Newsletter of the Medical Library Group of Southern California and Arizona

Best Bytes: Virtual Posters

Posted on March 5, 2012 by Amy Chatfield | No Comments

Contributed by Amy Chatfield, MLS, Norris Medical Library, University of Southern California

The Virtual Posters from the MLGSCA 2012 Symposium are now available online. You might be wondering why virtual posters were added to the Symposium, and how the posters were created. Keep reading this Best Bytes to learn more!

Over the past few years, MLGSCA and MLA have put much effort into making professional development material available online. Several recent MLGSCA-sponsored Continuing Education events have used MegaMeeting to permit members to view presentations from medical library luminaries from the comfort of their own desk chairs; MLA has been providing continuing education using course management systems, recorded videos, and other online educational methodologies. One natural extension of this technology is to provide MLGSCA members with a platform for sharing their own professional work. As the 2012 Symposium was planned, it became clear that presenting the entire CE virtually would be difficult, but it presented an opportunity to test Virtual Posters.

Virtual Posters have been used by many professional organizations outside of the library world to facilitate conversations between far-flung professionals, provide additional opportunities for publication and recognition, and provide the opportunity to reach a larger audience via the web. There are fewer presentation opportunities overall for health sciences librarians, so Virtual Posters seemed like an even more appealing option. A proposal on Virtual Posters was developed and accepted by the MLGSCA Advisory Council. The group decided to create the posters as Powerpoint files, as this provided an easy display mechanism during the Symposium and Powerpoint files are easy to transfer to PDF for display online. It was decided to display the posters as individual posts on a separate page on the MLGSCA Link blog. The posters all have unique URLs and authors can include the direct link on their personal webpages.  Since the posters are also individual posts on the MLGSCA Link blog, they were pushed out to our RSS feed subscribers, and individuals can also add comments or questions for each poster.  Poster authors will be made aware of comments added to their posters, and will be asked to reply via blog comments.

MLGSCA members responded positively to the Virtual Poster idea, too, and eleven members volunteered to compose the first ever Virtual Poster committee. These volunteers split into several working groups: one wrote the call for proposals; another group reviewed proposals; a third reviewed virtual poster sessions from other professional groups and developed guidelines for poster size, font choice, and other display issues; and the fourth working group wrote instructions for poster authors and provided support as authors created posters. The MLGSCA webmaster was consulted for display issues and she was able to increase our website memory to ensure we can store the posters in perpetuity.

What do you think of the Virtual Posters for the 2012 Symposium? Should MLGSCA continue these sessions? How can we change our approach to make the posters more useful? Leave a comment here or email Virtual Poster Committee chair Amy Chatfield. Your responses may be included in the final report and used for planning future MLGSCA CE events.


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