UPDATE: John Chrastka, Director of Membership Development at ALA, commented and alerted us to The Conference Tracker from American Libraries Magazine. This is another great way to track the conference, and pulls in a lot of the avenues Nicole mentioned in her post. Thanks John and AmLib Magazine!
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Like some of us here at Hack Lib School, you may not be able to attend the ALA Conference this summer. Or maybe, there are other conferences you are not able to actually attend. Below are some ideas on how you can participate and follow a conference without actually being there in person. Most are directed at this year’s Annual conference but you could definitely apply them to others. Please feel free to post other suggestions in the comments!
Twitter: ALA has a strong presence on Twitter and when it comes to the conference, there are several ways they make it simple to follow the conversation. The official handle for the conference is @alaannual and the official hashtag for this year’s conference is #ala11. Throughout the conference, more hashtags will most likely appear for certain sessions, groups, etc. But following #ala11 is the best place to start. In the past, there has been a wiki where you could find more of these hashtags, but now ALA has integrated the wiki into the Scheduler and hashtags when known, are listed on each session record.
Facebook: There is an ALA Annual Facebook Event. The event wall looks to have information that is useful to both those attending and those who are not.
Flickr: You can even check out pictures that people are posting from the conference on the ALA Annual Flickr Group.
Virtual Conference: There will be a 2011 ALA Annual Virtual Conference on 7/13 and 7/14. Looks like proposals are still being accepted for that. More details can be found on the ALA site along with pricing.
Web Junction: For FREE webinars ALL year round, check out the offerings at Web Junction. Great resource whether you can go to conferences or not.
CPD23: As luck would have it, just received an email on this fantastic site for continuing professional development. It’s a free online program open to information professionals at all stages of their career. The program starts on June 20th and runs through early October 2011. Each week, the CPD23 blog will be updated with details of the next thing to be explored. You can find them on Twitter as well as @cpd23.
One last suggestion, lots of librarian bloggers will often do daily posts of how they are spending their time at conferences. (Some of the HLS team will even be there – tweeting and blogging – *cough cough Micah, Annie and Lauren cough cough* Another great resource. And free!