“Messages from MARS,” the Newsletter of the RUSA-MARS Emerging Technologies in Reference Section, Melissa J. Clapp, Editor
The Emerging Technologies in Reference Section (MARS) is looking forward to an exciting Annual Conference in Anaheim! Please join us during our hosted events which will focus on engaging technologies of current interest in reference. We will host three programs, two discussion forums, and the MARS Happy Hour. A brief overview of these gatherings is provided below.
We are honored that the MARS Chair’s Program has been selected to also serve as the RUSA President’s Program this year. The program is entitled “Library in Your Hand: Mobile Technologies for Exchanging Information with Patrons.” The event will highlight the importance of libraries supporting mobile technologies for the dissemination and acquisition of information. Examples of practical applications being used in libraries will be discussed by our speakers. The program will be held on Sunday, June 24, from 10:30 AM-12:00 PM at the Anaheim Convention Center in room 204B. At the start of the program, we will honor Carolyn Larson, this year’s recipient of the My Favorite Martian Award, for her hard work and dedication to MARS over the years.
The MARS/RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee will present a program entitled “Are Virtual Reference Services Worth the Effort? What ROI Analysis and User Evaluations Tell Us.” Examples of ways to assess the effectiveness of virtual reference services will be discussed. Join us for this enlightening discussion, which will be held on Saturday, June 23 from 1:30-3:30 PM at the Anaheim Convention Center in room 201D.
The MARS Local Systems and Services Committee will present a program entitled “Discovery Systems: The Promise and the Reality.” The effectiveness of discovery systems such as WorldCat Local and others will be explored. The program will be held on Sunday, June 24 from 4:00-5:30 PM at the Anaheim Convention Center in Room 304AB. In addition to these programs, both the Hot Topics in Electronic Reference Discussion Group and the Virtual Reference Discussion Group will host engaging discussion forums.
The MARS Happy Hour is always a wonderful way to enjoy refreshments while meeting newcomers interested in MARS and old friends who have been part of MARS for years! This event will be held at the Anabella Hotel, poolside in the Magnolia Room on Saturday, June 23 from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
As is tradition, the MARS All-Committee meeting will be held on Sunday morning from 8:00-10:0 AM, and we would love to invite those who are interested in learning more about the Emerging Technologies in Reference Section. You’ll have the opportunity to hear about the activities of our committees and the wonderful volunteer opportunities that match your interests. All visitors are welcome to join us. The meeting will be held at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel in the Pacific A Room.
Other MARS activities include the creation of this year’s list of the Best Free Reference Websites, which will be published in the Fall issue of RUSQ. The Professional Development Committee has produced a number of webinars and has a subcommittee working with RSS in the production of a workshop that will be held at the start of the 2013 Midwinter Meeting. In addition, the Products and Services Committee has continued its work to produce product reviews that are beneficial to reference librarians.
We welcome your interest in MARS. If you would like to learn more about MARS and how you can become involved, please contact me (email@example.com) for more information.
MARS Chair, 2011-2012
Carolyn Larson to receive My Favorite Martian Award
Carolyn Larson, Head of the Business Reference Section, in the Science, Technology & Business Division, Library of Congress, is the 2012 recipient of the MARS: Emerging Technologies in Reference Section Recognition Certificate, also known as the “My Favorite Martian” Award. The award is given to an individual to recognize excellence in service to MARS.
An active member of MARS, Carolyn, in addition to serving on several MARS committees, has served as MARS Chair, Vice-Chair, and Past Chair. During her term as MARS Chair, Carolyn expertly led the section through transition that included an unanticipated leadership change, and a significant name and mission change for the section. Carolyn was really a stabilizing force during this period. Dianna McKellar, MARS Chair, writes, “Carolyn, your dedication to the profession and to MARS is recognized and appreciated! We thank you for your excellent service.”
The certificate will be presented at the 2012 RUSA President’s Program/MARS Chair’s Program, “Library in Your Hand: Mobile Technologies for Exchanging Information with Patrons,” on Sunday, June 24, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, during the 2012 ALA Annual Conference held in Anaheim, California; acknowledgment also to be made at the RUSA Awards Ceremony & Reception, Sunday, June 24, 2012, 5:00-6:30 PM during the 2012 ALA Annual Conference. Larson also will be honored at the RUSA Awards program.
MARS Chair’s Program
The MARS Conference Program Planning Committee has produced a program on the use of mobile devices in libraries as communication tools between librarians and library patrons. The program, which will serve as both the RUSA President’s Program and the MARS Chair’s Program, is entitled “Library in Your Hand: Mobile Technologies for Exchanging Information with Patrons.”
Mobile devices are increasingly being used to provide libraries with the opportunity to disperse information at the exact point of need. This program will explore the importance of libraries supporting mobile technologies for the dissemination and acquisition of information. Examples of such projects currently being implemented in libraries will be discussed by our panel of speakers. Joan Lippincott, Associate Executive Director of the Coalition for Networked Information, will speak about why libraries should embrace communicating with patrons through mobile devices. Kristin Antelman, Associate Director for the Digital Library at NCSU Libraries, will speak about mobile initiatives at NCSU including WolfWalk, a photographic guide to the history of NCSU optimized for mobile devices. David Lee King, Digital Branch & Services Manager at the Topeka Public Library, will discuss the social media used to communicate with patrons at the Topeka Public Library.
The session will be held on Sunday, June 24 from 10:30 AM-12:00 PM at the Anaheim Convention Center in room 204B. Hope to see you there!
Matt Torrence, Chair, Chair’s Program Committee
Happy Hour 2012
Join the RUSA MARS Emerging Technologies in Reference Section for our annual Happy Hour! The MARS social event of the year, the Happy Hour is ideal for anyone interested in meeting “Martians” and learning about the work of MARS in a relaxed, festive environment. Newcomers and old friends alike: all are welcome. Eat, drink, and mingle just steps from the Convention Center.
MARS Happy Hour
Saturday, June 23, 2012
5:00 PM- 7:00 PM
Magnolia Room & Quiet Pool at the Anabella Hotel
1030 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim, CA 92802
(adjacent to the Convention Center)
Complimentary appetizers and cash bar.
The 2012 MARS Happy Hour is generously sponsored by EBSCO Publishing.
Arlie Sims, Chair, Outreach
Professional Development Committee
An exciting new system, Blackboard Collaborate, has been put into place by RUSA for RUSA members to deliver online meetings, training sessions, and webinars. Recently, the MARS Professional Development (PD) committee has been charged with assisting in the process of identifying and developing relevant training materials for this new system. Blackboard Collaborate will replace GoToMeeting. Already, MARS PD committee members have attended one training session to become familiar with the system and there are plans to identify appropriate and helpful online tutorials as well as develop a set of best practices for using this new tool in our virtual meetings and webinar presentations.
The other major committee effort is the transformation of the joint RSS/MARS Preconference into a new workshop format which will be free to all registrants at the 2013 Midwinter Conference in Seattle. A location has been selected and content ideas are being considered based on the general theme, “New Technology for Reference from the Reference Interview to Roving Reference.” Some specific content ideas include using Twitter and Facebook for the reference interview, portable devices like the iPad for roving reference, and reflections on how well “web 2.0″ is delivering on promises for improving reference services. For further information, please contact Stephanie Alexander (firstname.lastname@example.org) who is leading this subcommittee.
MARS PD continued to support professional development opportunities by sponsoring the RUSA webinar on “Introduction to Screencasting for Online Tutorials and Reference” on Dec. 16 and March 13. Our role has involved both moderating and co-presenting this webinar.
MARS PD welcomes and encourages MARS members in the submission of ideas for webinars. A form with guidelines is currently being developed. Until then, please send any webinar ideas to Nancy Cunningham (email@example.com), Chair of MARS Professional Development.
Nancy Cunningham, Chair
Virtual Reference Discussion Forum at ALA Annual
4:00-5:30 PM, Saturday, June 23, 2012; Anaheim Convention Center, Room 201B
Discussion topic: “A Glimpse into the Near Future: What’s Next for Virtual Reference”
Passionate about virtual reference? Virtual Reference is now an integral part of library services—and it is constantly changing with new and emerging technologies. Come to VRDG with your dilemmas, victories, stalemates, puzzles, and experiments. Find out what is working, what’s not working and what we are all waiting on—novice or expert, all are welcome. Become part of the conversation online at ALA Connect and in-person at ALA Annual.
Committee News for VRDG
Meetings: Given the difficulty of finding times for synchronous online meetings that the majority of the committee’s members can attend, the committee has switched to e-mail for conducting its business.
Planning for ALA Annual 2012: In early February, the committee brainstormed topic ideas for the Virtual Reference Discussion Forum at ALA Annual 2012. The suggestions included what’s next for virtual reference, apps for virtual reference, and augmented reality for virtual reference. The committee selected augmented reality for virtual reference, received MARS’ Executive Committee approval for the topic, recruited Nate Hill to serve as kick-off speaker, and submitted a customized description for inclusion in ALA’s online conference schedule. Unfortunately, Nate subsequently had a conflict requiring him to cancel his trip to ALA Annual. The committee decided to switch its topic to what’s next for virtual reference and received MARS’ Executive Committee approval to do so. The committee is currently deciding on whom to invite to serve as a kick-off speaker for the forum. Once we have identified a speaker, we will develop a promotional strategy and begin advertising the forum.
Membership update: Officers for July 2012-June 2013 will be: Chair, Henry Bankhead; Vice-Chair, Julie Piacentine; Secretary, Jessica Sender. Returning members will be: Robert Metrick and Amanda Powers.
Jason Coleman, Chair, Virtual Reference Discussion Planning Committee
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