How to present a poster webinar recording

If you missed the webinar last week, a recording is now available from SLA Social Science Division.

This was the first time I’ve presented a webinar. I owe a big thank you to the session organizer, Maya Kucij, who was also new to this. She spent quite a bit of time reading documentation and testing software with me. I’ve got a small list of things I would do differently if I present another webinar, but overall it went well. I did miss the little cues you get from talking to a live audience – but I also didn’t have any distractions while I was talking. Using polls to ask the audience questions gave me some feedback about who I was talking to, and also reassured me that they were still listening.

I’m really glad to see so many SLA chapters and divisions using the SLA GoToMeeting account to present webinars. For chapters, it opens up programming to members who have difficulty making it to in-person meetings. For divisions, it allows for year-round programming and benefits members who can’t attend the annual conference. It also provides opportunities for chapters and divisions to collaborate on programming.


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)

Don’t blame PowerPoint, part 3

I described my first slide-free workshop as “flying by the seat of my pants”. Last week I taught a follow-up workshop, again without slides but with more preparation, and it felt great. I gave the students a handout with the URLs for the sites we used and some screenshots to jog their memories later, and during the workshop I focused on talking directly to the students and demonstrating the skills I was teaching. The students seemed much more engaged than I remember them being in previous years, and they asked lots of good questions. A few even followed up by making appointments with me for additional instruction.

I don’t think that it was the elimination of slides that improved the workshop. I think eliminating the slides made me focus on the content of the presentation and on my speaking style.

As John Dupuis says in Confessions of a Science Librarian, you can give a good presentation using PowerPoint, but you do have to put some effort into it.

I’m putting together another presentation for grad students, and I originally intended to use slides but to be very judicious about it. Well, when I made myself scrutinize each slide, I ended up deciding that I didn’t need any slides at all. So I think that’s my new rule: slides are just fine in presentations, but make sure their use is justified.

My library is blogging!

If you followed the link to the APLIC-I conference program in the previous post, you may have seen a presentation authored by yours truly and two colleagues about my library’s blogging project, News from the PRI Library and Data Archive.

The blog may seem overwhelming at first—we have a lot of categories and a lot of posts—but we are primarily encouraging our users to subscribe to the particular categories that interest them and using the feeds to provide content for other web pages. For instance, we’ve included the feed for the library categories on my library’s home page.

We think the majority of our users are not currently using feed readers, so we’re introducing this gradually. We do already have a few people subscribed to our feeds, though, and all four of our staff members are posting regularly to the blog

Library @ Your User

I’ll be giving a talk about a blogging project at my library on March 28 at the APLIC-I 39th Annual Conference in Los Angeles. If you’re interested in population libraries and will be in the area, come to the conference! We are waiting to get our new web server installed before making the blog fully public, but I’ll post more details here when that happens.

Library @ Your User: A Case Study Using New Technologies to Extend the Reach of the Library

Tara Murray, Jennifer Darragh, & Kiet Bang
Population Research Insitute, Penn State
March 28, 2006
APLIC-I 39th Annual Conference
Westin Bonaventure, Los Angeles, California