IUG 2001 Conference Proceedings

Table of Contents

Session: A3/F3

Introducing Your IUG

Coordinator/Presenter:
Peter Murray, University of Connecticut Law Library

Presenters:
Karen Perone, Rodman Public Library
Katrina Anderson, Innovative Interfaces, Inc., Director of Customer Services


This session looked at the Innovative Users Group's history, functions and organizational structure. The members are urged to get involved in this all-volunteer organization.

History

The IUG was founded in 1991 and held its first conference in 1993. There are no individual members in IUG, only organizational ones representing the institutional users of the Innopac and Millennium systems. Individual libraries of consortia are encouraged to belong individually as members of IUG. Businesses with strategic partnerships with III may now be invited to become affiliate members. The user group is completely independent from III, although the vendor provides many important services including financial assistance for the conference and program support.

Services

Membership is a bargain at $60 per year. The treasurer handles all membership services.

The annual conference is one major focus of the IUG. The user group also operates an open subscription, unmoderated online discussion list. This summer the list keeper, Peter Murray, will change the list to a 'restricted' status. One must be a subscriber on the list in order to post a message. This should improve list security and reduce unsolicited email messages.

IUG has just contracted with a professional web hosting service to maintain and improve innopacusers.org web site. Complete information about the conference, FAQs, and a new IUG membership directory unveiled at IUG9 Conference, are among the features on the web site.

Coordination of the enhancement process is the other important IUG service. While Innovative uses many sources to develop its products, the IUG enhancement lists are particularly important because they represent a consensus among users of needed improvements.

Get Involved

Getting involved is very easy. Basically, you just volunteer. There are many levels of participation: lurking on the listserv; participating in discussions at conference or on the list; moderating, presenting, or serving as recorder for a program at conference; becoming a functional expert in managing the enhancement process; running for an office.

There are about 18 categories used to sort enhancement requests. The functional expert in each area requires at least two years of experience with that function in Innovative.

The Steering Committee includes four members at large, the chair, vice-chair, past chair, secretary and treasurer. They hold two-year terms except for the vice-chair/chair-elect. Up this year for election will be the positions of vice-chair, secretary and two at large seats. The Steering Committee meets prior to Conference (to stuff conference packets and generally team-build), and at ALA Annual and Midwinter conferences.

Membership Benefits

The new roster of paid IUG members includes institution name and address, contact person information, and the IUG membership number. Contact Kathy O'Gorman with corrections. This is different than the Innovative directory, which is maintained by the company. User libraries are not listed until they request to be included in the III directory.

Other benefits include having a vote in IUG and in the enhancement process, conference proceedings, and regular mailings.

Conference Structure

The Saturday preconference is for new users and those wishing additional training from Innovative. The three day main conference includes over 50 unique user-led programs and discussion forums and over 30 unique III-led programs, many of which are repeated. Innovative has traditionally hosted a reception on Sunday night, and the IUG has sponsored a lunch on Monday. Annual Conference also includes exhibits by vendors with strategic relationships with Innovative, who are invited to participate. There is a placement service and a sign-up for people to meet in informal birds-of-a-feather sessions.

The next two conferences will be:
Houston, Texas Westin Galleria, April 27-30, 2002
San Jose, California, Fairmont Hotel, April 23-29, 2003

Innopacusers.org

Peter Murray demonstrated the features of the Innopacusers.org web site. Main sections include Information About IUG, Innopac List Info, List Archives, Innopac User FAQs, Enhancement Requests, Local & Special Interest Groups, IUG Meeting Information, and a link to Innovative Interfaces' web site.

How to subscribe and unsubscribe to the list are described at the web site. It's important to follow some simple rules of etiquette in using the listserv. Contact the III Help Desk or check with your system coordinator before posting a question or concern. Often an answer can be found without using the list. Treat all email to and from III staff as confidential. Don't post private email to the list. List user manual record number rather than quoting from the manual. Avoid giving road maps to system options. Make sure the email address is correct before you send. Check to match whether you want to send a particular missive to the whole list or to an individual before pressing the send button.

Enhancement Process

Managing the enhancement process may be the single most important thing the IUG does. Any III member can send in an enhancement request. A specialist will determine if the request is, in fact already done, planned in an upcoming release, possible or not to do. The requests can then be viewed at the IUG web site by IUG members only with passworded access.

In October there will be a deadline for enhancement submission. The functional specialists will build a ballot in November. In December users will return their ballots, and in January results will be posted. Do not post enhancement list passwords to either the IUG list or to any other open list.

III's Part in IUG

Innovative sends over forty staff to IUG Conference. This is a great opportunity for III to learn from customers, to get enhancement ideas, and to improve communication and services to users.

Innovative started CS Direct online as a response to user support issues so that customers could view open calls with III. The next addition to CS Direct will be a list of known issues in the current release.

Anderson also suggested that users sign up for III's private subscription service. Subscription is not limited to formal member contacts. Anyone from an III site may request to receive these online press releases from III. There is a page on CS Direct to subscribe, or contact the Help Desk.


Reporter:
Liz Nichols, Iowa City Public Library