11th Southern African Online Information Meeting: Innovation in an Age of Limits

Stephen Abram
Frankenbooks: understanding the e-book opportunity

Do e-books change everything or are they just the same as print?  Not by a long shot.  How can we frame the opportunity and is it different for fiction, non-fiction, reference and children’s works?  What devices and standards are emerging?  How about mobile?   What are the opportunities here for libraries?  If e-books are so different what enhancements might we expect?  Is this the final straw for libraries or the biggest opportunity since the web?”

About the presenter:  Stephen Abram, MLS, is Past-President 2008 of SLA and the past-President of the Ontario and Canadian Library Associations. He received the 2011 CLA Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award in June. He is the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and Markets for Cengage Learning (Gale). He was Vice President Innovation for SirsiDynix and Chief Strategist for the SirsiDynix Institute. He was Publisher Electronic Information at Thomson after managing several libraries. Stephen was listed by Library Journal as one of the top 50 people influencing the future of libraries. He has received numerous honours and speaks regularly internationally. His columns appear in Information Outlook and Internet @ Schools, OneSource, Feliciter, Access, as well writing for Library Journal. He is the author of ALA Editions’ bestselling Out Front with Stephen Abram. His blog, Stephen’s Lighthouse, is a popular blog in the library sector.


Michael Stephens
Taming technolust: technology planning in a hyperlinked world

This workshop explores emerging trends and technologies from within the framework of participatory library service.  How do we effectively plan in this shiny new world of emerging technologies and trends, when anyone can create a library blog at a free hosting site, develop an online presence at sites such as Flickr or Facebook for the library or launch the institution’s own social network with a few mouse clicks?  We’ll explore a few emerging technologies, discuss ten steps for tech planning and have interactive group work. Participants will end the session with their own roadmap for implementing a new or emerging tool in their library.

About the presenter:  After working fifteen years in public libraries, Dr. Michael Stephens is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University ( ).  His research focuses on the use of emerging technologies in libraries and technology learning programs.  He currently writes the monthly column “Office Hours” in Library Journal exploring issues, ideas and emerging trends in library and information science education.  Stephens has spoken about emerging technologies, innovation and libraries to audiences in over 26 states and in five countries, including a 2009 speaking/research tour of Australia.  His recent publications include two ALA Library Technology Reports on Web 2.0, two years of the monthly “Transparent Library” column with Michael Casey in Library Journal, and other articles about emerging trends and technology in various professional and scholarly journals.  He received an IMLS doctoral fellowship at the University of North Texas, was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker and received the 2009 Association of Library & Information Science Educators Faculty Innovation Award as well as a 2009 University of North Texas Rising Star Alumni Award.  He was the 2009 CAVAL Visiting Scholar, researching the effect of Learning 2.0 programs in Australian libraries.  Michael speaks nationally and internationally on libraries, technology, and innovation.  He is fascinated by library buildings and virtual spaces that centre around users, content, digital creation and encouraging the heart.


Karen Blakeman

Personalisation of search: take back control

Workshop summary on Storify

Personalisation, localisation and the use of social network activity on web sites is nothing new. On a retail site such as Amazon it can be helpful but when implemented by search engines it has serious implications for academic and business research. Google is combining information on our behaviour on all of its services to provide “a better, more intuitive user experience across Google for signed-in users”. Bing is doing exactly the same. Add in “auto-correct” with the behind the scenes “enhancements” and it can all go horribly wrong. Search terms are ignored. Irrelevant tweets and postings from complete strangers appear in your results. Austria suddenly becomes Australia and Google decides that coots are really lions! This session will look at how we can take back control, use the new “features” to our advantage and the alternative search tools that are on offer.

About the presenter: Karen Blakeman started her working life with a degree in microbiology but was soon enticed into the world of electronic information. Prior to setting up her own company she worked for two years as a microbiologist and then spent ten years in the pharmaceutical and health care industry as an information scientist. She moved to the international management consultancy group Strategic Planning Associates before becoming a freelance consultant in 1989. She now provides help and advice on Internet search, social media and collaborative web tools. Her clients include all sectors, types and sizes of organisation and she takes a very down to earth approach to locating and managing information. Karen edits and publishes a monthly, electronic newsletter called Tales from the Terminal Room and her blog can be found at She is an Honorary Fellow of CILIP (The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) and a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP). In 2002 she received the Information World Review Information Professional of the Year award.


Kosie Eloff
An overview of self publishing with a focus on the Smashwords platform

Vanity publishing isn’t a pejorative phrase anymore. One of the effects of the digitisation of the publishing workflow is that it’s easier to publish a manuscript without using intermediaries. Self-publishing tools and platforms make it possible to reach a wider audience and to earn higher royalties on your books. In this workshop the presenter provides an overview of a popular self-publishing platform called Smashwords. He also demonstrates how to format a Word-prepared manuscript for publication on the Smashwords platform – which distributes titles to popular ebook vendors such as the Kindle and iBooks stores.

About the presenter:  Kosie joined the department of Information Science in 2005. His lecturing and research interests include digital publishing, human-computer interaction, virtual environments and computer-mediated communication. He’s also exploring e-book enhancement as part of his-research. If you have an e-book that really impressed you, please let him know about it!


iBala Consortium
Mobile technologies for service delivery and marketing

This workshop will be of use to anyone within the library community interested in learning more about utilizing the best of mobile technologies for the benefit of their users. The aim of this workshop will be to equip colleagues from all sectors with the necessary skills to use and implement mobile technologies in their various work environments. Through practical exercises, participants will use these tools themselves, and look at examples of how they are being used successfully in other libraries. The workshop format will be hands-on sessions, where each tool discussed will be applied practically.

About the presenters: iBala Consortium is a group composed of information professionals who are keen to investigate the possibilities of delivering information services via mobile technology. The Consortium aims to build a community of information professionals who are passionate about mobile technology and mobile development in the library and information services field. iBala is a Xhosa word that means a playground. This word came into existence when a blog was created for the purposes of lashing out frustrations, raising ideas, and most importantly to record the journey and the life of the iBala Consortium.