Papers and Posters Reflect Diverse Interests of SLA Members

Stacey Wahl had planned to be in Charlotte, North Carolina, last year to present a paper at the SLA 2020 Annual Conference. Instead, she’ll be in Charlotte next year, reaping the rewards of the paper she had intended to present in 2020.

Stacey, a librarian in the Health Sciences Library at Virginia Commonwealth University, had submitted an abstract to present a contributed paper at SLA2020, which originally was scheduled for Charlotte in early June. But the COVID-19 pandemic upended that timetable, forcing the conference to be delayed until October 2020. Stacey knew she couldn’t attend an October conference—she’d be on maternity leave then—so she asked to postpone her paper until the 2021 Annual Conference.

The 2020 conference ultimately was moved to a virtual format, but by the time that decision was made, SLA had already approved Stacey’s request to postpone her paper until 2021. As it turns out, SLA2021 also was conducted virtually, so Stacey was able to pre-record her paper presentation from the comfort of her home.

By the time SLA2021 opened, Stacey’s paper, “Bringing Postdocs into the Fold: A Targeted Approach to Reaching an Underserved Health Sciences Population,” had been reviewed by a panel of SLA members and judged the best contributed paper submitted to the conference. The panel’s decision means that Stacey will receive free registration to SLA2022—which, like SLA2020, is scheduled to be onsite in Charlotte.

“Although this project was focused on health sciences, it can apply to any library,” wrote one reviewer who read Stacey’s paper. “The outreach tools used to inform of the services that libraries can provide can be adopted by all types that make up SLA, large and small, academic, hospital, business, etc. The adjustment to switch to virtual during the pandemic was well done.”

SLA2021 Poster Contest
Like the contributed papers, the posters presented at SLA2021 also were reviewed, although by a much larger cohort of judges—namely, SLA2021 attendees. The posters, all 23 of them, covered a range of topics, as these titles suggest:

  • Exploring the Information-Gathering Limits of Secondary and Social Media Research;
  • A Bibliometric Study of the Literature on Artificial Intelligence and Its Applications in Academic Libraries;
  • Cloud Computing Applications in Libraries: A Case Study of the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi; and
  • Bootstrapping the Virtual Reference Desk: Best Practices and Lessons Learned for Outreach and Research in Post-Pandemic Special Libraries.

The posters were available for viewing throughout the conference and were presented by their authors during dedicated sessions on the next-to-last day of SLA2021. All attendees were encouraged to cast online ballots for the poster they considered the best. At the closing general session on August 13, SLA President Tara Murray Grove announced that a poster titled “E-books Need Call Numbers to be Discoverable,” created by Henrik Spoon, Adam Chandler, and Laura Daniels of Cornell University, had received the most votes.

“It was great to talk to the other poster presenter in my session, who represents McGraw Hill,” Henrik said. “That publisher’s e-book call numbers in the Cornell Library Catalog are quite complete, so she was pleased to see that on the poster and volunteered to relay this back to her colleagues. After the conference, the PAM [Physics-Astronomy-Math] Division main sponsor, IoP [Institute of Physics], inquired whether their e-books had good call numbers in our catalog. The analysis of those records is pending, but I will be happy to share the results with IoP.”

Like Stacey Wahl, Henrik (above) and his fellow poster authors, Adam (right) and Laura (below), will receive free registration to SLA’s 2022 Annual Conference, which is scheduled for July 29th through August 1st. Calls for abstracts for both the posters and contributed papers will be published several months prior to the conference. The paper abstracts are reviewed by a select panel of judges, who determine which abstracts will be approved to develop into papers.

Contributed papers presented at SLA Annual Conferences from 2013 through 2021 are available for viewing here. To learn more about the process of proposing and writing a contributed paper, read an overview here.

The posters that were presented at SLA2021 are being uploaded to the SLA Learning Hub and will be available for viewing later this year. The posters honored at the SLA 2020 Annual Conference can be viewed here.

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