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Social Networking: The Thing on the Doorstep


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A presentation given on behalf of the CILIP MmIT group at Liverpool John Moores University (9th July 2010). The focus is on two and a half years of experiences with social networking within an academic library setting. Looks at the challenges and opportunties that this new way of communicating with customers and staff affords.

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Social Networking: The Thing on the Doorstep

  1. 1. The Thing on the DoorstepNetworking socially at Leicester<br />Gareth J Johnson<br />Document Supply & Repository Manager<br />David Wilson Library<br />University of Leicester<br />MmIT NW 9th July 2010<br />Slides:<br />
  2. 2. Behind the Scenes…<br />
  3. 3. Overview<br />Social networking experiences at Leicester<br />The challenges and the triumphs<br />What we’ve learned<br />
  4. 4. Leicester University<br />Top 20 in all National tables<br />91% student satisfaction rate<br />6th Highest citations rates relative to size<br />23,000 students<br />41% Distance Learners<br />Around 1000 academic staff<br />93% submitted for RAE ’08<br />87% determined to be producing internationally significant research<br />4 Colleges<br />Moved from faculty structure this academic year<br />
  5. 5. DWL Facts<br /><ul><li>Multi-award winning
  6. 6. 1500 User spaces
  7. 7. 38km shelving
  8. 8. 1M+ volumes on shelves
  9. 9. 350 PCs + wireless network
  10. 10. 13 Group study rooms
  11. 11. Graduate Media Zoo
  12. 12. 2 IT training suites
  13. 13. Also houses Careers, Accessibility & Student Learning Depts</li></ul><br />
  14. 14. Responses to Social Networking<br />
  15. 15. UoL Library Blog<br />Initial efforts faltered some years previously<br />2008 complete restart<br />New team of enthusiasts<br />House rules for contributions<br />Style & purpose<br />Reflective, informal but professional tone<br />Target audience of library and institution<br />Started quietly to gain voice & proof of concept<br />Went “public” after a month<br />All staff invited to contribute (few accept)<br />
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  17. 17. UoL Library Blog<br />External cloud based platform (WordPress)<br />High customisability & low technical requirements<br />Avoids UoL branding issues by external hosting<br />Knowledge based information resource<br />Referenced in official memos<br />Included in staff induction pack references<br />Team keeps a watching brief on items of interest<br />Prompts each other for articles<br />Encourages involvement of new staff members<br />Project blogs<br />
  18. 18. DWL Facebook<br />An attempt to reach into users’ social spaces <br />Library page to promote services<br />Maintained by Information Librarians<br />Over 1,200 fans currently<br />Rolls out and links to official news<br />Also houses some HQ images of the library<br />Replies to the occasional comment<br />Not actively promoted beyond front page links<br />
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  20. 20. Graduate School Reading Room<br />Smaller fan base (>100)<br />But higher levels of content and support<br />Enthusiastically supported by Research Forum Facilitator<br />Advertises courses and links of interest to graduates<br />Low commentary levels on both Facebook presences<br />Regularly policed for inappropriate comments<br />
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  22. 22. Twittering<br />Joined a month after starting (e.2008)<br />Links with local academics & students easier to forge<br />An alternative & effective communication channel<br />Engaging with a self-selected group of enthusiasts<br />Resultant involvement in projects, teaching and information sharing<br />Linking with the wider community<br />Enquiry resolution, crowdsourcing, feedback & cross-pollination<br />
  23. 23. Twitter in Practice<br />Workshop back-channel<br />Multilayered conversations that can be harvested too<br />Live session feedback<br />Monitoring the conversation<br />Alerts for common #tags<br />Library twitter accounts<br />Library news & Repository content<br />Professional awareness<br />Virtual conference attendance<br />Following the daily zeitgeist<br />
  24. 24.
  25. 25. Wikis<br />PM.Wiki<br />Enquiry team manual, locally installed<br />WetPaint<br />Cloud computing service with live linkage<br />Two team manuals on it now<br />Locked as private resource<br />Team ownership<br />Allows easy editing by all, although in reality…<br />Allows rapid record of S.O.P.<br />Allows easy access globally 24/7<br />
  26. 26.
  27. 27. Web 2.0 Projects<br />Smallworldz<br />Academic attempt to build PG professional networks<br />Students didn’t like enforced networking<br />SM@LL<br />Portal project drawing on Delicious and Netvibes sites<br />Up front discussions and development using twitter (#smallJISCRI) & Google Docs<br />My Leicester Digital Archive<br />Video, image and text digitisation project<br />OCLC with folksonomy and community content addition<br />
  28. 28. Web 2.0 at Leicester<br /><ul><li>Smallwordlz
  29. 29. Team wikis
  30. 30. Projects
  31. 31. YouTube
  32. 32. Chat Enquiries
  33. 33. Google docs for collaboration
  34. 34. Web 2.0 community</li></ul>Library Blog<br />Library Facebook presence<br />Personal & Corporate Twitter accounts<br />SlideShare<br />Delicious social bookmarking<br />
  35. 35. What We’ve Learned<br />Helps break down corporate façade<br />Humanises and personifies the service<br />Concerns over splitting personal from professional<br />Justifying it to senior management can be tricky<br />“It isn’t suitable for US!”<br />“Isn’t email good enough?”<br />Concerns over loss of control, clarity of message<br />Stalkers and hidden followers can be an issue<br />Majority of interactions promising and supportive<br />
  36. 36. What We’ve Learned<br />“I think we do reporting/reflecting on events quite well & sometimes provoke a response.” Selina Lock<br />“…one strength is the building of networks within the institutions, and how it can bring people to work together that may not have done otherwise - in particular when they find out they have common interests.” Sarah Whittaker<br />“I think our strength is definitely individuals promoting the library through social networking as 'personalities', rather than necessarily as one unified institutional identity…The major barrier is the way social networking is viewed by sceptics in the institution.” Katie Fraser<br />
  37. 37. Final Thoughts<br />Social networking is about cultural change, and playing a proactive part<br />Go where the community is - don’t expect them to come to where you are?<br />Be prepared but not downhearted by setbacks<br />A lot depends on prevailing ethos and personalities<br />You have to be prepared to open the door…<br />
  38. 38. Gareth J Johnson, DS&R Manager<br />Email: <br />Tel: 0116-252-2039<br />Web 2.0: llordllama<br />Contact<br />
  39. 39. References<br />Slides<br />[TBC]<br />Facebook DWLibrary<br /><br /><br />Leicester UoL Web 2.0 Community<br /><br />UoL Library Blog<br /><br />