TC Camp Gazette #6: Liz Fraley

TC Camp Gazette

TC Camp NewsAn interview with: Liz Fraley, Single-Sourcing Solutions

Sometimes I love a good hunt! Well, as long as it is bargain hunting or looking for the just the right pair of shoes. But I can’t stand hunting for information that I need when I need it. Trolling through endless reams of virtual information to find the appropriate content is mind numbing at best. Ever spend your time thumbing through content and finding yourself saying “there has to be a better way to find this stuff!” Well there is!

Stop wasting your time! There really is a better way to retrieve the information you need when you need it. That is what Liz Fraley’s TC Camp class is all about.

I asked her why this topic and here is what she had to say: “We (tech comm) are very aware of the power of using metadata with our content. We do it all of the time. But what I started hearing more and more from people is a frustration from still not finding what they are looking for. You can add as many tags as you want to the content, it doesn’t mean it will be efficiently found. What most of us overlook is how to use the right tags so the search returns the most accurate content.”

Long before the word metadata existed, there was a whole discipline that was developed around sorting, storing, and retrieving the right information. The field of Library science has been around for many years now. In fact, the first American school was founded at Columbia University in 1887. “With well over 100 years of practice with the collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information I think they have a thing or two they can teach the rest of us,” she said.

Why the TC Camp Un-Conference? “I have attended many conferences both as a presenter and as an attendee. The greatest discoveries have always been in the hallway conversations between sessions or the after-hours conversations.”

Liz is one of the few presenters who has actually attended an unconference. “I have had the opportunity to see the tremendous value in allowing the attendees to drive the conference. The sessions are far richer and definitely livelier than the traditional PowerPoint slide show mode that most conferences have,” she said. “I wanted to facilitate that same learning environment for those of us in the tech comm. field. I was so pleased to see so much enthusiasm from all of the presenters and the willingness to step outside of the traditional in order to revolutionize and put the power of driving sessions into the hands of the attendees.”

And when I asked her why the Camp motif she said, “I’ll admit it, there are a couple of conferences I have attended in the past where the main drive in attending was to reconnect with the community of Tech Comm professionals. Since we are from all over the world, it’s the one annual get together for many of us. It always reminded me of summer camp when we were kids. We are all excited to see each other and everyone would share what they had been up to and learning over the past year.”

She continued, “I hope that those who attend the TC Camp have the same experience and that this is only the beginning of many more years of TC Camp to come in the future.”

What can attendees expect to gain from attending your class? “A clear way to stop wasting time shuffling through the wrong content by applying a new way of looking at how you categorize content.” And, I think, lots of camp goodies. She said something about canteens and fire starting kits and I don’t think she was talking only about the ideas her workshop would spark in the attendees!

Find out by joining her class in January, “Thinking like a librarian – Applying categorization strategies to technical content”. Trust me you won’t regret it!

Liz FraleyLiz Fraley keeps pretty busy with running her own company and volunteering her time to community projects but when she has spare time. She is an avid reader and a wicked urban gardener. She once built her own hydroponics garden and was working on designing a vertical garden but then she moved and had to start all over again. She enjoys camping but doesn’t often get the chance to go. One time she did some “Urban Camping”. When the weather got too hot to be indoors, she set up her tent and lived on the patio until it cooled off.

Improve your survival skillsSurvival Skills: Improve your skills through a workshop

#1 recommendation from the camp counselors? Be Brave: Participate!

It is called a workshop for a reason. This is not the time to sit passively in the background. In fact, many of the instructors will invite you to show off your projects, your learning, and participate in show and tell in keeping with the workshop theme. Everyone in the workshop is interested in making the session work! Take a turn in the sharing and join the conversation. You never know what interesting discussion will happen as a result!

Bring your gearPrep Steps: What are you bringing with you?

This week’s #1 recommendation from the camp counselors is to bring your curiosity.

We’ve talked a good bit about the different merit badges you can earn at TC Camp. There’s one merit badge you can only get through your participation in a workshop or discussion session. It’s up to the facilitator or instructor to decide who to give it to for any particular session. What does it look like and what do you have to do? You’re going to have to attend to find out!

Mystery SpotMystery Spot

Come to camp, earn a merit badge! TC Camp attendees are rewarded for the roles they assume in camp participation. TC Camp is issuing Merit Badges to attendees who fulfill a particular unconference role. Come to TC camp and see what badges you can earn and what achievements you can reach. There is a different badge for each role and the badges will change from year to year. Participate and collect them all!

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From the Cat HoleFrom the cat hole: Brain teasers, oddities, and fun stuff

This week’s question:

Johnny’s mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May. What was the third child’s name?

Last week’s answer: You would be in 2nd place. You passed the person in second place, not first.

Email your guess to for a chance to win a special merit badge! Each correct answer from eligible entrants will result in one entry in the drawing. Drawing will be held at TC Camp during the general session. Winners must be present during the drawing at the camp to win. Eligible contestants must be fans of the TC Camp Facebook page, TC Camp LinkedIn page, and be subscribers to this newsletter at time of submission. Entries for today’s question close at midnight 1/1/2013.

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