AIIP11, Day 2

The second day of AIIP11 began with Sari De La Motte, who is a body language expert. She coached us on using effective breathing in our conversations with others, especially when delivering bad news. She had really interesting insights into human behavior. She counseled us to take a breath and consider your options before reacting to something. A very hard thing to learn, but I can see how it would help make difficult situations result in better outcomes.

Next, John McQuaig led a session on pricing. He had helpful advice for gaining insight from clients in order to better meet their needs.

After that, Mary Ellen Bates gave a talk on marketing. I liked her advice about establishing three goals for the year and tracking your success. Her one-day makeover advice regarding your online presence is very effective as well. I’ve seen the benefits of doing just that very recently.

There was a tips session in the evening where we discussed various topics in small groups for 30 minutes each. I joined discussions on participation-centered presentations (by Linda Stacy), e-newsletters (by Lorene Kennard) and working with non-profits (by Marge King). I learned a ton – this is one of my favorite parts of the conference.

Deschutes Hefe

Then it was time for fun. Some folks went on outings arranged by the conference organizers. I went into Portland with friends. We had an amazing dinner at Deschutes Brewery and ended the evening at Powell’s Books. I found the local-interest section and bought books on the Oregon Trail for my own genealogy research. I also found a book on the Alamo, which mentioned my ancestor John Smith.

Powell's Book Cart (Tormentum Malorum)

UPDATED: Recaps of Day 1 and Day 3 are also available.

Follow Friday: AIIP Conference Tweets

Next week (April 7-10) is the 25th Annual Association of Independent Information Professionals Conference in Vancouver, WA. Be sure to follow #aiip11 on Twitter to keep up with all the sessions. Several genealogists are members of AIIP and I encourage anyone who has a genealogy business or who is thinking of starting one to look into this group. The conference is just one of the many benefits of joining. You’ll get a taste of what you can learn from this wonderful group by following conference tweets.

Still need convincing? Take a look at my recap of last year’s conference.

RootsTech Redux

I’ve been spending the evening cleaning up my previous posts about RootsTech, which I wrote on-scene using an iPad with limited skill/ability to do things like link links and include images. Here’s the full list, in case you’d like to revisit the posts or you are seeing them for the first time:

RootsTech, Day 1: Toto, we’re not at FGS anymore.

RootsTech, Day 2.0: “Genealogy is about the experience and not proper citation format. People don’t keep doing things that make them miserable.”

RootsTech, Day 2.1: Digital Images for Genealogists

RootsTech, Day 2.2: Digitization of Irish Records

RootsTech, Day 2.3: Still more from Day 2!

RootsTech, Day 3.0: Notes from the founder of Internet Archive

RootsTech, Day 3.1: Photography Brings Ancestors to Life

RootsTech, Day 3.2: Virtual Presentations How-To

Random RootsTech Photos: exactly as advertised

I had such an excellent time at this conference. I love the chance to get to know the bloggers with whom I correspond online and I learned a lot at the various sessions. The chance to use the legendary Family History Library was fabulous.

This event had the vibe of the larger library association conferences I’ve been known to frequent. Rock music was used to introduce the keynote speakers. It also had its very own touches that really made it standout. There were recording booths in the vendor hall that bloggers could use to record video interviews. Microsoft set up a gaming area with Kinect video games, pool tables and more. All three keynote sessions were broadcast live on the Internet along with several breakout sessions. It was rather unreal.

Tweeting and blogging was encouraged and even expected — live tweets were featured on the conference homepage. Developers hung out with genealogists and brainstormed. Bending the rules and creative thinking were the norm.

It’s amazing that this event came together after only seven months. And 3,000 people came. 3,000! Some from as far away as Ireland and Australia.

I’m so excited that they’ve already picked the dates for next year: February 2-4, 2012. You can bet I’ll be there!

RootsTech, Day 3.2 – Virtually There

The last official breakout session that I attended was a roundtable on how to host virtual presentations. Thomas MacEntee led the session, which featured several familiar faces on stage and familiar voices joining virtually.

The session covered everything from what technologies to use (GoToMeeting was mentioned several times and was used to facilitate this particular session) to how to prep for such a presentation both as a speaker and as an attendee.

This type of presentation has become more and more popular in other spheres, but genealogy societies have struggled to offer such sessions either due to a lack of know-how, a lack of funds or a fear that it will leave out less tech-savvy members.

The message from the speakers was that virtual presentations are doable on any budget (partner with a venue like a library if your society doesn’t have the technology) and can be held in such a way that members who want to attend in-person can do so.

There are many reasons for holding virtual presentations–it can make the society accessible to far-flung members and can attract speakers who are unable to travel to the society’s location.

To quote Lisa Louise Cooke, who took part in the panel, “the genealogy landscape is going to change.” Societies need to step up and change with the times or risk becoming irrelevant.

Random RootsTech Photos

I still have at least one more substantive RootsTech post to write based on the sessions I attended, but I finally downloaded some photos off of my camera so here are some relatively random pics from my trip.

I did a pretty horrible job of taking pics of other people at the conference, and so encourage you to check out the other folks blogging about the conference for people shots.

Nifty shot of another plane as seen from seat 13F on the flight to SLC.

The view from my hotel room. That's the roof of the Family History Library in the foreground!!!

Fantastic chocolate shake from JB's restaurant (attached to the Plaza Hotel). I also highly approved of the mini Belgian waffles at their Sunday breakfast buffet (no pic of those, sorry).

Fireworks by the state capitol. I never did find out what they were for...

Slightly less blurry fireworks shot.

Sunday’s Obituary: Della (Crow) Hayes

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

Della (Crow[e]) Hayes was my great-grandmother. All of the materials below are in the possession of one of my aunts:

Original source unknown

Original source unknown

Funeral Program Cover

Funeral Program, Inside

I have a couple things to follow up on here. There is a minister involved in the funeral of the last name ‘Hayes.’ Possibly a relative? Same with pall bearer Wayne Gourley (note the difference in spellings of Gourley/Gorley throughout the materials). I should also check with the church mentioned in the obituary to see if they have any family records.

Scrapbooking Marathon II

I was pretty busy this weekend, owing to an 11-hour scrapbooking crop down in Fredericksburg, Va., that I attended. I went to the same event last year for the first time.

My mission for 2010: finish disassembling a K-12 scrapbook that my mom started for me and that I took over when I was old enough. It had been falling apart for years because of how much I tried to stuff into it and how often I paged through it. I finished rescuing the material from it and arranged the photos, mementos and school records into 12×12 scrapbooking pages for assembling into an album. Now, all I need to do is journal throughout the book and add some finishing touches.

Eleven hours is a loooooong time to sit in one place, but there was plenty to do around the convention center. The organizers put hundreds of scrapbooking layouts on display and attendees could walk around to take photos and get ideas for their own albums. I’m including some genealogy/family-history related layouts below (click on the photos to see a larger version of each):

Below are a couple of spreads from a fabulous genealogy scrapbook assembled digitally that was on display as well:


This family history album included photos and scanned documents.


To see more photos from the event, including some really funny layouts, visit my Flickr page.

Conference Materials Survey: Attendee Suggestions, Part 2

I’m running a series of posts about a survey I did to see how conference attendees organize the information and materials they bring home with them. Please be sure to read the previous posts in the series:

      The final question of the survey was this: Other thoughts? Do you use systems/tools to keep yourself organized at/after a conference not already covered above? Ever been wowed by how a conference presented its materials? How did they do it?

      As with the other questions, I received loads of helpful suggestions. Here is a smattering:

      Suggestions for conference organizers:

      Several people said they appreciate it when pocket-size schedules are available.

      “I’ve been fairly under-wowed by the way conferences present their materials, in that every vendor, panel, and talk seems to have a separate set of handouts, or even a separate format. I’ve never been to a large conference that presented materials in a unified way and helped me collect them in a unified way.” — this was echoed by another respondent who said having everything organized in one binder in order of the presentations makes life easier.

      “Some very expensive conferences provide binders already set up to keep and augment materials. In the more electronic times we live in I find many speakers refer you to their websites or other places where their materials are stored. Easier to use this way IMHO.”

      “I think a good conference provides electronic access afterwards, which is particularly helpful to those who can’t attend.”

      Suggestions for attendees:

      “I carry a three-ring binder with the syllabus materials for sessions I plan to attend divided by tabs for each day of the conference. I have my conference schedule in the front of the binder, so I can see quickly where I’m supposed to go next.”

      “It’s a whole lot easier to deal with a conference if I’ve live blogged it.”

      “For some things, I actually write on it, “Why am I keeping this?,” and write out the answer.”

      “I try to create an “Action List” of things I want to try, do, research, etc., when I return. Keeping this separate from all the other conference “stuff” helps me to focus on just that. I also need to submit reports on all meetings that I attend.”

      “Ideally I would write the conference paper titles at the front of each notebook and list them in a database on computer. I do this sometimes but often I am too busy when I get home and resume work.”

      For vendors:

      “One vendor at SLA 2009 gave medium-end swag on front table, and the high-end stuff was on a back table; you would only get it if you had a conversation with them.Sometimes [a] weird or intriguing toy is good swag because it’s a conversation starter, both for me at the vendor’s booth and later when I bring the thing back to my office.”

      Current technology:

      “I do find that I’m starting to scan more things, though. I am a fan of Microsoft OneNote for keeping e-scraps (Evernote is good, too).”

      “I especially like following and following up on conferences through the extensive use of Twitter. I just attended a one-day event yesterday and found myself disappointed that they hadn’t created a Twitter handle for it.”

      “Slideshare for the PowerPoint (and with download option can often see the speakers remarks as well as the sides), Youtube if a video was made, Rww is great for tech conferences write-ups.”

      My final post in this series will sum up the results and include my observations about the trends mentioned and possible opportunities and solutions that have revealed themselves along the way. Read on here:

      Post 8 (Conclusion)

      Conference Materials Survey: Attendee Suggestions, Part 1

      I’m running a series of posts about a survey I did to see how conference attendees organize the information and materials they bring home with them. Please be sure to read the previous posts in the series:

      In this post, I’ll share some of the attendee responses to Question 8 of the survey: What would help you make better use of your conference materials when you get home? Again, I am extraordinarily grateful to the wonderful folks who responded to my survey because so many took the time to give great recommendations in answer to this question.

      Respondents clamored to have more presentations and handouts made available online after the conference (either by the speakers or the conference organizers). A couple people specifically asked to have the syllabus made available online too.

      One respondent played devil’s advocate to the above suggestions however, stating, “Saying that the notes are available online is useless – how many of us actually manage to write down the entire URL on the screen and then bother to go back and look it up?”

      In a similar vein, several other respondents said that posting materials online isn’t enough. More than one suggested assigning keywords to handouts and presentations and/or indexing them by subject and author. Another said, “I wish that the handouts/PowerPoints would be provided in a way that they could be searched by topic. Otherwise, all that great stuff just gets forgotten about because it’s not easy enough to access. It’s essential[ly] hidden unless you remember to go there.”

      This sentiment was echoed in another answer: “My real problem is that it takes me so long to categorize and file and so stuff stays in piles til I get to it – but at least I know its there along with stuff I pull out of magazines etc. I wish I had a better way to make use of the stuff!”

      One respondent suggested that more conference follow-up is needed to encourage attendees to make the best use of what they learn: “Some sort of nudging follow up from conference organizers might push me to get back to it. A follow up note like ‘Librarians Pat Smith and Jamie Brown are starting to using the tools we explored in these ways – what about you?’ might help restart the conference conversations and push me back into the immediate post-conference mentality.”

      A couple of respondents made suggestions specific to vendors. One respondent asked for more clarity in the brochures given out at conferences: “Some of them use cool graphics and vague names and descriptions: business solutions, synergizing competencies, maximizing your….we have no idea what your product does so it’s easier to toss your flyer.” Another simply asked for coupons and trial periods that start after the conference and not during.

      Many other respondents simply requested more time to be able to deal with everything they accumulate at each conference. And, of course, there can never be enough outlets or free wireless access at conferences.

      My next post will cover the responses to Question 9 of the survey: Other thoughts? Do you use systems/tools to keep yourself organized at/after a conference not already covered above? Ever been wowed by how a conference presented its materials? How did they do it? Find out at the links below: