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Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
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Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal

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Presentation given by Eddie Byrne, Senior Librarian, Dublin City Public Libraries, at Internet Librarian International, London, 15th October 2009. http://bit.ly/K438L

Presentation given by Eddie Byrne, Senior Librarian, Dublin City Public Libraries, at Internet Librarian International, London, 15th October 2009. http://bit.ly/K438L

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  • Hi and good afternoon. My name is Eddie Byrne, and I am the Web Services Librarian with Dublin City Public Libraries.
    Over the next 15 minutes or so, by sharing with you our experience, I am going to give you some insight into the use of a web-based start page service in a public library setting
    I should tell you that some of the slides contain a lot of information; however I will summarise, and the presentation is available on the ILI site and will be on my own Slideshare page to view at any time.
  • By the end of my presentation,
    I hope to have addressed these questions and given you some insight into the possibilities and opportunities, as well as the challenges one might face, in adapting such a Web 2.0 application for library use.
  • Why did we adopt a web-based start page service on our Internet PCs?
    The need to promote certain websites in a time critical fashion meant that the traditional means of doing so was neither efficient or immediate enough.
    Having to place web short cuts ongoing on the desktop of each of over 200 PCs across 21 locations was neither practical or a good use of staff time.
    In summary:
    A centrally managed and organised desktop
    means
    enhanced access,
    efficiencies,
    a value-added library provided tool and
    promotion opportunities.
    So we are talking of:
    benefits to the organization AND benefits to the library user
  • The main considerations in arriving at a solution were:-
    Do we develop an inhouse solution with the likely associated costs and development time needed?
    OR
    Do we pick a readily available and adaptable 3rd party product and what might the shortcomings be?
    What resources and skills had we inhouse to deliver and support the solution ongoing?
    What time was available to us?
    And of course cost.
  • As you will see from this timeline, we were able to deliver a solution within a three-month time frame.
    Part of the trial involved getting feedback, and the international library community furnished plenty in this regard, so a big thanks to all who contributed.
    A once off visit to each PC to set the default home page in the Internet browser was carried out by our local IT staff, and very little further involvement has been required of them…
    in stark contrast to before when a lot of their time was taken up with constant calls to amend the individual desktops.
    I will come to the issues that arose in November 2008 in a moment.
  • The chosen solution was Pageflakes, an ajax-based startpage service.
    Pageflakes the company was founded in Germany in 2005.
    You can use it to aggregate all kinds of resources and tools, including web favourites, podcasts, news, email and your various Web 2.0 activities on your web-based desktop.
    You do this using “flakes”, or widgets.
    Its main advantage over Netvibes at the time was that you could make the page public. This of course was an essential requirement. Netvibes only offered that facility later on.
    Pagecasts is the feature that allows you to share your Pageflakes page.
    Netvibes by the way calls its public pages ‘Netvibes Universes’.
    Netvibes itself is a Paris-based company and it too has been around since 2005.
  • Just a quick view of the Pageflakes Page that we created…
    As you will see, the page is organsied as a series of tabs, thereby allowing for content to be organised and presented under different headings and avoiding as best as possible information overload
    The ‘Home’ tab in particular we use to aggregate content from our other web presences, Twitter, flickr, delicious, for example, and to promote library events and resources.
    So it is a excellent aggregator.
    We also carefully intermix library-related content on the other 7 tabs.
  • …and a view of our Netvibes page, which superseded Pageflakes in late 2008...
    You will note the similarity in layout and again the presence of the labelled tabs at the top.
  • Ajax and RSS are the powers behind most of what you can do with a web-based start page.
    These are just random examples of types of content you can pull into your start page using RSS and the available widgets.
    A widget is anything that can be embedded within a web page. It adds content to that page that is not static.
    A widget is a portable chunk of code, as Wikipedia calls it.
  • Other widgets allow you to present diverse content, often with a bit of imagination and ingenuity.
    Two that I particularly like are the UWA widget and the webpage widget.
  • There are risks of course associated with any technology and any product, and it is no different here.
    With third-party applications so much is outside your control.
    and
    Interruptions and loss of service are what you want to avoid if at all possible.
    So it is imperative that you have a strategy in place should either threaten.
    In Dublin City Public Libraries we carried out a risk assessment of all of our web presences and we have risk management plans in place for all, including our Netvibes start page.
    We still retain our Pageflakes’ page as backup for example.
    and
    We back up all our RSS feeds and identify alternative widgets should a replacement widget be required.
  • These are particular issues that may arise from time to time.
    If grabbing content from another site, it is important to ensure that you have permission.
    Errors that can occur range from
    broken links to widget failure to server problems.
    Our experience is that such errors have been few and far between.
    Nonetheless, periodic checks are carried out and problems addressed as soon as identified.
  • November 2008 highlighed the need for a contingeny plan and the fact that major problems can occur.
    Our experience was an unhappy one as you can see.
    AND we were not alone though in this.
    Many in the user community were unhappy with events in November 2008. Readers of Phil Bradley’s blog will recall Phil’s postings on the problem at the time.
    Unfortunately, when this all happened we did NOT have an alternative ready to implement, but we had the alternative in place in little over a week.
    Once bitten, you might say.
  • There is more about this and our whole experience with start pages in this interview I did with Michael Stephens late last year.
  • On the issue of support, we follow Netvibes on Twitter and in that way keep informed on issues and developments.
    I use a very handy desktop client to view my twitter feeds as you can see on the left.
    I find Netvibes quite good at keeping its users informed and up-to-date on issues and developments.
  • Their blog though I find is not kept as up to date as their Twitter feed.
  • The big question - Is the start page being used?
    There is not much point maintaining a page if people are not using it, so it is important to gather data on usage.
    This though is not as easy as it sounds.
    We have installed a separate Goolge Analytics script on each tab to gather data.
    However, as the page launches automatically everytime the browser is launched on our public access PCs, stats generated by the ‘Home’ tab are not that dependable if trying to gauge actual access by choice and subsequent usage. It is much more useful to gather data regarding the number of times a user purposefully selects a tab. This we can do with the other 7 tabs.
    Therefore you will note that the sample data shown excludes the default ‘Home’ tab. So the data here is not meant to be comprehensive but is merely by way of illustration that users are in fact accessing the various content by choice.
    In the June–August period just gone, there were over 2400 accesses of the 7 sub-tabs, if I may call them that, that is to say excluding the default home tab,
    56% of which were from our branch library computers.
  • However, what we can get a fairly accurate figure on is the total number of visits from outside the library network,
    and
    that includes the default ‘home’ tab.
    Again, for the same 3 month summer period, there were approximately 2000 visits from outside the library branches,
    that is to say,
    2000 visits to our Netvibes start page from largely home users here and users abroad.
  • We have also been able to extract relevant data from stats furnished by other web sites;
    here, for example, the Google analytics stats from our online catalogue and the Dublin City Council website
    tell us the number of referrals to these sites from our Netvibes page.
    The ranking for the online catalogue indicates that only two other sites sent more referrers than our Netvibes page to the catalogue.
    And it also ranked very high in sending referrers to the City Council site.
    So as you can see the figures do in fact illustrate that users are linking to these sites from our Netvibes page.
    The figure of 370 indicates referrals to the Libraries’ own website in effect.
    The Libraries website is in fact a sub-site of the main city council site.
  • A small survey was carried out in June by Library Masters student Giada Gelli in association with ourselves, and this gave us some useful feedback regarding the views of library Internet users on our Netvibes page.
    This and the next few slides present some of the results of that survey.
    Here on this slide you can see that 38.7% of the admittedly small sample number indicate that they visit our Netvibes page once a week or more.
    ‘Visit’, as in ‘make actual use of’, I might point out.
  • In terms of how user friendly our Netvibes page is to use,
    of the 34 respondents who had used the Netvibes page, only one person found the page difficult to use.
  • In this multiple choice question,
    nearly 80% indicated that they access the page from the library’s computers,
    while a sizable 40% access it from other locations such as home, work or educational institution.
    Again, to bear in mind, these are library Internet users who are the primary target audience.
  • This slide gives an indication of the level of usage of the diverse content provided via the various tabs.
    Use of library service links is high, which is a positive of course,
    with a high percentage of users linking to the online catalogue, the databases and library promotions.
    Giada grouped these further into macro-categories, those falling within the
    ‘Library’ category representing 82.4% of preferences,
    News resources representing 58.8%,
    reference and information services 47%, and
    education and research tools 29.4%.
    We can use this type of data and analysis to help us refine the content to deliver what the user in fact wants.
  • This question was answered by those who had never used our Netvibes page before.
    5 of the 24 respondents indicate that they will definitely continue to use the page having now seen it,
    while 15 indicate they MAY do so.
    So you could say that nearly 84% of newbies expressed a mild or strong interest in using the page in future.
    I think this shows that getting people to take the time to familiarise themselves with the page and use it ongoing is effort well spent.
    Let me say at this point that I have no illusions about peoples’ reasons for visitng the libraries to use Internet PCs; most have very specific purposes in doing so and we must be realistic about our ability to influence the practices of seasoned Internet users.
    The challenge is to make them aware of the resource and in that way maybe it proving useful to a number of users repeatedly and many users intermittently.
    To this end, we have developed a series of promotional leaflets and are about to start what we call our Library 2.0 Roadshow, which is us going out to meet our users on the library floor and promote our various web presences, including our Netvibes start page.
  • To continue…
    These are some of the positive comments received from users…
    I will just allow you time to read through those for a moment…
  • …and some of the not so positive, or should I say, revealing comments!
    Again, if you want to take a moment to read through
  • …and then there was this view expressed!
    I am not in a position to identify who this library worker is,. Maybe just as well 
    Not for the average public library user ?
    Netvibes is for the tech-savie ?
    waste of time for the sake of experimentation ?
    Do not engage via social networking ?
    Would you say these comments are…
    Condescending?
    True? True in part?
    Library 2.0 is a waste of time?
    Is this a badly informed view?
    Does it pose the question as to who, has to be won over before we win over the library user when it comes to Web 2.0 in the Library? I am thinking of our colleagues, needless to say.
    Questions maybe for you to consider?
  • How do we answer this question?
    Cost versus benefit is an obvious yardstick I guess.
    In terms of staff time, onging involvement can be measured in minutes rather than hours per day.
    There has been a huge saving in terms of the time now required of IT staff
    Third-party support and product costs are zero.
    Only one major hiccup in 24 months, and
    now we are prepared in the event of another hiccup
    We have our centrally managed Internet desktop using a tool users are already familiar with.
    And there is evidence that people are using the page with a knock-on effect for our other services. Survey and anecdotal evidence of user satisfaction is also available, some of which you have been presented with here..
  • These again are just the relevant URLs
    And again I want to thank Giada Gelli for your contribution and assistance.
  • As we might say in Ireland,
    Sin a bhfuil agus go raibh maith agat
    In other words
    That’s it!
    and
    Thank You Very Much!
    Any questions? Easy Questions!
  • Transcript

    • 1. Eddie Byrne, Senior Librarian, Dublin City Public Libraries Internet Librarian International London, 15th October 2009 Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries Session A105 - Where to Start Using a Personalised Start Page Service to Deliver a Public Library Portal
    • 2. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries • Why do it? • What are the initial considerations? • What are the Issues / Risks? • Will people use it? • Are there benefits for the Library?
    • 3. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries Why? • To facilitate centralised management of the Internet desktop on all public access PCs (200+) across 21 locations • To provide a value-added product for our Library Web Users • To provide greatly enhanced access to a range of select resources • To enable the promotion of library activities and services via the public access Internet PCs
    • 4. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries Considerations • Budget & Resources • Timeline • Off-the-Shelf or Bespoke? • Hosting – Local or Remote? • Ease of Implemention & Maintenance • Adaptability, Flexibility • Performance – Stability, Speed • Promotion
    • 5. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries Timeline • Nov - Dec 2007 – Investigation, Solution Proposed • January 2008 – Desktop trialled in one location • February 2008 – Roll out to all locations completed • October 2008 – 'Media' tab added • November 6, 2008 -Problems! • November 2008 – Move to new platform
    • 6. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries The Solution Pageflakes • An Ajax-based Startpage • Resource & Tool aggregator • Sharable Desktop • Organised in Tabs, each tab containing user-defined modules Netvibes (from November 2008) • Little Advertising • Runs Fast • Stable • Strong customer support
    • 7. Dublin City Public Libraries www.pageflakes.com/dublincitypubliclibrarie s
    • 8. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries
    • 9. Dublin City Public Libraries Delicious widget Twitter widget RSS flickr widget
    • 10. Dublin City Public Libraries 0 Webpage widget Link widget UWA widget (html) Weather widget Stick your notes widget UWA widget (html)
    • 11. Dublin City Public Libraries Risks? • Platform Failure (Interruptions to Service) • Platform Failure (Loss of Service) • Widget Failure (Malfunction) • Failure of Associated Services (delicious, Twitter) • Reliance on third parties with whom there are no contractual agreements (Risk Assessment for Use of Third Party Web 2.0 Services: A UKOLN Briefing Document, QA Focus, Nov 2007.) Risk Management • Risk Management Strategy in Place • RSS Backup • Netvibes Support • Alternative Solution Ready to Go1
    • 12. Dublin City Public Libraries 2 Permissions Widget Failure Performance Server Errors Issues Broken Links
    • 13. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries November 2008 Loss of service for a week (6 - 14 November) Silence from Pageflakes Company Changes Afoot Introduction of prominent advertisement flake without consultation or alternative model being offered Netvibes Alternative Implemented 3 Problems!
    • 14. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries Article Planning & Pitfalls: Using Pageflakes for a Public Library Portal Michael Stephens in conversation with Eddie Byrne Submitted by Michael Stephens on December 1, 2008 ALA Techsource Blog (American Library Association) SEE http://www.alatechsource.org/blog/2008/11/planning-pitfalls-using-pageflakes-for-a- public-library-portal.html 4
    • 15. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries5 Support
    • 16. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries6 //faq.netvibes.com/service_status
    • 17. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries7 Visits: 2403 From Library Internet PCs: 1345 From Outside Library: 1058 (Outside Ireland – 879) 626 84.5% 296 26.4% 178 51.7% 256 33.2% 157 37.6% 368 48.9% 522 61.7%Library = Jun - Aug 2009 + + + + + +2403 = Usage
    • 18. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries8 Visits: 2403 From Library Internet PCs: 1345 From Outside Library: 1058 (Outside Ireland – 879) 626 84.5% 296 26.4% 178 51.7% 256 33.2% 157 37.6% 368 48.9% 522 61.7%Library = From Outside Library: 1978 (Outside Ireland – 1589) 920 – Outside Ireland Jun - Aug 2009
    • 19. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries Referrals from Netvibes Page To: 9 Online Catalogue: 343 Ranking: No.3 of 43 sources (no.2 – Borrowbooks.ie: 1840; no.4 Wikipedia: 98) dublincity.ie: 540 Ranking: No.20 of 2178 sources (Libraries’ Pages – 370, of which 77 are external) (June – August 2009) Usage
    • 20. Dublin City Public Libraries 0 • once every other day • twice or three times Acknowledgement: Giada Gelli
    • 21. Dublin City Public Libraries 1 Acknowledgement: Giada Gelli
    • 22. Dublin City Public Libraries 2 78.8% (26) Acknowledgement: Giada Gelli
    • 23. Dublin City Public Libraries 3 Euro Elections Borrowbooks.ie Acknowledgement: Giada Gelli
    • 24. Dublin City Public Libraries 4 Acknowledgement: Giada Gelli Newbies
    • 25. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries Comments + - Interesting page; good for Euro Elections - It's very easy to use - I like to use Dublin City Library and Netvibes to get more information for myself about entertainment and press section - (Your Netvibes page) has been great. - I am aware of much more that happens in the libraries ..makes it much more obvious that events are happening - Everything is on this site and it is regularly updated - Saves time and recent information updates - Will probably subscribe to Netvibes now that I know it exists 5 Acknowledgement: Giada Gelli
    • 26. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries Comments - - very very slow to load - I was never aware of its existence until this survey - I think it would be nice to have a few simpler RSS feeds - I don't use it - Has not helped. Seems to just duplicate their website - I don´t know what you mean by "start page on netvibes"!! - Hasn’t really changed the way I keep up to date with the library 6 Acknowledgement: Giada Gelli
    • 27. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries …and! not for the average Public Library user, too techie, sorry "I question ur involvement there. Netvibes is for tech-savvie people, I don't get that vibe from the website and certainly not from my in situ visits. I work in a library myself, I know the library 2.0 vibe: don't waste ur time for the sake of experimentation, users resent it! Even though it's "free" it still costs staff time. If no resources to buy books, engage in person, not via social networking. It's badly perceived." 7 - Library Worker Acknowledgement: Giada Gelli
    • 28. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries A Success? • Zero Financial Outlay in terms of Product Purchase / Maintenance • Cost Measured in Terms of Staff Time Only • Less Intervention Required by IT Support • Easy to Implement and Maintain • Product Fulfills Requirements (the Why?) • Solution proving largely stable and flexible • Strategies in place in the event of interruptions/ failures • People ARE Using It! 8
    • 29. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries Links • http://www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries • http://www.pageflakes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries • http://www.alatechsource.org/blog/2008/11/planning-pitfalls-using-pageflakes- for-a-public-library-portal.html • http://blog.netvibes.com/using-public-pages-as-virtual-libraries/ 9 Acknowledgement Giada Gelli, MLIS Student, University College Dublin, for permission to draw on survey material collated as part of her Master‘s Thesis.
    • 30. Dublin City Public Libraries www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries Many Thanks! 0 Eddie Byrne, Senior Librarian, Dublin City Public Libraries edward.byrne@dublincity.ie www.slideshare.net/ebyrne41 Lest you forget!

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