ALA Connect replaced the previous Online Communities service that ALA offered as a virtual, collaborative, workspace online. A few member groups had been using Communities, but it wasn't widely adopted, so we've revamped it using new service offered by Higher Logic. We hope this will become a centralized space where official ALA groups can work together online. In addition, any member can request new communities (unofficial ALA groups), so the site combines association work with communities of interest in one place.
Every active ALA group has a space in Connect automatically, because we've pre-populated it with data from our membership database (iMIS). We synchronize member data , so we'll always know which committees you're on and which other official ALA groups you're part of.
Both ALA groups and communities use the same types of tools. By default, each one has a discussion board, and libraries (Shared files, logos, pictures, etc.). The group can use whichever of the tools it finds valuable.
Non-members can register in Connect to create a free account, but they will only be able to view and add to public content. They won't be able to search for ALA members, view member data, or take advantage of any of the networking features.
In phase one, we implemented features that let members identify other members as co-workers, frequent collaborators, classmates, and friends in order to create an online professional network that mirrors and extends their physical world on.
In phase two, we started offering ways for you to find and connect with other members around professional interests, issues, advocacy, your job, the work of the association, meeting up with friends & colleagues when you attend ALA conferences, and the like.
Currently, ALA Connect is ALA's professional network, an online version of what has traditionally taken place in the physical world.
Because ALA knows a little bit about you (if you're part of a division, how long you've been a member, what committees you've served on, etc.), we help you pre-populate your profile with all of the great work you've done for ALA in your professional career. That way, if you decide you want to display your profile to colleagues, potential employers, or even publicly, we'll have created a curriculam vitae of all of your contributions. We really appreciate members' efforts, and we want to help others appreciate you, too, by letting you show off the great work you do.
We hope to make your Connect experience as easy and practical as possible. You can read more about ALA Connect on the ITTS News blog, and view the Roadmap to find out what's planned for future development. Read through the user guidelines before you start posting content. If you have a specific question about the site or our goals for it, please feel free to post a question in the Discussion Forum.