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Water News: the blog that evolved

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  • 1. Water News The blog that evolved
  • 2. Water News • A “news monitoring and dissemination service” • Each day the E-Services Librarian looks for relevant newspaper articles, journal articles and conference proceedings • Posts title, short summary of article and link to full article
  • 3. In the beginning… • Amina Itani, Annette Carter and Rae Davie came up with the idea in 2004 • Used free, external service Blogger (https://www.blogger.com/start) • 8 subject-specific blogs: – H20 News Monitor Service – Sustainability News – Library News – Engineering & Infrastructure – Water & Wastewater Research – Business & Economics – Environment & Sustainability – Desalination
  • 4. Problems • Concern that external blogs may pose risk to organisation • Usage statistics very low – Each blog was averaging 2 views and 1 visit a day – Lots of usage was external (reinforcing concern that blogs were a risk)
  • 5. Usage statistics were low Usage statistics were low (except for spike in May (except for spike in May due to Library Week due to Library Week promotions) promotions)
  • 6. Migration • BlogCFC, developed by Raymond Camden, (http://blogcfc.riaforge.org) chosen to replace Blogger • Advantages – Could be brought ‘in house’ and run on internal servers – Written in ColdFusion (policy stated solution had to be written in ColdFusion or asp) – Open Source – Free
  • 7. Modifying BlogCFC • Made it look ‘prettier’ • Improved the way statistics collected – Counted when people ‘clicked through’ to article rather than when clicked on title of article – Collected date of visit/view so could monitor usage by month • Added extra fields and tables to underlying Microsoft Access database • Removed RSS functionality, also del.icio.us and Digg IT (not supported inside firewall)
  • 8. Water News Launch • September 2007 • One blog, with categories, rather than 8 separate blogs • Number of categories increased to 10 based on suggestions made by staff • Didn’t have separate Library News category – Instead promoted new databases and e-books in relevant subject-specific category
  • 9. Screenshot of Screenshot of Water News Water News
  • 10. Screenshot of Screenshot of Water News Admin Water News Admin
  • 11. Adding a new Adding a new entry… entry…
  • 12. Usage statistics… Usage statistics…
  • 13. However usage However usage statistics remained low statistics remained low – lower in fact because – lower in fact because no longer any external no longer any external usage usage
  • 14. Subscription Functionality • Water News subscription functionality wasn’t great but not priority either – Sent out e-mail every time a new post made – 6 or so posts a day resulted in subscribers being ‘spammed’ • By March 2009 Water News had 6 subscribers, made fixing subscription functionality a priority • Modified so that subscribers received one e-mail a day with all that day’s posts: The ‘Water News Daily Digest’ was born!
  • 15. Water News Daily Water News Daily Digest as received by Digest as received by subscribers… subscribers…
  • 16. After modifying subscription After modifying subscription functionality, Water News functionality, Water News became overnight success became overnight success
  • 17. Users even started Users even started making comments making comments on Water News… on Water News…
  • 18. Message • Don’t give up on a good thing • Small change in functionality can make big difference to your would-be audience