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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 ALA Connect Promotional Video

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Mon, Aug 3, 2009 at 09:32 pm

ALA was lucky enough to have a team of 2008-2009 Emerging Leaders participants create some promotional videos about ALA Connect. We'll be posting them all here in the video tutorials section, but here's the first one,which describes what we hope Connect's first phase provides for librarians.

Discussion Using ALA Connect with Your Existing Social Media Tools (video)

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Mon, Aug 3, 2009 at 06:20 pm

ALA recognizes that many of its members are well-versed in online social media tools.

Connect isn't intended to be a replacement for your favorite social media network, but it makes it easy to share information with your networks with just a few simple clicks....

ALA recognizes that many of its members are well-versed in online social media tools.

Connect isn't intended to be a replacement for your favorite social media network, but it makes it easy to share information with your networks with just a few simple clicks....

One in a series of introductory screencasts created by the 2009 ALA Emerging Leaders Group I.
View the original video and transcript

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Discussion User Guidelines

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 10:54 am

ALA Connect is a site where members of ALA meet and mingle virtually, discuss library-related topics and issues, share ideas, collaborate in communities, and come together to do the work of the Association. The way you interact in ALA Connect will shape the communities and determine the success of your group(s), and result in an overall positive or negative experience for all participants. We ask that all participants understand and observe the following guidelines.

ALA Connect is a site where members of ALA meet and mingle virtually, discuss library-related topics and issues, share ideas, collaborate in communities, and come together to do the work of the Association. The way you interact in ALA Connect will shape the communities and determine the success of your group(s), and result in an overall positive or negative experience for all participants. We ask that all participants understand and observe the following guidelines. They were developed to foster frank dialogue, mutual respect, and a sense of community among all ALA members participating in ALA Connect.

Engage in a professional, congenial dialogue. Please realize that *thousands* of people may eventually see the messages you post on ALA Connect. They may include individuals you know, patrons, coworkers, or someone you may employ, or seek employment from, in the future. Information posted impulsively or without regard for accuracy may come back to haunt you. Remember you are responsible and liable for the words you post on ALA Connect.

Foster useful, dynamic discussions. We encourage frank and thoughtful dialogue. When posting, please keep your comments consistent with the subject and purpose of the conversation. Deliberate disruption -- such as consistent off-topic commentary -- will not be tolerated. Posts and/or entire conversations that are abusive or disruptive in nature will be removed. This is not the place for vulgar or explicit language. This is also not the place to sell products or services, or forward a personal agenda. Communicate with your peers on Connect the way you would with your coworkers.

Please also note that political speech that endorses or otherwise promotes one candidate over another in an election year is not allowed on ALA Connect due to IRS restrictions for tax-exempt organizations. For more about this issue, please see this post about Election Year speech.

Fashion a community that works for you. Connect gives participants endless opportunities to get involved... or to hang back and just take it all in. If you're going to create a community, make sure you give it a meaningful name and mission statement, so others who are interested in your topic know that this is the group for them. Give your message posts accurate subject line descriptors. This will enable members to easily follow and find discussion threads that interest them. Help others find you by keeping your personal profile updated. However, respect the privacy of others, as well as your own. "Lurking" is OK. Sometimes you will want to read what the community is doing before you jump into the discussion.

Play nice with others. Welcome new members as you would want to be welcomed. Make sure conversations are inclusive. Disturbance of the general peace and personal insults and attacks are inappropriate, as is using profanity or expressions of obscenity, sexism, racism, and other types of prejudice. We encourage spirited discussion and debate, but remember that disagreeing with an idea is different from attacking an individual.

Respect the role of community moderators. Help the moderator ensure that all are following the spirit of these guidelines. All members of Connect are responsible for doing their part to foster an open and inviting community. If you see inaccurate, off-topic, or disruptive posts, you should report it to the moderator.

Don't post ads or commercial solicitations. ALA Connect is a professional community where you can escape the blinking ads and come-ons on other networking sites. If you'd like to post a job ad through ALA, we welcome your participation in our JobList site. If you encounter commercial content on Connect, please contact us to report it.

ALA respects freedom of expression. ALA will not censor or edit messages and content contributed to the site, unless it violates these user guidelines. Violation of the user guidelines, particularly in regards to the use of profane or hateful language, selling a product or service, or disrespecting other members, is grounds for having access to ALA Connect revoked.

Observe basic netiquette:

  • Don't type in all capital letters. It reads like screaming. Use bold or italics to emphasize a word.
  • Respect the privacy of others, as well as your own.
  • Be yourself (i.e. don't pretend to be someone else online).
  • Avoid unsolicited or repetitive attempts to communicate, especially should the receiver not respond, or request that you cease. In person, you might say excuse me, or some appropriate introduction before interrupting, or before speaking to a stranger. Consider doing the same for online, email, and conversations.Remember there are human beings with feelings who read your messages.
  • Please be *very* cautious about using sarcasm and humor. Without nonverbal cues and voice tone, "subtle" humor can easily be interpreted as searing sarcasm.
  • In the online environment, words can be misread without facial and verbal cues to convey emotions. Use your words, or emoticons, to convey emotion.
  • Don't use the "Send [name] a message" feature on member profiles to spam or harass another member. You can lose your access to ALA Connect for this type of behavior.
  • You must have copyright rights to content you contribute to the site. It is your responsibility to obtain permission for any material you post to Connect for which you do not already own the rights. Posting copyrighted content without the owner's permission is grounds for having your access to ALA Connect revoked.

Thanks for participating in Connect. We welcome your feedback at any time.

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Discussion Non-members in ALA Connect FAQ

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Jun 3, 2009 at 03:41 pm
  1. Can non-ALA members join ALA Connect?
    Yes! Anyone can join ALA Connect at a basic participation level.
     
  2. What can non-ALA members do in Connect?
    Non-members can create an account on Connect and join any open community, where they'll have full posting rights. In addition, non-member accounts can comment on any content marked "public" in any group on Connect, whether the group itself is open or closed.
  1. Can non-ALA members join ALA Connect?
    Yes! Anyone can join ALA Connect at a basic participation level.
     
  2. What can non-ALA members do in Connect?
    Non-members can create an account on Connect and join any open community, where they'll have full posting rights. In addition, non-member accounts can comment on any content marked "public" in any group on Connect, whether the group itself is open or closed.

    Non-members cannot fill out full profiles, see details on member profiles, network with ALA members, or create new communities. As new features become available, some of them won't be available to non-members, such as the mentoring network and posting to the opportunities exchange.
     

  3. Why do I have to wait for admin approval when I create a non-member account?
    Unfortunately, we've had to implement this extra step due to spam. Although we've been able to stop automated spam, some humans are taking the time to create an account and post spam to the site, so we've had to step in and moderate new accounts. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we'll activate accounts as quickly as we can.
     
  4. Why does it say (non-member) after my name if I'm an ALA member?
    If you're an ALA member, you don't need to create a new account on Connect. Instead, you should log in using your ALA website username and password. If you're not sure what those are, you can recover them from the ALA website.
     
  5. If I join ALA, can you make my non-member account into a member one?
    Unfortunately, we don't have a way to do this, but once you join ALA, you'll have immediate member access to Connect using your ALA username and password. If you want to transfer any content you posted from your non-member account to your member one, please contact us.
     
  6. How do I delete my non-member account?
    We haven't yet implemented a way for you to delete your non-member account, so please contact us and we'll do it for you. Sorry about this, but we hope to provide this functionality in the future.
     
  7. Don't see your question listed here? Contact us for an answer or leave a comment below.
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Discussion Is My Group's Content in ALA Connect Secure?

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Thu, Apr 16, 2009 at 03:11 pm

Yes, your group's content is secure and protected!

By default, content posted to any group, regardless of type (committee, task force, community, etc.), is viewable only by the people in the group. For every piece of content added to the site (a post, poll, online doc, calendar event, etc.), there is an option towards the obttom of the screen called "Audience." By default, that box is unchecked, which means only the group's members will see it. You have to manually check that "public" box to make the item viewable by anyone else.

Yes, your group's content is secure and protected!

By default, content posted to any group, regardless of type (committee, task force, community, etc.), is viewable only by the people in the group. For every piece of content added to the site (a post, poll, online doc, calendar event, etc.), there is an option towards the obttom of the screen called "Audience." By default, that box is unchecked, which means only the group's members will see it. You have to manually check that "public" box to make the item viewable by anyone else.

This allows an awards jury, board, nominating committee, or other group to work together in private but then publish results publicly. Again, though, someone in the group would manually have to check the "public" box to make the item accessible beyond the group's members.

In addition, your protected content cannot be found in search results by people who don't have access to it, and it will not appear on the home page for anyone who is not part of the group.

When ALA Connect first launched, the ACRL Board of Directors used the "polls/votes" feature to take virtual votes in its group. If you browse or search ALA Connect for ACRL Board votes, you won't be able to find them unless you're an ACRL Board member. Go ahead and give it a try. You'll find the public post with the results of one of the votes, but you won't find the votes themselves because they were never marked "public."

Please note, though, that if you want others outside of your group to see a specific post/document/discussion/etc., link to it, and/or comment on it, be sure to check that "public" box. We also encourage your group to make its meeting notices public in order to adhere to ALA's open meetings policy.

If you have further questions about security in ALA Connect, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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Online Doc Frequently Asked Questions about Searching ALA Connect

by ala-admin (non-member) on Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 02:18 pm
  1. Why did my search for an ALA member come up with no results?
    There are a couple of reasons there may be no listing for someone you know is an ALA member. The first is that when you do a general search, results for members don’t automatically display. You have to click on the “Member search” tab to view results for a member search. So make sure you look at that tab to see if there are any results.
  1. Why did my search for an ALA member come up with no results?
    There are a couple of reasons there may be no listing for someone you know is an ALA member. The first is that when you do a general search, results for members don’t automatically display. You have to click on the “Member search” tab to view results for a member search. So make sure you look at that tab to see if there are any results.

    When you’re searching for a member, Connect searches first names, last names, usernames, and places of employment. If you typed in a full name and there were no results, try using the most unique part of the person’s name on its own.

    If you’re looking in the "members search" tab and there are still no results, the problem may be that the person you’re looking for has indicated in her profile that she does not want to be included in ALA Connect. Those members who have checked that preference cannot log in to Connect and are not included in the member search. Unfortunately, you’ll have to find a different way to contact that person.

  2. What gets searched when I type something in the search box?
    When you type a term in the search box, the software searches pretty much everything about a piece of content – the title, body, category, etc. So if you’re searching for a specific group, you’re actually better off searching in the “Browse ALA Connect" area where you can narrow your search to just titles of groups and communities. If you type something like “council” there, you’ll get all of the ALA groups that have that word in the title, whereas if you type that term in the general search box, you’ll get any piece of content that uses that word (posts, online documents, discussions, etc.).

    If you’re searching for a member, however, typing a person’s name in the search box will search for that word as first name, last name, username, and organization. However, there’s a problem right now that occurs when you search for a member using the general search box at the top of each page. When you see the search results (whether there’s one, none, or many), you have to click on the “Member search” tab to see the results for users. We know this is a problem, and we’ll be fixing this when we upgrade our software later this year.

    If you know you want to search for a member, you’re probably better off going directly to the member search box, as that will narrow your results set.

  3. Can I limit my search by type of content (e.g., post, online document, discussion, etc.)?
    You can’t limit a sitewide search to a particular type of content, but you can search an individual group or community that way. To do this, go to the group’s home page and in the right-hand sidebar, click on the type of tool you want to search.

    You’ll be taken to a page where you'll see the latest content of that type, but there will also be a search box that lets you narrow your results to just that type.

    You can also use the dropdown menu to the right of the search box to narrow your results to a different type of content within that same group.

  4. Can users who are not part of my closed group search for protected content from my group?
    No. Your group’s members can search all of your public and protected content, but the public and other ALA members can only search any public information your group has posted.

     

  5. Can public users search protected content from “closed” groups?
    No, public users can only search through public content, so anything your group has not made public cannot be searched or viewed by the public or other ALA members.

     

  6. What kinds of improvements are you planning for the search engine?
    Connect’s search engine does okay for basic searching, but it doesn’t do many of the things we want it to do. For example, it doesn’t tell you how many search results there are total, it doesn’t tell you how many results there are for different types of searches (number of posts, number of groups, number of members), etc.

    The software that Connect runs on is called Drupal, and we plan to upgrade to the latest version during later in 2009. Once we do that, we can upgrade and enhance the search engine, so this functionality will improve in time. Our hope is to customize the search results to make them more useful and offer more options for narrowing your search.

    In the meantime, if you’re trying to find something specific, and you’re not having much luck, please contact us and we’ll help.

  7. Don't see your question listed here? Contact us for an answer or leave a comment.
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Online Doc Browsing Groups and Communities in ALA Connect

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 11:31 pm

ALA Connect lists more than 1,300 ways to get involved with ALA, including more than 1,000 committees, 175 communities, 47 sections, 17 round tables, 11 divisions, and various Association-wide events. You can page through all of these options by clicking on the "Browse ALA Connect" menu at the top of every page in the upper left-hand corner.

ALA Connect lists more than 1,300 ways to get involved with ALA, including more than 1,000 committees, 175 communities, 47 sections, 17 round tables, 11 divisions, and various Association-wide events. You can page through all of these options by clicking on the "Browse ALA Connect" menu at the top of every page in the upper left-hand corner.

From within that menu, you can choose to browse all committees, all communities, all divisions, all events, all round tables, or all sections. You also have the option to browse by subject or to see just the newest groups added to the site. When browsing by subject, just click on the category name to expand the list of groups assigned to it.

If you're looking for a specific group, your best bet is to use the search box in the upper right-hand corner of every page. Although the search engine isn't perfect (we'll be improving it in phase two), it's probably easier than browsing through hundreds of listings.

If you can't find the group you're looking for, please contact us for help.

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Online Doc Adding a Date to your Group's Calendar

by ala-admin (non-member) on Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 11:48 am

Your group has its own calendar for posting meeting times, deadlines, and other date-related events.

  1. To add something to your calendar, go to your group's home page and look for the "Calendar [add]" line in the block of tools in the right-hand column.

  2. Click on the word "add" and you should be taken to a form you can fill out for an event.

     

Your group has its own calendar for posting meeting times, deadlines, and other date-related events.

  1. To add something to your calendar, go to your group's home page and look for the "Calendar [add]" line in the block of tools in the right-hand column.

  2. Click on the word "add" and you should be taken to a form you can fill out for an event.

     

  3. Click on the calendar icon underneath the first box to pick a start date for you event. A small calendar will pop up, letting you browse to a specific date. Click on the specific day when your event will begin. Alternatively, you can just type the date into the box, as long as you follow the YYYY-MM-DD format where YYYY is the full year, MM is the month, and DD is the day.

  4. If you need to change the start time, click in the box and type in a new time. Be sure to use military time, which runs on a 24-hour cycle (e.g., 1:00 p.m. = 13:00). (In the future, we hope to change this to use a 12-hour a.m./p.m. cycle.)

     

  5. Move down to the End Date field and repeat the same process to choose an end date and time.

     

  6. Select the appropriate time zone from the dropdown menu.

     

  7. Enter a title for your event. Consider putting your group's abbreviation or a shortened form of its name in the title if you are making the event public. Otherwise, three "Board Meetings" listed on the main Connect calendar will be indistinguishable from one another

     

  8. Don't worry about choosing a year for your event. If your group is using special categories, choose an appropriate category from the list. If you don't see any categories listed, skip this step.

     

  9. In the "Body" field, provide a description of the event with any information your group will need to know for it. For example, you might include the location of the meeting (a street address, a URL for an online meeting, a phone number for a conference call, etc.).

     

  10. Choose whether you want the event to appear publicly. To comply with ALA's open meetings policy, you should make meeting notices public. You don't have to make the content of the meeting public if it includes confidential information, but you need to make the event announcement itself public.

    To make the event public, you must manually check the "Public" box. Otherwise only your group will be able to see the event.

  11. Decide if you want to attach any files to the event, such as an agenda or a document the group will discuss. This is a good opportunity to let each person download the file(s) themselves, rather than sending multiple attachments through email.

    To attach a file, click on the phrase "File attachments." This will open the "Browse" button you can use to find the file on your hard drive. Once you've located the file, select it and click on the "Open" button.

  12. Check over all of the information you've entered and click on the "Submit" button to add this event to the group's calendar. All group members who have configured their profiles to receive email from this group will get a notice of the meeting in their inbox.

     

  13. Remember that you can always come back and update information about the event by viewing it and clicking on the "edit" tab.
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Online Doc How Do I Start a New Discussion Topic?

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Thu, Mar 12, 2009 at 04:37 pm
  1. The first thing to remember is that you have to be a member of the group to post new content to it. Non-members can only view existing public content and comment on it.

     

  2. Go to your group's home page and click on the "Discussions" link in the right-hand column.

     

  3. In the middle of the page, you'll see a link to "Post a new forum topic."

     

  4. Give your topic a title by typing it in the "Subject" box.

     

  1. The first thing to remember is that you have to be a member of the group to post new content to it. Non-members can only view existing public content and comment on it.

     

  2. Go to your group's home page and click on the "Discussions" link in the right-hand column.

     

  3. In the middle of the page, you'll see a link to "Post a new forum topic."

     

  4. Give your topic a title by typing it in the "Subject" box.

     

  5. If your group is using "Categories," click on that word to open the category options. If your group isn't using categories, skip this step.

     

  6. Type what you want to say into the "Body" box.

     

  7. Choose whether you want the topic to appear publicly.

    To make the event public, you must manually check the "Public" box. Otherwise only your group will be able to see it.

     

  8. Decide if you want to attach any files to the topic, such as an agenda or a document the group will discuss. This is a good opportunity to let each person download the file(s) themselves, rather than sending multiple attachments through email.

    To attach a file, click on the phrase "File attachments." This will open the "Browse" button you can use to find the file on your hard drive. Once you've located the file, select it and click on the "Open" button.

     

  9. Check over all of the information you've entered and click on the "Submit" button to add this topic to the discussion forum. All group members who have configured their profiles to receive email from this group will get a notice of your new topic in their inbox.

     

  10. Remember that you can always come back and update the topic by viewing it and clicking on the "edit" tab.
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Online Doc Frequently Asked Questions about Chats in ALA Connect

by Jenny I Levine (non-member) on Thu, Mar 12, 2009 at 04:13 pm
  1. Who can start a new chat in a group?
    Any member of the group/community can start a new chat session.

     

  2. Who can participate in a group's chat?
    Any member of the group/community can participate in a group chat session.

     

  1. Who can start a new chat in a group?
    Any member of the group/community can start a new chat session.

     

  2. Who can participate in a group's chat?
    Any member of the group/community can participate in a group chat session.

     

  3. Can we save our chat session?
    Yes, you can save a text transcript of your session after it ends. If you want to keep it as an archive of the chat, you can copy the transcript and paste it into a new online doc, which you could even make available publicly if there is nothing of a confidential nature in it.

     

  4. Who can delete chats?
    Only the group/community admins can delete past chat sessions.

     

  5. Can I use audio, video, or co-browsing in our chat?
    At this time, ALA Connect only supports text-based chats. Hopefully we'll be able to add more functionality to this module in the future, but we are very focused on keeping this functionality fully ALA-compliant so that all members can fully use it.

     

  6. How many people can be in a chat room at once?
    We're not really sure, but we think it's somewhere between more than 100 and less than 1,000 (which would probably be pretty unwieldy anyway). If you run into a limit while using a chat room, please let us know!

     

  7. Can my group use the chat function to do training and workshops?
    If you can make it work, go for it. However, we've kept the functionality very basic in order to make sure it's fully ADA-compliant. This module isn't designed to replace something like Learning Times or Wimba, but you should feel free to use it in whatever ways you can make it work to accomplish your goals.

     

  8. Don't see your question listed here? Contact us for an answer.
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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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