Further Q & A: on The “Why, Who, What, How, Where and When?” of the Colloquium.

Who did the work?

The Vendor Colloquium Planning Committee, Joyce Manna Janto; Kate Hagan; Michael Bernier; Anne Ellis; Ann Fessenden; Richard Leiter; Linda Lev-Dunton; Robert Myers; Richard J. Spinelli; Cindy Spohr; and Committee Chair Steve Anderson, held one face-to-face meeting during the 2010 AALL Annual Meeting in Denver. It completed the rest of its work by conference calls and email.

To share the committee’s work process I’ve organized the minutes of the four meetings topically below.

Why hold the colloquium?

  1. To discuss what information creation and dissemination (“publishing”) means today with the rise of blogs, etc.
  2. To better understand the continuum of information flow, including the roles of editors and aggregators of third-party content
  3. To make AALL members aware of this new environment
  4. To make vendors aware of the challenges that librarians have
  5. To collaborate on developing a white paper or other statement reflecting the discussions on these topics

Who is attending?

Invited attendees should be “high level” representatives of the vendor and law library communities, potentially including individuals from library oversight boards (e.g., managing partners of law firms, judges, etc.).

Committee members agreed that the invitees should include:

  • two executive representatives from the five vendors represented
  • 13 committee members (including Kate Hagan)
  • two law library representatives of each “library-type special interest section (SIS)” (for a total of six)
  • two “library board”/institutional end-user representatives of each “library-type SIS” (for a total of six)
  • the AALL vice president
  • the new vendor relations representative

Members strongly favored diverse representation of law librarians to include younger, active librarians and librarians from a variety of job positions.  Members also endorsed the concept of inviting leaders of law library governance boards, such as deans, managing law firm partners, and judges.

The committee asked the chairs of each “library-type SIS” to identify and suggest to the AALL president a suitable pool of potential attendees. The president selected the final attendees, based on the available slots.

What is the structure?

The Colloquium will be approximately two days long, consisting of prepared, shared questions, and facilitated dialogue on topics to be mutually developed by the committee.

How did the structure develop?

The committee reviewed previous AALL colloquia, researched and solicited topics for discussion, created a “briefing book” for attendees.

The process for selecting background reading materials:

  1. A small subcommittee chose background reading materials for the committee’s use. This provided the basis for the final briefing book for attendees.
  2. Based in part on this reading material, committee members sought suggested discussion topics from their constituency groups and organizations.
  3. The entire committee reviewed the subcommittee’s selections and agreed the collection should include the most relevant articles.
  4. The committee requested a two-page summary of its organization from each vendor.

The process for selecting the questions to spur topics of discussion:

AALL asked the three “library-type” SISs and vendor community in November two questions:

  1. “If you could ask a legal publisher/law librarian five questions, what would they be?”
  2. “If you could tell a legal publisher/law librarian five things about your industry/library, what would they be?”

The chair organized the responses and the committee reviewed the compilation and suggested some changes for the two documents that became “librarians” and “vendors” responses.

How to structure the colloquium?

  • professionally facilitated by Maureen Sullivan, experienced with AALL
  • an opening keynote speaker session, Roberta Shaffer, law librarian of the Law Library of Congress
  • followed by targeted presentations, discussions, and roundtables

How to communicate to members?

Because the AALL Spectrum publication schedule does not permit publication soon enough, the committee asked Spectrum Editorial Director Mark Estes to attend as a reporter, not a participant, to blog about the days activities.

Where will the Colloquium be held?

Chicago, because it’s centrally located for all potential attendees.

Facilities arrangements:

  • No assigned seating
  • A podium with microphone
  • Small, round tables for breakout discussions
  • If possible, the large seating arranged in a chevron
  • No AV equipment to keep the discussions low-tech and more communal
  • Flipcharts available
  • No taping of the colloquium
  • The dress attire is business casual

When will the Colloquium be held?

February, attendees arriving the evening of Sunday, February 27th, so that the Colloquium would begin at 9 a.m. on the 28th. The Colloquium will conclude at approximately 3 p.m. on March 1st, allowing attendees to return home that evening.

posted by Mark Estes

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February 2011

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