It has taken me a while to get around to setting up this blog, as it was ultimately spearheaded by my time at the 2009 CHLA/ABSC conference in Winnipeg early this June. I went there as the librarian representing a project called the CIHC Library–my work there involves overseeing the submission and upkeep of material collections relating to Interprofessional Health and Education materials. Hit the jump to see the slideshow.
Before I went, however, I got involved in helping to present a poster about the CHLA interest group at SLAIS with UBC librarian (and ALA Mover and Shaker) Dean Giustini. We got to talking about social media, and ended up trying to identify some key areas of the academic community in which social media could be used effectively. We also had a few engaging discussions with some other conference attendees about this very subject and it was quite enlightening to hear some librarians intrigued by Web 2.0 tools but who were ultimately left confused by the notion of how it could be useful for them.
On the last day of the conference, we had a talk by the wonderful CBC Radio host/blogger/podcaster, Nora Young, who, for the first time among the conference keynotes, mentioned the two words “social” and “media” next to one another. Thankfully we had had our post-banquet roundtable on Twitter the night before, and I felt that her talk resonated among some of the attendees because of it. But the thought struck me that perhaps our discussion surrounding social media in the academic health library came too late: Nora Young was the closing speaker. I couldn’t help but wonder what our discussions around Twitter and everything else would have sounded like if Ms. Young had spoken on the first day, and had thereby infused thoughts about academic social media throughout the rest of the presentations.
Now I’m back in Vancouver and still wondering about the fate of social media for CHLA. Tim Tripp, webmaster and Twitter fan, has sparked the idea of a social media interest group for the organization that came out of a little Twitter-based discussion that took place post-conference (some of which can probably be gleaned from Twitter Search). That will certainly be a welcome addition to the creation of ideas and best practices for what we could call “CHLA 2.0”. As we move farther and farther from the conference however, and the demands of our regular lives come creeping back in, it remains to be seen how CHLA, and the rest of the academic community, will move forward in this arena effectively.