14 Jun 2022

Keeping Calm in the Face of Technological Calamity

Guest post by David Carlos RinehartDavid is a Library Assistant at Maynooth University Library’s Special Collections and Archives Department where he has worked on expanding the Library Treasures blog to include the audio and audio-visual mediums of Podcasts and YouTube videos. He is currently in the dissertation stage of completing an MSc in Library and Information Studies from Robert Gordon University which he is on track to finish by April 2023. You can find him  @DCRinehart on Twitter 

In conversation with Martin O’Connor’s Libfocus post Dodgy cursors, wonky links and alarming fire alarms...

Ok, the plenary is done, I gotta get up to the sixth floor and make sure everything is running smoothly for my presentation.

Trapped between people getting out of their seats and meandering to the doors of the Shannon Suite at the Strand Hotel in Limerick for CONUL 2022, I (im)patiently wait. Once I get out of my row of chairs, I push through the crowd as elegantly as I can (basically not sticking my hands out and knocking them out of the way with the power of my nerves which are vibrating as I’m first up for the parallel paper I’m presenting).

Elevators… Elevators… There they are. Perfect. Oh good, Marie, my friend, is standing at the front. I’m just going to go and stand by her, I do go first so I need to be at the front.

Ok the button is pushed, good deal. Now we wait.

Behind the glass pane I see the elevator weights rocket up and soon the first of the two elevators arrives. Unfortunately, it’s the elevator for who’s line I am not in. Well, we will just have to wait until the door shuts and we press the button and the other elevator will soon come.

The elevator door shuts.


It opens






What is going on!? I have to get up there! The other elevator won’t come if this one doesn’t go up!

As those in the elevator try varying arrangements of their bodies inside the elevator, and the door keeps opening to mark their failed attempts, I look for a hotel employee.

There she is!

“Hi, can I please use the stairs, the elevators don’t seem to be working,” I say, trying to keep the edge out of my voice.

“Sorry, we don’t have stairs.”

Don’t have stairs? DON’T HAVE STAIRS!? Seriously!? That is totally and absolutely impossible!! “Oh, ok, I’ll just wait then. Thank you.”

“Here’s another elevator,” someone calls out.

Since I am presenting first, I am ushered over to it.

We stand in the elevator and press six. The light flicks on, and then flicks off. No movement.

Ok, this is a cosmic joke, right?

Wrong. Or, well, right actually. It does appear to be the case.

I press six again.








Ok, what is the highest floor we can go!?










A key card is required to access any floors above the lobby and we don’t check in for another 5 hours. Perfect.



Still on

Up we go.

Now I am in the lobby. I press the button to go up on the elevators that will actually take me up.

We see the elevator lowering through the glass pane.


it just keeps on going down.

It’s gone down to the floor I had just been on. And guess what? When it comes to the lobby floor, IT IS FULL!

At this point my manners and shyness have completely drained and I ask someone to please just let me on because I have to present!

Of course they let me on. I really should have asked from the start. But it’s just the way I am, a bit too shy for all that.

Ok, up we go.

Sixth floor.


I run down the hall to the Harris Suite and the chair of the session asks, “David?”

“Yes! It’s me! I’m so sorry!”

“No worries, we will get started now.”

I am introduced very kindly and I step up to the mic. My presentation is already open and it’s go time.

Wow very professional! I don’t even have to open it. Awesome!

“Hello, I’m David, thank you for attending…” blah blah blah

Next slide.

“I am going to show you a video clip…” so on and so forth.

Nothing. The embedded video does not work.

Well, ok, here we go again

“Sorry everyone, seems like I am having some technical difficulties. Just one second, sorry about that.”

What could it be.

(Troubleshooting mode initiated)

Maybe the internet isn’t on.

I exit out of the presentation and sure enough, not connected.

Ok quickly connect (which is not quick at all, in fact, excruciatingly slow).

Ok. Connected. Perfect. Let’s go.

“As I was saying…” blah blah blah

Video starts playing with no sound.

Bloody hell already!!!

“Sorry about that everyone, it seems we don’t have sound.”


The IT guy is right next to me and I ask him, “Do we have speakers in here?”


“I really need speakers because one of the clips I have is a podcast and, well, I need speakers for that.”

“Alright, I’m going to go get them, you keep doing your presentation and I’ll be back before you are done.”

Thank goodness for a calm IT guy with solutions!

“You got it!”

And I run through the entire presentation and right at the last slide, the tech guy comes in with the speakers, hooks me up and I play the clips.

Not only that, but I end up winning an award for keeping it cool with great technical challenges, or as I like to call it, a technical calamity!

Yes, I can keep my cool externally, from years of experience performing in a band, but I hope that this little story shows you what is going on inside which is total freak out mode, but also quick troubleshooting and solutions mode, which all comes together for a successful presentation despite the various challenges that present themselves.

Photo credit: Alexandra Caccamo


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