My 1st ARLIS NA Conference: Seattle, Washington. March 8-12.


[ The Seattle Public Library Reception: Alex, Clare, Jenna. Future art librarians! ]

So although this isn’t strictly social media related, I attended my first (and hopefully not last!)  ARLIS NA conference last week. Almost 1,000 art librarians and visual resources professionals gathered together in Seattle, Washington from Tuesday, March 8 until Saturday, March 12 to sit in on fascinating session topics and talks, gather for SIGs and meetings and forums, and build new skills through various workshops. Some of my favourite sessions were about having an artist-in-the-library residence program, coming up with creative and dynamic ways to do outreach in an academic library (pizza was a prize), discussions and issues around diversity and social justice, and learning about digital humanities in an all-day digital humanities unconference.  I also really loved the career development workshop where 3 established art librarians reassured us that “even after 50 applications, don’t give up!”

But it wasn’t just the sessions that I found engaging, it was the friendly, open, and willing professional librarians who took the time to speak with me about their own careers – whether it was over a glass of wine or sitting next to me in-between sessions – that really invigorated my spirit and reassured me that I’m on the right career path. I have to admit that I think those 5 days were filled with more meaningful learning than most of my time here at SLAIS, but that’s likely because the information studies program here does not weigh heavily towards art or visual resources librarianship.

But where does social media play in all of this? While I am not an avid tweeter, I did habitually check my social media using the conference hashtags: #ARLISNAVRA2016 and #ARLISVRA2016 and #THATCAMP. Twitter was incredibly useful during the THATcamp session because there were 4 sessions going on at the same time over a period of 3 consecutive sessions, and so it was nice to see simple tweets on what the others were doing/discussing/learning via this social media.


Here’s a tweet from the Welcome Reception at the Seattle Art Museum:

My sad attempts at engaging with social media via the conference hashtag:

A cool social media effort by the librarians! When we entered the first time attendee cocktail party, they gave us all a card from a card deck and asked us to find our matching card. When we did, we would put it on social media. Below is a librarian from the Frick Reference Library tweeting her match:

What is the role of social media in digital humanities?


source: Arthistoricum

This is a question that I had because it wasn’t discussed enough during the roundtable on outreach to faculty and students for learning more about DH and DH tools. I think is a great research topic. Though when it was asked “what about social media” the agreement seemed to be that social media was on the periphery and not seen as a core approach to do outreach. But given the ocean of technologies and tools that are out there to do DH in a variety of disciplines that are evolving every minute, wouldn’t something like twitter be the best way to do this given the immediacy of these platforms?



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