I gave my first conference presentation last week at KLA, and I haven’t really had the time to sit down and write out my thoughts about it. The topic was my library’s implementation of SFX, an OpenURL linking software. My library is the first in the state to go with this particular company, and possible the first to make use of the technology at all. I had two co-presenters who provided perspectives from other areas of the library (public service and systems administration) to balance the presentation.
We were very prepared with the material. I wanted us to make sure we weren’t using PowerPoint as a crutch, so we limited its use to slides that contained screen shots of our SFX setup. Turns out that was a good thing, since our antiquated projector was so weak that even with most of the lights turned out it was difficult to see. Despite our efforts to encourage attendees to move towards the front, most stayed in the back few rows. Later, we received comments about the dim, small images. Gee, no kidding.
Other than the technical glitches, everything went well. I fielded quite a few questions on the fly that I hadn’t expected, but thanks to my improv theatre experience, I think I handled them pretty well. Attendance was smaller than I had hoped for, but there were a lot of other conflicts at that time. Still, 20+ attended and about 17 actually filled out the feedback slips. It seemed to me that most everyone who was there was interested in the product and our experience with it. I think we’ll be writing up the presentation for publication in Kentucky Libraries, since the feedback indicated that would be desired. Also, a friend in Oregon has talked me into submitting a proposal for Online Northwest on this topic. I plan to modify the presentation from not so much of how we did it but why other comprehensive universities should do it and how it has effected the usage of our A&I databases.
I’m still stunned that anyone would want to hear what I have to say about something in my profession.