ANSS Virtual Meeting Best Practices

The ANSS Cyber Task Force was created to develop an official cyber member policy (see Cyber Participation Policy) and provide best practices for holding entirely virtual and hybrid meetings. What follows are these best practices, which we hope will be revised as new platforms and practices become available.


Virtual Meeting: A virtual meeting is one in which all members meet virtually.

General Rules:
1. Meetings can occur in between ALA mid-winter and annual meetings as needed, and can take the place of a mid-winter or annual meeting (for annual it is preferred that the chair(s) will attempt to host a meeting on-site).
2. Virtual meetings are to be advertised on ALA Connect and ANSS-L to ensure that guests (aka potential committee members) are able to attend.
3. Discussion groups may not host entirely virtual meetings in place of ALA official meetings. A follow-up virtual discussion is permissible if desired.

Hybrid Meeting: A portion of the committee is able to meet in person and they provide a means for members unable to attend in person to participate using a virtual platform.

General Rules:
1. A hybrid meeting occurs during official ALA meetings when the chair(s) are able to attend.
2. A room is actually scheduled for the meeting. Committee chairs should inform the ANSS Section chair as soon as possible about the need for an Internet Connection (must be requested in advance – only one connection provided).
3. Advertise the virtual connection for the meeting on ALA Connect and ANSS-L prior to the conference.
4. If the committee chair has his/her own means to access the Internet that is acceptable, but keep in mind that if your meeting is scheduled in the bowels of a hotel, signals may not be ideal.

As with all official meetings, you will still need to provide a copy of your agenda and minutes to the ANSS Chair within official deadlines (usually 3-4 weeks after the conference).

On the following pages is a comparison table between different virtual platforms. Some of the most important things to consider when using a virtual meeting platform include:

  1. How many people are attending? Some platforms only allow for a maximum number of participants.
  2. Will software have to be installed on participants’ local machines?
  3. Is there specific equipment participants will need to participate (e.g. headphones, private desk phone).
  4. Would connection speed be a factor (home vs. office internet access)?
Service Cost Membership
Maximum # of Users Install? Extra
Mobile? Issues to Consider
Adobe Connect Free Many academic institutions subscribe, as does ALA All are available, but video is really only useful for the one speaking. None Web-based. A plug-in is required for use. Screen and document sharing;
Online white-board; You can record meetings for later review.
Apps for both iOS and Android Adobe Connect is one of the more stable platforms to use, is widely adopted, and is excellent for large groups. Check with your library/institution’s IT staff to determine if you have local access. Fairly easy to use, but should definitely take some time to test out setting up a meeting the first time you plan to host one.
Google+ Free Need to have a Google+ account All are available, but video will slow you down if more than four people are using video 10 Web-based.
A plug-in is required for use.
You can share Google docs during the meeting to take notes live. Apps for both iOS and Android There is a known glitch with Google+ Talk and Video.   The plug-in crashes and asks you to reinstall and the reinstall fails. Unfortunately there is no fix for this at present.
Skype Free and Paid Need to have a Skype account. You can buy a “Day Pass” for 4.99 that allows for group video conferencing, no ads, and group screen-share. Video limited to two people in the free version. Up to 10. Be advised the more you add the more bandwith. Best for 5-6 in free version. Yes. You have to have the Skype client installed. Note that you can request a Skype kit for an official ALA meeting during conference. Talk to the ANSS Chair to arrange. You can upload files for sharing. Apps for iOS and Android Should be tested prior to using for an official meeting. Attendees must have a headset or other external microphone to use voice features.   Attendees must be able to install the software on some device. Connection speed can be an issue – best with home cable or work connection.

Created Fall 2013