Monday, February 13, 2012

Report on NetSpeed 2011

In October I attended the Netspeed 2011 Conference and wanted to share a few highlights form my own experience with members of the library community unable to attend.



Pre-Conference

On the pre-Conference day I was fortunate to help facilitate the Game-ification of Your Library Session, held at the Taylor Family Digital Library at the University of Calgary. This day-long session featured presentations and discussions around adding digital games to library collections, including:
  • Exergaming by Dr. Katz and Gender & Games by Georgia Gaden, both from University of Calgary
  • A Skype session on games in school libraries with Diane Maliszewski and a group of her students
  • Mini-presentations on Censorship, Intertextual Stories and Managing Games Collections
Delegates also had a chance to play some sample games and brainstorm strategies for introducing and managing games in libraries.



After the session, several games systems - bridging nearly 3 decades of console gaming history - were set up at the conference hotel. All delegates were invited to try out a variety of games at the Gameapolooza social event.



Keynotes

Both keynote addresses this year were excellent.



First, was Jesse Hirsch’s presentation Battle for the Future. Jesse spoke about the evolving dynamics of trust, authority, governance and consent in society, both in online and real world networks. He emphasised the importance developing a multiplicity of literacies and critical thinking in order to be an engaged member of our wired-in, online society.



Closing the conference, was Kevin Franco. Kevin discussed how media convergence can change the nature of publishing. His particular focus was on transmedia stories that engage the reader through text, online communities, multimedia presentations and games.



Sessions

The sessions, too, were very strong this year. Among the several I attended two in particular stand out:
  • Being Social with Social Media: Jim Dunbar from Shortgrass Library System discussed how libraries can effectively leverage social media to engage their users. My big take away idea: use social media to converse with users, rather than merely market to them.
  • Resistence to Ebooks: Andrew Smith talked about the challenges libraries have with ebooks, such as: managing DRM, growing costs vs. tight budgets and incompatible user devices. Andrew noted that we need to educates both users and staff on the features, benefits and limitations of ebooks if libraries want to get widespread adoption from their users.
All in all, Netspeed proved to be a very informative conference. I hope to see many of you at Netspeed 2012.


by Kristian McInnis



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