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Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Quick Start Guide to the Conference Scheduler

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.

Kaijsa Calkins's picture

This is so much easier to use, but I can't find a way to export it to my own calendar. That would make the scheduler actually useful to me!

 

 

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Thanks for the positive feedback, Kaijsa. We're still rolling out features this week, so you'll be able to get an iCal file within the next 48 hours, as well as be able to add personal sessions (dinner with friends, etc.). I just haven't been able to write up the "still coming" list or FAQ yet. Working on it....

Jenny

Kaijsa Calkins's picture

Thanks again, Jenny. It's amazing how much nicer this planner is than previous editions, and I really like having it as part of Connect.

Laura Krier's picture

I'm getting a bad token error when I try to add events to my schedule from the list view. The add links work when I'm on the individual page for each event. Just thought I would let you know.

Otherwise, I think it looks great!

Laura

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Hi, Laura --

Any chance you can send me a screenshot and some details about how you got to the screen where the error is happening? I want to try to replicate the problem here to start troubleshooting it. I'm at jlevine [at] ala.org.

Thanks!
Jenny

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Just a quick note to say that we've had a handful of people report seeing the "bad token" error, so as soon as we resolve the duplicate sessions problem, we'll go back to working on this one.

More soon -
Jenny

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

We think we've fixed the "bad token" error issue, so if anyone encounters this problem again, please let me know.

Thanks,
Jenny

H. Frank Cervone's picture

This new interface is much easier to use and once the export of the calendar is available, it will be great.

One thing I noticed is that if you select a sponsor organization, view the display of items in any of the tabs (either my schedule, all sessions, or recommended sessions) and then move to another tab, the sponsor drop down resets to .

I was using this on IE 8/Win 7 but the same thing happened in Firefox.

Charles Kratz's picture

also getting the bad token error when trying to add events.  Under sponsorm no selection for ALA Committe on Legislation.  good start

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Hi, Charles --

I sent Lynne Bradley an explanation for why the CoL isn't in the list a couple of days ago, so I'm not sure if she's had a chance to share that with you. Basically, the sessions were assigned to the Washington Office, OGR, or OITP, not individual committees. Because those entities don't appear in the iMIS member database (i.e., you can't be a member of the WO, OGR, or OITP), there's no way for it to appear as a sponsor in the dropdown menu on the Scheduler. This affects ALA offices, too.

It's something we'll have to try to work around for Annual, but if we can set the sponsor on WO-related sessions to existing sponsors that have an entry in iMIS, then those sponsors will appear in the dropdown.

Clear as mud, I know, so let me know if you have further questions about this.

Thanks for the feedback -
Jenny

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Hi, Frank --

Sorry this took so long, but I finally had a chance to look at this, and it's actually working as intended. Right now, moving between tabs resets your search filters, because we weren't sure which behavior users would expect. You and I expect the filters to remain active, but we worried it might confuse other users who get to the "My Schedule" tab or a specific day and don't realize that they're not seeing any results because the filters are still in play.

We discussed this at length and decided to reset, but it's something we can change for Annual if enough people expect the filters to remain in play.

Thoughts?
Jenny

PS Thanks for the positive feedback!

Naka Ishii's picture

I can't find ACRL/STS (Assn of College & Research Libraries/Science & Technology Section) in the list of sponsors in the Scheduler. Is it there and I'm just missing it, or is it missing?

Scheduler looks pretty good otherwise.

Thanks!

Naka Ishii's picture

Hi -

I asked the Conf Scheduler for a  refresh of my "Recommended" events listing, and it came back with a new listing - i.e., where I had already selected a session, if I clicked on it (because it didn't say it was already selected) it put two listings for the same session in My Schedule, one from before, and the one I just made.

Then, when I went from My Schedule back to the Recommended list, it gave me two sets of same sessions for every recommended session.

I have attached a screen shot for the Recommended list for clarity.

Thanks for fixing the missing ACRL/STS problem - or was it there all along and I missed it??

Best,

Naka Ishii

AttachmentSize
ConfSchedulerProblem.pptx183.38 KB
Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Thanks for the heads up about the double entries, Naka. It looks like a bug crept in when we added the iCal and personal session features. We're working on this now and hope to have it resolved soon.

And you're correct that ACRL/STS wasn't appearing in the sponsor list. I had missed changing a hyphen to an underscore for their entry, but I fixed it and ran an update so they magically appeared.

You're good at finding this stuff, so please keep reporting issues (although hopefully there won't be anymore!).   :-)

Jenny

John Stevenson's picture

I know many ALA members who liked to print the PDF version of their schedules to fold and carry in their badge holders or planners. I don't see this as an available format in the new system. Are we missing something?

John A. Stevenson
Associate Librarian, Student Multimedia Design Center
University of Delaware Library
302 831-8671
john.a.stevenson@gmail.com

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Hi, John --

Printing to PDF was lower on our list for this round since users can do a regular "print" using the button in their browser. Unfortunately, because of last week's hardware failure (we're still quashing some minor bugs that are popping up), we've frozen the code for Midwinter so we won't be able to add this feature until Annual.

This is because we don't want to keep messing with the code so close to the Meeting and accidentally introduce new problems into the system. Plus, a lot of folks will be on vacation next week, which will make it more difficult to troubleshoot new issues.

At this point, the browser "print" button should give someone a schedule they can carry around with them. It strips out the left- and right-hand columns to print just the session information in the middle column. The only issue is that you have to turn on "background printing" in your settings to get the priority column to print. The basics are all there by default, though.

This is definitely on the list for the next round, though, along with a csv export that could be imported into Excel.

Thanks for the feedback,
Jenny

James Veatch's picture

I can't seem to print my exhibitors list except screen-by-screen.  Am i missing something? -- Jim Veatch

Jim Veatch
Bartram Trail Regional Library
Washington, GA 30673
jamesveatchjr07@comcast.net

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Hi, Jim --

Sorry for the delay, but we've been dealing with server issues again. I think this should be fixed now. Can you give it a whirl and let me know if it works better now?

Thanks,
Jenny

Ridie Ghezzi's picture

I can't figure out a way to add my own items to the schedule, items that aren't necessarily on the list, like lunches or personal meetings, etc. I would like to have them all in the same place and used to be able to do this on the old system, though this system is much better in other ways.

 

Thanks

Ridie Wilson Ghezzi
Head, Research & Instruction Services
Baker-Berry Library
Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Hi, Ridie --

When you're in the Conference Scheduler, there's an option in the right-hand column called "Add personal session." Click on that and you'll be able to fill out details and add it to your schedule.

HTH,
Jenny

Kathlyn Bowersox's picture

I like the Personal Session option.  But how do I remove the one's I've decided against?  Creation instructions say a PS can be deleted later, but I have not found a way to do the deed.   Thanks,   Kathy B.

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Hi, Kathlyn --

If you edit the personal session and scroll to the bottom of the screen, you should see a "delete" button. Please let me know if you don't see it for some reason.

Thanks,
Jenny

Mary Wilke's picture

I cannot see an edit the personal session option in order to delete one.

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Hi, Mary --

You should see an "edit" tab when you click on the name of a personal session, and from there you can scroll down to delete it. If you don't see the "edit" tab, can you please send me a screenshot of what you do see so that I can help troubleshoot the problem? I'm at jlevine [at] ala.org .

Thanks,
Jenny

Elizabeth Ludemann's picture

I'm looking at the 2012 Scheduler.  I did input all my "interests" in my profile, but for some reason there's only 1 suggested session for my interests.  Are the sessions not organized by interest keyword yet?

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Elizabeth, there should definitely be more than one recommendation for your interests. On your "My recommended sessions page," there should be a link in the upper right-hand corner of the filtering options box that says "Run Recommendations." Can you try running that process to see if it produces more results and let me know what happens?

Thanks,
Jenny

Angella Butler (non-member)'s picture

When I login to ALA Connect (non-member here) and click on the conference tab and only see the midwinter conference.  Chicago is not in the list?  Any ideas?

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Hi, Angela --

Adding Annual to that page is on my to-do list, but that section will likely be going away since the schedulers are now integrated into the conference websites. For Annual 2013, you can go directly to http://ala13.ala.org/scheduler, but in general you can always go to http://alaannual.org/scheduler or http://alamidwinter.org/scheduler to find the most current version.

The master list of past and upcoming conferences and events is maintained at http://www.ala.org/conferencesevents/.

Best,
Jenny

Shawn Shaffer's picture

This feature isn't working for me.  It only gives me one meeting "Better library interiors" on each day. 

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Hi, Shawn --

Can you provide more details about what's not working for you? I assume it's the 2013 Annual Scheduler, but is it a search, browsing, adding a session, recommendations, or something else?

Better yet, if you could email me a screenshot of the problem and a full description, that would give me a good starting point for troubleshooting.

Thanks,
Jenny
jlevine [at] ala.org

Charlotte Xanders's picture

What am I missing?  I added everything of interest with many conflicts.  Now I want to do 2 things:  for those sessions I'm keeping I want to set the priority.  For those I no longer want, I want to delete them. I can do both of these actions, i.e., set L,M,H and toggle to not add.  But, I don't understand how to save.  Every time I open a session or leave the page, everything has returned to H priority and nothing has been deleted.

Thanks.

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Charlotte, it sounds like maybe your web browser isn't setting cookies properly if it's not remembering the actions you've made. I've tested the Scheduler and it appears to be working properly remembering both priority and adds/deletes.

If you have another web browser on your computer, I'd suggest testing the Scheduler there to see if it works properly for you.

If you still encounter problems, the next step would be to try a different computer to help narrow down where the problem is occurring. If you contact me at jlevine at ala.org, I can run parallel tests in the same web browser and we can compare notes.

Jenny

Carissa Tomlinson's picture

Hello-

 

I'm really confused where to find the conference Powerpoints and handouts.  Are they supposed to be in the scheduler?  I found some in the scheduler that have attached handouts, but not all.  I know that I submitted my own presentation ppt through the harvester site and it's not online anywhere as far as I can tell.  Thanks for any information you can give me.

 

Carissa

Carissa Tomlinson, MLIS
Emerging Technologies Librarian
Liaison to Gerontology, Nursing,
Health Sciences and Cultural Studies
Albert S. Cook Library
Towson University
410-704-3359
ctomlinson@towson.edu
http://pages.towson.edu/ctomlins/default.htm

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Hi, Carissa --

Since the Scheduler is public and anyone can access the session records there, we ask presenters to add their handouts to their sessions to make them available to everyone. You can do that by adding a comment to your session and attaching files to the comment. The Scheduler will then make them part of the session record and send out an email notification to everyone who added the session to their schedule.

The Harvester is part of a separate project to make the recordings available to full conference registrants.

Please let me know if you have further questions about any of this.