Lesson #13 Course Reflection

LIS 9763 was a wonderful whirlwind tour through social media. Through weekly platform additions I have gained at least 20 new passwords and a much larger digital footprint than I had thirteen weeks ago! I enjoyed learning about the various social media applications visited. The tasks and questions posed in weekly lessons were informative and provoked focused and thoughtful consideration of the technology from a library perspective. While I learned a great deal from each week’s lessons, three social media application stood out: cloud computing and libraries, libraries and on-line gaming, and social networking.

1)      Cloud computing- I loved the vision and promise of World Cat online Catalogue, the gathering of data sets ( amazon, google, librarything, library opacs, etcetera) and innovative apps presented through a single user interface to create a very useful catalogue for the benefit of users and administrators. The tools and information afforded by the larger collective and cost and labour efficiencies for library budgets and administration were compelling. I am looking forward to the realization of this vision.

2)      The on-line gaming lesson that introduced us to Twitch TV, on-line gaming platforms and the NYPL gaming site (providing gaming reference and advisor) was a revelation for me. I can see the enormous potential for the library to extend its reach through gaming. The genuine enthusiasm for the genre demonstrated the importance for gaming’s inclusion in libraries. The launch of a successful library gaming program requires the support of a library staff member with a specific interest and skill set.

3)      The community building and community engagement potential of social networking was inspirational. I enjoyed learning about the specialized communities and networks facilitating connections between people of like mind and similar interests. Ravelry for knitters, Econs.com a social network site for the boomer crowd, and Disaboom a site for people with disabilities are examples of successful community building forces online. The social networking tools ought to be used by the library to engage, extend and participate in conversations with the community it serves.

The concepts and information presented in the course are essential for future librarians. The readings and assigned tasks shed light on the role of social media in changing the daily business of the library. The extraordinary adoption, growth and acceptance of social media by the community cannot be ignored by libraries and library administration. Each of the lessons in this course delivered a better understanding of the potential uses of social media, deepening my understanding of its role in public library service.  

I look forward to applying the information delivered by this course.

 

Lesson #10 Cloud Computing and Libraries

Reading Jay Jordan’s article, Climbing Out of the Box and Into the Cloud, was inspiring and hopeful for the future direction of library service. The web scale tools and services described in Jay Jordan’s article and offered through OCLC’s cloud computing were beneficial for both library administration and users. From a management perspective the efficiency and cost savings were compelling. From a patron’s perspective the gathered resources and increased opportunities for access to information were also compelling. The article led me to question, what is the hold up? Marshall Breeding addresses this question: “The uptake of new kinds of products can be a bit slow. Libraries tend to hold on to their automation products until the last possible moment of their usefulness.”(2011). Climbing Out of the Box and Into The Cloud by Jay Jordan generated questions that appear to support Marshall Breeding’s statement when considered from a public library service perspective.

 

“Have the systems libraries use to deliver services kept pace with the changing nature of users and collections?”  My public library experience suggests the answer to this question is no. Patrons often ask for service options that are not available through current automation services. Clients expect these unavailable service capabilities to be possible because they have been exposed to them through other on-line experiences. Patrons will enquire about tools to social network with other readers, to track their own reading, to create lists, to generate next reads suggestions based on their current or previous reading, and when placing a hold, to have expected delivery times provided . Increasingly patrons wish to have their information needs satisfied instantly. However, patrons who are provided an expected delivery time are more likely to wait than purchase.

 

“Do libraries have too many systems to support?” A typical public library has websites, on-line catalogue and automation service, social media, possibly a digital library, an interlibrary loan system, a unique suite of databases, and perhaps a variety of on-line reference services such as e-mail, chat, or phone. Each of the mentioned services is often not seamlessly integrated in a single user interface, but fragmented creating barriers for patrons and information seekers.

 

“Moreover, is a fragmented presence on the Web keeping libraries from success with their user?” In our current public library service model, users looking for an electronic article must search the databases. Clients seeking a print copy of a book must first search the local catalogue, then ask for staff assistance to place an inter library loan if it doesn’t exist in the local collection. Patrons searching for on-line reference must find it on the website instead of in the catalogue. All these various silos of information and service create obstacles for use.

 

The service and efficiency of cloud computing as described in Jay Jordan’s article makes a convincing argument for libraries to adopt cloud computing. Cloud computing enables the sharing of large pools of data, a single user interface for all libraries, increased interoperation through API’s, and the use of tools like RedLazer.  The ability to view and consume shared data pools to simplify and create easier collaboration among libraries while also having the ability to secure some data as local and private is extremely compelling. This is how I imagine cloud computing in a public library context: A single user friendly interoperable user face which seamlessly links to larger data pools ( proprietary data such as;  Google, Amazon, Library Thing, and social network sites, and large pools of other data, wikis, Gutenberg, the Internet Archive, and local OPAC and digital collections) where OCLC local can provide information about physical or digital access to local patrons through tools like RedLaser delivering “localized library results based on the user’s location, providing library holdings, library location contact, and mapping information.” (2011). I can see the utility and possibilities of this vision now and I look forward to cloud computing’s impact in the future.

 

References

 

Jordan, Jay. “Climbing Out of the Box and Into the Cloud: Building web scale for libraries.” Journal of Library Administration 51 (2011): 3-17. Journal of Library Administration. Web. 20 Mar. 2013. <DOI:10.1080/01930826.2011.531637>.

 

Breeding, Marshall. “A Cloudy Forecast for Libraries.” The Systems Librarian (2011): 32-34. Web. 20 Mar. 2013.

 

 

Lesson # 11 The Mobile Web

For this week’s blog I have created a podcast, just click on the link below. This was a new challenge for me and this is reflected in my recording. It can only get better from here 🙂    Mobile Web Podcast

References

Brenner, Joanne. “Pew Internet: Mobile.” Pew Internet. Pew Research Centre, 31 Jan. 2013. Web. 31 Mar. 2013. <http://pewinternet.org/Commentary/2012/February/Pew-Internet-Mobile.aspx&gt;.

Kroski, Ellyssa. “7 Tools to Create a Mobile Library.” Open Education Database. N.p., 11 Apr. 2011. Web. 31 Mar. 2013. <http://oedb.org/blogs/ilibrarian/2011/7-tools-to-create-a-mobile-library-website-without-technical-knowledge/&gt;.

“Public Library Resources (Infographic).” Pew Internet. Pew Research Centre, 25 Jan. 2013. Web. 31 Mar. 2013. <http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2013/01/25/public-library-resources-infographic/&gt;.

Lesson # 9 Bookmarking, Tagging, and Folksonomies

I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to read Clay Shirky’s 2005 article, Ontology Is Overrated: categories, links and tags. The two concepts of classification and tagging were clearly defined and developed in his writing and through well chosen illustrative examples. The user advantages of tagging for information finding presented in Clay Shirky’s article provided compelling reasons for the adoption of tagging in library catalogues. He offered a noteworthy outline that suggested when an ontological classification scheme works and doesn’t work, demonstrating the need for both tagging and classification in libraries. It is encouraging to see the examples of library catalogues currently using both tagging and traditional classification schemes. My public library service experience concurs with Clay Shirky’s assertion: “… the frailty of human memory and the physical fact of books make some sort of organizational scheme a requirement, and hierarchy is a good way to manage physical objects.” In fact the Dewey Decimal System used in my public library is functional in that each book has a physical place and is in a logical arrangement. This physical and classified arrangement is important, providing patrons with a collection that can be browsed. From my experience in the public library, the classification and arrangement of the Dewey Decimal System continues to function as an important information seeking tool and discovery strategy for many patrons who physically brows the shelves of the library. However, in my library service experience I have also assisted users confounded by the traditional library categorization scheme. One very well educated patron came to the desk exasperated while searching an online university database by subject. She was unable to find the subject terminology to unlock the vast body of knowledge in the collection to satisfy her query. This intelligent woman was completely frustrated by the limitations of the classification scheme.  In this case, the inclusion of less limiting user generated tags would have improved the likelihood of finding the information she sought. As Clay Shirky explained, tagging offers a multiplicity of points of view and this single fact alone improves information retrieval from the user’s perspective “…the question isn’t “Is everyone tagging any given link ‘correctly'”, but rather “Is anyone tagging it the way I do?”  As long as at least one other person tags something they way you would, you’ll find it.” (2005). The value of tagging in developing and delivering a multiplicity of view points for retrieval of information is significant and ought to be included in library catalogues.

 

References:

Shirky, C. (2005). Ontology is Overrated: Categories, Links, and Tags . In Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet. Retrieved March 17, 2013, from http://www.shirky.com/writings/ontology_overrated.html

Lesson # 8: Twitter

Each of this week’s articles offered a different perspective of twitter, deepening my understanding of the media platform and its culture, users, and possibilities for use in a library context.  I found that my experience and engagement with twitter supported what was expressed in the reading.  The information shared was more public, one way in its communication, and suited to mobile consumption and use. As a non-active tweeter, I discovered that engaging in twitter required some devotion of time to understand twitter specific jargon and use, i.e. RT, @, #, ow.lylg’CK3G.  As well, because twitter uses many acronyms, I required some additional effort to decipher meaning, i.e.# GBDA?, #VAWA? .  

Real-time information delivery to solve information needs in the Library context:

  I found twitter effective in soliciting and producing a real-time information stream, through posing the question, “What’s happening?” In scrolling through  the tweets I was able to appreciate the value of the real-time delivery of large amounts of data offering up crowd sourced topics of interest. Real-time specific tweeters who posed questions also provided opportunity for fellow tweeters to respond with real-time solutions. In one local posting, a user asked for help locating a missing dog, and another posting warned of traffic interruptions caused by an emergency water main break. This use of the platform for the provision of real-time information solutions in a library context was presented in article The Embedded Librarian.  In the article librarian Ellen Hampton Filgo offered information resources and sources to a university class through twitter, responding to in-class queries as they arose in real-time. Real-time solutions to information needs were also presented the article How Your Library May Not be Using Twitter But Should. Through the example of Tweet Style #5 “interact”, librarian David Kelly utilized the search tools of twitter to retrieve posts with the term library within a radius of 25 miles and offered solution to tweeters in real-time. However, In both cases the librarians discussed the time resource required to monitor and offer solution via twitter in real-time. The embedded librarian Ellen Hampton Filgo, realizing the heavy time resources required to deliver the service, looked for ways to scale the service for viability.

 Real-time delivery of the topics and thoughts of the body of twitter users also has value in offering crowd sourced relevant topics ideal for in house library displays and promotion of library materials by supplying non-digital library materials topical to the needs of library users.  This week’s trending topics such as the Oscars, Stomping Tom Connor’s death and Chevaz’s passing  would all be hot library items sought for circulation.

One way communication suitable for mobile technologies.

The platform’s ability in sharing one way communication ideally  suited for mobile consumption provides an opportunity for the library to easily promote the programmes and services and maintain a library presence in twitter. While scrolling through the postings I found many examples of libraries using twitter for the purpose of promoting library programmes such as an upcoming Appy Hour, teen video contests, March Break programming, author readings, and an invitation to flash mob at the local grocery store etc. This sort of promotional message is easily absorbed and consumed while passing the couple of minutes between our varied daily tasks (I personally appreciated this aspect of twitter). The article Twitter vs. Facebook provided an excellent overview of the different cultures and communities of the two platforms, emphasizing that the two do not necessarily overlap. It made me wonder: given the ability to post a single message across twitter and facebook quickly using hootsuite, what library wouldn’t?

References

        Kelly, David Allen. (2009). “How Your Library May Not Be Using Twitter But Should.”     Retrieved from: http://kellyd.com/2009/07/29/how-your-library-may-not-be-using-twitter-but-should/

Tagtmeier, Curt. Facebook vs. Twitter: Battle of the Social Network Stars. N.p.: Computers in Libraries, 2010. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. <http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/sep10/Tagtmeier.shtml&gt;.

 

Young, Jeffery R. Embedded Librarian’ on Twitter Served as Information Concierge for Class. N.p.: n.p., 2011. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. <http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/embedded-librarian-on-twitter-served-as-information-concierge-for-class/30000&gt;.

 

Lesson #7 Social Networking The ‘Lois Weisberg’ Type

The Malcolm Gladwell article, Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg (1999), communicated the incredible importance of super connectors and their unique ability to affect real world transformations and change. In reading the article a number of social principles were communicated through entertaining stories of Lois Weisberg tied to important social research. It seems that the ‘Lois Weisberg type’ exhibit certain traits and functions increasing the fluidity and opportunity for important social connections.

From the article I extracted key characteristics that distinguish these social catalysts

  • They are likeable and are liked by many
  • They have diverse interests and are comfortable with people, making it easy for movement among different cultures and subcultures
  • They are able to reach out and connect isolated parts of society
  • If they meet you and you form a connection, you are added to their rolodex.

Also from the Article I found myself contemplating the following social principles

  • The quantity of connections are more useful than the quality and depth of the connection
  • It is the loose ‘weak’ connections that bear fruit

Knowing a ‘Lois Weisberg type’ has value

  • You are just one step away from their assorted and diverse connections

I had joined Linkedin but had not really explored the site, or its tools. This assignment presented an opportunity to revisit my Linkedin account. I was surprised that of my 11 connections I found I had two ‘Lois Weisberg types’ in the midst, one being my bother-in-law. In conversation with him about the use of his Linkedin account he exhibited many of the characteristics of Lois Weisberg, and the theories of social connection presented in the article. My brother in-law has over 300 Linkedin connections. He explained that all his connections have been through real in-person meetings, they are people he has met from across the globe and in many different industries and interests. He says when he visits an airport lounge, or takes a seat on an airplane, he never knows what the connection will be but he is bound to find one! As he explained his interests are varied and he rattled his list of food, travel, restaurants, music, gaming, reading, public speaking, swimming etcetera. In his job as a North American Sales Rep, my Brother-in-law explained how valuable his Linkedin connections have been, creating rich opportunities. Through a sales meeting he will identify a business’ need and often facilitate solutions from his connections. His sales are made by developing personal connections through his varied interests. He is able to offer valuable solutions and in doing so make a sale. He also explained that the connections furthest from his center that have the most value because those in his closest circles share the same values and experiences. He used the following example, “I can help anyone find a great dining experience in my own hometown but if they want information about a great dining experience in Seattle, Chicago, or Winnipeg I call on one of my connections in the geographical area to offer suggestions, supporting the theory that it is the weak connections that bear the best fruit.

Letting loose a social catalyst with the social media tools on offer through the SNS of Linkedin and it becomes easy to see the potential of the media for expediting connections. These connections are expressed with real-world effect quickly. Within Linkedin there are opportunities to join diverse groups, linking people among diverse interests. Linkedin also includes tools to recommend and endorse the skills and expertise of individuals. Users of Linkedin can classify, group and organize contacts based on commonalities such as location, tags, industry, company, and affiliations such as UWO alumni. Linkedin also offers e-mail options for communication. With tools for membership in professional and interest groups, for endorsement and recommendation, for organizing connections and e-mail communication it is easy to understand the impact a ‘Lois Weisberg type’ could have to increase fluidity of connections for mutual benefit and transformative connections. Linkedin as a professional social networking site is beholden to the ‘Lois Weisberg’ type to realise its mission: “Our mission is simple: connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”

 

References

ladwell, M. (1999, January 11). Six Degrees of Lois Wiesberg. The New Yorker. Retrieved March 4, 2013, from http://www.gladwell.com/1999/1999_01_11_a_weisberg.htm

 

Lesson 6: Social media policies and assessment

This week’s readings recalled the foundations laid in LIS 9005 library management course. The course emphasized the need for a vision, a point on the horizon to steer toward, with supporting foundational principles and policies to guide the organizational ship. This common sense management approach is problematic when applied to social media. As stated in Kroski’s article, social media is new and evolving, or a moving target (2009). I believe this shifting target makes firm and inflexible policies inappropriate for the media. Also in this week’s readings a number of social media management issues were raised such as the blurred lines between professional and private, the importance of a social media employee education program, and the need for planning and policies to address the specific and unique nature of social media.

Blurred Boundaries    

   In my experience the fuzzy lines between professional/work related and private have always existed. I have often been asked and answered library related questions while out in public. These exchanges have now migrated to social media and have become much more indelible, visible and reaching. These blurred boundaries between private and public are evident in the social media postings of my own co workers and have enormous potential for good or ill will. It does behove management to provide some guidance for appropriate social media conduct in professional and private applications that discuss or post library related content.

Education                       

 Education may be the single best means to assist and improve social media skills of employees to the benefit of library organization and the library profession. Employees acquainted with tools and cultures of social media have the potential for enormous goodwill. Swallow’s article How To: Build A Social Media Education Program For Your Company  presented sound advice and compelling reasons for building a social media education program. Anyone using the media to represent the library should understand the best approach, nuance, and culture of each platform to avoid embarrassing, ill will gaffs. Swallow’s suggestions to bench mark employees, house resources in house for employee access, provide e-learning and hands on training are excellent practical suggestions. But the benefits of buy-in and social media skilled people that are enthusiastic supporters of the library which could be capitalized upon for library promotion, I believe is the most compelling reason to initiate a social media education program.

Planning and Policy

Kroski’s article  Should Your Library Have A Social Media Policy  read like a playground list of do’s and don’t’s that spell out appropriate conduct:  “ Use a disclaimer, don’t share secrets, be yourself, respect copyright, respect your colleagues, avoid on line fights, post accurate information, use good judgement, provide value, accept responsibility.” (2009).  In my internet browsing I came across a simple social media policy I find exceptional in its clarity, simplicity and tone written by Susan Brown (2012) and posted to her Web blog titled Inform, Engage, Listen and Respond.  This Lawrence Public Library policy hits the balance between freedom and clear guidance, the policy spells out what it wants and not what it doesn’t want engendering the principles of social media technologies, freedom, positivity, and flexibility to adapt to the ever changing media and does so in one page, with 4 subheadings each with 4 point. According to the author, the policy, while simple, has been very successful. Below are the guiding principles from the Lawrence Public Library written by Brown outlining the expectations for library communication in social media (2012).

 

OUR TONE – How will we say it?

– We will be honest and authentic, not snarky or sarcastic
– We will be respectful to all commenters, positive and negative
– We will say please and thank you
– We will not post anything on social media that we would not say at a service desk

 

References:

Brown, S. (2012, December 7). Inform, Engage, Listen Respond. In 658.8 Practical Marketing For Libraries. Retrieved February 18, 2013, from http://658point8.com/2012/12/07/social-media-strategy/

Kroski, E.  (2009). Should Your Library Have a Social Media Policy?  School Library Journal, (Issue 10).  Retrieved from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6699104.html       

Swallow, E. (2011, January 18).  HOW TO: Build a Social Media Education Program for Your Company.  Mashable.  Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2011/01/18/social-media-training/     

 

Lesson 5: Mash-ups and “non-text” user-generated content

In our introductory reading, Web Squared: Web2.0 five years on by O’Reilly and Batelle, the article suggested that data was the new ‘intel’ behind the new web. I knew this statement was important but the readings, mash-up examples, and practical exercises presented in this week’s lessen fostered a deeper understanding of the implications of this data and the powerful benefits of mashing up data. In Fichter’s book, Library Mashups: Exploring New Ways to Deliver Library Data chapter one presented library mash-ups that demonstrated the potential usefulness behind combined data sets for library service, such as:

 

  • Visualize your bookshelf combining data from the library’s new book RSS feed with book covers from Syndetic Solutions for an easily browsed book shelf
  • OPAC enhanced with Google book reviews
  •  Google maps with an historic aerial photo collection

 

The mash-up examples demonstrate the potential of mixing data sets. These examples stirred my imagination and left me contemplating other data sets that might be available for the creation of library service applications. I had not really considered what data sets were openly available for mash-up applications. A google search of the terms ‘open data source’  as well as browsing the Open Data Wikipedia page was revealing and opening up a whole new world I had never considered. It seems there is plenty of data openly shared and almost everybody’s doing it. I found scientific data, government (all levels) data, library data, map data, historic data, and user generated real-time data, all available for creative and possibly very powerful and useful applications. As Fichter suggested in her article “Put on your creative thinking cap and start dreaming about new services and features that would delight, entertain, inform, and promote libraries. Think about ways to allow your library users to remix data. There are many exciting opportunities for libraries and users to create interesting mashups.”  In this quotation it’s important to note that Fichter includes the library users as creators of mash-ups highlighting a turning point in the open web 2.0 paradigm, new to many libraries. I welcome this shift.  These open data sets represent the building blocks for creation of some very innovative, exciting and interesting tools for library service. Using data sets in mash-ups, As Fichter pointed out, requires not only a new kind of literacy but some caution. It is important to consider the data source and to identify reliability and stability of the data, and to consider privacy and security of users before offering open library data.

 

The practical mapping mash-up exercises demonstrated the ease of crowdsourced contributions to the creative contributions especially in the case of Map Maker. The steps required in the Map Builder exercise demonstrated how data is borrowed and applied in the creation of a mash-up. In the Google Map Builder exercise I added two parks and a public school to the Google map of my community and am very proud that all my contributions were accepted and may be useful to future map users! The more technical Map Builder exercise was informative in its process. While I was unable to export my map from Map Builder to my webpage, I was able to develop a good understanding of how data is used in mash-ups through API keys for transfer to a website and the tools required in the process. Unfortunately when things didn’t work in the Map Builder exercise I didn’t have enough technical skill and knowledge to effectively trouble shoot.

 

This week’s readings and practical exercises communicated the importance of creating a data literate and skilled citizenry. The innovation and creation now possible through mashing up data sets does require evaluation of the reliability and stability of data, an understanding of security and privacy, and the technical skills to create these very useful and forward tools. I was surprised by my own lack of awareness of the amount of data and mash-up tools. I was inspired by the paradigm shift made possible by open data.

 

References:

Fichter, Darlene. “What is a Mashup?” Library Mashups: Exploring New Ways to Deliver Library Data. Ed. Nicole C. Engard. Information Today, Inc., 2009. Chapter 1. Print.

Lesson #4 Wikis and Wikipedia: Who’s the Expert Now?

Two examples from my experience leave me wondering….What is to be gained and what is to be risked by throwing the doors open to contributions of a collective crowd in Wikipedia?  I have two acquaintances with specific interest in a special knowledge set that surpasses many experts: one a naturalist, the other passionate about local history. Neither attained formal education in their area of interest, yet both are sought by experts in academia and the community for their specific depth of understanding. With some familiarity with Wikipedia, these self-taught experts have the potential to contribute valuable knowledge to Wikipedia’s collective body of knowledge, a gift they could not otherwise easily share through traditional publishing channels. To complete my practical task this week of editing a Wikipedia entry, I sought the help of my informally educated local history acquaintance, asking him to suggest some lesser known published sources to augment a Wikipedia local history page. With his suggestions I inserted the suggested sources in the Wikipedia article. After spending an hour familiarizing myself with Wikipedia edits, I concluded that with a few hours acquainting oneself with Wikipedia, anyone willing, even those with obscure, informally recognized specialized knowledge sets, can add to this invaluable collective body of knowledge.  A wonderful gift to us all!

While reading Sook’s article, How and Why do College Students Use Wikipedia I found agreement with my experience.  In reference service, I find an early visit to the related Wikipedia page is rewarded in three ways: it provides background information to ‘prime the pump’, it offers clues for additional search terms, and provides links to sites that will be accepted as more authoritative and credible. It is the final reason that gives me pause to ponder … Is Wikipedia such an unreliable information source that it must be avoided or verified?  As Sook indicated, even traditional, published encyclopaedias, although accepted as reliable, may not be so, “… according to Fallis, people tend to overestimate the reliability of traditional encyclopaedias as they stress accuracy of their sources.”   If sources we perceive to be authoritative information are not always so, then perhaps our perception that Wikipedia is non-authoritative is also incorrect. In fact as communicated in Sook’s article, “a previous study by (Chesney 2006) showed that experts found Wikipedia articles to be more credible than did non-experts.”  As communicated in this week’s reading, considering Wikipedia’s popular use and its relatively accurate and credible information, it’s time to consider a change in attitude and approach to this well adopted resource.  It seems unfortunate and unfair to continue to refuse Wikipedia as a source, hindering student use of Wikipedia for undergrad research.  In the article Sook suggested that the academic community consider ways to improve the information quality of Wikipedia by inserting academic library articles and sources into Wikipedia and flagging and improving articles. The inclusion of library sources and participation of the academic community in the building and maintenance of Wikipedia is encouraging and hopeful for the potential benefit of Wikipedia and collective knowledge.

References:

Sook, L. (2009). How and why do college students use Wikipedia? Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(11), 2189-2202.

Lesson # 3 RSS Feeds and Blogs

Lesson # 3 RSS Feeds and Blogs

Farkas’ article, Keeping up Web 2.0 Style offered a very compelling reason to subscribe to an RSS feed TO SAVE TIME. An RSS feed functions like a radio tuner honing in on the most relevant content. Browsing through the blog links provided in this week’s lesson demonstrated the incredible diversity of blog publishing from professional, academic, highly specialized blogs to zany, recreational, whimsical blogs. An RSS feed set to deliver the best on a subject of your choosing provides an opportunity for easy, efficient information gathering. The RSS feeds essentially pluck the low hanging digital fruit.  While this might limit serendipitous discoveries afforded by surfing the Web from a time management perspective, an RSS feed makes sense from a library manger’s perspective, saving staff time and therefore $$. The inclusion of an RSS feed in your own library blog can be a great tool to deliver library specific content directly.

I really appreciated the practical advice provided in Darlene Fichter’s article, “Why and How to Use Blogs to Promote Your Library’s Services.”  It provides a comprehensive check list of what ought to be considered before jumping into a blog including audience, technical tools, and determining the scope and tone of your blog. Blogging tools are also free, and from my own experience incredibly easy to use.  Evan Williams, the creator of blogger, sums up the elements of a great blog, “the blog concept is about three things: Frequency, Brevity and Personality.”  Identifying a defined target audience and creating a considered purposeful message facilitates communication with customers. Blogs and RSS feeds offer libraries extraordinary opportunities for efficient and effective communication with their customers.

References:

Farkas, Meredith. “Keeping up, 2.0 Style.” 2011. Retrieved from: http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/columns/practice/keeping-20-style

Fichter, Darlene. “Why and How to Use Blogs to Promote Your Library’s Services.” 2003. Retrieved from http://www.infotoday.com/mls/nov03/fichter.shtml