21:4 (2006:12) 21st Annual Conference: Evaluation Summary

November 27, 2006 at 5:53 pm | Posted in Conference, Evaluation & Assessment | Leave a comment

Marla Baden, Chair, Evaluation & Assessment Committee

Committee members:  Marla Baden (Chair), Joe Badics, Carole Bell, Jana Brubaker, Sarah Corvene, Sandy Folsom, Carole McEwan, Anne Mitchell (Co-Chair), Lori Terrill, Adam Chesler (Board Liaison).

NASIG’s 21st annual conference was held in Denver, Colorado, at the Marriott City Center Hotel. The  conference began with a selection of preconference workshops, held its opening reception at the Red Rocks Conference Center and finished up with post-conference walking tours highlighting the Denver area. This year’s conference again included a variety of vision, strategy, and tactics sessions.

Three hundred and two conference evaluation forms were completed, which represented 49.27% of total conference attendees. This was the first conference in which evaluation forms were made available in an online format. One hundred and ten evaluations were completed online and 192 were submitted in paper (88 conference, 14 poster, 90 preconference). University librarians continue to be the overwhelming majority of respondents at 193.  College libraries made up the second largest group of respondents at 18. Five community college libraries responded, bringing the total of academic library responses to 219. As in past years, the academic libraries represented the largest group of respondents.

Medical libraries ranked third in responses with 15. Representation from the various vendor groups (automated systems vendor, publisher, book vendor, database provider, subscription agent) was 38, which was higher than last year’s 15. Those indicating they were with automated systems vendors showed a marked increase in responses from 0 (2005) to 14. Government, national or state libraries represented remained the same as last year with 11 responding. Law libraries and special or corporate libraries were represented by 6 (down from 8 in 2005) and 5 (down from 8 in 2005) respectively. Both public libraries and library networks or consortia represented less than 1% of the total respondents, which was a drop in representation. Less than 1% of the respondents chose the category “Other.”

The number of respondents with over 10 years experience dropped for the third year in a row to 51.2% (56.9% in 2005). Those with 7-10 years experience represented 14.2%, an increase from 10.1% last year.  Those with 4-6 years showed a slight increase with 16.95% and 1-3 years of experience stayed the same at 13%. Those with less than 1 year experience represented 4.5%, a slight gain from 4% in 2005.  45% of respondents had attended 1-5 previous conferences, and first time attendees at 21% were up from 16.5% in 2005. Those attending 6-10 were 20%, 11-15 were 9% and 16-20 were 6% of those responding. All of these categories showed a drop in percentages from last year.

The overwhelming majority of respondents, 365 (325 in 2005), identified themselves as serials, electronic resources or catalog librarians. Acquisitions librarian (84) and collection development librarian (69) were the next highest groups, showing a slight increase from 2005. Reference librarians (36) and processing/binding units (30) showed a slight decrease from 2005.  Automated systems (20), customer relations (23), sales (20) and training & development (27) all showed a slight increase from last year.  There were 16 respondents identifying themselves are paraprofessionals, which was an increase from 12 in 2005. Those identifying themselves as assistant/associate directors (12), library directors (2) and president/CEO/vice president (1) were up from those in 2005. As usual, many respondents identified themselves with multiple categories and “other” designations.

On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being high), survey respondents gave the 2006 conference a rating of 4.52. The attendees rated the overall conference facilities and local arrangement at 4.59. This again showed approval of the conference hotel setting. Denver as the location for the meeting rated slightly higher than Minneapolis (4.34) at 4.51. The hotel (4.56) and meeting rooms (4.26) received just a slightly lower rating than last year. The meals (4.27) and social events (4.25) were both rated higher than last year and seemed satisfactory to conference attendees. Breaks were rated at 4.08 just slightly higher than last year. The business meeting (3.83) rated higher than last year with a number of positive comments for holding the meeting during a sit-down luncheon.

The Denver conference continued a number of special programming events. The User Group Meetings and Informal Discussion Groups rated 3.89 and 3.99 respectively. The overwhelming majority of respondents wanted both these types of sessions to continue, although there were several comments suggesting that the two events be scheduled at different times so that they could attend both. The First Timer/Mentoring Meet and Greet received a 3.92 rating with a number of comments suggesting more time should be scheduled for this event.  The Focused Vendor session received a rating of 3.59 which was much lower than the 4.12 rating in 2005. Respondents seemed to feel the topic was too broad and not focused enough and commented that there were no actual demos. While most comments indicated that the topic was not as strong as in previous years, they wanted the session to continue.

This year the conference presented three vision sessions. Vision Session 1, “Things Fall Apart” with Robin Sloan received a 4.56 rating.  Vision Session 2, “All the News that’s Fit to Digitize: Creating Colorado’s Historic Newspaper Collection” with Jill Koelling received a 3.66 rating. Most respondents liked the program but questioned if it really was a topic for a vision session. The final Vision Session 3, “What’s a Serial When You’re Running on Internet Time?” with T. Scott Plutchak rated a 4.66.

Strategy Sessions generated ratings from 3.78 to 4.56 with 7 out of 10 sessions rating over 4.0. The highest session rating went to “Mountains, Valleys, and Pathways: Serials Users’ Needs and Steps to Meet Them” with Regina Romano Reynolds and Lynn Silipigni Connaway.  The sessions averaged an overall rating of 4.13 and the speakers’ averaged an overall rating of 4.11.

There were 16 tactics sessions offered at this conference. Ratings ranged from 3.81 to 4.59 with 11 sessions rated at 4.0 or higher. The highest rated tactics session was “Linking the Library and Campus Course Management System” presented by Claire Dygert. The sessions averaged an overall rating of 4.19 and the speakers averaged an overall rating of 4.17.

There were only 43 respondents for the poster sessions. The overall rating for the poster sessions was 4.09, down from last year’s rating of 4.50. The majority of respondents (34) felt they had enough time to visit the posters. There were several comments that suggested more room and keeping posters away from the break/food area. The individual poster rankings ranged from 4.4 to 4.9. The highest ranking was for “Connecting Your ILS with an Outside Accounting System” presented by JoAnne Deeken.

There were four preconferences offered this year and all were very well received with ratings from 4.71 to 4.87. The preconferences had a much better evaluation response rate this year with each session having at least a 50% or better return rate. The comments were overwhelmingly positive for all the sessions.

The Evaluation & Assessment Committee would like to thank everyone who took the time to fill out the evaluation forms. Your comments and feedback are important as NASIG continues to strive to provide positive conference experiences. We welcome suggestions regarding the evaluation forms. Please address comments to Marla Baden, badenm@ipfw.edu.


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