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.
ALA Connect Help Community
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.
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?
Calling all members of active committees: we've automatically turned on email notifications from your committees. We hope this helps your group communicate better, but you can also adjust your personal settings by going to the "Subscriptions" tab on your profile when logged in.
To clarify we've turned on email notifications from committees only for all active committee members. In other words, if you're on a committee right now, we've activated your email notifications from it. If you're on two committees, we've activated notifications from both of them.
Ways you can adjust this setting:
- Change the interval at which you receive notifications. It's automatically set to "immediately" so that you receive notifications within 15 minutes of content being posted. Other options include every hour, twice a day, daily, and weekly. See the Email Preferences help document for instructions explaining how to do this.
- If you'd rather check your committee updates a different way, you can unsubscribe from notifications from a particular group. See the Email Preferences help document for instructions explaining how to do this.
This is something we'll do every July 1 when the new committee terms start. Once you're no longer on a committee, your notifications will automatically de-activate since you're no longer on the roster.
Hopefully this will improve group communication, so let us know if this helps.
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 (396KB PDF)
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 (523KB PDF)
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.
We're working towards restoring Connect chat the first week in June (after Memorial Day), but we want to do some load testing first to see how it scales in the new hosting environment.
We'd like to run a test with 40-50 people on Friday, May 20, at 1:00 pm Central time. If you'll be free during that time to log in to Connect, go to a yet-to-be-named URL, and test the chat feature, please leave a comment here or email me at jlevine [at] ala.org. If you can recruit coworkers or colleagues, all the better. The test should only last for 15-20 minutes, long enough for us to see how the service runs with that many people hitting a chat room at the same time.