This afternoon, between 12:00 pm and 1:30 pm CDT, Sally Jacobs – The Practical Archivist – hosted a web chat entitled Help for the Accidental Archivist over at her Practical Archivist blog. It was a huge success and I wanted to post some information concerning the process and the technology used.
- I was honored to serve as Sally’s “wingman” as it were. More like an Ed McMahon to her Janey Carson. Basically, Sally needed someone to capture all the questions from the participants, moderate them to make sure they were appropriate and on point, and then feed them to her one at a time so she could provide answers.
- The platform used was Cover It Live which has some unique features including chat, polls and video. Many genealogy bloggers are familiar with Cover It Live if you’ve ever participated in Scanfest produced by Miriam Robbins Midkiff at AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors.
- Cover It Live has two type of users – paneltists/producers and participants. The panelists/producers are allowed to comment and add content while the comments of participants are moderated and approved by a producer.
- Both Sally and Miriam utilize the free version of Cover It Live which does have limitations on the number of participants and panelists/producers. The limit is 25 panelists/producers who can have full access and up to 25 participants using the Always Allow feature to publish comments.
- Cover It Live has a premium version with no such limits, but you must either purchase a subscription or you can use the free premium version but must allow Cover It Live to display advertising on the console used by panelists/producers and participants.
- As a facilitator, my job was to note the questions, place them in the “holding queue” and then privately message the person asking the question letting them know that their question was in the queue. Also, I had to keep tabs on Sally answering questions so I could then “approve” the next question for her to answer and for the other participants to see.
- You can see the entire transcript of the 90 minute chat by visiting Sally’ blog post about the chat here. I also copied the entire content and pasted it into a Word document for Sally to use. Most likely she will produce a PDF with some live links to resources. Look for it soon at her blog.
Overall, this was a great event and a great example of an information professional (genealogist, librarian, historian, archivist) leveraging new technology in order to give back to the genealogy community.
As co-chair of the Virtual Presentation Committee of the Genealogical Speakers Guild, Sally afforded me a unique opportunity to use the Cover It Live platform. I’ll be adding my notes and insights to the GSG benchmark documents to be released in early 2011. If you are a genealogist interested in learning more about virtual presentations, I urge you to join GSG – we are working hard to develop a set of best practices and recommendations on presentation platforms for genealogy speakers to use.
©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee