  • Rubrics describe learning in 2 dimensions (parts/criteria and levels of performance)
  • Benefits of rubrics include focus on deep learning and higher order thinking skills, and a way to provide direct feedback

These assessment methods cover nearly any type of instruction and gave me some food for thought regarding how I can develop better ones for the online courses I teach to my colleagues that provide all of us with valuable information as part of the learning experience. I'm not satisfied to rest in the knowledge that the continuing education courses I teach are free; they are investments of my students' time and I strive to make it the best possible and productive experience for them.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

ACRL 2009 - Creating Instruction To Go

I didn't immediately share the notes from this excellent session about online learning late this morning because I continued my path of scholarly learning bailed on ACRL with Marie for a few hours to have lunch & check out some nuclear pants at Archie McPhee. HOT!

I have to say that not only was the content of this paper about creating learning objects very informative, but the presentation itself is one of the best ones I've seen at a conference. The presenters walked the talk: they didn't merely read their Powerpoint (far more elaboration than that) but engaged us as the audience from the beginning with our questions about what they had. After explanations, they had us follow in their footsteps of identifying learning objects, brainstorming steps to accomplish meeting the objective of the learning object, then shared the tools they used along the way.

Par for course, a few teasers from my session notes:

  • Faculty love the idea of information literacy but do not want to compromise their class time to offer it.
  • What is a learning object? An online resource or set of resources that have been developed to achieve a specific learning outcome.
  • Needs to be able to stand alone and remove any contextual references to other learning objects
  • So much of what we do is related to interfaces so this is especially difficult to do.
  • Always include a check for understanding via a quiz or learning exercise at the end of a learning object.
  • Microlectures: 60 minute lectures, cut extra verbiage, in less than 2 minutes communicate cores. (published in Journal of Higher Learning and EduGeek blogged it well)

.. and much more including more specific how-to's with free online tools I hadn't heard of before such as Mindmeister and trailfire. I'm really looking forward to using these methods on some online course development roadblocks I've hit and am hopeful I'll move on from frustration/guilt that things aren't going forward to some clearer objectives and ways to meet them.

ACRL 2009 - Social Networking Literacy Competencies for Librarians

Excellent, thought-provoking papers about the use of social networking in the library and by librarians by both speakers that were well worth dragging my still-sick self out of bed and onto a Metro bus to slog through the rain at 8am on a Saturday morning for!

As usual, some teaser thoughts from my notes (can you tell my brain is on format autopilot?)

  • It is not enough to know what social networking is but able to understand nature and roles, importance in research, communication and information life cycle of the social networking site.
  • We have to evaluate the tools just as we do everything else and not jump on board just because it's new.
  • Librarians who are social networking-literate must be able to apply their current skills and curiosity to emerging and evolving resources.
  • Professional associations and library schools can support librarians with CE initiatives
  • Require new hires to possess social networking skills (yikes!)
  • How frequently do students use Facebook for academic purposes? Most ranked rarely and they feel Facebook impacts their academic study negatively.
  • When developing a virtual presence, consider students' actual perceptions of the library. Talk to your students, not student workers or this study's students.
  • Becoming a fan of the library involves less effort/awkwardness than friending.
  • Don't send apps or poke the students on Facebook.

My thoughts - It is impossible to verify with 100% accuracy any institutional online presence on Twitter. An individual may use a library or library product name, create a profile with the company logo, link to the company website and fill out all the appropriate profile details, follow (and be followed by) others in the field and 'talk the talk'... and not be sanctioned by the library or institution to represent them at all.

I am not going to give further attention to the individuals on Twitter I'm aware of who have done so with National Library of Medicine (NLM) by linking to them here, but be aware that they do exist. As it was in January and still the case now, there is no official NLM presence on Twitter.

Friday, March 13, 2009

ACRL 2009 - Peer to peer teaching/evaluating

I absolutely adore teaching online and am constantly on the lookout for strategies, methodologies and structures to enable my students to have the best learning experience possible there.

While this session was geared towards library instruction by librarians for students at the University of Alberta in a face to face setting, I wonder about the possibilities of implementing colleague peer-review teaching/observing relationships for online education and the valuable feedback that could be obtained by it.

Some teasers from my notes:

  • Why experiment with peer to peer research process? A desire to share love of subject matter that shares your passion and enthusiasm, improve and enhance skills, overcome ‘silo-ization’ to talk and learn from one another
  • Used a 3-step approach of Preparation, Observation phase, Closing phase
  • Challenges of teacher: being observed by peers made them extremely nervous. Ironic since same academics ok with peer review of their research but threatened by having a peer in the classroom (paraphrase of Washer, 2006)

This also introduced me to skrbl, which I had not heard of before and want to check out later!

Friday Foolery #25: Bacon & Ramen & Pie (Charts)? Oh My!

Hat tip to Susan Barnes at the Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) for guiding me to, and in particular this entry. Unlike this fine example, I'm fairly certain Ramen was at the base of my college food pyramid though.

Otherwise, I pledge my life and my fortune to the pie!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

ACRL 2009 - Have we engaged in a cultural Ponzi scheme?

I still have not refined the fine art of concise, witty & accurate conference blogging.

In the interest in sharing the scene of the ACRL 2009 conference here in Seattle, however, I can share my notes quickly so here they are.

The title is included as teaser thoughts in them from our keynote speaker from the Institute of Global Ethics, Dr. Rush Kidder:

  • As ethics drains out of culture, law rushes in the fill the void.
  • We can live either by self regulation (ethics) or enforced regulation (law)
  • We do have a choice about this and don't have to go into a compliance mentality by regulating everything.
  • As we move on to the 21st century, our technology leverages our ethics. A single unethical decision can wreak havoc globally almost instantaneously.
  • He is not concerned w/Facebook or Twitter, library storage/legacy issues, take it to the meta level.
Today's are brief because I only attended the first-timer's orientation and the opening keynote. Thankfully fellow University of North Texas alum Jack Bullion stopped me at orientation and Marie Kennedy met up with us along with Anthony who, if he blogs, I can't link to it since he hasn't accepted my Facebook invitation yet!

First impressions: I am thrilled with how social media usage and networking is so openly encouraged by the availability of free reliable wifi for attendees at the Convention Center (this is NOT the norm there), along with mention by the conference chair to post pictures on Flickr, join the Facebook page, and use Twitter with the #acrl2009 tag, etc.

Unfortunately I am getting a brutal cold so I'm not involved in the social scene... I just want to get a good night's sleep so I have enough energy for the next day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blog-o-Remiss-a-Versary Time!

(Snowflake cupcake @ abakedcreation)

Here's what I'm still in a state of disbelief about

  • I've been blogging here for 1 year today
  • People actually read what I write (I think)
  • People share with others what I write here (thanks AEA) and on Twitter
  • I've been able to know many wonderful people around the world because of this blog
  • I've been in remission from Löfgren’s syndrome* for 8 years this month

Here's what I'll do my best to continue until the next blog-o-remiss-a-versary

  • Share coverage of conferences, classes & events I'm at that are helpful to know about
  • Strongly advocate for the credibility of appropriate social media channels for outreach, education, feedback & evaluation
  • Not reinvent the wheel by 100% rehashing what others have already said well
  • Respect and value your time and perspectives
  • Welcome more guest blog entries (I'm looking at another Eagle, you know who you are!)
  • Share my abiding love & learning of health informatics (and bacon)
  • Fridays are meant for Foolery
  • Stay healthy
Are you with me still?

Thank you. I sincerely and humbly appreciate it.

*Löfgren’s syndrome - an acute form of sarcoidosis. I was diagnosed as stage II in 1999 but symptomatic by the summer of 1998 before it simmered down only to later appear severely with every Löfgren’s symptom at the same time. The snowflake is a symbol for sarcoid, each case is unique and I had it long before House made its obscurity trendy. The reality is sarcoid sucks. Despite extensive research they still don't really know what causes it, but it's likely I have the HLA-DRB1*03 allele and that combined with a trigger (possibly evergreens) led to a really scary few years. I never take health or the ability to breathe deep lungfulls of air for granted anymore.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Foolery #24: An update on Bacon vs. Financial Crisis

Quick, what do the states of Iowa & Kansas and the city of Portland, Oregon have in common right at this very moment?

According to Google Trends, an overwhelming dominance for Google searches about 'bacon', with hardly a trace of 'Dr. Who', 'financial crisis', 'cupcakes', and 'medical library'!

What does this data mean? Where did the cupcakes go when they posted a strong showing in both states and Portland on September 26, 2008? Where is the medical library?!

I have no idea, except to note the news reference volume which is clearly fixated on 'financial crisis'.

I can't include 'stimulus package' or other updated economic meltdown terms since I began the original Friday Foolery or that would be tinkering.

Who knows what will occur with this search trend 24 weeks in the future, but rest assured that Friday Foolery will cover it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Blogging lessons from the EPA

(beautiful representation of blogging using Moo cards by mexicanwave)

With thanks to @barbchamberlain on Twitter today (even though she works for the enemy, go DAWGs) I learned about a great blogging guidelines resource that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees consult when writing for their group blog, Greenversations.

I want to know who wrote these guidelines because s/he desperately needs to be heard by other .gov agencies who have group blogs. The more I think about it, these need to be heard by every blogger, not just those participating in .gov or other group blog situations! Do you blog for work or tackle issues in your blog? Substitute your employer or own identity in for the EPA and consider their guidelines. In particular, these points resonated strongly with me (bold mine):

For each post, consider the following questions:
  • What's the nature of the problem you're working on?
  • How does your personal or work story relate to the problem?
  • What are you doing to come up with a solution? What are the benefits to the reader? (essentially, why should the reader care?)
  • What progress has already been made?
  • How does this fit into EPA's overall mission of protecting human health and the environment?
  • What can the reader do?


You should not:
  • Simply repeat EPA Web content or use your entry as a new EPA Web page
  • Announce program activities or opportunities unless you are coordinating with a news release or other mechanism
  • Mimic news releases
  • Overwhelm the reader with facts and figures. Keep it simple and link to more details.
  • Violate the cautionary areas {discussed in PDF}

Greenversations is a blog of beauty not only due to visual design and helpful information and navigability, but a venue I'd love to see more often that includes a clear About section that includes

This blog is written by EPA employees (and occasional guests) about the things they bring to their jobs every day. The opinions and comments expressed in Greenversations are those of the authors alone and do not reflect an Agency policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy of the contents of the blog.
To put it another way, this allows EPA employees to be themselves and not press release & policy-spouting clones of their employer. The employees still follow very straightforward, clear and sensible guidelines subject to official review that does not include censorship of their personal ideas, yet still gives them the credibility to blog as an

I'm not an expert about group .gov bloggers but I'm going to do some more research to see if I can find similar ones with clear guidelines and freedom of expression. If you already know of some, please share here?