From the Chair

Message from MARS, the Newsletter of the RUSA MARS: Emerging Technologies in Reference Section

Missy Clapp, Editor

The Emerging Technologies in Reference Section (MARS) is looking forward to an exciting Annual Conference in Anaheim! Please join us during our hosted events which will focus on engaging technologies of current interest in reference. We will host three programs, two discussion forums, and the MARS Happy Hour. A brief overview of these gatherings is provided below.

We are honored that the MARS Chair’s Program has been selected to also serve as the RUSA President’s Program this year. The program is entitled “Library in Your Hand: Mobile Technologies for Exchanging Information with Patrons.” The event will highlight the importance of libraries supporting mobile technologies for the dissemination and acquisition of information. Examples of practical applications being used in libraries will be discussed by our speakers. The program will be held on Sunday, June 24, from 10:30 AM-12:00 PM at the Anaheim Convention Center in room 204B. At the start of the program, we will honor Carolyn Larson, this year’s recipient of the My Favorite Martian Award, for her hard work and dedication to MARS over the years.

The MARS/RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee will present a program entitled “Are Virtual Reference Services Worth the Effort? What ROI Analysis and User Evaluations Tell Us.” Examples of ways to assess the effectiveness of virtual reference services will be discussed. Join us for this enlightening discussion, which will be held on Saturday, June 23 from 1:30-3:30 PM at the Anaheim Convention Center in room 201D.

The MARS Local Systems and Services Committee will present a program entitled “Discovery Systems: The Promise and the Reality.” The effectiveness of discovery systems such as WorldCat Local and others will be explored. The program will be held on Sunday, June 24 from 4:00-5:30 PM at the Anaheim Convention Center in Room 304AB. In addition to these programs, both the Hot Topics in Electronic Reference Discussion Group and the Virtual Reference Discussion Group will host engaging discussion forums.

The MARS Happy Hour is always a wonderful way to enjoy refreshments while meeting newcomers interested in MARS and old friends who have been part of MARS for years! This event will be held at the Anabella Hotel, poolside in the Magnolia Room on Saturday, June 23 from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

As is tradition, the MARS All-Committee meeting will be held on Sunday morning from 8:00-10:0 AM, and we would love to invite those who are interested in learning more about the Emerging Technologies in Reference Section. You’ll have the opportunity to hear about the activities of our committees and the wonderful volunteer opportunities that match your interests. All visitors are welcome to join us. The meeting will be held at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel in the Pacific A Room.

Other MARS activities include the creation of this year’s list of the Best Free Reference Websites, which will be published in the Fall issue of RUSQ. The Professional Development Committee has produced a number of webinars and has a subcommittee working with RSS in the production of a workshop that will be held at the start of the 2013 Midwinter Meeting. In addition, the Products and Services Committee has continued its work to produce product reviews that are beneficial to reference librarians.

We welcome your interest in MARS. If you would like to learn more about MARS and how you can become involved, please contact me ( for more information.

Dianna McKellar
MARS Chair, 2011-2012