2014 Keynote/ Plenary

Opening Keynote Speaker

View ER&L’s archived video of Barbara’s talk

— View Barbara’s slides*

— Read Barbara’s remarks*

Freeing Knowledge: A Values Proposition, by Barbara Fister, Gustavus Adolphus College

Knowledge is open-ended and networked by its very nature. Libraries have traditionally been local nodes in that network, places where people can join the network, where learning is inquiring, not just acquiring. Yet the fluid, connected nature of knowledge runs counter to the current economic framework in which knowledge is given to publishers to be transformed into property, then returned to the network through a complex system of metered payments. Libraries have worked hard to keep knowledge free at the local level through negotiating licenses, implementing software to manage all the locks and combinations, and designing user interfaces that make the locks as invisible as possible. If we joined our knowhow and our fundamental values, we could collectively play a leadership role in developing a new and open network that is, like knowledge itself, open to change.

Barbara Fister has coordinated instruction at the Gustavus Adolphus College library in St. Peter, Minnesota, for over 25 years, but is still learning how to help students (and faculty) learn. She has studied students’ research processes, examined the relationship between writing and research, and teaches an upper division course on how information works. She has written widely on open access to scholarship and is interested in the future of publishing of all kinds. You can follow Barbara’s generalist tendencies on Twitter (@bfister) and through Library Journal’s Peer to Peer Review or the Library Babel Fish blog at Inside Higher Ed. Photo courtesy of Mark Coggins. *Slides and remarks provided by Barbara Fister.

Opening Keynote session sponsored by SCELC, Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium


Tuesday Plenary Speaker 

“Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.*” The role of resilience in individual and organisational well-being and performance. by Sarah Durrant, Red Sage Consulting

–View the archived video of Sarah’s talk

The digital information landscape is increasingly complex, often pressured and subject to significant on-going disruption and change. New technologies, business models, acquisition options, markets, patron expectations, funding policies and competitors mean libraries and others are continually having to rethink what they do and how they do it. At the same time, this change and disruption brings significant potential and opportunity. So, hurrah for change, challenge and uncertainty, right? Well, not quite. Research shows that continual change, disruption, uncertainty and ‘newness’ take a significant toll on human capacity and resourcefulness forcing right-thinking organisations to confront and resolve these key issues:

  • How do we ensure key staff remain motivated and impactful?
  • What steps can we take to ensure we continue to identify and respond positively to opportunity?
  • How can we enhance staff productivity, engagement and resourcefulness in the face of on-going change, challenge and uncertainty?
  • How do we minimise the impact of workplace stress (e.g. loss of valued staff members, overwork and burn-out, presenteeism and increased sick-leave)?

One proven answer to these questions is the cultivation of RESLIENCE. Resilience encompasses a range of qualities and capacities which enable human beings to remain flexible, resourceful and effective in even the most dynamic environments. There is a strong evidence-base which shows that by cultivating resilience amongst their staff, organisations will enhance their capacity to thrive – rather than simply survive – in even the most dynamic environments. Enhanced resilience brings a range of benefits to individuals and teams too from improved productivity, engagement, motivation and impact to enhanced health and well-being. This talk seeks to raise awareness of resilience and provide insight into how this quality and capacity can serve us, our colleagues and the organisations we work for. (*Maya Angelou)

Sarah Durrant has over 23 years’ experience drawn from a wide range of companies in the publishing and online information sector. She has worked for American and European organisations and conducted business in over fifty countries. Sarah is an experienced senior manager and C-level leader. Through Red Sage she provides leadership and development training, coaching and mentoring, expert facilitation, marketing, research and business development services. Sarah is passionate about coaching and leadership development and committed to helping individuals and businesses fulfill their purpose and potential. She runs a successful coaching business (www.alifeonpurpose.co.uk) providing life and career coaching to individuals on a one-to-one basis.

During her career Sarah has worked for and with a range of commercial and not-for-profit publishers, information intermediaries, libraries and consortia, universities, higher education organisations and trade bodies. Sarah is owner and facilitator of the popular Licensing and Negotiations Skills for Librarians course run through UKSG and is a member of the UKSG Education Committee. Red Sage Consulting was established in July 2007.

Learn more about Sarah’s ER&L WorkshopFOREVER CHANGES: CULTIVATING RESILIENCE IN TIMES OF CHANGE, CHALLENGE, UNCERTAINTY – AND OPPORTUNITY


WEDNESDAY KEYNOTE — View brent’s talk

The Mining and Application of Diverse Cultural Perspectives in User-Generated Content by Brent J. Hecht, Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Wikipedia articles, tweets, and other forms of user-generated content (UGC) play an essential role in the experience of the average Web user. Outside the public eye, UGC has become equally indispensable as a source of world knowledge for systems and algorithms that help us make sense of big data. In this talk, I will demonstrate that UGC reflects the cultural diversity of its contributors to a previously unidentified extent and that this diversity has important implications for Web users and existing UGC-based technologies. Focusing on Wikipedia, I will show how UGC diversity can be extracted and measured using diversity mining algorithms and techniques from geographic information science. Finally, through two novel applications – Omnipedia and Atlasify – I will highlight the exciting potential for a new class of technologies enabled by the ability to harvest diverse perspectives from UGC.

Brent Hecht is an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Minnesota. With interests that lie at the intersection of human–computer interaction, geography, and big data, his research centers on the relationship between big data and human factors such as culture. A major focus of his work involves volunteered geographic information and its application in location-aware technologies.

Dr. Hecht received a Ph.D. in computer science from Northwestern University, a Master’s degree in geography from UC Santa Barbara, and dual Bachelor’s degrees in computer science and geography from Macalester College. He was a keynote speaker at WikiSym – the premiere conference on wikis and open collaboration – and has received awards for his research at top-tier publication venues in human-computer interaction and geography (e.g. ACM CHI, COSIT). He has collaborated with Google Research, Xerox PARC, and Microsoft Research, and his work been featured in the MIT Technology Review, New Scientist, AllThingsDigital, and various international TV, radio, and Internet outlets.

Wednesday Keynote session sponsored by IBM