Apologies in advance for the shameless self-promotional nature of this post. I like to use this blog as a personal record (I’m also hoping this will come in handy when I do my Chartership), so I’m just sharing a few things I’ve been up to lately elsewhere in the blogosphere. I spent some time last week writing blog posts for various places, and some of these have now been published and may be of interest. I also want to share a new project which I’m really excited about. Read the rest of this entry »

Last week, I was invited to give a presentation to a school librarian conference from the perspective of a university librarian. As the conference theme was digital natives, I decided to focus on the transition between school and university and how school librarians can prepare students for university life.

I took a different approach to the presentation, and decided to take a journey with a typical student through the first month or so of university, and at each milestone consider what he needs to do and how school librarians could help him prepare for that. I had initially hoped to try using Prezi to illustrate the journey, but my artistic/creative skills are somewhat lacking (as is my experience of using Prezi) so I didn’t manage to find time to do this.

I know there were both school and university librarians interested in this whilst I was preparing the presentation, so I have embedded my slides below, and have also included the rough script. NB: I didn’t stick to the script when I presented (I prefer the presentation to involve the participants in discussion), but I used it to help me contextualise the presentation before the event.

All the resources mentioned are on Delicious using the sch2uni tag; if you know of any other useful resources that I didn’t mention, please add them to Delicious using the sch2uni tag.

I really enjoyed preparing for this event, and the actual day was fantastic (see my earlier blog post). I think there is a lot that can be learnt by bringing together school and university librarians, it’s definitely given me food for thought about how we can work together to improve digital literacy and help the transition between school and university. If you have any thoughts on this, please let me know (either by email or in the comments).

Read the rest of this entry »

Teenagers checking out books from library

What a fantastic event!

I was privileged to be invited to speak at the 2010 Independent Professional Development Conference for school librarians to give a perspective from a university librarian. The theme of the event was digital natives, and we had a host of different speakers giving different perspectives; a school media specialist, school librarian, resource suppliers, hardware suppliers, an independent consultant, and myself.

Before I talk about the sessions, I have a slight confession to make; ever since my first experience in a library (which was at a local secondary school), I’ve been longing to go to a school librarian event. I absolutely loved my time at the school library, and worked with a fantastic school librarian who ignited my passion for librarianship. Since then I have worked in mainly university libraries (and a public library), but I’ve always followed some of the work going on in school libraries. So I was delighted when Rachael Guy, who organised the conference, contacted me to see if I would be interested in giving a talk. I jumped at the opportunity and really enjoyed putting together my presentation. I’ll do a separate blog post about the subject of my presentation, but wanted to share a review of the whole day first. Read the rest of this entry »

This is part of a series of blog posts about event amplification. See this introductory blog post and the event amplification tag for other relevant blog posts.

Following event amplification

I’ve discovered and followed a number of events through Twitter (usually through one of the people I follow mentioning an event) and online. I think Twitter is the most commonly used way to follow at the moment, although it’s great to see more and more events being livestreamed either by audio or video, or incorporating a group chat feature for online followers. I’ve shared below some of the things I have learnt from following conferences from afar:

  • Find out as much as you can about the event before it begins (or as soon as you discover it) – search for more details online to see if you can get more details and a schedule of the event. This way you can see which presentations you think you are likely to be most interested in and see if there is any planned coverage such as live streaming. Even if there isn’t, you’ll know what time to be looking out for any tweets.
  • Let people know that you are interested in following the event (or a particular section of it) – this way the organisers may be able to keep you up-to-date or another tweeter might notice you are particularly interested in something they are attending and may be encouraged to share this if possible.
  • Add the event to your calendar in the same way you would a physical event – although it’s probably not as important as if you have booked tickets to attend something, you don’t want to miss the event if possible. Schedule it into your calendar and try to set aside some time to follow the event.
  • Set up a saved search on Twitter (or a new search column if you use Tweetdeck) – that way you can separate the relevant tweets and keep an eye on them, and will be alerted to new tweets using the hashtag.
  • See if there is a Twitter list of attendees to follow – I often set these up if I am attending an event (e.g. list of attendees at New Professionals Conference 2010) – this way you can follow all the tweets from these people without having to follow each of them individually (or use it as a discovery tool to follow them). Another advantage of this is that you will see all of the tweets from these people even if they are not using the conference hashtags, or if there are a few different ones being used (e.g. at Internet Librarian International there seemed to be lots of different tags used – a list may have helped if you were trying to follow this). Of course the downside of this is you may also get a lot of irrelevant tweets, but the chances are during the event most of the tweets will be relevant. If there isn’t already a Twitter list, consider setting one up – you could make it a public list and share it with others who may be interested.
  • Engage with other attendees (both physical and virtual) – I sometimes struggle to do this, particularly when I’m just following something in the background whilst I’m working, but it is really useful to engage in conversation with other people, both those at the conference and those following online. The chances are you will have things in common and there can be some really interesting discussions which stem from the tweets at a conference. Also bear in mind however that those attending the event may be too busy to respond to your messages, so don’t expect instant replies even if you know there is a break – the chances are they will be using the break to grab a drink and chat to other attendees.
  • Use the conference hashtag in any of your responses to tweets (some clients like Tweetdeck can add them automatically), and anything else you publish about the conference to ensure it’s findable by other people

I think that covers most of the things I have learnt about following amplified events, is there anything I’ve missed? Please share your tips in the comments.

This is part of a series of blog posts about event amplification. See this introductory blog post and the event amplification tag for other relevant blog posts.

Supporting amplification (as an organiser)

As Marketing Officer for CILIP West Midlands, I’ve organised events and want to encourage people to share their experiences to widen the reach of the event. For a recent CILIP West Midlands event (The Library Debate) we had a member of the branch tweeting on behalf of the branch account @CILIPWM, and we hope to do this again in our upcoming hustings event. Here are some of the things I’ve learnt to bear in mind when organising an event that you would like to reach a wider audience:

  • Use a venue with a reliable wireless connection – this is a must now, it really is expected at most events. It can be difficult to get this organised in certain venues, but if you can possibly host the event somewhere that you know has wifi access, I’d strongly recommend it. If you do have wifi available for attendees, be sure to publicise the details in information packs or around the venue, and mention it in the housekeeping section at the beginning of the event.
  • Decide on an event hashtag and publicise it before and during the event – use the hashtag on any publicity you produce, and if you mention the event on Twitter make sure you use the hashtag. Again, include details in any delegate information packs and at the housekeeping section at the beginning of the event.
  • Consider getting someone to tweet or liveblog the day as an “official” channel – you could offer free attendance in return for acting as the official tweeter/blogger, or make it a role of one of the members of the organising team.
  • Consider livestreaming if budget and technology allows; otherwise consider video recording the event and uploading the videos shortly after the event.
  • Set up the relevant online presences to help promote the event beforehand and amplify the event during and afterwards – this might be a Twitter account for a large conference, or a dedicated Facebook page, or it could just be a case of creating an event page on places like Facebook, LinkedIn, Eventbrite, Lanyrd, Flickr and Slideshare. The right avenues will depend on the type of event you are organising and where you expect your attendees/followers to be, though it really doesn’t hurt to set up a few as they take minutes to create. A Slideshare event (like this one I set up for this year’s Joint CoFHE/UC&R conference) can be a particularly useful place to add presentations for the event, although of course you will need to let presenters know if you plan to publicise their presentations online. Flickr groups (such as this one used at ALA Annual 2007) can be used to add photos from attendees as well as yourself, though again you will need to obtain permission from all attendees if you plan to publish photos.
  • Set up tools to help you track the level of interest in your event – this is useful for gauging interest in a certain topic area for potential future events, as well as when you come to evaluate your event. For the basics, TwapperKeeper archives can be used to get statistics through Summarizr, and bit.ly links can be used to help track clicks (get yourself an account to easily tracks statistics).
  • If you want to truly support an amplified event, engage with your online followers – gather up interest before the event and let them know what to expect, help them out and engage in conversation with them during the event, and get their feedback after the event on what you could do in future to improve support.

I think that covers most of the things I consider when organising an event to help widen the reach, are there any other tips you would add to this list? Please share any in the comments.

This is part of a series of blog posts about event amplification. See this introductory blog post and the event amplification tag for other relevant blog posts.

Acting as an amplifier

Whenever I am fortunate enough to attend an event, I know there are others who may be interested but were unable to attend, and often those who may not have even been aware of the event but could gain value from it.

I always try to blog the main points from events I have attended (usually after the event rather than live blogging), and in the last couple of years I have also tweeted during a number of events. I have even been an official tweeter at Middlemash last year, and held the grand title of “Twitter Officer” the New Professionals Conference earlier this year. I blogged previously about my experiences at New Professionals Conference 2010, but to summarise here are some of the main points to consider when amplifying an event as an attendee.

  • Speak to the conference organisers to see if there is a policy about sharing the event – sometimes there may be topics that the organisers or a speaker do not want to go further than the event. This is rare, but always worth checking.
  • Find out if there is a particular hashtag for the event (and if not, create one) – many events now have hashtags set up for anyone tweeting or blogging the event. If you can’t find one, make one up – check it’s not being used by another event first (a quick search on Twitter is usually sufficient) and try to keep it short. Make sure you use the tag to keep everything related to the event in one place.
  • If you are tweeting, check that there is a TwapperKeeper archive (again, if not, create one) – not only does TwapperKeeper archive all the tweets for you, it can also be used to get statistics through Summarizr. This is really interesting and can tell you a lot about the tweets from the archive, including links to the top tweeted URLs using the hashtag – see this year’s LILAC conference (#lilac2010) statistics for example.
  • If you want to save the links that you tweet automatically, you could use Packrati.us which will add any URLs you tweet to your delicious account using any tags in the tweet as tags in Delicious. (Disclaimer: I haven’t actually tried this yet as I don’t want all the links I tweet to be added to delicious).
  • If you are tweeting from an event, let your followers know in advance – it’s useful to share the details of the event you are at (helps to further amplify the event too if you tweet a link to the website/livestream) and let them know that you will be tweeting (many Twitter clients now have an option to hide tweets which people may wish to use if they are not interested in that particular event)
  • Use a standard tweeting protocol – I like to do the same as @bethanar (who has done an excellent job of amplifying this year’s SLA and Internet Librarian International conferences which I was interested in but unable to attend) which is introduce each speaker with a tweet with their full name, twitter ID if applicable, and the topic they are talking about. Each subsequent tweet should then relate to that talk by using their initials at the beginning of the tweet (some prefer to use surname but bear in mind that takes up more space!). Others use the track number or conference session number which can be useful during the event but more difficult for those without a programme, and also possibly more difficult to relate to the session afterwards – initials are far more memorable I think.
  • Set up a saved search for the hashtag so that when you get chance you can see what others are saying about the conference and engage in conversation with others using the hashtag if possible
  • After the event, if you are planning to blog about the event don’t leave it much longer after the event if you can help it – people are likely to be looking out for reports on the event and if you tweet a link with the hashtag shortly afterwards they are most likely to find it. Of course, it’s not always possible to blog straight after the event (sometimes life takes over!), and it’s better to write something late then never – sometimes writing after the event can also help give yourself time for more reflection so it’s not always a bad thing, you just might not reach as many as you would earlier on.
  • Include any relevant links and presentations in the blog posts (and the event tag of course) – that way people who may not have been aware of the event but who subscribe to your blog (and those who find it later) can get more details about the event itself.

I think that covers most of the things I’ve learnt as an event amplifier, are there any other tips you have discovered? Please share in the comments if so.