Preconferences

Thursday, September 30, 2010, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Friday, October 1, 8:00 a.m. - noon

jenny emanuel

Redesigning a Website Using Information Architecture Principles

Jenny Emanuel, University of Illinois

Many library website have gone through multiple iterations with the focus on creating a usable home page and a template for the rest of the site. Once these two features have been standardized, the content is then up to individual librarians to create and organize into smaller areas of the site.  However, most of the librarians creating content do not have significant training on usability, accessibility, or information architecture, and the library web site as a whole becomes unorganized and difficult to use by library users.  This presentation will focus on strategies systems staff and public services librarians can utilize to inform each other about information architecture practices in order to create and maintain a library web site.  Usability and accessibility will be touched upon as two other factors, but not emphasized.  Other topics to be discussed including getting away from content designed by a committee and practical tools librarians can use to improve the architecture of web sites. The presenter will focus on two smaller scale website projects she has undertaken at her institution.

Jenny Emanuel is the Digital Services and Reference Librarian at the University of Illinois.  Her position lies at the juncture of technology and public services in the library, and her research interests reflect both areas of her position.  She has completed several studies examining how library users utilize online tools for research and is currently looking at how librarians search for information based upon their Internet adoption.  An Ed.D. candidate at the University of Missouri, she is writing her dissertation on younger librarians and why they chose it as their first career.  Jenny is very involved in ALA, serving as the New Member’s Round Table Representative to Council and is always looking for opportunities to help new librarians be acculturated to librarianship as a career.

maurice york

Virtualize IT: Laying the Foundation for the Library of the Future
The Service, Business, and Strategic Value of Virtualizing Library Systems and Infrastructure

Maurice York, North Carolina State University

Virtualization and cloud computing are the buzz words of the year, but what does virtualization really mean to libraries and how does it fit in with an overall computing strategy for building dynamic learning spaces, providing effective staff tools, and delivering relevant and compelling services? Now more than ever, library IT is being asked to do more with less. Within our libraries, users are demanding more computers, more bandwidth, more power, and more integrated network services. Broader trends in computing and user behavior--including the increasing ubiquity of mobile computing and "the cloud", distributed computing environments, ultra-high speed wireless and wired networks, an ever-growing hunger for storage capacity, and increasingly collaborative work that relies on real-time communication, display and visualization--are placing pressure on library systems to keep pace. While many institutions have started virtualizing back-office server infrastructure, the deployment of more esoteric technologies that virtualize desktops, laptops, and storage are still in their infancy in libraries. Virtualization has clear benefits for reducing costs, cutting carbon, and slashing administrative overhead. More than that, it provides a path forward for scaling out capacity and services for systems departments that are faced with shrinking budgets and static staff growth. Yet virtualization also brings significant challenges that have caused many to take a wait-and-see stance: a fear of poor user acceptance, a perception of high up-front costs, and an apparent need to retool existing support models and retrain IT staff.

This preconference--geared towards systems staff, IT managers, administrators, and those with an interest in cutting edge technology spaces and services--will explore how to create a holistic virtualization strategy with a vision towards creating the library spaces and services of the future, including technology selection and integration, cost, design, deployment, and support. Among other topics, participants will:

  • learn how to use a technology profile of their organization to assess readiness and fit for virtualization
  • examine the different forms of virtualization and how they map to library services and spaces
  • receive practical tools for estimating savings in hardware costs, utilities, and carbon emissions to make an effective ROI assessment
  • learn how virtualization and cloud technologies can inform planning and transform the design of library spaces

As the Head of Information Technology for the NCSU Libraries, Maurice York is responsible for computing strategy and design for NCSU's five existing libraries, as well as a new "high technology" library being built on NCSU's Centennial Campus. The process of designing computing for the new library has provided a unique opportunity to re-imagine the IT infrastructure of the future based on current trends in library services, learning space design, mobile and desktop computing technologies, and network design and capacity. The NCSU Libraries have become the university pilot site for virtual desktops and are pushing the boundaries of virtualized technologies in anticipation of the opening of the Hunt Library in 2012. Maurice has presented extensively on topics related to IT management, strategy, and technology trends and best practices at the local and national level.