Online Northwest 2007 Conference Report

General notes and thoughts about Online Northwest 2007 (Feb 16, 2007), by Elizabeth Nielsen

OSU Libraries were well represented on both sides of the podium. I attended the keynote and 3 sessions A full program summary is available.

Highlights (take-aways) of the sessions I attended:

Keynote by Stephen Abram

  • added values of libraries (and librarians) is to improve the “quality of the question” and the user experience
  • Google (commercial search engines) can answer “who, what, when, where” questions; libraries do best at answering “how” and “why” questions
  • in academic setting, library “instruction” needs to be linked at the “lesson” level (assignment, project, or task)

Session One: Creating Online Library Tutorials with Macromedia Captivate: Process and Product (Karen Munro, UC Berkeley)

  • strongly recommends flash files (*.swf) for delivery of tutorials — are seamless for user
  • keep tutorials short (3 minutes max; 1 minute may be better)
  • Captivate now an Adobe product
  • develop tutorials that can be used for a variety of purposes (across classes, courses, or disciplines)
  • adding audio doubles the development time
  • storyboard each action and write script
  • importance of tying tutorial to an assignment
  • put tutorial at the point of need
  • her powerpoint
  • sample tutorial (in beta testing)
  • her own “post mortem” of the session

Session Two: Observing Student Researchers in their Native Habitat (John Law, Proquest)

nothing astounding here

  • qualitative research (observing students doing research for class research project) and quantitative (survey)
  • used Facebook to place ad to solicit research participants (didn’t mention library or Proquest in ad)
  • many students started their research at course website
  • little evaluation of whether resource was appropriate for the specific task (used what they were familiar/comfortable with)
  • strong brand recognition
  • student researchers chose library resources because librarian visited class; professor required or suggested it; or brand awareness
  • students use google for primary research; to supplement research (make sure they didn’t miss anything); quick reference to get background information; or to locate known resources (known websites; major newspapers; library resources)
  • why students chose google for primary research: unfamiliar with library e-resources; bad experience with library (trying to search catalog for article; authentication issues; e-resources web page unclear)
  • students indicated do NOT use myspace or facebook for coursework or research — might use for group projects
  • once in library databases, users don’t have difficulty conducting research
  • full text is prerequisite; abstracts are essential

Session Three: Digital Archiving on a Shoestring: Development of the Oregon Documents Repository (Kyle Banerjee and Arlene Weible, Oregon State Library)

presentation outline
document repository

  • difficulty of distinguishing between publications and public records (perhaps a reason to use same repository for both)
  • use MARC records for description/metadata — allow integration of description of paper/electronic document
  • returning native file format not essential; most important to retain content
  • not trying to preserve the experience of using the original format
  • design determined by workflow
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