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Blogging at the Reference Desk:  using a Home-Grown Blogging System to Increase Communication among Reference Team Members
Blogging at the Reference Desk:  using a Home-Grown Blogging System to Increase Communication among Reference Team Members
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Blogging at the Reference Desk: using a Home-Grown Blogging System to Increase Communication among Reference Team Members

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Poster for 2005 LITA Conference

Poster for 2005 LITA Conference

Published in: Education
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  • 1. Introduction • Lack of communication among reference desk staff • New staff wanting to use technology creatively • Staff did not want their email filled with desk messages that aren’t applicable when they are off the desk • No time to check email while on the desk when they know information was emailed • Some messages were recorded in a notebook at the desk, but after a day, the next page was made visible and staff forgot to check past pages • Some recorded messages were unreadable Requirements • Locally hosted due to problems with campus IT services • Simple and intuitive for the end user with no blogging experience • Possible tie-in with new chat service RefChat • Limit access to physical library • Price—always try to do projects open source due to campus purchasing environment What was done • Examined several popular and lesser known blog software packages, including Blogger, Moveable Type, and WordPress • Features, price, ease of use were main consideration points • Programmer wrote a php script to tie the blog and RefChat together—one login gets use into both services Effects on Reference • Systems staff notifies reference of outages without having to go to reference and write a message • Comments are popular when posts solicit a question or systems staff gives an estimated response time • Linking to new and relevant website—old paper system made writing and typing links error-prone • Staff remember to log into Reference Chat • Fun—staff feels like the blog is an innovative way to communicate Problems • Must be careful when doing a website template update in Dreamweaver— accidentally including Nucleus ruins permissions • Historical culture of not adapting to new technology • Staff concerned about having another password Plans for the future • Set staff up with an RSS reader at their desks so they can quickly check the blog • Put the Reference Desk Manual into a Wiki so it is online and searchable
  • 2. • Request from desk staff for a webcam so they can see if systems staff is available to help! • Turn it into a portal system for Reference including the Desk Manual, schedule, and integration of federated search

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