Presenting a poster is a great way to share your ideas with colleagues – and it can be a gentle introduction to presenting in other formats.

If you are attending SLA 2012 in Chicago this summer, you have an opportunity to present a poster during an open house hosted by the Social Science, Academic, Education, and Museum, Arts & Humanities Divisions.

Next week I’ll be giving a webinar on poster presentations for anyone considering submitting a proposal for this or any other poster session. The webinar is on April 20 at noon Eastern, and I hope to have a registration link soon registration is now open!

Following are some additional resources for poster presenters:

In my previous job, I taught an annual workshop for graduate students on presenting posters. The idea for the workshop came from a discussion with a faculty member about how to improve the quality of posters at a conference he organized, and evolved over the years as I worked with students.

The guide I created, while tailored to the needs of demography graduate students, provides a summary of design and presentation advice I gathered.

Other resources I found helpful:

Displaying Your FindingsDisplaying Your Findings: A Practical Guide for Creating Figures, Posters, and Presentations by Adelheid A. M. Nicol and Penny M. Pexman (American Psychological Association, 2003)

Poster Presentations: Designing Effective Posters by Fred Stoss (University at Buffalo Libraries)

Developing Poster Presentations in the Social Sciences (George Mason University Writing Center)

Buying over borrowing

ACPL's E-reader fair

E-reader fair at the Allen County (Indiana) Public Library. Photo by ACPL.

The rise of e-reading, a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, says that e-book readers are more likely to buy books rather than borrow them, and are more likely to start a search at a bookseller than a library.

So does this mean libraries are no longer relevant for these readers?

I don’t think so. Slightly more e-readers than print-only readers reported getting recommendations from librarians or library websites (21% vs. 19% – not a significant difference). And all readers in the study preferred to buy over borrow – except in the case of audio books.

I suspect that starting a search at a bookseller has more to do with availability (or perceived availability) of e-books.

What do you bring back from conferences?

Conference sessionRegistration for SLA 2012 opened this week, and members all over the world are busy booking Chicago hotels and perusing the conference schedule.

If you’re going to SLA or some other conference this year, what will you bring back with you? A tote bag? Some free pens? Maybe if you’re very lucky, an iPad won in a drawing?

How about bringing back something that will help your boss and your coworkers appreciate the value of the conference? I’m not talking about any kind of magic. Just share what you learned at the conference. Not just on your blog and your Twitter account and with your librarian colleagues, but in your workplace.

I touched on this a little bit last year, but it’s a good time for a reminder. The Learning Circuits Blog has a nice list of 10 Ways to Bring a Conference Back to Work.

Plan ahead so when your boss drops in to ask how the conference was, you are ready with more than just a report on the weather in Chicago. What did you learn? What connections did you make?

Happy Halloween!

RSS PumpkinJust for fun, I put pumpkin RSS and Twitter icons in my header. There’s a whole set of social media pumpkins available (free!) from Shane Jeffers at Three Styles.

I remember back in the day when I used to change the style of this blog for holidays. Where did that time go?

Do Creative Commons licenses work for creators?

I am a librarian and a writer. As a writer, I value the protection copyright gives me to control how my works are used. As a librarian, I am frustrated by how restrictive current copyright law is. I therefore support Creative Commons, which allows creators to share their work more freely without giving away all their rights. I license many of my photos with a Creative Commons license and am happy to see them used by noncommercial individuals and organizations.

A recent experience has me rethinking how I apply Creative Commons licenses to my work. In that post, I linked to a blogger who has abandoned the Noncommercial license. Today I found a photographer who has abandoned the Creative Commons licenses altogether, because people don’t read and abide by them.

It’s a shame, because I know most of the kind of people I would like to use my images probably won’t take the time to seek permission for each one, and would simply not use them. But because commercial entities don’t abide by the terms I’ve set for use, my options seem to be to completely restrict use or to make my photos public domain.

In other words, back to traditional copyright.

I wonder if there is anything Creative Commons could do to help? It seems that if nothing is done, this disregard for licensing terms will drive more and more creators to abandon Creative Commons.

What is a commercial use?

New Yorker's use of my photoLast week, both the New Yorker and Wired used one of my photos to illustrate an article about the Aaron Swartz JSTOR downloading case.

I had posted the photo to Flickr with a Creative Commons-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. I believe that the use by the New Yorker and Wired is commercial in nature and therefore a violation of my license, and I have contacted both publications. I am not asking either to remove my photo (after all, most people who were going to read those articles have already read them and seen the photo). I am simply letting them know that they have been lazy and violated the rights of a creator. All they had to do was write me a note asking for permission to use my photo. Many others have done this.

I’ll be interested to see how the publications respond. I’ve approached this as an opportunity to educate them about Creative Commons licenses, rather than as a confrontation. (Here’s another take, if you read German.)

While I was discussing this situation with a colleague, he pointed me to a blog post by Bethany Nowviskie about why she is no longer using the non-commercial license. I’m still undecided about whether I will continue to use it, but I’m very certain that commercial entities need to abide by it when I do.

Conference serendipity

Touring the Free Library of Philadelphia map collectionThere is something about getting together in person – just like there is something about browsing the shelves in a library – that leads to discoveries.

At SLA last month, I attended a tour of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s map collection with the Social Science Division Geography and Map Section. I decided to attend because I’ve always enjoyed G&M Section programs in the past, even though I’m not a map librarian, and because I always learn something when I get to visit another library behind the scenes.

I did, of course, learn a lot from seeing the different kinds of maps in the collection, how they were stored, and learning about conservation and digitization projects. The best part of the tour for me, though, came from a casual question I asked as I was about to leave: “Do you have any postal maps?”

The answer to that question led me to a resource that my library patrons can use, a potential collaboration, and to thinking about what other postal history-related collections might be tucked away in unexpected places.

On my library’s blog, I wrote a post about what I found at the Free Library of Philadelphia and more about finding postal history information in libraries. That post was featured in our member newsletter, and literally overnight became one of our most-read blog posts.

The Facebook tip I learned at SLA

One of the most useful things I learned at SLA this year came not from one of the many expert speakers but from a casual conversation with a colleague.

I was frustrated because I couldn’t find a way to comment on posts from a page I’m an admin for as myself. I finally found the solution and thought I’d share it.

Use Facebook as SLA Social Science DivisionNo matter how much I clicked on the “Use Facebook as SLA Social Science Division” and “Use Facebook as Tara” links, whenever I liked or commented on a Social Science Division post, it came up as a like or comment from the Social Science Division – making it look like the division was having a conversation with itself. I had resigned myself to the fact that I could no longer comment as myself once I became an admin. (At least until the next time Facebook changes its interface…)

I had complained about this “feature” to several people, when Morgan Grimes pointed out to me that there is a way to toggle between posting as the page and posting as myself.

For each page you are an admin for, you need to adjust the settings so that you don’t comment as the page by default.

Edit PageFirst, go to the page, and click on the “Edit Page” button in the upper right.

Your SettingsNext, click on “Your Settings” in the menu on the left.

Then you can uncheck the box that says “Always post and comment on your page as…”

Now the links to toggle between “Use Facebook as SLA Social Science Division” and “Use Facebook as Tara” actually work!

How to lead a virtual meeting

Ruth Wolfish has been leading monthly web-based meetings for SLA chapter leadership, and shared her lessons learned during the Leadership Development Institute at the beginning of SLA 2011.

I lead a bimonthly phone meeting for a group of philatelic librarians, and we’ve been thinking of trying to use the web to include library representatives from outside the U.S. I also lead a bimonthly phone board meeting for my SLA division board. While neither group has moved to web-based meetings yet, much of what Ruth shared can be applied to phone meetings.

Here’s a summary of her advice with a few comments from me:

  • Unlike in face to face meetings, people can leave early without being rude, so engage attendees early. (This is less true for small meetings, but attendees sitting in their offices will probably be checking their email or Facebook during the call if they get bored.)
  • Use a world clock if your audience is in multiple time zones.
  • Take questions in advance so you can be prepared to answer them during the meeting.
  • Practice the web features of the meeting software ahead of time. (Or, make sure you know how to use your teleconferencing system.)
  • Send out a reminder notice the morning of the meeting.
  • Ask attendees why they chose to join the meeting so you know what they want to get out of it.
  • Use the mute and chat box to manage discussion. (On a conference call, make sure attendees know they can mute their line when they are not talking to eliminate background noise.)
  • Set a date and time for the next meeting.
  • Thank people for attending and share your contact information.
  • After the meeting, send out highlight notes for those who didn’t attend. This informs them and encourages them to attend future meetings. (I send out notes to the entire group after each of my calls. It helps keep those who couldn’t attend updated so they can jump in at the next meeting.)

Why I’m tired this morning: SLA 2011

I got back from SLA 2011 in Philadelphia last night. As usual, it was a great conference and I came back full of ideas, many of which I plan to share here. But for now, I will share with you the reason I am drinking a second cup of coffee this morning:

SLA 2011 schedule

SLA has a really packed schedule and doesn’t leave much time for eating or sleeping.