MLA 2008 Conference Report

The 2008 Annual Michigan Library Association Conference was held in Kalamazoo this year on October 22-24.

Shaping your community’s yesterdays for today and tomorrow: building your library’s local history collection – This presentation highlighted many useful tips about establishing or promoting a library’s local history collection.  Kris Rzepczynski, Michigan/Genealogy Coordinator at the Library of Michigan, presented the viewpoint from a large library with an established collection.  Sara Wedell, Adult Services Librarian at the Delta Township District Library, presented the viewpoint of a library just starting out with their local history collection in a new building. Things to consider when creating a local history collection are the scope, what neighboring libraries are doing so as not to duplicate services, whether to circulate materials, and access vs. preservation.  Establishing contacts, such as libraries, historical/genealogical societies, newspapers or churches, within your community is also important.  Resources available to local history librarians include the MeL Genealogy Gateway (which includes HeritageQuest), Michigan County Histories and, soon, SeekingMichigan.org, an online collection of historical collections.

Tech Tools for Reference: a Public and Academic Library Perspective – This was a very informative presentation about all kinds of useful online tools.  Holly Hibner, head of Adult Services at Salem-South Lyon District Library presented some tools from the public library perspective and Christine Tobias, Reference and Technology librarian at Michigan State University showed the audience tools that could be useful in an academic library setting.  A link to their presentation is available here.

Get the Point Across with a Wink – Glenn Fischer from the Genesee District Library presented about a software tool called WINK which is a free way to record computer screen activity, annotate the recording with text or voice, and export the recording in a number of formats.  At DALNET, we have already begun experimenting with this tool for training purposes.

Catalog Records of Tomorrow: Cataloging Rules and Standards in 2009 – This presentation discussed RDA: Resource Description & Access and the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control report.  The portion of the presentation by Lisa Robinson, Head of Cataloging and Metadata Services at Michigan State University, is available here.  Amy L. Ranger’s presentation can be found here.

Michigan Evergreen Project: Michigan’s first open source group catalog – Representatives from the Michigan Library Consortium and the Grand Rapids Public Library discussed the Michigan Evergreen project, an open-source shared system available to Michigan libraries that was launched in 2008.  Currently, the system includes Circulation, and Cataloging, and OPAC, with Acquisitions and Serials slated for 2009.  Libraries that have already migrated included Branch District Library, Grand Rapids Public Library, and Niles District Library.  For more information, see the Michigan Evergreen blog and wiki.

VUFind: an Open Source ILS Independent OPAC – Presentations about VUFind were made by representatives of both Western Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University.  WMU’s presentation can be found here, while the presentation by Jackie Wrosch, Systems Librarian at EMU, can be found here.  VUFind does not replace your ILS, but it can be an improvement on the OPAC supplied by your vendor.  Jackie discussed the improvements that were possible with VUFind, such as the ability to customize, better keyword searching, and integration of outside content, and also the areas that did not quite reach expectations, such as holds/requests, online renewals, and tagging.  Plans for the future include improving the functions they need, comparing VUFind with their vendor OPAC and developing in-house support.

[Report by Kristy Wells]

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