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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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Online Doc About ALA Connect

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 09:12 am

What is ALA Connect?

It's a centralized space where official ALA groups can work together online. In addition, it's a place where any member can create new communities (unofficial ALA groups) without any staff assistance, so the site combines association work with communities of interest in one place.

What is ALA Connect?

It's a centralized space where official ALA groups can work together online. In addition, it's a place where any member can create new communities (unofficial ALA groups) without any staff assistance, so the site combines association work with communities of interest in one place.

Every active ALA working group has a space in Connect automatically, because we've pre-populated it with data from our membership database (iMIS), and we synchronize roster information nightly, so we'll always know which committees you're on and which other official ALA groups you're part of.

Both ALA groups and communities use the same types of tools. By default, each one has discussions, online documents (like wiki pages), a file repository, polls, a calendar, a chat room, and an image gallery (think logos, pictures, etc.). There's no one "right" way to use Connect, and each group can use whichever of the tools it finds valuable.

Learn more about the tools available in Connect.

Non-members can create a free account, but they have more limited privileges. For example, they can't start new communities, view full member profiles, take advantage of networking opportunities, or join MentorConnect. They can, however, fully participate in any existing open communities and comment on public content in any group.

Because ALA knows a little bit about you if you're a member (if you're part of a division, how long you've been a member, what committees you've served on, etc.), we plan to help you pre-populate your profile with all of the great work you've done for ALA in your professional career. That way, if you decide you want to display your profile to colleagues, potential employers, or even publicly, we'll have created a curriculum vitae of all of your contributions. We really appreciate members' efforts, and we want to help others appreciate you, too, by letting you show off the great work you do.

You can read more about the history (and future) of ALA Connect on the ITTS Update blog, particularly in the Roadmap we maintain. If you have a specific question about the site or our goals for it, please feel free to post a question as a comment here, in the Discussion Forum for questions, or using our contact form. Don't forget to read through the user guidelines before you start posting content, but we hope to make your Connect experience as easy and practical as possible.

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Discussion When should I post something as a Discussion/Online Doc/File or something else?

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 01:59 pm

 

Keep in mind that there's no one "right" way to use the tools in Connect. That said, here are some guidelines we've heard work well for groups.

 


 

 

Keep in mind that there's no one "right" way to use the tools in Connect. That said, here are some guidelines we've heard work well for groups.

 


 

 Discussions - Are you posting something to get feedback about an idea? Do you have some news to share or some other item that others might want to ask a question about? If yes, post a Discussion Thread in a Discussion Forum. If you're not sure which Group Heading to use, put it in "General News & Discussion" or click on the "Add Heading" link in the list of Group Headings in the left-hand column to create an appropriate subject heading for your content.

Start a Discussion thread when you want to:

  • Get feedback about something
  • Post some news that others might want to comment on or ask questions about
  • Brainstorm ideas

 

Online Docs - Think of these as wiki pages or Google Docs. This is the only type of content everyone in the group can edit directly on the screen without first downloading a file, making changes, and then re-uploading a new version. You can even see revisions ("track changes") to see what changed from version to version. Another good name for these might be "collaborative documents."

Use an Online Doc when you want to:

  • Post an agenda or minutes that anyone in the group can edit right on the screen
  • Collaobratively work on a report or other document
  • Track the revision history of changes made to a document the group is working on

 

 Files - Just want to upload a PDF, Excel spreadsheet, or Word document? Use the "Files" tool to organize those files into folders, just like you would on your computer. File size is limited to 20MB, but you can add almost any type of file.

 

Use Files when you want to:

  • Upload a single file, such as a PDF, Excel spreadsheet, Powerpoint presentation, etc.

 


 

 Polls - Use this when you want to ask the group a single question with multiple choices. Group members will be able to vote to select one of the options from your list of choices. A good way to use polls is to take official board votes because you can see the final outcome and how each person voted. Note that polls aren't like surveys, so there's no fill-in-the-blank or ranking option.

Use a Poll when you want to:

  • Take a board vote on a particular proposal or issue
  • Let group members indicate a single choice from a list of options
  • Ask group members to vote for their favorite choice

 


 

 Events - Each of your groups has its own calendar where any group member can add an event such as a meeting or deadline. You can also download Connect calendar events to your Outlook/Google/ics-based calendar.

 

Create an Event when you want to:

  • Put something on the group's calendar
  • Let group members download the event to their Outlook/Google/iCal calendars

 

 Pictures - Formerly known as "images," pictures are a good way to display an individual picture. Think of your "Pictures" area as an image gallery. If you just have a logo you want group members to be able to download, you might want to upload it as a "File" instead. If you want someone to be able to see the image itself on the page, upload it as a "Picture."

Post a Picture when you want to:

  • Publish an image that you want group members to see on the screen, rather than asking them to download it first.

 


 

 

 Chats - There's nothing fancy about chats, but that's one of their selling points. Your group's chat rooms allow for synchronous, text-based chat to discuss whatever you want to discuss. There's no video, no extra software to download, no audio to set up ahead of time, but you do get an automatic transcript you can archive for future reference. Only your group's members can join in the chat.

Start a Chat session when you want to:

  • Get everybody together at the same time in a chat room to have a meeting
  • Let group members take advantage of "office hours" or community time to ask questions or discuss specific topics

 

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Discussion What's Changed in the Redesigned ALA Connect

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 08:06 pm

Or, A New Look for ALA Connect!

As part of the 2012 redesign of the ALA Connect interface, we've moved some things around, added shortcuts to make it faster to get places, and changed some labels to make it easier to figure out where to start.

Here's a summary of some of the biggest improvements:

Or, A New Look for ALA Connect!

As part of the 2012 redesign of the ALA Connect interface, we've moved some things around, added shortcuts to make it faster to get places, and changed some labels to make it easier to figure out where to start.

Here's a summary of some of the biggest improvements:

  • The first change you'll probably notice is the navigation. The list of your groups is now on the left, instead of at the top, and there are only two columns on the site instead of three. Hopefully this will make the screen less cluttered and easier to read.

  • We also merged all of your group news into a single stream on the home page, so when you're logged in, you now start with a single view of everything from your groups that you haven't read yet. In other words, the "my unread items" screen is now your home page once you're logged in.

  • Even better, you can now filter that single stream of home page content by type by clicking on the icons in the new toolbar. If you want to find just the latest files added to your groups or jump into discussions, you can easily see just those by clicking on the "Files" icon. You can even use the "Show" options above the toolbar to view just those items you haven't read yet. The toolbar on your group's home page works the same way.


     

  • You can also filter your group's home page by subject heading, too, because you now have one set of subject headings that work across all content types (except chats, which will come later).


     

  • Overall, we suggest that the bulk of your content be added as "Discussions" so that you can organize them into different discussion forums. Use "Online Docs" when you want to collaboratively edit a document on the screen and "Files" when you want to share a specific file type with everyone.

    You'll also notice that the "posts" tool has disappeared. We heard from many of you that it was confusing to know when to use a post versus an online doc or a file or a discussion, so we've reduced the choice overload. Don't worry, though - all of your old posts are still live; they're just in the "General News & Discussion" forum in your Discussions area. You can read a little more about this in Where Did All My/Our Posts Go?

  • Looking for your profile or a way to quickly edit the list of groups sending you email notifications? Find those links by clicking on your name in the upper right-hand corner of any page.

  • It's also easier to tell right away if you've enabled email notifications from a particular group. Just go to the group's home page and look for the setting in the left-hand column. If the box is checked, you should be receiving emails. If it isn't, just check the box to enable them - much easier!

There are lots of other tweaks we've added, and we'll be doing more work in a second phase of improvements in early 2013. For this first round, we concentrated on making it easier to get around, find things, and add content, so we're excited to hear your feedback. Don't be shy - let us know what you think about the new design.

Additional redesign help documents:

 

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Discussion ALA Connect Downtime - April 7, 7-9pm CDT

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 11:25 am

As noted in the FY11 Timeline, we’ve been preparing to migrate ALA Connect to a more robust environment in order to restore chat service and handle the traffic we anticipate seeing for the Annual Conference Scheduler. The behind-the-scenes work is just about done, and we’re now gearing up to make the big move.

As noted in the FY11 Timeline, we’ve been preparing to migrate ALA Connect to a more robust environment in order to restore chat service and handle the traffic we anticipate seeing for the Annual Conference Scheduler. The behind-the-scenes work is just about done, and we’re now gearing up to make the big move.

We’ll begin migrating Connect to the new servers at 7:00 pm Central time on Thursday, April 7, at which time the site will become unavailable. Once all of the content has been moved and everything checks out okay in the new environment, we’ll officially switch over to the new servers. The move should be complete by 9:00 pm Central time on Thursday, April 7, if all goes well.

You should then be able to access Connect again as soon as your internet service provider sees the new servers. This could take anywhere from five minutes to a few hours, but we expect it will be fairly quickly for most users. Once you can access Connect again, you’ll know you’re on the new site and can continue to use it as you normally would.

We’ll post periodic updates on Twitter at http://twitter.com/alaconnect and provide a final “all clear” signal on the ITTS News blog and the Connect home page when the migration has been completed and the site is once again live.

There will be no data loss, and you’ll still log in to Connect the same way you did the day before. The only thing that’s changing is the hosting environment and our ability to better handle traffic spikes. Please let us know if you have any questions about this.

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Discussion How can one delete a post or response when duplicates occur?

by John Stevenson on Fri, May 20, 2011 at 08:12 am

Members of several of my ALA Connect groups have duplicate postings or responses to postings. How can one delete the second copies?

Discussion ALA Connect Two-Year Report (April 2011)

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

ALA Connect experienced a major milestone at the beginning of April 2011 when it turned two-years old. To monitor Connect's progress, here's the report summarizing statistics and usage.

Overall, Connect usage is consistent, and I think the numbers show that the majority of active groups and committee members are now using the site.

ALA Connect experienced a major milestone at the beginning of April 2011 when it turned two-years old. To monitor Connect's progress, here's the report summarizing statistics and usage.

Overall, Connect usage is consistent, and I think the numbers show that the majority of active groups and committee members are now using the site.

ALA Connect Two-Year Report (April 2011)   View more documents from American Library Association.

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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 What Can I Do on ALA Connect?

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 03:44 pm

Here's a quick list of things ALA members can do on ALA Connect.

  • Log in using your ALA website username and password to personalize ALA Connect.

     

  • Once you're logged in, you should be able to easily access any committees, divisions, round tables, and sections with which you're affiliated. Check out that "My ALA Groups" dropdown menu near the top of the page.

     

Here's a quick list of things ALA members can do on ALA Connect.

  • Log in using your ALA website username and password to personalize ALA Connect.

     

  • Once you're logged in, you should be able to easily access any committees, divisions, round tables, and sections with which you're affiliated. Check out that "My ALA Groups" dropdown menu near the top of the page.

     

  • We've pre-populated Connect with the more than 1,500 active groups from our membership database, so if you work with one of them, or if you want to post information to any of your groups, you can go to its home page and use the tools in the right-hand column. Click on the question mark in the corner of the tools box to learn more about each one.

     

  • Want to do something less formal than "the work of the Association" right now? Find a community to join or start a new one. You get the same tools, and the content is totally up to you. Just make sure you read through our user guidelines before getting started.

     

  • Curious to know if your friends are in Connect? With 62,000+ people here, it's a good bet the answer is yes. Use the member search to find them. When you're viewing another member's profile, there's an option underneath their picture to add them to your network. Start building your professional network now, because we'll start connecting you more closely to what your friends are doing. For example, if you create a conference schedule, you can see which of the people in your network are attending a particular session.

     

  • While you're at it, make sure you fill out your own profile. This will help other members recognize and get to know you. If you're concerned about privacy and want to fully understand the options available to you, read through Frequently Asked Questions about Privacy in ALA Connect.

     

  • Lastly, you might also want to consider turning on email from those groups you wouldn't mind receiving email from (like committees). To do that, go to the group's home page and click on "My subscriptions" in the right-hand column. Then click on the "enable" option and then the "submit" button. For step-by-step instructions, check out How to Set Your Email Preferences in ALA Connect.

If you're not an ALA member, you're welcome here, too. You can register on the site to create a Connect account that lets you join any open community and comment on any public content.

Whether you're an ALA member or not, if you have further questions about Connect, feel free to browse through the help community, ask questions by leaving comments, or contact us. We love feedback!

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Discussion New Twitter Account for ALA Connect

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 02:27 pm

I've created a new Twitter account at http://twitter.com/alaconnect to post news, announcements, answers, and fun notices about Connect. If you run into problems or have questions about Connect, feel free to tweet us there in addition to the help options available on Connect.

Discussion ALA Connect Roadmap

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 10:28 am

Curious about what we have in store for ALA Connect in the future? Lots.

Take a look at our Roadmap (114KB, PDF) to learn about what we have planned in phases two, three, and beyond. This document was originally written in February 2009. Future development includes a new event planner for ALA conferences, a Craig's List-like exchange, a mentoring network, integration of our Continuing Education Clearinghouse, and more.

Pages

Need some help understanding what's going on at this site or navigating around it? You've come to the right spot. We'll be adding a lot more help here in the coming days.

To get started, trying watching some of the video tutorials.

Feel free to join this group and ask questions on the discussion board or use the contact form. There's also a community dedicated to Improving ALA Connect where you can post specific feedback and suggestions.

See the Help categories listed in the sidebar for specific topics. -->

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