Preconference Sessions

LITA sponsors a number of preconference sessions before ALA Annual Conferences and Midwinter Meetings.

Upcoming Preconferences

Preconferences will be listed as they are planned.  See below to learn how to propose a preconference or suggest topics for a preconference.

LITA Midwinter 2015 Workshops: Friday, January 30, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

Developing mobile apps to support field research

Speaker: Wayne Johnston

Researchers in most disciplines do some form of field research. Too often they collect data on paper which is not only inefficient but vulnerable to data loss. Surveys and other data collection instruments can easily be created as mobile apps with the resulting data stored safely on the campus server and immediately available for analysis. The apps also enable added functionality like improved data validity through use of authority files and capturing GPS coordinates.

Introduction to practical programming

Speaker: Elizabeth Wickes

This workshop will introduce foundational programming skills using the Python programming language. There will be three sections to this workshop: a brief historical review of computing and programming languages, hands on practice with installation and coding, followed by a review of information resources essential for computing education and reference. This workshop will prepare participants to write their own programs and provide essential experience and background for the evaluation of computing reference materials and workshop development.

From Lost to Found: How User Testing Can Improve the User Experience of Your Library Website

Speakers: Kate Lawrence, Deirdre Costello and Robert Newell

Please join two user researchers from EBSCO Information Services and the Web Services Coordinator at the University of Houston Libraries as they incorporate best practices from the legends of user research – Nielsen to Krug to Portigal – to teach attendees why they need to conduct user testing on their library site, and walk them through each step of the process. Attendees will leave the workshop informed about principles of usability and prepared to conduct their own testing to yield insights about their audience.

Previous Preconferences

Linked Data for Libraries: How libraries can make use of Linked Open Data to share information about library resources and to improve discovery, access, and understanding for library users

Led by: Dean B. Krafft and Jon Corson-Rikert, Cornell University Library
Linked Open Data (LOD) provides an expressive and extensible mechanism for sharing information (metadata) about all the materials research libraries make available. In this workshop the presenters will introduce the principles and practices of creating and consuming Linked Open Data via a series of examples from sources relevant to libraries. They will provide an introduction to the technologies, tools, and types of data typically involved in creating and working with Linked Open Data and the semantic web. The preconference will also address the challenges of data quality, interoperability, authoritativeness, privacy, and other issues accompanying the adoption of new technologies as these apply to making use of Linked Open Data.

Learn Python by Playing with Library Data

Led by: Francis Kayiwa, Kayiwa Consulting
What can be more fun than learning Python? Learning Python by hacking on library data! In this workshop, you’ll learn Python basics by reading files, looking at MARC (yes MARC), building data structures, and analyzing library data (those logs aren’t going to appreciate themselves). By the end, you will have set up your Python environment, installed some useful packages, and learned how to write simple programs that you can use to impress your colleagues back at work.

Creating Library Web Services: Mashups and APIs

Speaker: Jason Clark, Montana State University subject guides, Flickr library displays, YouTube library orientation; with mashups and APIs, it's easier to bring pieces of the web together with library data. Learn what an API is and what it does, the components of web services, how to build a mashup, how to work with PHP, and how to create web services for your library. Participants should be comfortable with HTML markup and have an interest in learning about web scripting and programming and are encouraged to bring a laptop for hands-on participation.

Open Source CMS Playroom

Speaker: Amanda Hollister,

Open source content management systems present an opportunity for libraries to distribute content creation and maintenance and add Web 2.0 features to library websites. This workshop will provide an overview of several content management systems, compare and contrast system functionality and features, and demonstrate how open source CMSs can be used to enhance library websites. Bring your laptop to explore and compare basic installations of WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal CMSs.


The Education Committee identifies topics and presenters, reviews proposals, and recommends educational programs to the LITA Board. The Education Committee accepts proposals for programs, webinars, workshops, or regional institutes via the submit a proposal webform.


Send topic suggestions for courses, webinars, workshops, or regional institutes to the LITA Office.