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We're excited to announce that you can now search the 800+ awards listed in the Financial Assistance for Library & Information Studies (FALIS) Directory in the Opportunities Exchange in ALA Connect.

Meeting requests are like Doodle polls that let you figure out the best time for everyone in your group to meet. Connect meeting requests also have the added feature of letting you automatically create a Connect calendar event based on the times of your poll. And as always, email notifications are automatic so you don't have to go through the separate steps of emailing everyone a link to the form or the event.

Here's a walkthrough of the process.

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Discussion Conference Scheduler FAQ

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Tue, May 8, 2012 at 02:09 pm
  1. Who can view the Conference Scheduler? Do I have to be logged in to view the conference program?
  2. Can non-ALA members create schedules?
  3. Do I have to be logged in to create my schedule? How do I log in?
  4. What are "closed" sessions?
  5. How does the Scheduler know what sessions to recommend for me? What do the tiny stars on sessions mean?
  6. What are the "interests" and "library types" in my profile?
  7. What does high/medium/low priority mean on my schedule?
  8. Can I print my schedule?
  9. Can I download my schedule into Outlook or Google Calendar?
  10. Can I add a personal session to my schedule (like dinner with a friend)?
  11. Who can see my schedule?
  12. Can I share my schedule publicly?
  13. Who can see that I'm attending a session? Can I hide my attendance on sessions?
  14. Help - I'm searching for something and can't find it.
  15. Don't see your question answered here? Leave a comment or use the contact form. We're here to help.

  1. Who can view the Conference Scheduler? Do I have to be logged in to view the conference program?
    Anyone can browse or search the program and view session information - you don't even need a login to do this. However, if you want to create and save a schedule on the site or leave a comment on a session, you'll need to log in.

  2. Can non-ALA members create schedules?
    Yes, non-ALA members can create accounts on ALA Connect and then use the Scheduler to plan their schedules.
  3. Do I have to be logged in to create my schedule? How do I log in?
    Yes, you must be logged in to create a schedule. If you're not, we can't tell who you are in order to save your schedule for you.

    ALA members should log in using their regular ALA website username and password. If you're not sure what your member login information is, you can recover it at http://ala.org/login.

    Non-ALA members should log in using their Connect accounts. Non-members can create a new account on Connect if they don't already have one. If you're not sure what your Connect password is, you can request a new one. If you're not sure what your username is, try searching for yourself.

  4. What are "closed" sessions?
    A "closed" designation on a session means that only the group's members can attend it. This is usually due to confidentiality issues for groups like award juries, nominating committees, and scholarship grants. The overwhelming majority of sessions and committee meetings are open to all attendees.
  5. How does the Scheduler know what sessions to recommend for me? What do the tiny stars on sessions mean?
    The Scheduler sifts through the 1400+ sessions for you based on three things: your ALA group affiliations (committees, discussion groups, divisions, round tables, and sections), the interests you've set in your Connect profile, and the "library types" you've set in your Connect profile.

    If you haven't set any interests or library types in your profile, then by default the Scheduler will just match against your ALA groups. You can begin the recommendation process by going to the "Recommended Sessions" page. Any results that are recommended based on your groups have a small, green star on them with the letter "G" on them for "Groups."

    If you'd like more recommendations, go to your profile, edit it, and add interests and library types. Then go back to the "Recommended Sessions" page, recalculate your recommendations, and look for additional stars.

    Recommendations based on your interests will have small, purple stars that say "I" on them for "Interests." Recommendations based on your library types will be blue and have a "T" on them for "Types."

    You can hover your cursor over the stars to pop up some help text if the letters are too small to read.
      

  6. What are the "interests" and "library types" in my profile?
    "Interests" are "subjects I'm interested in" and the"library types" are those that are most relevant to you. You don't have to fill these out to use Connect or the Scheduler, but if you do provide this information, we'll be able to help you zero in on those sessions that will be the most relevant to you.
  7. What does high/medium/low priority mean on my schedule?
    Because a lot of folks have multiple sessions they have to go to at the same time, we let you set a priority for each one. That way, you could set one session as a "high" priority because you absolutely have to be there but set another one as a "low" priority because you'd like to attend but only if you can slip away early or if your first one ends early.

    Basically, you can now put more than one session in a time slot and prioritize them. By default, sessions are added to your schedule as "high" priority, but you can change this from the "My Schedule" screen or on an individual session record by clicking on your desired priority.

  8. Can I print my schedule?
    Yes, you can use the "print" view or download a PDF for viewing/printing. The "print" link appears on the "my schedule" page, while the "PDF" link appears on the print view of your schedule.
  9. Can I download my schedule into Outlook or Google Calendar?
    Yes, you can download an iCal version of your schedule to import into any program/site that accepts that file format (including Facebook). Note that the time on sessions in the iCal file are set to the local time for the location of the conference, so your calendar might adjust times if your in a different time zone. The "iCal" link appears on your "my schedule" page.
  10. Can I add a personal session to my schedule (like dinner with a friend)?
    Yes, just use the "Add personal session" link in the left-hand column. Personal sessions are completely private, and no one can see them but you.
  11. Who can see my schedule?
    By default, only you can see your entire schedule. If you edit your profile, you can toggle this setting to share your schedule publicly so that anyone can see it, including someone who isn't logged in. Personal sessions will still be private so that only you can see them.

    In the future, we plan to give you granular sharing controls so that you could share your schedule with your different networks within Connect (e.g., show my friends and coworkers but not my contacts).

  12. Can I share my schedule publicly?
    Yes - if you edit your profile, you can toggle this setting to share your schedule publicly so that anyone can see it, including someone who isn't logged in. Personal sessions will still be private so that only you can see them.

    Note that you can hide your attendance at some sessions by using the checkboxes on the session records but still make your overall schedule public if you want even more granular control.

  13. Who can see that I'm attending a session? Can I hide my attendance on sessions?
    When you add a session to your schedule, by default anyone who is logged in to Connect can see your name and picture on the session record. This includes non-ALA members who have accounts on Connect. Users who aren't logged in to Connect can't see anyone listed on a session at all.

    There's a box on each session record that you can check to hide your attendance at that particular session. When you do this, we'll still count you in the total number of people who've added it to their schedule, but no one will see you listed on it except you.

    If you'd rather just hide yourself from appearing on all sessions at once (rather than on a session-by-session basis), you can edit your profile to check the box to hide your attendance on all sessions. Note that this setting applies to the current conference only, not past ones.

     

    Note that you can hide your attendance at some sessions but still make your overall schedule public if you want even more granular control.

  14. Help - I'm searching for something and can't find it.
    The one tricky thing about the Scheduler is that the search filters in the right-hand column apply only to the page you're looking at. So if you're on the "All days" tab, you'll be searching the entire program.

    However, if you go look at your schedule and start using a search filter, you'll only be filtering on your schedule. Similarly, if you're looking at your recommended sessions or just a single day of the program, any search filters you apply will only search that particular set of sessions.

    We know this can be a little confusing, so we've added a bar of information at the top of the middle column to help designate what you're searching. If you're not finding a particular session, check the information in that bar, because you might need to go to the "All days" or "All sessions" section to re-run your search.

    If you still can't find something, don't hesitate to contact us for help.

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Discussion Quick Start Guide to the Conference Scheduler

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm

We're excited to announce that we've integrated ALA's Conference Scheduler (formerly known as the "Event Planner") in to ALA Connect so that we can match sessions against your ALA groups and profile interests in order to help you easily find the most relevant programs and meetings you should attend.

We're excited to announce that we've integrated ALA's Conference Scheduler (formerly known as the "Event Planner") in to ALA Connect so that we can match sessions against your ALA groups and profile interests in order to help you easily find the most relevant programs and meetings you should attend.

  1. Although you can browse and search both sessions and exhibitors, we recommend that you log in first so that we can make recommendations for you right up front. ALA members should log in using their regular ALA website usernames and passwords. Non-ALA members can create new accounts on ALA Connect if they don't already have one.

  2. Once you're logged in and see the Conference Scheduler home page, you'll see links to browse/search sessions or go straight to our recommendations for you. If you're active in ALA committees or discussion groups, we recommend you start with the recommendations in order to find your groups' meetings.

    If you'd rather just start browsing or searching for sessions, go directly to the "All Sessions" page and skip ahead to #7 in this guide.


     

  3. To find sessions based on your professional interests, be sure to go to your profile, click on the "edit" tab, fill out the interests and types of libraries that are most relevant to you, and then go back to the Conference Scheduler to your "Recommended Sessions." You can always recalculate your recommended sessions if you change your interests or library types in your profile.

  4. Once you're on the recommendations page, click on "Calculate/Refresh Recommendations" to get started. This will take a few minutes, because there are more than 1,000 sessions we're matching to your groups and interests.

  5. Once the recommendations engine has returned some results, you can scroll through them to see if they're of interest to you. To learn more about a specific session, click on the yellow box with the green arrows preceding the title. This will show you the description, sponsor, and lists of interests added by the sponsoring unit. To hide this information, click the yellow box preceding the title again.

    You'll see three stars to the left of the title of each session. The first one will light up green and have a "G" on it if that particular one matches your groups. If it's purple and says "I" on it, it matches the interests you've listed in your Connect profile. If it's blue and says "T" on it, it matches the types of libraries you noted in your Connect profile. If the text is too difficult to read, just hover your cursor over the star to get some help text.

      

  6. On the "Recommended Sessions" page or "All Sessions" pages, click on the "Add" button in front of a session title when you see one you want to add to your schedule. Continue through the list until you've added everything you want to your schedule.

  7. From the "All Sessions" page, you can search by sponsoring unit, keyword, and other filters.

  8. To view more details about a particular session, click on the title of it to see the detailed record.

    To go back to the search results, just use the "back" button on your web browser.

  9. At any time, you can click on the "My Schedule" link in the upper right-hand corner to view everything you've added to your schedule so far.

  10. Note that by default, the system adds new sessions to your schedule as "high priority," but you can change the priority if you want to list multiple potential sessions in your schedule. To change the default of a particular session, go to "my schedule," find the session in the list, and click on the "H" to open the description and set a new priority ("medium" or "low").

  11. We'll be adding more help documents for the Conference Scheduler, including an FAQ, but feel free to leave comments to ask additional questions. You can also use the contact form in the upper right-hand corner of every page to send us a question.

Let us know what you think about the new Conference Scheduler!

January 5, 2011 Update: Read about some changes we had to make to reduce slow pageloads.

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Discussion When I export my conference schedule to my calendar, why do the times change?

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Tue, May 20, 2014 at 10:27 am

The ALA Conference Scheduler creates ics/iCal files for the correct time in the location where the conference is taking place. If you're importing those sessions into a calendar you've set to a time zone that is different than the conference location, your calendar software will automatically adjust the times on them.

In other words, if the conference will take place in the Pacific Time Zone, the appointments will be set in Pacific Time. If your device's clock and calendar are set to Eastern Time, then the appointments will register 3 hours “later” in the calendar on your device.

The ALA Conference Scheduler creates ics/iCal files for the correct time in the location where the conference is taking place. If you're importing those sessions into a calendar you've set to a time zone that is different than the conference location, your calendar software will automatically adjust the times on them.

In other words, if the conference will take place in the Pacific Time Zone, the appointments will be set in Pacific Time. If your device's clock and calendar are set to Eastern Time, then the appointments will register 3 hours “later” in the calendar on your device.

Example: A 12:00 Noon appointment in Pacific Time will show as 3:00 PM in Eastern Time if your calendar is set to ET. This does not mean the appointment is wrong, it merely reflects the Time Zone on your device.

Most smartphones will automatically adjust the Time Zone when you cross the Time Zone boundary. Most laptops and netbooks require a manual Time zone setting change.

Unfortunately, there's no way for us to know what time zone your calendar is set for and what type of device you'll be using when you arrive at the conference. If you're viewing your calendar on your phone, chances are your phone will update its time zone and the appointments will then display at the correct time.

If you're viewing your schedule on a tablet or laptop, you might need to manually change your time zone in order to see the appointments at the correct local time. You can also use the option to export your schedule as a PDF, which will show the correct local times or use the mobile Scheduler app.

Hopefully this helps explain what's happening, but please leave a comment if you have further questions about any of this.

 

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Discussion Creating a List of Conference Sessions You Attended

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 02:08 pm

Once conference is over, you might want to go back in to your schedule to mark the sessions that you attended so that you’ll always be able to find them again as a handy list. You could also use this as an easy-to-produce handout in a report or for your supervisor. Since the conference schedulers will remain online, the list will also help you find that one session you know you attended on Saturday two years ago for which you can’t remember the name of the presenter or the group that sponsored it.

To create your list of attended sessions, just do the following:

Once conference is over, you might want to go back in to your schedule to mark the sessions that you attended so that you’ll always be able to find them again as a handy list. You could also use this as an easy-to-produce handout in a report or for your supervisor. Since the conference schedulers will remain online, the list will also help you find that one session you know you attended on Saturday two years ago for which you can’t remember the name of the presenter or the group that sponsored it.

To create your list of attended sessions, just do the following:

  1. Go to the Conference Scheduler for the event.
  2. Go to “My Schedule.”
  3. Visit the individual record for each session you attended. Towards the top of the record, you’ll see an option for “I attended this session.” If the circle with the checkmark is gray, it’s not marked as attended.
  4. To mark it as attended, click ont he gray circle to turn it green.

  5. Once you’ve marked all of your sessions as attended, go to the “Attended Sessions” link in the right-hand column. You’ll always be able to refer back to this page, but you can also use your browser’s print button if you need to make a paper copy of it.

Use the links in the upper right-hand corner to print the full view of your attended sessions or to download a PDF version.

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Discussion Upcoming Features (Conference Scheduler)

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 11:38 am

We have big plans for the Conference Scheduler going forward - really big plans. There are still a few things we'll be adding during this round for Midwinter 2011, but this spring we'll be concentrating on new stuff. Here's a mini roadmap of where we're headed with the CS.

We have big plans for the Conference Scheduler going forward - really big plans. There are still a few things we'll be adding during this round for Midwinter 2011, but this spring we'll be concentrating on new stuff. Here's a mini roadmap of where we're headed with the CS.

Features that will be added in December 2010

  • Download an iCal file you can import into Outlook/Google Calendar (Done)
  • Add your own personal sessions (dinner with friends, meeting with a vendor, etc.) (Done)
  • A setting you can toggle to share your schedule publicly (it will be all or nothing at this point but will be more granular for Annual 2011) (Done - located in your Connect profile when you edit it)
  • View a list of sessions you attended (for easy reporting to your supervisor or remembering what you attended two years ago) (Done)
  • Floor map locations for exhibitors (Generic floor map done)
  • Analytics tools on the backend so we can see which sessions are added to schedules the most, which have the most comments, etc. (Done)
  • More print-friendly version of "my schedule" (Done)
  • Accessible, text-based version of "my schedule" (Mostly done but will improve for Annual)

Features we'll do our best to add for Annual 2011 and after

  • Welcome message when you log in to a conference for the first time (we're in the process of implementing this for general logins to the site)
  • Day/week calendar view of your schedule (working on it)
  • Share your schedule only with specific networks you've created on Connect (just your friends and co-workers but not your contacts) (postponed until Midwinter 2012)
  • "Add" button on sessions listed on the conference home page (done)
  • Direct links to speaker profiles (when we know their Connect ID) (postponed until Midwinter 2012 when we have the profile IDs)
  • Show who has indicated they're attending a specific session (done)
  • Provide a way to hide your planned attendance at a session to protect privacy (done)
  • Display your travel data (just to you) when ALA knows your hotel reservation, etc. (will try for Midwinter 2012; need web service from Experient)
  • Add a section where you can enter your transportation information, etc., so that it's all in one place (postponed until Midwinter 2012)
  • Compare your reservation data with your network's data (see when your friends are registered to be at conference; this will be an opt-in feature) (will try for Midwinter 2012; need web service from Experient)
  • User-generated tags on sessions (done)
  • Collaborative pages for "local information" (will replace the conference wiki) (done)
  • A separate page listing canceled sessions (postponed until Midwinter 2012)
  • Email/SMS notifications when a session on your schedule has been canceled or moved (working on email notifications)
  • Request notifications of follow-up comments on sessions (working on it)
  • Batch select sessions based on sponsor (e.g., add all Council sessions to my schedule with one click) (on hold)
  • List sessions a member is presenting at conference directly on their profile and link to session records (postponed until Midwinter 2012 when we have profile IDs)
  • Populate group calendars automatically with conference sessions (done)
  • Provide an iCal file groups can use to import session data into their Facebook pages (and to other sites) - thanks to David Vess for this idea! (done)
  • Provide bus route information and other transportation options directly on session records (bus route info done)
  • "Find sessions like this one" (done)
  • Add personal notes on sessions (done)
  • "Favorite/Like" specific sessions (done)
  • Integrated file repository for permanent archive of handouts and other session materials (phase one done as attachments on comments; will expand when we have profile IDs)
  • Suggest a session to another Connect user (phase one done - "suggest to anyone" using email addresses)
  • Make column headings on session listings clickable so you can sort by time, title, or location (on hold)
  • Reduce the width of the pages (on hold)

Now it's your turn - dream big. What else should we add in the future?

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Discussion 2011 ALA Annual Conference Scheduler Report (July 2011)

by ALAConnect Helpdesk (staff) on Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm

ALA Connect and the new servers valiantly weathered a huge spike in usage due to the 2011 ALA Annual Conference. In addition to the normal increase in group work posted to the site, we also saw a lot more non-committee members and non-ALA members log in during May and June because of the newly integrated Conference Scheduler. So far, feedback on the Scheduler has been very positive.

As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions for ALA Connect.

ALA Connect and the new servers valiantly weathered a huge spike in usage due to the 2011 ALA Annual Conference. In addition to the normal increase in group work posted to the site, we also saw a lot more non-committee members and non-ALA members log in during May and June because of the newly integrated Conference Scheduler. So far, feedback on the Scheduler has been very positive.

As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions for ALA Connect.

 

2011 ALA Annual Conference Scheduler Report

View more documents from American Library Association.

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Discussion Midwinter 2011 Conference Scheduler Report

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 10:52 am

Although we had some server downtime in the run up to Midwinter, the response we received to the Scheduler itself has been overwhelmingly positive.

To help assess usage of it and study behavior around the sessions themselves, we’ve posted a summary report at http://connect.ala.org/node/128778.

We have big plans for phase 2 of the Annual Scheduler, so please continue to submit your feedback and suggestions.

Discussion Conference Scheduler Update

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm

As you might guess, we saw a surge of usage on Monday (January 3) when many (most?) attendees started creating their schedules for Midwinter. In fact, there were so many simultaneous users that the server got bogged down again and pageloads were pretty slow.

As you might guess, we saw a surge of usage on Monday (January 3) when many (most?) attendees started creating their schedules for Midwinter. In fact, there were so many simultaneous users that the server got bogged down again and pageloads were pretty slow.

The reason for this is that everyone's trying to load all 1,137 sessions in the "all sessions" view, along with their recommendations, priorities, and the status of the "add/added" button on every session. Even though Connect is running on a brand new server with dual Intel processors, faster hard drives, and 16GB of RAM, that's still a lot for it to try to do while also maintaining the rest of Connect's group-based services (which are also seeing heavier usage because of Midwinter).

In order to speed things up so that attendees could create schedules, we ended up having to disable the "add/added" button, priority icons, and recommendation stars on the browse/search pages that list sessions. They still appear on the "my schedule" and "my recommended sessions" pages, but you'll have to go to an individual session to add or prioritize it, as well as change the priority on it. I'm really sorry we had to do this - it's killing me - but we couldn't make major changes to the code and the interface this close to Midwinter and guarantee that no bugs would creep up.

Since we know Annual will have hundreds more sessions and probably three times as many users, we're planning some major infrastructure upgrades for this spring so that this doesn't happen again.

Please let me know if you have questions about how to do something in the Scheduler.

Sorry,
Jenny

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