Thursday, March 18, 2010
The school library catalog was replaced this week with a new modern web-based catalog. Staff and students can search the new catalog from any computer in the school as well as from home, and it has lots of nifty new features. With this upgrade the library has entered the 21st century, so it's very exciting.
What has amazed me during the whole process of replacing the catalog has been the way meetings have been handled.
Even though we are a very small school with minimal hierarchy and we're buying an off-the-shelf package from an experienced company, we've had to have a number of planning meetings and training sessions. The first planning meeting gave me an idea of how these modern-day sessions would be conducted. There were six attendees, but only three sat in a room with me. One was in his office down the hall from us, while two others were in Chicago. We all signed onto the Project Manager's web site and watched her computer screen as she outlined the various tasks required and then put them on a calendar. We all talked to her through a telephone conference call on a speaker phone. The call was set up by calling an assigned phone number and punching in our meeting code. Just like in a regular meeting, if you needed a piece of information from a person who wasn't there or from your office, you jumped up and got it and came back into the meeting.
Then the training sessions started. Again we signed onto a web site and into a telephone conference call using a speaker phone, but this time we each were at a computer so we could open our own screen, log into the new catalog, and experience it hands-on as we followed along with what the trainer was doing on their screen. There were three training sessions and each had a different trainer. One was in Texas, one in Illinois, and one somewhere on the east coast. Because we were being trained in our own work spaces, we could easily break to answer an urgent question from a staff member, check with a colleague on an issue, and otherwise multi-task while being trained.
Some of the paperwork we received called these meetings Webinars or Webex. Whatever they are called, I love them. Another wonder of the modern age.