LITA National Forum: A Conference Report

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/07419050510588188
Publication Date01 Jan 2005
Pages4-7
AuthorColby Riggs,Heidi Hanson
SubjectLibrary & information science
LITA National Forum:
A Conference Report
Colby Riggs and Heidi Hanson
4LIBRARY HITECH NEWS Number 1 2005, pp. 4-7, #Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 0741-9058, DOI 10.1108/07419050510588188
The Library and Information
Technology Association (LITA) held
its National Forum in St Louis,
Missouri from October 7-10, 2004. The
theme for this year's Forum was ``10
Years of Connectivity: Libraries, the
World Wide Web, and the Next
Decade.'' This three-day educational
event included preconferences, general
sessions, and more than 30 concurrent
sessions. The following is a summary of
the Forum.
There were three preconferences at
the Forum, the first preconference was
presented by Frank Cervone from
Northwestern University titled,
``Developing a Culture of Assessment
in Library Information Technology
Services.'' Frank described how
libraries are increasingly being called
on to demonstrate their impact on their
services and outcomes of their parent
institution or community, information
technology services within the Library
must be able to do the same. He stated
that a critical component in making this
happen is to adopt a model of
continuous service assessment that uses
user-centered decision making in order
to gather relevant requirements data and
information. In 2002, the Information
Technology Division of the
Northwestern University Library began
adopting a continuous assessment
model for decision-making and service
provisioning. Frank talked about what
the forces were that caused them to
adopt a culture of assessment, and what
that means, how their goals and work
environment have been influenced by
this change, how this had led to the
adoption of a new method of thinking
and supporting services within the
Library, and what the audience could do
to get started with this methodology.
``What's In It For Me? Evaluating
and Reporting the Effectiveness of
Electronic Information Services in a
Multi-Library Environment'' presented
by Beverley Shirley the director of
Library Resource Sharing at the Texas
State Library & Archives Commission,
William E. Moen an Associate
Professor from the School of Library &
Information Sciences at the University
of North Texas and Denise M. Davis the
Director of the Office of Research and
Statistics at the American Library
Association. The panel described a
project where the Library of Texas is in
a partnership of Texas libraries using
standards-based, metasearching
software to provide the citizens of
Texas access to multiple information
resources. Originally funded through a
grant, the program is now supported by
a combination of federal funds, state
funds, and membership fees. Evaluation
is an integral and ongoing component
of the Library of Texas. They stressed
attention must be paid to selection of
appropriate measures to report to
governmental agencies, members, and
funding bodies; accurate measurement
of output, outcome, and efficiencies;
data continuity to enable longitudinal
comparisons; and compilation of data to
meet local, regional, statewide, and
national reporting needs. In such an
environment, it becomes vitally
important to automate data collection
and compilation to maximize accuracy
and minimize amount of staff time
devoted to ``number crunching.'' Using
the Library of Texas project as a case
study, this presentation discussed how
library consortia can best answer the
questions: What do I measure? How
should I measure it? How can I
automate the evaluation process?
The third preconference was presented
by a group from the Multnomah County
Library System, ``Dancing Cheek to
Cheek: A Library's Tale of Content
Management Systems and Collaborations
with ''Outside`` IT'' which included
Brandon A. Barnett the Electronic
Resources Librarian, Michael O. Hanna
the Data Administration DBA, and
Michael J. Spicer the Content
Management System Administrator.
They described a multi-year process, in
which Multnomah County is moving its
Internet and intranet sites into a Content
Management System (CMS). Multnomah
County Library staff worked closely with
county IT to plan the project, select a
CMS product and vendor, plan and
execute a pilot site (the library's intranet),
and create an overall structure for the
entire project. In doing so, the staff
developed strong collaborative working
relationships, built a model for the
remaining phases of the project, and
demonstrated the importance of
information professionals' participation
in technology projects. This
preconference focused on the
collaborative working relationships they
developed, the various planning
processes, and the nuts-n-bolts of a CMS
project.
There were over 25 programs in five
concurrent sessions. Some of the topics
discussed were new open source
applications, library digitization
projects including the use of tools such
MarcXML, OAI-PMH harvesters,
MyLibrary, and digital management
systems. Other topics included voice-
over-IP, geographical information
systems, firewalls and ad-blockers,
integrated library systems, streaming
media and staff training.
The session ``Open Source
Applications for Communication and
Collaboration'' presented by May
Chang, from North Carolina State
University (NCSU) libraries focused on
their project to implement a series of
open source communication and
collaboration tools on both the public
web and staff intranet at NCSU
Libraries. The project was based on a

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