A Tale of Two Presentations

As I write this I’m guessing that the last stragglers of the morning after the conference are winding out of the Hyatt and away from Indianapolis.  Another Evergreen International Conference is in the can and cleaned up.  The folks from Evergreen Indiana did a wonderful job.  And I want to thank Shauna for the great job she did coordinating and all of the other great staff whose names I don’t know off hand.  

I and two others were elected to the Evergreen Oversight Board for the next three years.  We made absolutely no campaign promises so we’re already doing better than most political bodies.  None of the elections were unanimous which is good but I wish there had been more candidates and more contention.  It might sound odd for someone who wins an election to be wistful for more people not wanting to elect him but an engaged community will have opinions and disagreement.  Uniformity of opinion is often a disguise for apathy.  However, I am excited to be elected and think we have a lot of good to do in the next few years, much of which was discussed at the community meeting and more will come.

However, what I’m thinking about right now, among the many take aways I’ve had from the conference, has to do with two of the conference sessions I was involved with and thinking forward to next year.  

One presentation, that I did on Friday, was a panel discussion and Q&A entitled “There and Back Again: A Journey in Handling Evergreen’s Network Needs.”  I did this with Galen from ESI, Genevieve from Bibliomation and Chris from GA PINES.  Despite us having no practice and only a brief review of the slides together it went really well.  Not only did we all have something of value to say (I think) but the moderating and handing off went really well as did the questions.  We ended exactly on time and we had a great time keeper.  That’s a harder job than it looks, really. 

The presentation can be found here : http://www.slideshare.net/roganhamby/there-and-back-again-the-networking-needs-of-evergreen but it basically consists of a few ice breaker slides and prompts for the discussion.  I wish I had been able to record the sessions and have resolved to bring a good microphone in order to do so next year.  By the way, if you want to see the “special” slides you’re out of luck – those have been removed – conference attendees only.  What happens in Indianapolis stays in Indianapolis.   

Now, I want to contrast that experience with Thursday’s “Everything A SysAdmin Needs to Know About Cataloging But Was Afraid to Ask.”  Even going in my co-presenter and I had basically built two presentations – one from the culture of cataloging side and one from the technical details of catalogs side.  Then, we decided to open the door to questions and really push for those from attendees.  And that is where it both went really well and really wrong.  The questions were great.  Engagement was great.  We got a lot of information out to a lot of people.  The bad?  It wasn’t the people we intended to be our audience or the information we wanted to provide.  We were hijacked by really nice people with really valid questions though it wasn’t where I imagined the questions being asked.

Essentially, we had a lot of catalogers attend who needed to ask questions about cataloging – a little bit about work flows, a little bit about where functionality is and a lot about where functionality is going.  I’m glad to have a forum for that discussion but it’s not what that forum was intended to be.  So, I’m resolving that next year that I’m going to try to give this another go as the feedback indicated to me that the topic does need to be done and from the IT folks that talked to me afterwards I learned even more about how to gear this discussion.  However, we also must have the cataloging forum that it obviously became and I’m convinced that the same format that we used for the networking panel would be perfect.  

So, I’m committing to trying to get two presentations onto the schedule next year.  One, I will present, maybe with someone else, and it will be version 2.0 of the cataloging / Evergreen for IT folks presentation and I will be party to it.  The second, I simply want to bully the right folks into doing but I probably won’t be a member of and that is The State of Cataloging and Acquisitions in Evergreen.  I have already gotten a commitment from one technical services and acquisitions person and I’m hoping to get similar commitments from one or two others and one developer.  

So, already thinking about 2013 in Vancouver.   See you there.