The Instruction and Outreach Department manages and coordinates library research instruction for students, faculty and staff through course-related workshops, outreach activities, personal consultations, research guides and other instructional materials.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Conferences and posters and showcases, oh my!

The past three or so weeks have left my head spinning (in a good way!), as they've been filled to the brim with learning from and networking with librarians and other information professionals from around the country! 

I started at Texas Library Association's Annual Conference in San Antonio, which was pretty impressive -- 8,000 librarians gathered to hear Keynote Speaker Scott Simon and explore ways of "Filtering Chaos: From Information to Knowledge."  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to share what we're doing at Duke to integrate library resources into Blackboard -- the energy level after my presentation was high, and it sounds like more and more librarians are thinking about ways to embed their services and resources into their institutions' Learning Management Systems.

There were so many things going on TLA that it was difficult to choose which sessions to attend.  The highlights for me were Megan Oakleaf's presentation on outcomes-based assessment for library instruction and Keene Haywood's talk on The Horizon Report on Emerging Technologies.  I've followed the Horizon reports for the last few years, but it was fascinating to learn more about how Keene and his colleagues at New Media Consortium actually research and write these reports.

Next up in my month of professional development was a day-long training session on using Zotero, which Diane blogged about last week.  I'm impressed with Zotero's functionality and look forward to learning more about the tool and helping students put it to use.

Duke's Center for Instructional Technology's Showcase, "Learning beyond the classroom," followed last Friday and proved to be the best Showcase I've attended.  The final plenary of the day was especially enlightening -- as Joel Thierstein from Rice University and the Connexions Consortium and Michael Boezi of Flat World Knowledge shared their views of Open Educational Resources and the work that their organizations are doing to make textbooks and other learning resources more accessible, customizable and affordable for students and faculty. 

I spent yesterday afternoon at the LAUNC-Ch Research Forum, where I learned more about the work that NC State's Josh Boyer and consultant Abe Crystal of More Better Labs are doing with NCSU Libraries' new discovery tool Summon.  While the tool is undeniably powerful (it indexes hundreds of thousands of resources), Josh and Abe's usability studies reveal that actually using the results of a Summon search isn't as easy as it might be.  Field experience student Alice Whiteside and I presented a poster related to our usability studies of LibGuides and came back to Duke with ideas for enhancing our own LibGuides interface. 

And my whirlwind tour's not over yet -- the Instruction and Outreach Department will be hosting its annual retreat later this month.  We're looking forward to welcoming Penn State's Elyssa Stern Cahoy as nearly 40 librarians and info professionals explore digital literacies and the role librarians play in helping faculty teach and students master these "new" literacies.

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