Instant Messaging, a real time synchronous conversation between two people via the internet, is becoming increasingly useful to libraries.
IM can be a powerful tool for reference.
Some users may be embarrassed to ask questions, and prefer the anonymity of IM
Be sure to Train staff; after all, it’s still a reference interview.
Check out Meebo through RUL
Promote, Promote, Promote!
Give your IM service a web presence
Put chat names on business cards, & the library web page
For more info check out: http:// www.libsuccess.org/index.php?title = Online_Reference
Blogs and Libraries
Purposes of Library Blogs
Blogs used by libraries fall mostly into two broad categories:
Blogs that serve the public by promoting library services, collections, and events
Blogs that serve library staff by facilitating communication (like an intranet or email list).
Library Blogs for the Public
Why use blogs to communicate with the public?
Allow two-way communication with users
Create transparency regarding library decisions (e.g. updates for large construction projects)
Gather information in one place
Introduce staff to the public (e.g. profiles)
What do libraries put on their blogs?
Announcements of events and service updates (e.g. changes in library hours)
Information for a particular user group (e.g. teens, graduate students)
Links to database trials, new subscriptions, and underutilized resources
Example of a successful library blog for the public
Ann Arbor Public Library
Why use blogs for staff communication?
R educe email and email-related problems (e.g. lost emails, messages stuck in spam filters)
Centralize staff information in one easy-to-find location, rather than scattered throughout emails
Facilitate direct conversation on a topic via comments
Provide an opportunity and incentive (or requirement) for staff to become proficient in blogging and other Web 2.0 technologies.
Best Practices for Library Blogs
Train your staff adequately and establish style guidelines for consistency and clarity (e.g. avoiding library jargon, using consistent acronyms or none at all).
Designate a point person to offer some editorial oversight on public blog posts,
Integrate the blog with the library’s website by providing easy links to the library catalog and other features.
Use “soft opening” techniques to introduce your blog to the public. Launch by putting the blog up, adding a few posts, and adding links from the home page…then really ramp up advertising after a few weeks of regular posting from staff and/or users.
Talk or discussion pages
Edit or view source option
What can libraries do with wikis?
Bethlehem Public Library created a wiki to keep track of links to online resources.
“ We were trying to do this by group e-mail but found that we were just ‘gunking up’ each other’s inboxes.” Now the team can view the wiki for new posts at their convenience.
Geoffrey Kirkpatrick, Head of Circulation and Tech Services
Choose software & determine a hosting option
Software for hosting online
Google Sites, http://sites.google.com/
Set goals, authors, and monitors
Set logins & passwords or open it to everyone
Take the time to train & promote
People won’t use it if they don’t know it’s there!
Tip: Use wiki software that generates RSS feeds so that changes in articles may be easily monitored.
LibSuccess Wiki http://www.libsuccess.org/index.php?title=Main_Page
An image-hosting online community
Began as an online game but is now a way for people to upload and share photos
“ What was once the digital equivalence of a shoebox became a vibrant community built around photos and a vast collaborative effort to produce an infinite scrapbook.”
Registered users can comment on photos, create image “pools” around a central theme, and select favorite pictures.
- Levy, S. & Stone, B. (April 3, 2006). The new wisdom of the web . Newsweek. www.msnbc.msn.com . As cited in LTR report.
Benefits & Fun Features of Flickr
Easy to place images in blogs and websites with Flickr’s code generator
Increase the odds of being found by tagging photos with library’s name and location
Set privacy levels & access
Select other Flickr users as contacts & subscribe to their feeds
Upload to Flickr from e-mail, computer, or cell phone
Group images into sets to tell the story of an event