Wednesday, May 03, 2006

TLA Conference Notes: Day 2, Session on Cool Websites

(Day 2 was April 27, 2006)

Title: "Sixty Sites in Sixty Minutes."
Presenters: Jenny Levine, the "Shifted Librarian", and Susan Skyzinski, senior librarian relations consultant for Lexis-Nexis (Dallas).

Note: The presentation and the sites can be found at a wiki Ms. Levine created for the presentation.

Shifted Librarian is one the blogs on my aggregator, but the title of the presentation itself would have gotten me to see this as well. It was a good chance to learn about a few new tricks.

Before presenting the 60 sites, the Ms. Skyzinski gave some tips on how to make a similar presentation for other audiences. The concept is something that can work for any situation where one needs to present information. We often get e-mails from colleagues; we have reading lists, blogs, other items on our aggregators. You can then use these as resources. Make sure you put links and so on in a place you can find them. Ms. Skyzinski gave what I thought to be a curious tip, and that was to read the airline magazines, which have a diverse range of articles, so they can help you find ideas for presentations. Fortunately, you can see the editions at the airlines' websites. She also discussed a little about evaluation of websites (accuracy, authority, etc.). Once you do the presentation, always ask the audience to share other ideas they may have; this can get a conversation going and make a presentation more interactive.

You can also tailor your presentation to available time. For instance, make it "30 sites in 30 minutes" instead. Overall, use your expertise (this remark served to reassure audience members that this is something they can do easily).

(I found it ironic that Ms. Skyzinski mentioned that librarians often just want the facts. At times, her lecture on presenting did seem a bit too long. I just wanted them to get to the actual sites. Maybe I was just being a little impatient since this is stuff I have experience with, or maybe, I just wanted the facts. Then again, when the presentation came up to the Unshelved site, she was actually reading parts of the site. I am sure she was a fan and wanted to convey this was a good site for librarians, but I could have done without her reading the site's character primer. It was as bad as a presenter who puts up a Powerpoint and reads the slides).

Do remember to doublecheck all links and that the information remains current. Do yourself what you expect your audience to do.

Ms. Levine then started with the sites. She pointed out that it is good to use wikies as a tool to put resources together. One could use if for a presentation. Do note that if there is no Internet available at your venue, you may have to print it out or put it in something like PowerPoint, which you can save on a disk or a flash drive. There are other tools, such as Squidoo, which creates "lenses" for item lists (I definitely have to play with this one sometime). Levine calls these "lenses" pathfinders. One thing to think about is the idea of putting things we create out for others to find on the Web, which is what tools like this allow us to do. Another interesting idea was using at the reference desk to save commonly used websites and resources.

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