I’m the lead person on our ALA Connect project to create a collaborative, online workspace/professional network for our members, something I’ve been working on pretty intensely for the last year. One of the most difficult pieces was synchronizing the site (which uses Drupal software) with our membership database (called “iMIS”). In making that connection, we came across some interesting numbers as we figured out which pieces to synchronize.
For example, we learned that at the end of 2008, ALA members have an average of 2.1 participations, which are essentially affiliations with an official ALA group (committees, discussion groups, divisions, events, interest groups, member initiative groups, round tables, and sections). If we narrow down the scope to members who have at least one affiliation, 42,000 members have an average of 3.2 participations.
I’m heartened that the majority of members have more than one affiliation, because I think it means they’ve found at least one small slice of ALA that is relevant to them. Where the numbers get even more interesting is when we look at the full range of participations across all members. Clearly, some people have found quite a few areas of interest to them in ALA.
|Participations||Number of Users|
One of our main goals with ALA Connect is to help members find the other interesting and relevant pieces of the gooey, amorphous cloud that is ALA. Personally, I hope Connect helps those 21,821 members find ways to get more involved (should they want to), because as the person categorizing the more than 1,000 active groups in the Connect subject tree, I can honestly tell you that ALA is so big that it truly does have something for everybody.