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Ken Varnum's picture

DRAFT LITA Forum 2013 Call for Proposals

Due date for proposals: February 25, 2013

The 2013 National Forum Committee seeks proposals for high quality pre-conferences, concurrent sessions and poster sessions for the 16th annual LITA National Forum to be held in Louisville, Kentucky, November 7-10, 2013.

The 2013 theme is Creation, Collaboration, Community

The Forum Committee welcomes pre-conferences, presentations, and interactive programs related to all types of libraries: public, school, academic, government, special, and corporate. Proposals should relate to the themes of creation, empowering library users, collaboration, cooperation, and building or engaging communities.  Proposals may cover projects, plans, ideas, or recent discoveries. We accept proposals on any aspect of library and information technology.

The committee particularly invites submissions from first time presenters, library school students, and individuals from diverse backgrounds.

The Forum Committee is especially interested in presentations highlighting projects that involve the creation of library spaces, the maker movement, and innovative solutions to pragmatic problems.  It also encourages sessions that are hands-on. 

Possible ideas for topics might include:

Maker spaces/Maker Movement

Creation of New Library Spaces

Data Curation

Discovery

User Experience

Web Services

Coding 

Digital Libraries

Institutional Repositories

Presentations must have a technological focus and pertain to libraries. Presentations that incorporate audience participation are encouraged. Sessions can be full-day pre-conferences, concurrent sessions (50 minutes), or poster sessions. The format of the presentations may include single- or multi-speaker formats, panel discussions, moderated discussions, case studies and/or demonstrations of projects.

Vendors wishing to submit a proposal should partner with a library representative who is testing/using the product.

Presenters will submit draft presentation slides and/or handouts on ALA Connect in advance of the Forum and will submit final presentation slides or electronic content (video, audio, etc.) to be made available on the web site following the event. Presenters are expected to register and participate in the Forum as attendees; discounted registration will be offered.  

Submit proposals to: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dEpzV2N6Unh3UlBsVzBhZ1BRX3dfZUE6MQ

The online form will ask for:

Contact information

Title

Program Description (100 Words) (Please exclude any information identifying the presenter(s) or his/her/their organization.)

Participatory elements of the presentation

Level indicator (Introducing, Implementing, Innovating)

Brief biographical information

Whether you would like to consider a paper in ITAL based upon your talk

Do you agree to be streamed: yes or no

You will be notified about the status of your proposal by mid-April, 2012

Any questions regarding the Forum?  Please contact the LITA Office: lita@ala.org; (312) 280-4268

Andromeda Yelton's picture

Thanks for getting this started!

"related to creating content, collaboration, cooperation, and building community" -- can we phrase this a bit more broadly than creating *content*?  Creation should include not just publishing-type stuff but maker-type stuff.

Submit proposals -- if we can't use that system again why not a google form? Easy to set up (I'd be happy to once we agree on some specs), free.

I like the "all types of libraries" language but I am wondering if we can also explicitly invite diverse *librarians*.  Thinking through the keynote options has really driven home to me how hard it is to find diverse lib tech speakers, and I want to think about how we can use the CFP process to expand the pipeline -- we can take much more of a risk on unknown speakers for sessions than we can for keynotes!

I'd also like to think about how we can disseminate the CFP to increase the chances of a diverse speaker population.  I think if we just throw it out there in the usual channels and wait for people to hear back, we'll get the same set of people we normally do (who are awesome people and all; I just want even more awesome people).  I've been thinking about http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Women_speakers and similar sources -- this is about how to get more women to speak at software events, not exactly the same problem as ours, but related...

  • what channels can we advertise in that will get us a more diverse set of proposals?
  • to whom can we do personal outreach, to specifically invite more diverse speakers to propose talks (and so they know specifically that they're welcome)?
  • how can we get past impostor syndrome & low self-confidence issues -- provide support for people who don't feel like they have anything to say (even though they really do) or don't have a lot of experience speaking?

I think we're going to need to be proactive and aggressive about diversity if we're going to end up having any, and it's important to me that we do.

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Jennifer E. Taylor's picture

"related to creating content, collaboration, cooperation, and building community" -- can we phrase this a bit more broadly than creating *content*?  Creation should include not just publishing-type stuff but maker-type stuff.

Yes, please come up with a better phrase than that one.  I found it very awkward to write and don't have an idea at the moment how to make it better.  

I'll add something about diversity.

I'm going to start a new thread about where to disseminate the CFP.  I completely agree with Andromeda's comments on the topic.

Jennifer E. Taylor's picture

I like the Google Form idea.  As an added bonus, it would be easily transferrable year to year.  In the past I think it has depended on a committee member creating the submission form and there is always the question of who will maintain it.

Andromeda Yelton's picture

FWIW here's LITA PPC's google form CFP for Annual: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDdQOTBER1hJcVZmcGV... (WOW did that have too many acronyms.)

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Eric Phetteplace's picture

I'm also pro Google Forms. I believe we can put custom columns in the spreadsheet backend, so submissions could be automatically tied to our reviewing workflow (e.g. have a column for "reviewer", "review status").

-Eric Phetteplace

Emerging Technologies Librarian

Chesapeake College

Eric Phetteplace's picture

"The Forum Committee is interested in pre-conferences and presentations about projects, plans or discoveries in areas of library-related technologies related to creating content, collaboration, cooperation, and building community. We welcome proposals related to all types of libraries: public, school, academic, government, special and corporate. Proposals on any aspect of library and information technology are solicited."

=>

"The Forum Committee welcomes pre-conferences, presentations, and interactive programs related to all types of libraries: public, school, academic, government, special, and corporate. Proposals should relate to the themes of creation, empowering library users, collaboration, cooperation, and building or engaging communities.  Proposals may cover projects, plans, ideas, or recent discoveries. We accept proposals on any aspect of library and information technology."

I'm not sure that's better but I'll throw it out there. I think the "theme" portion needs to be its own sentence because it'll be far too long combined with any other component. I also added "empowering library users" and "ideas" in there, feel free to object.

And maybe this will get badly shot down, but I'm kind of against "intellectual property rights" on the listing. I'd rather see "technology programming" (as in event programming...there's got to be a better term that won't be so incredibly ambiguous in this context) or "web services," even something a little throwback like "mashups and APIs."

-Eric Phetteplace

Emerging Technologies Librarian

Chesapeake College

Margaret Heller's picture

I went ahead and changed a few sentences in the CFP. Just minor stuff. Eric, I am missing where it says intellectual property.

Eric Phetteplace's picture

Looks like that has been deleted since.

-Eric Phetteplace

Emerging Technologies Librarian

Chesapeake College

Andromeda Yelton's picture

So I guess DATE - DATE = November 7-10? http://www.ala.org/lita/involve/committees/forum/lit-nf13

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Melissa Prentice-IL (staff)'s picture

Hi all, 

Apologies for not chiming in sooner! The dates for the 2013 Forum are November 7-10 at the Hyatt Regency Louisville (Downtown). The due date for the proposals is up to the committee; it has been late February for the past couple of years which seems to allow for plenty of time to review proposals and send notifications by April. We have no formal plans to record sessions. The system used for proposal review this year was volunteered by one the Forum committee members, though I think Google forms could work just fine (LITA program planning committee uses Gforms for Annual Conference proposals). 

Let me know if you have any additional questions for me - thanks for all of your work on this!

 

Melissa

Andromeda Yelton's picture

Hi all -- I've drafted a Google form for processing CFPs, based on the above and LITA PPC's Google form and last year's CFP: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dEpzV2N6Unh3UlBsVzBhZ1BRX3dfZUE6MQ

 

Would love feedback.  In particular, I feel like with all the info sources I'm drawing on there are a LOT of elements to this form -- can we get away with fewer?  (However, if I've omitted anything I shouldn't have, tell me that too...)

 

Obviously I'll share editing access on the back end with everyone on the committee.  Also the form commits to a 48-hour acknowledgement of receipt from us -- at some point we'll have to discuss workflow.  (PPC promises a 24-hour acknowledgement turnaround time so I figure 48 is totally doable, but we will need to back that commitment up.)

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Andromeda Yelton's picture

FYI, I used beginner/intermediate/advanced for level indicators; PPC had a discussion of level indicators earlier this year and their favorite was "Introducing, Implementing, Innovating", but they haven't gone live with that yet and feel it needs more communication.  I like the idea of having a LITA-wide standard for level indicators (& of building on the discussion they've already had) but I'm not sure about being the first to use something that needs explanation.  Anyone have an opinion?

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Ken Varnum's picture

I really like the "Introducing, Implementing, Innovating" to replace level of the talk. It's much more useful as a way to understand what talk I'd like to go to, and since LITA is so small, there won't be multiple talks on the same topic at different levels. It also captures the scope of talks I've seen very well. If it's a question of describing the 3 terms, I can give it a shot.Ken

Andromeda Yelton's picture

Go for it!  I've shared the Google form with you :)

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Ken Varnum's picture

I'm not sure what I did, but the form is no longer accessible. I swear all I did was add a question!

Andromeda Yelton's picture

Heh!  You didn't do anything wrong -- I had unchecked the "accepting responses" option under Form because I didn't want us to, you know, be accepting proposals yet, but apparently that makes it not visible any more. I am so smrt.  So I've rechecked that option and the form is visible again.  I guess it's unlikely people will randomly submit before we're ready for them.

 

Anyway, thanks for editing!  I removed the earlier Level question, added a bit of help text & moved your version up.

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Margaret Heller's picture

Can you share it with me too? It won't let me look at it.

I also wanted to address the issue of 48 hour confirmation. What do we mean by that? Just a basic confirmation email? Or something more detailed?

Andromeda Yelton's picture

The LITA PPC form said acknowledgement of receipt plus any questions the committee had, and I more or less blindly copied and pasted!  You're right; we should figure out if we mean anything specific beyond receipt acknowledgement.  Do we?  Anyone else have opinions?

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Jennifer E. Taylor's picture

I don't think people need to estimate their audience size, room type, nor do they need to specify conflicts.  Those are used by the PPC for Annual, where people have insane schedules and there are a huge variety of rooms.

LITA Forum also provides wifi for everyone anway, so we don't have to mess with that stuff either.  Presenters have to bring their own laptop as well, I believe.  Melissa may want to chime in on that one.

I think giving us 48 hours for us to provide receipt is reasonable, we just need to make sure someone is monitoring the queue at all times, but we can split that up.  And we can hope people don't do something silly like proposing stuff over the holidays. :)

Margaret Heller's picture

I do recall bringing my own computer to present last year, and expected to do the same thing this year. I would assume an extra one is available in case of equipment malfunction.

The reason I asked about what the confirmation email said was that it seemed to me that it would make more sense to send everyone a confirmation email automatically, and then follow up with people individually if there happened to be a question.

Margaret

Andromeda Yelton's picture

Awesome, I've deleted the logistical questions.

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Andromeda Yelton's picture

Hm, I notice this thread isn't public and I see no good reason for it not to be (we're not discussing specific individuals, plus this seems like exactly the sort of work people might be interested in) -- anyone have a reason I shouldn't make it public?

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Eric Phetteplace's picture

+1 to the I,I,I terminology & to making this public. Many ALA divisions give conferences & we all could learn from seeing each others' processes.

In terms of the form itself, I think it does a good job covering the needed items but could be rearranged. E.g. the first four fields are a little confusing because it goes back & forth between primary person & other presenters, perhaps Responsible Person > Primary Email > Other Presenters > Other Emails would be more logical.

I also think a lot of fields could be broken off into a post-acceptance form, if that'd be less work. We only need to sort out issues like Technology Requirements (which a person might not really know at the time of proposal anyway) & Room Arrangement if we've already accepted a talk. Thoughts? Share the form with my Google account?

-Eric Phetteplace

Emerging Technologies Librarian

Chesapeake College

Andromeda Yelton's picture

Seeing no objections, thread now public.

 

Great point about not needing a lot of that stuff to be in the initial submission.  I'd love to see some input from LITA staff on what the expected tech setup will be and whether we need to solicit any of this stuff up front (i.e. to make decisions about accepting proposals that may be in competition for limited resources, like big rooms), but if we don't absolutely need it to make decisions, I'm definitely happier deferring those questions.

 

This did make me realize one thing we haven't talked about, though -- *time*!  At ALA we were told that we have a lot of leeway in how we format the conference (and I personally would love to have some nontraditional elements), and we *are* going to need to know how much time programs are going to take before we make acceptance decisions -- between 10 and noon a single room can contain either two one-hour programs or one two-hour program but not both, you know?

 

Are we implicitly assuming that all programs are an hour long, except preconferences?  *Should* we assume that?  Should we give presenters the flexibility to propose other program lengths?  In my experience there are lots of topics that work great in a one-hour slot but lots that need either less or more time.

 

This does add some scheduling complexity, but I have professional experience as a school scheduler so I am not really worried about that :)

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Jennifer E. Taylor's picture

Yes, the standard time slot is 50 minutes.  I know a couple of Forums ago they experimented with different time lengths, and I don't think it went so well.  I think there were some 30 minute presentations that were lumped together to create a 2 hour theme block.  I don't remember the details, but perhaps someone from ALA can fill us in.

That said, I know we do have some leeway in timing, as previous forum have experiemented with.  But we do have a limited amount of space/time.  So if we would want to do a longer workshop, we'd have fewer regular presentations.

Jennifer E. Taylor's picture

I don't see why it cannot be public.

Andromeda Yelton's picture

FYI here is a great post on how a Javascript conference got 25% female speakers (which as I'm sure you know is a jaw-droppingly large %age of women for a tech conference): http://2012.jsconf.eu/2012/09/17/beating-the-odds-how-we-got-25-percent-women-speakers.html

 

One of their steps is anonymous submission of talks.  Is that something we should consider?  (I encourage you to read the article first & see how this fits in with the rest of their strategy; it's complementary with other elements.)  Do we need the names & biographical information in order to verify that people have the expertise needed to pull off the talk, and/or to create a draw for attendees by ensuring we have some big-name speakers beyond the keynotes?  Is impostor syndrome or stereotype threat or what-have-you a big enough risk in our field that it might be preventing people from submitting talks, in a way that assurances of blind review would help with?

 

Of course we'd have to restructure the submission workflow if we went this route, but I trust we could figure that out.

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Jennifer E. Taylor's picture

I'm not convinced this is a problem, though I haven't gone through and analyzed the male/female presenter ratio at recent Forums.  Typically library conferences have no problems getting female presenters, though probably men present at a greater percent than their actual numbers.

On the previous forum committees I've been a part of, the biographical information isn't considered by the committee.  It is mostly used for later when the schedule is posted online--otherwise, ALA staff would have to contact all presenters and get that information from them, which is more of a pain.  And the only time I recall us caring about who proposed was for presentations we were on the fence about accepting, and we considered what we knew about their presentation skills.

We can however, make a point on the CFP and on the form that evaluation will be completely blind.  Even though we collect names for later contact, we can separate names/bios from other submission information so that the rest of the committee does not see who proposed what.

Also, recent Forum committees posted anonymized presentation titles and short abstracts and allowed people to vote on them.  The system was pretty clunky and I don't think there were many votes, but it was an attempt to crowdsource evaluation.  The committee then considered the voting results as an additional factor in evaluating each proposal.  I'm not sure if the 2012 Committee did this (I don't remember voting, but it might have blended in with previous years), but we can do something similar.

The article focused on one other thing--sell the conference as being awesome and specifically ask people to submit proposals--especially women & minorities--and that is the responsibility of everyone on the committee.

Andromeda Yelton's picture

It's not so much the male/female ratio in our case -- I mean, yes, libtech is slanted more male than librarianship as a whole, and not subtly, but I don't think we'll have a problem getting female speakers either.  But there are other major diversity issues -- race and library type spring immediately to mind for me.  I'm honestly not clear whether stereotype threat or similar might be inhibiting people from underrepresented groups in submitting presentations (in which case promising anonymity can help), or whether that's not the particular diversity problem we have and other tools are better.

 

Nice to see a success story regardless, though.

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Gwen Evans's picture

In my experience with library conferences, I think lack of diversity of library type for presentations is mostly a function of job requirements. Most academic libraries require professional development and conference presentations are a big part of that, even if the staff aren't on the tenure track (and even more pressure to present if they are). Public libraries and special libraries don't always require conference attendance and presentations as part of job requirements, and since public library budgets are so tight, often don't fund the travel either.  At my former place of work, it was very common for us untenured faculty to submit to a lot of conferences and pay our own way to present if our travel allowance was already used up for that year, because it ensured our continued employment and our merit raises were tied to such activity. I 'm not sure if we could do very much about those sorts of factors.

Gwen Evans

Interim Executive Director, OhioLINK
http://www.ohiolink.edu/

Director, Special Projects
Ohio Technology Consortium (OH-TECH)
http://oh-tech.org/
gevans@oh-tech.org

Eric Phetteplace's picture

Not to re-open any major debates as we get closer to a finalized CFP, but what about stealing some of the other elements from the JS Conf CFP that they used to draw in more female speakers? Specifically:

- A "We Can Help" section

- Sample submission, slide deck templates

- A note on our selection process

In my mind, these are general techniques that would encourage minority or non-academic librarians to submit talks. Transparency and encouragement help those who wouldn't otherwise consider submitting. I'll paste below a re-working of JS Conf's "We Can Help."

I do worry that this makes the CFP quite long. I like things short and sweet. It also commits us to more work: managing anyone who does ask for help, finding experienced speakers willing to mentor, picking a sample submission, perhaps making Keynote/PowerPoint templates. But perhaps it's worth it? Opinions welcome.

================

We Can Help

Not everybody is a natural talent on stage. Not everybody can produce mind-bending slide-decks. Not everybody knows they have something great to talk about.

There are about a million reasons why you don’t consider yourself a speaker. We are here to prove you wrong. If all you have is a gut feeling that you should be on stage, we are here to reach out and help you to develop or hone the skills you think you lack to deliver a great presentation.

  • We are happy to brainstorm your interests to see if a great topic is hiding.
  • We are happy to connect you with experienced speakers to help prepare your submission, or you can refer to the “Example Submission” section below for tips.
  • We are happy to review and advise on how to produce a slide deck. If you don't feel creative, just use our Keynote or PowerPoint templates.
    • If you need practice giving talks, get in touch, we will try to hook you up with local groups or set up a stage for you and a bunch of friends in advance, so you can practice in front of a friendly crowd.
    • Again, whatever else you might need, we’re here to help.

Get in touch: lita@ala.org (just don’t use this to submit a proposal).

-Eric Phetteplace

Emerging Technologies Librarian

Chesapeake College

Andromeda Yelton's picture

I'm thinking this is overkill for the CFP itself (I agree with you that short & sweet is better).  But if we're going to commit to providing this sort of help, we should definitely mention it in the CFP.

"The committee particularly invites submissions from first time presenters, library school students, and individuals from diverse backgrounds.  New to speaking at Forum?  Mentors will be available to help you prepare and polish your talk."  Or "Mentors are available to help you draft your proposal, and to help accepted speakers develop their talks."  As applicable.

If we feel more depth is needed for the target audience but still want to keep things brief, we can always have a "Learn more" link.

As for help:

  • if we're going to offer help for people developing *proposals*, we need to line that up ASAP, and it probably shouldn't be us.  If we're interested in this, I think we need to put out feelers soon, get a sense of whether we can get enough mentors to make it worthwhile.
  • as for developing *talks*: there were 71 distinct speakers at Forum this year.  If we end up with a comparable number in 2013 and (wild guess) 20% of them want assistance, that's about 14 mentors we'd need (maybe fewer, if some are willing to help more than one speaker, e.g. because they're presenting together).  My instinct is this is doable -- if each of us recruits 2, we're set.  (Again, I think the mentors shouldn't be us.)

We'd need to outline a set of responsibilities for mentors, but I think that would be straightforward.  Possibly also a bibliography of handy info.

I expect we could offer templates, but I'm not sure if we need to, given that Keynote and PowerPoint already do.  There are some great blog posts out there on slide deck construction we can pull together easily ( http://thewikiman.org/blog/?p=1785 , e.g.)

 

Note on selection process: I'm in favor, if we think this would help. But I don't know what our selection process is! Do we have one yet?  Should we?

 

Possibly undermining what I've just said: I think the JSConf CFP can get away with being long because it's clearly sectioned.  If we restructured ours with big headers -- say, Conference Themes, Guidelines, Process (I think these 3 sections cover what we have now) -- we might be able to add a We Can Help and/or Selection Process section.  Although the CFP won't only be displayed on web sites -- it has to look good in plaintext email too.  Hm.

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Jennifer E. Taylor's picture

Andromeda,

ALA staff completed the call and it went out at this year's Forum, so there really are no changes we can make at this point.  I'm going to note our mentoring idea as something that the 2014 Forum may consider.

In recent years, the selection process has involved each committee member rating each proposal, then aggregating these ratings, followed by a virtual meeting in which we hash the ratings out as a group.  In Forums and PPCs in which I've been a committee member, there are usually a number of proposals that are a clear-cut accept or reject and then ones in the middle that we talk about.  Those that we dicuss are dicussed on a myriad of topics, like hotness of subject matter, number of similar propsals (how many discovery "how we did it" do we need), speaker quality, and anything else we can think of. 

Margaret Heller's picture

I may be missing something obvious, but where is the CFP on the web?

Jennifer E. Taylor's picture

I sent that exact question to LITA staff yesterday.  When I hear, I will let people know.  We need to start advertising!

Margaret Heller's picture

Ok cool. I was going to add one teeny thing to the form--an email that will go out to you? the committee? when the form is submitted, plus a confirmation to the submitter that their submission was recieved and we will be in touch within 48 hours with any questions.

Margaret Heller's picture

Ok cool. I was going to add one teeny thing to the form--an email that will go out to you? the committee? when the form is submitted, plus a confirmation to the submitter that their submission was recieved and we will be in touch within 48 hours with any questions.

Jennifer E. Taylor's picture

I'm going to start another thread, but the call does have a link to the generic lita email, which I'm sure will get forwarded to me (and I can forward along as necessary).

There is nothing on the "we'll get back to you in 48 hours", but we'll make that our policy anyway.

Jennifer E. Taylor's picture

Hi guys,

I've made some changes based on feedback from Zoe.  Stay tuned.

Jenny

Ken Varnum's picture

The "level indicator" mentioned in the summary of the proposal form should be changed to reflect the current language, which describes the project, not the talk:

Kind of talk (Introducing, Implementing, Innovating)

Andromeda Yelton's picture

I've edited the Google Form to reflect these changes, except that I've left the level indicator language alone for now.

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

Brian Hickam's picture

Andromeda et al.,

The Google form looks great.  Nice work!  I look forward to seeing those who'll be attending the forum in Columbus this week.

Brian Hickam

Benedictine University at Springfield

bhickam@ben.edu