Author Archive

Conference 2014 – Demonstrating the Value of Corporate Libraries

Presenters : James M. Matarazzo, Toby Pearlstein

I found this session to be most pertinent, with important points about establishing and maintaining our value as knowledge management professionals. The presenters are highly qualified on the subject.

Perceived central point : Librarians need to work every day to demonstrate that what they do is essential to the strategic direction of the organization. That means knowing what that direction is and creating links to what we do to that aim.

Resources are slim in all organizations today, and there’s competition.

Favorite quotes :
“It’s not that they don’t like you . . . they want your space.”

“You don’t want them to like you . . . oh, it’s nice if they do. But what you want is that they respect you.”

Not a complete report, but feel free to add your comments . . . and check out the great slides.

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Conference 2014 – Beth Kanter on content curation

Jean Sack offers this look at a dynamic and engaging opening session :

Like most librarians who organize, filter and make sense of information, Beth Kanter, author and IT consultant for Non-profits (, has made a career of “training attention” and scouting out new social impact spaces, monitoring blogging insights, filtering changing story collections, and sharing the best of these new findings very systematically with her social networks via her own wikis and blogs. She recommends “learning the new” from adjacent fields and social media experts such as Janet Hart (tagging content as a swift annotation technique), Huffington Post writer Bruce Jarche (First Focus scans children, health, welfare, rights articles, reads them for sensibility and then shares by tweeting the best resources), and Robin Good’s technique of validating news sites ( Kanter mentioned the program “Scoop it” as a content curation tool which ranks collections and their continued availability or sustainability. She suggested detangling social media sites such as Facebook by typing in keywords to find pages as a “crowd tangle” method utilized by media experts. To demonstrate impact of peer learning, APLIC conference participants divided into focus groups around four key ideas and posted ideas on wall charts to share with the rest of the group.

See the slides for more details and resources.

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Sharing experiences from attending the Boston APLIC Conference

Md. Nazim Uddin, Ph.D. filed the following report about his participation in the APLIC Conference. The event provided him with the opportunity to connect with several valuable resources.

Nazim Uddin and Tufts librarian

A Hirsh Library (Tufts) librarian speaks with Md. Nazim Uddin of Bangladesh

Going to conferences energizes me. It rejuvenates my focus and my determination, and I always find new ideas that I want to implement while learning from some of the best mentors. It’s a great way to connect with new friends in our information-collecting and distribution fields. APLIC organized such a conference this year from 28-30 April 2014 in Boston, USA. I absolutely loved attending my first APLIC Conference. I had no idea before there were so many USA based library professionals like me. The people, who attended the conference, were learned, trained, skilled, and highly professional. A great benefit of attending APLIC conference is meeting people who can help me on my path. Basking in that energy for a few days totally raised my vibration. Attending this conference also reduced another knowledge gap because I was able to share HINARI information equity between developed and developing countries. I was honoured to be one of the session presenters, with renowned population library professionals and academic scholars presenting their papers in various sessions of the conference.

icddr,b Library is one of the active members of the Association of Population / Family Planning Libraries and Information Centers – also known as APLIC International (APLIC). We obtain and supply information from and to APLIC. icddr,b Library has benefited by participating in this APLIC resource sharing programme. I was invited by APLIC to attend their 47th annual conference held in Marriott Copley Place, Boston, USA. In fact, APLIC provided me US$ 1775.00 as stipend that includes registration fee, snacks and a banquet dinner during the period of the conference. The main theme of the conference was “Exploring the Collaborative Common Ground”.

Why did I want to participate in the conference?

  • to present a paper titled “A Study on the Use and Impact of HINARI: Bangladesh perspective,” to share ideas and exchange views with the participants of the conference on resource sharing programmes and to advance the delivery of information services in Bangladesh.
    to meet Mr. John Carper, Librarian of John Snow, Inc. Training and Research Institute Library. He is the person who may be considered as a leader in our APLIC resource sharing program
  • to visit the Boston Public Library; the School of Medicine Library at Tufts University; and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum archives.
  • I heard experts talking about content curation, data visualization, innovations, services, Sharepoint, and media technologies. Participation in this international conference allowed me to learn about many new informatics tools. As our print to digital libraries change, those new services can be applied in our setting over the years to cope with the new environment effectively and efficiently.

I enjoyed the conference and our visits to several different Boston area libraries. I am grateful to the management and member colleagues of APLIC for their encouragement and fellowship funds to attend.

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Conference 2014 – Boston Public Library Tour

Jean Sack writes :

Monday afternoon from 4-5 pm, a dozen APLIC-I conference registrants rendezvoused with a volunteer docent for a fascinating tour of the Boston Public Library – an amazing contrast to the small collections and services we offer.

Main staircase of the Boston Public Library

Main staircase of the Boston Public Library

Located at the west end of the Copley Square, the Boston Public Library is the second oldest library in the USA. Established in 1848 in smaller quarters, the main McKim building opened in 1895, as a “palace for the people” with stalwart exterior architecture and grand interiors, marble staircases and spacious walls decorated by famous 19th century American artists to give a museum-like quality. The John Singer Sargeant and Abby murals, bronze doors, marble lions, central courtyard with controversial fawn mother and child fountain piece, and ornate interiors lead up to the rare book collections featuring New England writers and smaller study rooms. The newer 1970s wing houses large public reading rooms filled with book lovers, researchers with laptops, reference desks and shelving areas containing over 8.9 million titles (approximately 24 million items encompassing all formats), making it the second-largest public library in the USA.

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Conference 2014 – Creating a Technical Knowledge Hub on SharePoint

Presenter : Sarah Burns, Pathfinder

Allison Long reports :

Sarah is the only KM person at Pathfinder, and she has been tasked with implementing a knowledge / collaboration hub using SharePoint. While things are not even close to perfect, she has come a long way in three years!

In order to create the Knowledge Hub, she had to re-configure iShare (Pathfinder’s SharePoint) because it was a mess. She had to develop a common language for the system, catalog the library, and figure out a way to incorporate Pathfinder’s physical archives and shared drive information while also thinking about how to facilitate collaboration and use of the iShare system. Whew!

Sarah worked with her IT group to improve iShare navigation. She also hosted a mini-information audit/card sorting activity with staff to help with organization of information.

In developing the taxonomy for iShare, she got buy-in from technical area leaders to make sure the words she was choosing were commonly used by those parts of the organization.

Elements of the Tech Hub

She cataloged the Pathfinder library within a SP list.

She worked with technical experts to create Technical Assistance Libraries where the experts can post the best sources on their topics and their reasoning behind their selections.

The archive is crazy big. Archiving project artifacts has become part of the project close-out process to try to control the crazy a little. Still a huge backlog.

Virtual Content Advisor Teams act as communities of practice for specific topical areas on the hub. Sarah wrote a guide for these groups’ facilitation.

Yellow pages to be able to find the right people to talk to

Training– Sarah held training sessions over lunch, and she took the time to teach people in the moment when they asked her every day questions about iShare. She also made a training DVD to send to country staff in order to overcome connectivity issues.

Recipe for success:

  1. Patience
  2. Perseverance
  3. Celebrate small victories
  4. Repeat

Lessons Learned

  1. There is a big difference between getting stuff done in SP and learning about SP
  2. Don’t expect change overnight
  3. Take the time to show people how to do things in SP instead of just doing it for them. They will learn better that way.
  4. Connect technical experts to technical libraries
  5. Don’t divide things you want to be able to search into separate lists. It’s easier to have everything in one place in order to search.



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Conference 2014 : Impact? Intrigue? Value-add? The Ins and Outs of Data Visualization

Presenters : Erica Nybro, Measure DHS, and Amanda Makulec, John Snow, Inc.

Stephen Woods reports :

This session identified four distinct stages for creating a useful visual concept. The first stage of the presentation placed on emphasis on identifying your audience and the context of the information to be visualized. Once this is accomplished then author needs to focus on the “story from the data” by looking for trends, patterns, comparisons or surprises. The third stages considers the type of visualization that would best tells the story that the author identified in the previous exercise. In other words, would a chart, infographic, map, graph best highlight your concept. The presenters provided many useful tools for decision-making at this stage and provided a hands-on session to reinforce this concept. Finally, they briefly discussed mechanisms for dissemination and sharing of visual work.

Get the handout

Presentation slides

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Say Hello to your new board

The APLIC Annual Conference was a great event and our business meeting verified the new board.

In brief :

Debra Dickson, Johns Hopkins, is our new President

Yan Fu, University of Michigan, is our new Vice President

Jill Leonard, FHI360, is our new Treasurer.

Incredibly large Thank You to Joann Donatiello who has served as APLIC Treasurer for several years and set a high bar for excellence.

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Act soon to register for annual conference

Friendly reminder :

The conference Early Bird discount rate goes away on March 28. If your institution is like mine, that means getting your paperwork moving now is important.

See the registration form.

Good luck and see you in Boston !

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Use PAA code for APLIC Conference Reservations

The APLIC conference is coming up in about 10 weeks !

If you haven’t yet made hotel reservations, it’s a good idea to do so as soon as possible, even if you’re not sure you’ll be able to make the trip.

The hotel requires 24 hours notice of any cancellations, so you have plenty of time to cancel if something prevents you from attending.

When reserving space at the conference hotel, use the code PAAPAAA in the “groups” box in order to enjoy the conference rate.

I did some digging around when making my reservations two days ago and found rates for the Boston metro area to be very, very expensive. The Boston Marathon runs just one week before our event.

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Mouth, watering

One thing I have noticed since I started hanging out with APLIC folks back in 2009 is that they know how to eat well. In 2010 it was Local, in Dallas; in 2011 it was Zaytinya, in Washington DC; in 2012 it was Osha Thai.

APLIC members at banquet

Happy diners at Osha Thai in San Francisco

Word is just in from our Conference banquet and tour team that this year’s banquet will be held at one of New Orleans’ signature dining spots, Mr. B’s Bistro. (Check out the review on CityEats.)

Interior of Mr. B's Bistro

Mr. B’s Bistro
photo: CityEats

We’re beginning to get blurbs on the talks, too, so you may want to visit the Conference Program page and see how things are developing.

We come to learn things, of course. Still, it’s really all about the people.

Urban Institute visit

APLIC members visit the Urban Institute in Washington DC, 2011

See you there.

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