CALI 2008 – Conference Highlights

Here are my CALI conference highlights. It was a good conference again this year, with a few great take always.

  • The opening plenary session was by Paul Maharg, who talked about the importance of learning by doing. In particular he spoke about how students typically learn best through performance of authentic transactions involving doing what they are supposed to be learning, and then reflection on what they’ve done. Much like the “case” method that the UVic Business School has used for many years (since I was there in fact). Here are his slides.
  • The rest of the day I spent at a Drupal seminar … very good law school community building up around Drupal for law school and law library websites, with custom modules being created, and good person to person support in the community (IRC.Freenode.net #Tecknoids). Build new Law Centre and Law Library websites using the Drupal framework.
  • Hiring a Contractor for your Website CMS Implementation – Boone, Nann, Yale Law School.
    • Lesson 1: Choose your CMS first, don’t let your contractor sell you on “their CMS”
    • Lesson 2: Choose your contractor second.
    • Lesson 3: Make the contractor Accountable for Delays (include penalties for the missing of milestones in the development process).
    • Lesson 4: Require Detailed Documentation for end users.
    • Lesson 5: Be an active participant – find out how things work, and let them know how you work.
  • Fun with Digital Signage – Dewald, University of Utah School of Law. THIS IS WHAT WE SHOULD USE IN THE LAW LIBRARY AND LAW SCHOOL. Uses for digital signs: General Info, Events, maps, traffic, news (rss feeds, videos), room schedules, emergency info. Some things to consider before making the plunge:
    • Why are we using them? Do we have a clear purpose?
    • What content are we going to display? Who’s going to be in charge?
    • Have you identified strategic display locations? (lobby, near 158/159, library entrance??).
    • DAN – display & alert network. All you need is an internet connected old computer.
      • Cost $69USD per month, per display site (e.g. 5 displays displaying the same thing is $69 per month).
      • Completely web based utility to update and manage the displays.
      • Can develop a web application to display on the web page.
      • Can make templates for different resolution Monitors… Could use What ever sized monitor do you need.
      • Broadcast Converter over CAT5 w/ a VGA converter… or hook up to a PC in the cealing.
      • Reporting software built in so you can tell if a monitor is down.
      • http://www.akaditech.com/
    • This looks like this is the way to go… much less expensive than other systems I’ve seen.
    • Drawbacks, need to have a computer hooked up to every screen.
    • Have a 30 day trial for testing purposes.dewalda@law.utah.edu for a demo.
    • This solution is much, much less expensive than other solutions, but literally thousands of dollars. Their monthly cost, is less than the support costs of other systems.
  • Social networking for Law Schools – Ginsberg
    • We Need to teach students how to present themselves professionally on social networks.
    • Facebook – libraries and law schools can join… have a special application form. Resist the urge to install a ton of apps on your page. 22% of law libraries have facebook pages (at least of those in attendace at the session. Some times public communications officers will maintain the facebook presence. Networks on Facebook are going away… being replaced by Groups… drag stuff in via RSS feeds (photos, events, podcasts).
    • Privacy concerns on all all social networks. Where is the boundry between personal & professional. some people have 2 accounts… one for professional and one for personal.
    • Who are you talking to? What is important to them? Who will administer the site? How much time and money are reasonable? What features re available? Exit plan if you want to get out, or the site is not kept up to date?
    • Social Network are potentally a place for people to complain about the law school – need to have someone “living” there to check on things and counter any unwarranted negative information.
  • RSS & Widgets How to put your law school on My Yahoo, iGoogle, Facebook and My Space – Len Davidson, Catholic University Law School. It would be interesting to experment with this at the Law Library. Sounds very easy to do a test using something like widgetbox.com. Maybe to a Mac widget first, as it sounds like Mac users, use widgets more than other users. We should at least create a “Chat with librarian” widget for google chat.
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