NWILL 2019

by Stephanie Spires, Chief Operations and Service Officer

Beautiful Portland, Oregon was the setting for the Northwest ILL conference I attended with John Brunswick September 12th and 13th. Portland is a vibrant creative community with breathtaking scenery. It is always a pleasure to be able to spend time in person with library folks and to have the opportunity to talk about ILLiad. 

John and I spent time at our exhibitor's table answering questions and talking about new releases and available services, including Tune-ups, Concierge, the Video Training Library, and custom consulting. There was a lot of interest in ILLiad future development and questions about how to best implement new ILLiad services. I was very excited to hear so many folks discussing new ILLiad projects and making connections with colleagues. I am also expecting a few follow-up tech support emails to come my way.

On the first day, I attended presentations, including the keynote address. Nancy Pearl spoke about her life as a reader, and I identified with many of the stories she told. She talked about spending a lot of time as a child in her local public library. I was reminded of the many hours I enjoyed at Reynoldsburg Public Library in Ohio as a kid and how much I loved the Children's Department. I recall being about seven years old and asking the librarian about when I would be able to get my own library card. She told me that when I could sign my name in cursive. I remember practicing and practicing and the pride I felt when I was able to go in and get that card and sign my name. Nancy said she was "a person made up of books," and I feel like I could say that, too.

Pictured left to right: Stephanie Spires of Atlas Systems, NWILL Keynote Speaker Nancy Pearl, and Summer Steele of Oregon Health and Science University.

Pictured left to right: Stephanie Spires of Atlas Systems, NWILL Keynote Speaker Nancy Pearl, and Summer Steele of Oregon Health and Science University.

I enjoyed learning from all the sessions I had the opportunity to attend and was particularly delighted by Natalie Logue's Lifting the Veil: Exploring New Ideas and Challenging Old Beliefs in Interlibrary Loan. I felt like the Grinch when his heart grew three sizes as she talked about learning the ILLiad Customization Manager inside and out and streamlining workflows by using ILLiad in new ways.  

I was also inspired to do more with ILLiad data and statistics during Meghann Weldon's Resource Sharing: The Data and Our University System's Story. Meghann had great ideas about asking questions and telling stories using data. She used data to propose making meaningful changes to improve user experience and was very successful in her efforts. I am hoping to work further with Meghann to highlight how ILLiad data can be used to improve workflows and patron experience. 

During the twenty-minute NWILL Exhibitor Presentations, I gave an update on ILLiad 9.1 and future ILLiad development. We chatted about the new accessible ILLiad web pages, updating to version 9, and future Atlas events at the upcoming Access Services and OCLC Resource Sharing Conferences.

Atlas Systems sponsored a happy hour event at Henry's Tavern in the Pearl District. We had a great turnout and lots of fun. Feedback so far on the event from attendees has been fantastic, and Henry's Tavern staff did a great job keeping up with all of us. 

As always, John made sure that I saw some of Portland and that I didn't languish in my hotel room. He took me to Powell's Books, to walk along the riverfront to dinner, and to sample some delicious Oregon wine at Oregon Wines on Broadway. 

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A big thanks to the NWILL planning committee for all their hard work in making this conference such a success. We look forward to seeing everyone at NWILL again next year!

IDS Project Conference 2019

by Matt Calsada

John & I had the pleasure of joining the 100+ attendees of the 15th annual IDS Project Conference held at the picturesque Utica College campus in Utica, NY. The conference theme this year was “All Systems Go: Improving systems and workflows,” and kicked off with a keynote by PALCI Executive Director Jill Morris. The Atlas Update followed right after where we had the opportunity to speak more about the ILLiad roadmap and upcoming plans for the ILLiad 9.1 update, planned for a September 2019 release.

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There was a lot of excitement about continued ILLiad development and upcoming Decision Support Pipeline feature. The slide deck is available for anyone to view.

Later in the conference, we had the chance to sit in on some great sessions. A thought-provoking discussion about purchase-on-demand services and how budgets and internal policies can affect those services for users piqued my interest after much debate of unmediated purchasing workflows. We got to see a session showing how users can submit requests without ever seeing the ILLiad web interface made possible by using the ILLiad API and OpenAthens.

With a table close to the coffee and afternoon ice cream, traffic to the Atlas Systems table was steady.

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We helped troubleshoot some issues, talked about ways to improve processes, and briefly showed off the new web pages released in Aeon 5.0 as a preview of what's to come in ILLiad. Despite being busy, we still were able to sneak in a few cookies. With all of the SUNY campuses recently migrating to Alma, we talked to many about the Alma NCIP addon. Other attendees were interested in knowing more about the Caiasoft addon to automate offsite request processing. Overall, everyone was looking to bring home as much knowledge as they could on improving their workflows and maximize ILLiad at their institution.

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I'm sure most students passing by the vendor tables in the student union ignored us and just eyed the table with cold drinks. One particular student didn't though, and I'm glad she approached us. It's rare for me to go to a library conference and have the opportunity to geek out about computer engineering. The young woman was nervous about an interview she had the next day and wanted advice from an engineering manager. I told her to be herself, be honest, and that her personality would shine through. I reminded her that we all have things to learn, and that was the very reason I was there that day too. I wish she got the job, but I am rooting for her future success regardless.

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I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in the coming months. What's next? Stephanie & John will be at the Northwest Interlibrary Loan & Resource Sharing Conference in Portland in September. Don't forget to register for the ILLiad in Focus: Version 9.1 Overview for later in October!

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2019 Aeon Symposium (Boston)

by Valerie Addonizio

Hello, world! My name is Valerie Addonizio, and I joined the Atlas team in June 2019 as their Special Collections & Archives Technical Consultant. I was happy to spend my first days on the job attending the logistically impressive Aeon Symposium in Boston (and Cambridge). As an Aeon user myself it was interesting to see what institutions are up to, and as a new Atlas employee, it was great to see this community of users informing each other (and us!) about how they use Aeon in their repositories.

The symposium started with a reception at Harvard’s Smith Center, where we got to watch a storm front from our beautiful view over Cambridge. I spent this time getting to know some users with common interests (birding anyone?) and taking it all in.

The next day the symposium began at Harvard’s Lamont Library, where we settled in a for a day of presentations. We started with a great history of archival description (a favorite topic of mine) by keynote speaker Bill Landis. This was followed by presentations from the staff at The Huntington, NYU, UC-San Diego, Harvard, the Bentley, Indiana University, and the Archives of American Art. You can check out recordings of these sessions here: https://training.atlas-sys.com/Course/Details/4333

Aeon Symposium dinner - photo by Cassandra Norman

Aeon Symposium dinner - photo by Cassandra Norman

The next day was a logistics ballet! Attendees got to choose from presentations given at Boston College, Tufts University, or the Massachusetts Historical Society. I followed my Atlas colleagues to the Historical Society and enjoyed a presentation about AtlasBI given by Stephanie Spires, Katie Gillespie, and Genie Powell. I have never used AtlasBI, so I was very impressed by the reporting functionality. Thanks very much to the staff at the MA Historical Society for the lovely tour afterward.

All attendees reconvened at the Boston Athenaeum for the final sessions of the symposium. Since ArchivesSpace is my focus at Atlas, I was looking forward to the ArchivesSpace/Aeon sessions that afternoon, which did not disappoint. Integration with ArchivesSpace is vital for a lot of repositories using Aeon, and listening to presentations by the University of Maryland, Yale, and Harvard showed different ways and different pain-points for those integrations. I took a lot of notes and will continue thinking about these sessions, especially the creation of additional ArchivesSpace add-ons for Aeon.

The day ended with a presentation by Katie Gillespie on what’s next for Atlas and Aeon, and with that, the very successful 2019 Aeon Symposium came to an end. I hope you’ll join us in Georgia for 2020!