Message from the Chair

MARS: Update from the Emerging Technologies in Reference Section (MARS)

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Cathy Larson, Editor


Annual Conference time is just around the corner, and I hope to see many of you in Chicago! The Emerging Technologies in Reference Group (MARS) has two programs and four discussion forums planned as well as several committee meetings, so mark your calendars and we hope to see you often. Also RUSA has a program in two parts as well as an orientation, so there are lots of ways to get involved, learn more, and network with your colleagues. If you haven’t tried out the ALA Scheduler, ( I recommend it. ALA will keep this service up-to-date to reflect last minute room changes, and they monitor the site and may add seats to events where they see high advance demand. The good news is that most of our events are either in the Convention Center, or across the way in the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place which should cut down on many long trips back and forth on the buses.

Friday, start out with RUSA 101: Network, Get Oriented, Get Involved. This is a fun orientation and get-together. Friday, June 28, 2013 from 3:00-4:00 P.M. at Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Jackson Park 10ABC.

Saturday morning, June 29, from 8:30-10:00 A.M., the Planning Committee will be meeting in the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Boardroom 5 to work on Section Review and to continue updating the section Handbook. If you are interested in observing the work and possibly volunteering for the coming year or two, please join us. At the same time, the RSS All Committee meeting, including joint RSS/MARS Virtual Reference and Virtual Reference Tutorial Committee will be held at the McCormick Place Convention Center N226.

Next up, our Management of Electronic Resources Committee is sponsoring a discussion forum, Counting the Counts: the State of Public Services Statistics and Reporting. We’re all faced with the increasing need to make thoughtful data-driven decisions and to demonstrate our value to our communities and our parent institutions. Please join us from 10:30-11:30 A.M. in the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Burnham 23AB, for what is sure to be a critical conversation. The Committee will be following up the conversation after Annual with a webinar on reference statistical tools, so keep an eye on your email for further details.

Saturday afternoon from 1:00-2:30 P.M. our newest committee, User Experience Design will host a discussion forum, How Wide the Divide—Why We are Still Asking, followed by our Virtual Reference Discussion Group forum on Saturday, from 3:00-4:00 P.M. at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Room N135.

Capping off Saturday, from 4:00-5:30 P.M. in the Convention Center, room S105a-c will be the RUSA President’s Program: The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron, featuring Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. If you like what you hear, you’ll want to participate in part II, which will take place Sunday morning from 10:30-11:30 A.M. in the McCormick Place Convention Center room E351, where Rainie will again join us to facilitate a more interactive conversation.

On Sunday, June 30, join us for our all committee meeting from 8:30-10:00 A.M. at the McCormick Place Convention Center, room N426a. If you’re on a committee already, this is your primary meeting time. If you’re a member who can volunteer to help with the work of the section, this is a chance to stop by, talk with the committee chairs and members in one location, and find a committee that fits your interests.

Sunday from 1:00-2:30 P.M. will be the MARS Chair’s Program also at the McCormick Place Convention Center, room S403. We will start out honoring Nancy Cunningham, this year’s recipient of the MARS Achievement Recognition Award. Then we have four great speakers lined up: David Bietila, Web Program Director from the University of Chicago, Lesley Moyo, Director of Research & Instruction and Tracy Gilmore, Technical Services Librarian, both from Virginia Tech, and Elizabeth German, Web Services Coordinator from the University of Houston Libraries. They will address the topic: Usability, the User Experience & Interface Design: The Role of Reference.

Sunday from 3:00-4:00 P.M., at the McCormick Place Convention Center, room S404bc, the Local Systems and Services Committee will host a program entitled, Leveraging Open Source Software to Create Library Websites. Nicole Engard will provide an overview on open source software and talk about WordPress, Brendan Quinn will speak about Drupal, and Julie Hardesty will discuss Omeka.

Also on Sunday, from 4:30-5:30 P.M., in McCormick Place Convention Center, room N127, our Hot Topics Discussion Group will host a discussion forum, Big Data at the Desk: Data Visualization and Research for the Rest of Us.

And the last event of Sunday evening will be the RUSA Awards Reception and Volunteer Appreciation Party from 5:00-6:30 P.M. at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Prairie Room.

On Monday, July 1, if you’re still in town, plan to stop by our MARS Executive Committee Meeting from 8:30-11:30 A.M. at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Hotel, Room Burnham 23A-C. The meeting is where MARS Committee and Discussion Forum chairs, as well as MARS representatives to RUSA level committees share their activities of the last six months and their upcoming plans. We are meeting jointly with the RSS Executive Committee for the last hour to coordinate activities of our two sections.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to volunteer, please go to, or contact Sam Stormont, Vice Chair, Emerging Technologies in Reference Section (MARS) at

For those of you who have already volunteered, thanks for all your contributions to MARS and MARS members this year. You are making a difference. Thanks for making this a great year to be Chair.

Debbie Bezanson
Chair, Emerging Technologies in Reference Section (MARS) 2012-2013