Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Anyone Recognize This Flowering Tree?

One of my AIIP11 conference roommates and I happened upon this tree on the way back from Fort Vancouver. Most trees in the area had yet to pop their leaves, but this one was going bonkers. And look at the flowers!

It has a trunk and size like a crepe myrtle (@walnutresearch in the foreground):

Mystery flowering tree-bush-plant-thing in Vancouver, WA. Fellow conference-goer trying to smell one of the flowers to see if they smell like roses.

And waxy leaves like ??????:

And flowers like roses (but they don’t smell strongly):

AIIP11, Day 3

Day 3 of AIIP11 began with a panel discussion on using social media. Scott Brown, president-elect, discussed LinkedIn. I’m already using this site, but not to its full potential. Scott reminded me that I can use the Publications tool to include blog entries. There’s also a WordPress app I need to investigate. Finally, he discussed company pages. I did not even realize you could create those on LinkedIn. I may create one for that site, but I also will probably do one for Facebook, which is good if you have a locally focused business like I do, as he mentioned.

Next, Ellen Naylor, discussed blogging. I need to explore some of the resources she mentioned:
Social Media Examiner – make your blog social
Hubspot.com for statistics
Remarkablogger
Virginbloggernotes.com

Lark Birdsong talked about Twitter. I already use this extensively, but I got some good tidbits from her too:
Use Tweepi to reciprocate
What the Hashtag – I tried using this site yesterday and it seems to be gone… (UPDATE: Yep, it’s toast)
Twittradder.com

Next, Cindy Romaine, president of the Special Libraries Association, presented on SLA’s FutureReady initiative.

David Meerman Scott, the Roger Summit Award winner, delivered a lively talk on marketing and PR. He wrote “Real-Time Marketing & PR” and encouraged us to keep up with things as they happen. It’s okay to plan for the future, but don’t forget about today.

UPDATE 4/11: Egads! I forgot to mention one of the sessions. Current AIIP President Cynthia Hetherington presented on loving promoting yourself (well, both, actually). It was a super-funny presentation with lots of good tips. I arrived late to the session, sans iPad, and didn’t get a chance to take notes except by Tweet.

I played hooky during the last session to explore the local farmer’s market and pack for my flight home. Before heading to the conference gala, I attended a lovely soiree hosted by another AIIP member in her swanky suite. They even had a dining room table! I was quite jealous.

The gala was quite fun. I sat at David Meerman Scott’s table and he was interested to hear about the Friends Album project. I had really nice chats with fellow AIIP members Mary Doug Wright and Michelle Bate as well.

Unfortunately, I had to depart early this a.m. (Sunday) and am typing this from O’Hare airport as I await my connection to Baltimore. I can’t wait for the next AIIP conference in Indianapolis in 2012.

UPDATED: Did you miss Day 1 and Day 2?

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.

AIIP11 Day 1

Tulips in Esther Short Park, Vancouver, WA.

Excellent first day here in Vancouver, WA. I started my day walking around Esther Short Park across from the hotel, taking pics. Thankfully, the promised rain held off and we had nice weather all day.

I attended a vendor training session on the new ProQuest interface for Dialog searching, which looks to be much more intuitive for Dialog newbies, but still has the old command line search capabilities for tried and true users. I want to start exploring the possibilities for genealogy research in its databases when all are online later this year. Bonus: met a potential client at this session.

Building at Fort Vancouver, WA.

Next was lunch with several attendees. Then, Lorene Kennard and I walked to Fort Vancouver to tour the historic site. I took lots of pics, which I will post later. Next, we met up with more friends for ice cream at a local gelato place.

Brownie and strawberry gelato from Dolce Gelato in Vancouver, WA.

Then, it was time to get ready for the poster session on topics from book publishing to Paypal to enewsletters. This was followed by the opening reception, where I met many conference first-timers and talked genealogy at length with the incoming editor of AIIP Connections. Oh yeah, we managed to find time to visit the hotel bar to try out the AIIP conference cocktail too.

The Silver Bullet: Absolut mandarin + Cointreau + lime juice, shaken + Chambord pour

What a great start to the conference. Can’t wait for the first full day tomorrow!

UPDATED: Read all about Day 2 and Day 3.

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.

RootsTech, Day 3.1 – Photography Brings Ancestors to Life

The first breakout session I attended today was “Advanced Technology Brings Ancestors to Life” by Patricia Moseley Van Skaik of the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County. She focused her talk on a panoramic daguerreotype image of the Cincinnati waterfront taken in 1848. It is considered to be the oldest photograph of urban America, including steamboats, storefronts, and more.

You can learn more about the image here.

The Cincinnati daguerreotype panorama is actually pieced together from eight separate images of the shoreline. The assembled image is more than seven feet long.

Here is another site with information about the image.

Many of the buildings in the image are no longer there, but researchers studied the photos in 1947, when many were still standing. At the time, they used magnifying glasses to see leaves on the trees, determining the season, and used other clues to determine that the year the photo was taken was 1848 (evidence of drought, etc., confirmed this date). Names of the boats in the water also helped date the photo.

Fast forward to today and Eastman House made hi-res images of the daguerreotypes that allowed for closer inspection. They stitched the images together to create the panorama available at the links above.

They didn’t stop there. Using microscopic images, they were able to determine it was 1:50 p.m. by zooming in on a clock tower in the photo. They discovered signs on the buildings and were able to read them. The level of detail available upon close inspection of the original images is quite impressive.

Taking the information from the signs, researchers then turned to census records, deeds, city directories and more from that time to learn more about the store owners and their businesses. They also learned about some of the residents of the buildings as well.

Enhanced images and detailed information will be online later this year. The crew working on this project hope to hang the daguerreotype for public display once again. It has been down for conservation work.

RootsTech, Day 3.0

This morning’s keynote was from Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive. His topic was “Personal Archiving and Primary Documents.” He talked about many projects of which I was unaware, including the fact that they had digitized all available years of the census (they are not indexed, but other services have done that…).

Openlibrary.org was another initiative I was surprised to learn about. The site is trying to create a web page for every book that gets you as close to a copy of the book as possible.

Filmstrips, people! They’re archiving those filmstrips you watched in school when recess was rained out or there was a substitute teacher. (also check out http://www.avgeeks.com/)

There also is an effort to create a television archive. All told, there are more than 300,000 moving images.

Take-aways:
“Hackers of today are the archivists of the next generation.” (This started a discussion on Twitter about how the BBC was indebted to hackers who helped restore videos that had been considered lost.)

“It’s a really bad idea to trust a commercial company with your only backup.” His advice was to have more than one back-up copy and send one (at least) to someone who is as far away as you can.