Wednesday, September 27, 2006

COMO 2006 Recap

Last week I was in Athens,GA (my hometown) for the annual GaCOMO conference. COMO is put on by several library related associations in GA, so there are all types of librarians hanging out talking about different issues. I did two presentations, one on podcasting and one a rerun of the IM reference panel I participated in earlier this year with Sarah Steiner from Georgia State and Elizabeth White from UGA. Both went quite well with a good bit of discussion and interest in the issues. I really don't feel 100% good about the podcasting session though. I would have liked to spend more in depth time on podcast creation, but needed to cover the basics as well. Tough in 50 mins. Maybe a podcasting bootcamp or something another time with the whole focus on the process of planning for and making a podcast.

One cool thing from the IM panel was that UGA is now using IM for their chat reference service. Elizabeth said they are using Meebo to deliver the service, and are looking into using the Meebo Me widget on their chat page. Very cool! I still prefer using Trillian (or Gaim if we ever switch) with our chat being done by folks at different locations and I tend to not notice when my Meebo window is blinking. But the Meebo option is definitely worth considering. Or at least provide a link to Meebo on your chat page for easy access.

My two sessions were part of an unofficial social software track that a few folks put together for the conference. We managed to get four programs strung together in a row in the same room, the other two being a look at Facebook and MySpace by Cliff Landis fromValdosta State and a wiki program by the aforementioned Sarah Steiner and Brian Mathews from Ga Tech.

Cliff did a great job explaining social networking and how it can benefit libraries. He started out talking about the current controversies around social networking, which was a great intro to the discussion and then discussed various ways libraries are moving into these areas, including his Ask-A-Librarian group on Facebook. Cliff's talking about social networking with Aaron Schmidt at Internet Librarian, so check it out if you're going.

Brian and Sarah rocked the wiki session too with their wiki based presentation. They showed a variety of different wiki uses and creation software packages. I've been thinking about moving my presentation stuff from my webpage to a wiki format for a little easier updating, so the tips came in handy. I hadn't heard about the Wiki WorldCat pilot either, which looks very interesting.

With a little email and flyer advertising the room was packed for the morning sessions. More chairs had to be added to the room and there were still folks sitting on the floor! So there was a good bit of interest in the topics!

I would definitely recommend rounding up some like-minded folks and putting together something like we did at your local or state library meetings. It was a great way to work with some very cool and knowledgeable librarians and I think the strength in numbers and the ad blitz-let worked well to give a little more focus to all of our topics and how they fit together.


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