RSS Discussion Forum Coordinating Committee

Current Roster

As of July 1, 2010, RSS Discussion Groups were transformed and subsumed into the new RSS Discussion Forum Coordinating Committee.

2. Purpose
The purpose of the RSS Discussion Forum Coordinating Committee is to provide a venue for reference practitioners to introduce reference related topics of current importance, to promote discussion, and to encourage further exploration. The discussion forum committee solicits discussion topic proposals to be offered under the auspices of RSS, but facilitated by the discussion forum proposer, at the midwinter meeting and annual conference. In addition, this committee is responsible for marketing the forums and providing logistical support (e.g., scheduling, timelines, guidelines, etc.) to the discussion forum facilitators.

3. Composition
The committee consists of five members: one current RSS Member-at-Large and four additional committee members to be appointed (note: current discussion group chairs will serve as committee members until their terms of office have been met).

RSS standing committees will be able to offer their own discussion forums without going through the proposal process, but will notify the Discussion Forum Coordinating Committee as a courtesy and to avoid duplication of discussion topics.

What to Include in the Proposal:
The following 5 elements need to be addressed and clearly stated in the proposal:

  • A clear description of the discussion topic's issues
  • Rationale for convening a discussion on the topic
  • Importance of the topic's issues for reference librarians
  • At least three sample discussion questions that may be used to facilitate group discussion
  • Proposed strategies and structure to ensure a group discussion

The Potential Scope of Discussion Topics includes, but is not Limited to:

  • Reference methods
  • Reference and information technology
  • Assessment of reference
  • Management of reference
  • Research in reference

The topic should be focused enough to be covered reasonably well within the allotted time. (For example "Everything about IM" would be too broad, while "Using IM to answer reference questions for Honors Students" might be just the right scope).

Expectations for Discussion Forum Conveners:
For the selected proposals, the proposal author(s) will serve as convener(s) and commit to:

  • becoming up-to-date and familiar with the discussion topic;
  • exploring possible discussion formats and selecting the appropriate format that allows for maximum discussion within the parameters and scope of the topic;
  • drafting a summary of findings about the issue with a few key references to hand out at the discussion forum;
  • facilitating a Discussion Forum at either an ALA meeting or online
  • maintaining communication with the Discussion Forum Coordinating Committee throughout the planning, program, and follow-up processes.

Who May Apply:  Applications are welcome from any ALA member with topics related to reference.
How to Apply:  Complete and submit a proposal form by the deadline.

Process:  Selection will be based on the perceived importance and impact of the proposed topic. Additional selection criteria used in the selection process includes evaluating proposed topics for: timeliness, relevancy, currency, practicality (that the topic lends itself to a discussion), innovation, evidence of applicant's knowledge, and clear focus.  Proposal writers will be notified within 3 weeks of the deadline as to whether or not their proposal was accepted. Conveners are responsible for their own conference registration and travel expenses if discussion is to take place at an ALA meeting/conference.