The Online Northwest Conference was AWESOME.

There is no other word for it: Awesome.  The conference gathered hundreds of us introverted, “dream big or go home” librarians in Corvallis, OR.  I needed a day to let all of the information sink in, but now I am ready to share some of the tid-bits of knowledge gleaned from the wonderful presenters and sessions at yesterday’s conference.  It was truly inspiring to see so many projects in many stages and get insight into unique projects and endeavors involving technology and digital media in libraries.

Kicking off the ONW conference was author and library advocate, Steve Krug.  It was exciting to hear him speak about his experience with libraries and librarians and the capacities in which he has worked with them in recent years to provide guidance on his specialty, usability testing.  He acknowledged the times are changing for information professionals, but the comment, “Sorry, Librarians, we didn’t realize you were curating all of human knowledge for us” resulted in enthusiastic applause from the ballroom of quite librarians, politely nibbling on their fruit and bagels.  It struck a chord and at that moment every librarian and library student seemed to remember why we chose this profession. I know I did.

Steve’s book, Don’t Make Me Think, is one that I am actually in the middle of reading for my Web Design class right now.  His wisdom about usability testing was helpful and came up several times throughout the rest of the day’s sessions.  “More than a Map to Get the Treasure: Strategies for Easing Information Discovery in Digital Collections” (the first session I attended), included a lot of talk on the subject of usability and how to tailor online collections to meet the needs of users.  I was particularly interested in how they supplemented traditional metadata schemes to make a particular collection about ships easier to search using the web tool known as MediaWiki.  This is something I thought may be useful for my internship in March, digitizing the Artistamps at the Joan Flash Artist Book Collection.

Coming soon, more posts about topics covered at the conference. 🙂

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