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Achieving Subject Blog Success

Achieving Subject Blog Success



Presented at ACRL 2011 in Philadelphia, PA during the IdeaPower Unconference on April 2, 2011.

Presented at ACRL 2011 in Philadelphia, PA during the IdeaPower Unconference on April 2, 2011.



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    Achieving Subject Blog Success Achieving Subject Blog Success Presentation Transcript

    • Achieving Subject Blog Success
      Rebecca K. Miller
      University Libraries at Virginia Tech
      ACRL 2011
      Philadelphia, PA
    • Background
      Virginia Tech’s College Librarian (liaison) system
      In May 2010, became College Librarian for:
      Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (HNFE)
      Computer Science
      Engineering Education
      Departmental cultures and expectations of librarian
      Previous HNFE librarian(s) very involved in research and instruction
      Fortunately, I have been able to follow suit!
    • Supporting HNFE
      Teach information literacy and bibliographic management
      Work closely with department to determine collection needs (we also have a special culinary history collection in Special Collections)
      Hold regular (twice a week) office hours in the main HNFE building on campus
      Communicate regularly through subject blog: Notes from Newman: HNFE Research & Resources
    • Why a blog?
      Until July 2010, I was pretty much averse to the idea of subject blogs
      Worth the time/effort?
      Who would actually read it?
      What would I actually post?
      Can it be a very versatile resource?
      Willing to experiment, I decided to try it as a way to communicate with/reach out to my new, welcoming department
      But, I would need to develop it with specific guidelines…
    • In the beginning…
      Mission: prominently placed on header
      Aesthetically pleasing/well-designed
      Schedule: 2-4 posts a week
      Regular features: expert research advice, library news, tutorials (with Jing or Screenr), frequently asked reference questions, culinary history highlights, new books, etc.
      Link to recommended resources, showcase services, use RSS to pull in journals, blogs of interest
      Publicize the blog and its value
      Gather statistics through Google Analytics
    • http://hnfelibrarian.blogspot.com/
    • Spring 2011: Major Expansion
      Platform to explore library issues
      Library Day in the Life
      Guest Contributions
      Book reviews from VT Dietetic Interns
      Platform for instruction about “social information”
      Was invited to speak to a “Communicating with Food” undergraduate class about blogging, social information
      Collaborated with instructor to develop an extra credit assignment around National Nutrition Month
    • Usage: 7/21/10 - 3/23/11
      Published a total of 125 posts (at least 2-4 per week!)
      428 total visitors from 28 different countries/territories
      878 total visits
      5, 885 page views
      Average time on site: 5:18
    • Pros & Cons
      Having a dedicated space for liaison communication, and MORE
      Having a space to explore library issues
      Using it to teach about social information/ media, and publish student work
      It’s fun!
      Too much in one place? Too versatile?
      Should mission of blog be tightened?
      Audience seems to have shifted—most posts still written for HNFE, but seem to be reaching others
      Students don’t really read blogs…
      Are subject blogs “over”?
    • Feedback, please!
      Rebecca K. Miller
      University Libraries at Virginia Tech