ER&L Conference 2016: In the Nutshell

I am grateful to my director and manager for giving me the opportunity to attend ER&L (Electronic Resources and Libraries)  2016 in Austin, Texas from April 3 – 6 2016.  The conference was held at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center, University of Texas at Austin.

erl

This conference has been going on since 2006. And it has a strong following ever since.  More information about ER&L can be found here.  Quick stats:

Conference Tracks:
erltracks

“Common job titles of the 3,500+ in person and virtual attendees over the past 5 years are” (https://www.electroniclibrarian.org/about/erl-in-a-snapshot/) :

erljobtitles

Source:  https://www.electroniclibrarian.org/about/erl-in-a-snapshot/

I enjoyed the 2016 conference tremendously.  Having attended the 10th year anniversary in 2015, I was looking forward to the 2016 event.  One of my concern though was the weather.  It was freezing cold in 2015, but it turned out that the weather (2016) was much, way much, better. Thank God.

I wanted to gain as much knowledge as I possible could.  On top of that, I looked forward to network with my other counterparts in the same field: Electronic Resources Management among others.  Took the opportunity to attend 2 workshops:

  • Understanding and using altmetrics for impact assessment: an interactive overview by Robin Champieux (Oregon Health & Science Uni) and Stacy Konkiel (Altmetric).
  • EZProxy: Assessment and Administration Techniques and Tips by Shannon Fox-Teichmann (Austin College Abell Library Center) and Glenn Bunton (Uni of South Carolina Libraries)

Below are some of the interesting sessions that I attended during the conference:

  • Keynote Session
  • Case Studies from the Cloud: Technical Perspectives on Hosting Discovery Systems
  • Size does(n’t) matter: Growing your career in a wildly different organization
  • Separate, but equal: The role of choice in the future of discovery evaluations
  • Assessing Major organizational change: The effects on the use of Library resources and services
  • Maximizing management:  Getting more out of your e-resource management strategy
  • Integrating discovery and database A-Z lists with libguides
  • How I implemented a data-driven approach to electronic resource management on a shoestring budget with very limited staff
  • Access Denied!

There were lots of other valuable sessions too.  However, I wasn’t able to attend them as they were held concurrently with the ones that I attended.  Sacrifices had to be made.  Fortunately,  the conference organizers recorded all the sessions and uploaded them online (You need to pay to watch them online).  This allowed me to view them at a later time.

** A little background:  prior to this conference, I was involved in some major projects in my library.  They were, among others:

  • Implementing our new Discovery Services Layer – Summon (now in the final phases of the project)
  • Completed the EJournal Management System: We moved from Innovative CASE to Proquest 360 Core
  • Migrated LibGuides v1 to Libuides v2
  • Deployed LibAnswers as our new online reference platform.  We now have our FAQ website as well as a back-end ticketing system that stores, tracks and manage all questions received via email or widget.

At the end of the conference,  some of the following questions lingered in my mind:

  • How can Summon best integrate with LibGuides AZ database listings.  Presently I set the database titles in the best bets options in Summon so that the relevant databases are retrieved in the search results.  It would be better if these results can be culled directly from libguides.
  • Think through the possible starting points of entry/access to the library resources; for example: Would our users start searching using:
    • Google
    • Google Scholar
    • Direct access to these electronic databases
    • Our E-Resources Portal aka Proquest 360 Core public interface
    • Library website
    • LibGuides
    • FAQ site
    • and the list goes on
  • Can library be proactive so that wherever the user starts with, they will always end up with the information that they need (and they want to get there within a few clicks, 3 clicks max 🙂 )
  • How can we make it easy for our users to search on any device: PC, Tablet, Mobile devices, etc

On another note, I met some wonderful people over there.  Enjoyed the open discussions with them.  I would definitely recommend those who are into electronic resources management to attend this conference at least once.  I’m pretty sure that they won’t be disappointed.

 

 

 

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