With content divided into seven distinct tracks—Managing e-Resources & Licensing, Collection Development & Assessment, Organizational Strategies, External Relationships, User Experience & Promotion, Scholarly Communications & Library Publishing, and Emerging Technologies & Trends—the annual ER&L conference in Austin, TX, offers attendees deep-dive presentations, case studies, and panel discussions on every aspect of electronic resource management (ERM).
The 11th annual 2016 Electronic Resources and Libraries (ER&L) conference featured dozens of sessions and workshops on topics including emerging technologies, e-resource management, collection development and assessment, user experience, and organizational strategies. This summary includes just a few of the sessions that LJ had the opportunity to attend.
If the unofficial slogan of ER&L’s host city is “Keep Austin Weird,” the conference could be summed up as “Keep Libraries Current.” For the latest trends in how the changing digital landscape continues to impact libraries, particularly in the academic arena, head south by southwest to Austin, where the 11th annual ER&L conference will follow the iconic music, film, and interactive festival by a few weeks, April 3–6, at Austin’s AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center, the University of Texas at Austin, and online.
UX designer Judy Siegel likes a good challenge. For the past six years, she has been helping a wide range of tech companies, startups, and nonprofits find design thinking solutions to their user experience problems. Currently director of user experience at MSNBC, Siegel has brought her design skills to CNN.com, the Information Architecture Institute, and recently the Data Privacy Project, a Knight Foundation–funded prototype project for an online technical support network that will help librarians set up secure digital services and educate their communities about privacy issues.
By now the concept of user experience (UX) has shown up on most librarians’ radar at some point. Whether you’ve found yourself curious about how better digital design could help your library’s traffic, you wish had a UX specialist on staff, you’re engaged by Aaron Schmidt’s The User Experience column, or you’ve considered learning more about user-centered design yourself, the chance to improve the library’s user experience is within everyone’s reach.
Over 650 attendees from 42 states and five countries gathered for this year’s ER&L conference, with hundreds more viewing more than 60 hours of livestreamed and archived sessions online. This year’s conference also included a new, two-day “Designing for Digital” user experience (UX) event, which ER&L plans to make a regular component of the conference going forward. As usual, the days were packed with panels and presentations on e-resources, with topics ranging from organizational strategies and working with vendors to sessions on troubleshooting and technical maintenance. Here are highlights from some of the sessions that LJ was able to attend.
User-generated content (UGC)—which includes tweets, reviews, Facebook posts, and Wikipedia articles—now plays a key role in the average person’s Internet experience. UGC is also becoming an indispensable resource for helping researchers make sense of big data. In his Wednesday keynote address “The Mining and Application of Diverse Cultural Perspectives in User-Generated Content” at the Electronic Resources and Libraries (ER&L) conference in Austin this week, Brent Hecht, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Minnesota, will discuss how “UGC reflects the cultural diversity of its contributors to a previously unidentified extent and that this diversity has important implications for Web users and existing UGC-based technologies.” Prior to the event, LJ spoke with Hecht about the intersection of geography and computer science, the influence of UGC, and why librarians are needed to help patrons navigate popular UGC resources such as Wikipedia.