2014 Oregon Virtual Reference Summit

Friday May 16, 2014 - Seventh Mountain Resort, Bend

The Oregon Virtual Reference Summit is Oregon’s annual conference dedicated to reference, service, and technology. It is a one-day conference that strives for a fun, friendly, inclusive environment with reference-focused content appropriate for all skill levels, library types, and experiences. It is also an excellent opportunity to meet virtual reference staff from around the state face-to-face and exchange ideas. Presenters and attendees do not need to staff Answerland; all are welcome.



Seventh Mountain Resort is providing 1-bedroom condominiums at $129 for Thursday, May 15th and Friday May 16th. The rate will be available until April 16th.

Make your reservation by calling Sharron Stewart at 541-693-9108 to make your reservations. Tell her you are with OVRS and the reservation ID is #10D53N.

Wherever you stay, make sure you book your room early. Hotels expect to be booked the weekend of May 17th-18th for the annual Pole Pedal Paddle relay race. 

Alternative lodging

Things to Do in Bend (pdf) lists activities, food and more places to stay.

Getting there

Seventh Mountain Resort is located at 18575 SW Century Dr, Bend, OR 97702. It is the last resort before the Mt. Bachelor ski area.


Creating Points of Need
Michele DeSilva: Emerging Technologies Library, Barber Library, Central Oregon Community College

Statewide Databases and Answerland: Make the Connection
Liz Paul, Cedar Mill Community Library

Chat Happy? University of Portland Clark Library’s Chat Satisfaction Survey
Heidi Senior: Reference/Instruction Librarian at Clark Library, University of Portland

The Truth About Reference
Caleb Tucker-Raymond: Statewide Reference Service Coordinator at Multnomah County Library,


Inspiration Architecture: The Future of Libraries
Peter Morville

To understand the future of the library, we must look beyond its walls, to the tools and contexts—both physical and digital—where learning takes place. In school, where the disruptive innovations of open access and online courses are changing the architecture of education, virtual reference, the “embedded librarian” and the “single search box” aren’t just nice ideas: They’re mission-critical. And, in society, where citizens don’t know how to search, who to trust, or what to believe, our failure to advance information literacy threatens the very fabric of civilization. Morvilleconnects the dots from ebooks to ecosystems, framing the library as both a cultural keystone and a courageous act of inspiration architecture. This is a story that’s colorful— both kaleidoscopic and contrarian—with an argument that just may change the way you think.

Achievement Unlocked! A Digital Badge Primer & Workshop
Emily Ford, Portland State University

Digital badges--much like their analog predecessor the scouting badge-- can tell us a lot about a badge bearer’s accomplishments and skills. We all know that someone who has earned a First Aid badge is proficient in doctoring small wounds, and perhaps even providing CPR! Digital badges function the same way. They certify and communicate an individual’s knowledge, skills, and/or achievements.

Digital badges have been adopted by social media sites such as 4Square to recognize users’ achievements and are growing in popularity. They are being used by educational institutions as a way “gamify” learning and promote student engagement; professional organizations like Educause use badges to certify professional development accomplishments; and the Dallas Museum of Art even uses badges as part of its Friends Membership Program. With the growing popularity of digital badges in social media and education, librarians can learn a lot about this new way that students and communities communicate their knowledge and skills. Maybe some libraries in Oregon will even consider using badges to “gamify” local library and community engagement!

This session will be a primer and workshop on digital badges. Participants will learn the basic theories driving the use of digital badges and be introduced to different badge platforms and tools (such as Credly and Mozilla's Badge Backpack) to create, collect, and share badges. Moreover, participants will engage in discussion about how badges might be used in their libraries and communities. Session participants are encouraged to plan ahead and bring their laptops, tablets, or other devices so they can explore these platforms during the session.

Answerland 2042
Caleb Tucker-Raymond, Multnomah County Library

A glimpse into the future of Oregon's statewide collaborative reference service, Answerland.

Meet the Notables: Successful Virtual Reference
Joanna Milner, Multnomah County Library (Facilitator), Laura DeGeer Baca (Cedar Mill Community Library), Emily-Jane Dawson (Multnomah County Library), and Thea Evenstad (McMinnville Public Library)

Pick the brilliant brains of a panel of past notable transcript winners as they discuss what makes an excellent transcript. Learn about their tips, tricks, and favorite information sources, as well as what they wish they had known before they started doing virtual reference. Share your own success stories, too!

Now You See It, Now You Don't: Visual Strategies for Reference Questions
Sara Q. Thompson, OSU-Cascades

It's one thing to guide a patron sitting in front of you through a library website. It's another thing entirely to guide a patron through that same website over the phone, in an email, or via chat. Some reference interactions need visual assistance to effectively "teach them to fish" but how do we do this without taking too much time or getting too complicated?  This session will look at the pros and cons of three different strategies for adding visuals to mediated reference interviews: 1) screenshots, 2) video capture and 3) screen sharing. We will also look at free online apps for each strategy and practice describing our own library home pages to our neighbors in the room.  By the end of the session, participants will have a tool belt full of approaches, platforms, and accessibility considerations to take back to their home libraries.

VRS White Paper Development: “Pre-Publication Peer Review”
Jonathan Betz-Zall, Shoreline Community College

Help develop a “White Paper” on virtual reference services at community colleges, providing a complete explanation and rationale for the service, identification of successes and challenges, means of evaluation, and ideas for improvement, including collaboration. Also gain practice in using Open Space Technology to identify topics of interest to an audience. After an introductory presentation outlining preliminary research and some basic issues, we’ll use Open Space Technology to identify discussion topics of most interest to the audience, then break up into groups to consider them. Each group will report back, and the presenter will collect and collate the results and distribute them later to participants.

8:00 Meet & Greet Breakfast
9:00 Welcome
9:15 Keynote with Peter Morville: Inspiration Architecture: The Future of Libraries
10:30 Lightning Talks
10:45 Break

Concurrent sessions:

Achievement Unlocked! A Digital Badge Primer & Workshop with Emily Ford

Meet the Notables with Joanna Milner, Laura DeGeer Baca, Emily-Jane Dawson, and Thea Evenstad

12:00 Lunch

Concurrent sessions:

Now You See It, Now You Don't: Visual Strategies for Reference Questions with Sara Q. Thompson

VRS White Paper Development: "Pre-Publication Peer Review" with Jonathan Betz-Zall

2:15 Lightning Talks
2:30 Break
3:00 Answerland 2042 with Caleb Tucker-Raymond
3:45 Wrap-up


Laura DeGeer Baca is an adult services librarian at the Cedar Mill Community Library.  She also works on-call for Hillsboro Public Library and Portland Community College.  She loves sugar, speaking French, sunshine and chat sessions that look like pranks.

Fourteen years ago Jonathan Betz-Zall gave up a rewarding twenty-year career as a children’s librarian to join the online revolution in academia. Since then he has kept busy helping teachers, school librarians and community college students to make the best use of the most up to date library resources. Currently he coordinates virtual reference services for Highline and Shoreline Community Colleges near Seattle, provides face-to-face reference services for Shoreline, and teaches administration and technical services courses in Highline’s online Library and Information Services program. He also teaches Environmental Science, mostly to students from China, and strives to practice what he preaches in that class. His project for the near future is http://ecolibrarian.org.

Emily-Jane Dawson (yes, please say both names: "Emily-Jane;" that's why there's a dash!) is reference librarian at Multnomah County Central Library in downtown Portland. She is devoted to public service work and has been known to use the reference interview during cocktail party conversations. Emily-Jane is an old hand with Answerland; she's been answering chat and email questions since 2003.

Thea Evenstad is a reference librarian at McMinnville Public Library. She graduated from Emporia State University’s School of Library and Information Management in 2012. Thea has volunteered for Answerland since 2011 and loves contributing to the statewide collaborative reference community. Her professional interests include reference/virtual reference services, adult library programs, teaching, government information, and outcomes-based evaluation.

Emily Ford is Urban & Public Affairs Librarian at Portland State University, and is currently working on a project to develop and implement badges in three undergraduate community health courses at PSU. She has been an Answerland volunteer for four years and is a co-founder and Editorial Board member at In the Library with the Lead Pipe. Emily has a BA from Reed College, and an MLS and MIS from Indiana University Bloomington.

Joanna Milner is a Library Assistant and Virtual Information Services Lead Worker at Multnomah County Library, as well as a proud member of the Answerland Quality Team. She loves tackling quirky reference questions and writing nerdy tweets for the MCL Twitter feed. She has been known to present database trainings in return for free coffee.

Peter Morville is a writer, speaker, and consultant. He is best known for helping to create the discipline of information architecture. His bestselling books include Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Ambient Findability, and Search Patterns. Peter is currently hard at work on a new book, Intertwingled, to be published in 2014. He advises such clients as AT&T, Harvard, IBM, the Library of Congress, Macy's, the National Cancer Institute, Vodafone, and the Weather Channel. His work has been covered by Business Week, The Economist, Fortune, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal. Peter lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife, two daughters, and a dog named Knowsy. He blogs at findability.org.

Sara Q. Thompson works her magic as one of the wizards behind the green curtain of the OLA twitter account (@OregonLibraries) and stays awake at night thinking about the new OSU-Cascades campus opening in 2015.  She has been an instruction librarian at OSU-Cascades for almost two years, after enjoying the libraries and thunderstorms of Iowa and Illinois. Tweet her at @esquetee.

Caleb Tucker-Raymond is statewide reference service coordinator at Multnomah County Library. He has been leading Answerland since 2003. Outside of work, he enjoys playing with his children, playing in the garden, and playing at adulthood.


The program will streamed online free of charge. Register as a streaming participant and we will send you connection information close to the event date.

We will stream the following parts of the program:

9:00 Welcome
9:15 Keynote with Peter Morville: Inspiration Architecture: The Future of Libraries
10:30 Lightning Talks
10:45 Break (no streaming)
11:00 Meet the Notables with Joanna Milner, Laura DeGeer Baca, Emily-Jane Dawson, and Thea Evenstad
12:00 Lunch
1:15 Now You See It, Now You Don't: Visual Strategies for Reference Questions with Sara Q. Thompson
2:15 Lightning Talks
2:30 Break (no streaming)
3:00 Answerland 2042 with Caleb Tucker-Raymond
3:45 Wrap-up



May 17th: Pole Pedal Paddle is a six-legged relay race where participants ski, bicycle, run and paddle. Individual, pairs and teams are invited to participate. If you're planning to be in town, be prepared for crowds, with skis, bicycles, and kayaks. 

Things to Do in Bend (pdf) lists activities, food and alternative lodging.