Building Online Community at the UMass Amherst Libraries


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Presentation delivered at ACRL New England Chapter Information Technology Interest Group, Bryant College, November 14, 2008

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Building Online Community at the UMass Amherst Libraries

  1. 1. Image credit building online community at the UMass Amherst libraries emily alling, coordinator, learning commons & undergraduate services | acrl-nec-itig | 2008-11-14
  2. 2. Considerations
  3. 3. Audiences <ul><li>Undergrads </li></ul><ul><li>Grad Students </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty </li></ul><ul><li>Departments/programs </li></ul><ul><li>Members of a course </li></ul><ul><li>Colleagues </li></ul><ul><li>Donors/supporters </li></ul><ul><li>… </li></ul>
  4. 4. Goals <ul><li>Outreach/promotion </li></ul><ul><li>Research support </li></ul><ul><li>Recruitment </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>Push out information </li></ul><ul><li>Identity formation/affiliation </li></ul><ul><li>Fundraising </li></ul><ul><li>… </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Social networking </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion boards </li></ul><ul><li>Multimedia sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Social bookmarking </li></ul><ul><li>Instant messaging </li></ul><ul><li>“ Official” library tools </li></ul>Media
  6. 6. Institutional constraints <ul><li>Control? </li></ul><ul><li>Trust? </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment? ROI? </li></ul><ul><li>Time? </li></ul>
  7. 7. What we’re doing
  8. 8. ISEL Update (2005-) Blog of the Integrated Sciences & Engineering Library Audience: Faculty, grad students, interested undergrads Goals: Highlight new resources, science in the news, developments in science x Web 2.0; liaison communicationt tool Medium: Blog ( Author(s): Started out with one author; is now a team effort. <ul><li>See also: LibGuides </li></ul>
  9. 9. ISEL Update (2005-) Time investment : Few hours to set up; few minutes once a week or so to update Success metrics : Frequency/value of comments (Earlier): FeedBurner stats, FeedBlitz subscriber info; Anecdotal evidence (personal contacts, emails, etc.) Worth it? Yes.
  10. 10. Learning Commons Update (2007-) Blog of the UMass Amherst Learning Commons Audience: Undergrads, other users of the Learning Commons Goals: News and updates from the LC and partner services. Information. Promotion. Dialogue. Medium: Blog (WordpressMU) Author(s): Learning Commons Coordinator. <ul><li>See also: LibGuides, Flickr </li></ul>
  11. 11. Learning Commons Update (2007-) <ul><li>Time investment : Hour or two to set up; few minutes every week or two to update; hour or so periodically to tweak/maintain. </li></ul><ul><li>Success metrics : Frequency/value of comments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why do YOU use the LC? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remote printing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You never sleep… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Worth it? Yes. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Other blogs… <ul><li>Student worker communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Du Bois Information Desk (2005-) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning Commons & Technical Support Desk (2005-) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Resources for instructors of large undergraduate courses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Undergraduate Services @ UMass Amherst Libraries (2007-) </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Instant Messaging <ul><li>Meebo for IM at Learning Commons Desk and Reference & Research Assistance Desk </li></ul><ul><li>Individual librarians share IM screen names with constituents </li></ul><ul><li>See also: LibGuides </li></ul>
  14. 14. Facebook <ul><li>Multiple audiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple approaches. </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple creators. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Facebook Groups <ul><li>By students, for students. </li></ul><ul><li>Identity formation/affiliation. </li></ul><ul><li>I Study at the Du Bois Library All the Time (24 members) </li></ul><ul><li>Library Lovers (75 members) </li></ul><ul><li>I Want to Have Sex in the UMass Library Before I Graduate (149 members) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Facebook Groups <ul><li>By librarians, for students. </li></ul><ul><li>Outreach, promotion, info sharing. </li></ul><ul><li>Graduate Students @ UMass Amherst Libraries (49 members) </li></ul><ul><li>UMass Amherst Learning Commons (13 members) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Facebook Pages <ul><li>By librarians, for users. </li></ul><ul><li>Outreach, promotion, info sharing, identity formation/affiliation. </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporate other tools (e.g. blog feed); push messages out to “fans.” Users can contribute content (photos, videos). </li></ul><ul><li>UMass Amherst Learning Commons (44 fans) </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated Sciences & Engineering Library (26 fans) </li></ul><ul><li>See also: Blogs </li></ul>
  18. 18. Facebook Ads <ul><li>By librarians, for …? </li></ul><ul><li>Recruitment, promotion. </li></ul><ul><li>Cost $$. </li></ul><ul><li>Recruited undergraduate students for focus groups (Fall 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Recruited subjects for Web site usability testing (Summer 2007) </li></ul>
  19. 19. Facebook Friends <ul><li>Person-to-person contact. </li></ul><ul><li>Beware creepy treehouse . </li></ul><ul><li>(How) do you want to use FB? </li></ul>
  20. 20. MySpace <ul><li>We started … </li></ul><ul><li>…but I decided they’d need to pay me more . </li></ul>
  21. 21. Twitter <ul><li>“ Microblogging” </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter vs. blog…? </li></ul><ul><li>Very low threshold </li></ul>
  22. 22. Twitter <ul><li>To do: </li></ul><ul><li>Follow more people. </li></ul><ul><li>Insert into other environments (LC website, blog) via widget. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Slideshare <ul><li>“ YouTube for PowerPoints” </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to tweet when published </li></ul>
  24. 24. Flickr (2006-) <ul><li>Goals : Promotion, outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Audience: Users of our LC, others in library community interested in Learning Commons concept </li></ul><ul><li>Author : one person so far (me) </li></ul><ul><li>Time investment : Objectively, little. Somehow, has been prohibitive (also must remember camera, upload photos from home, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Worth it? Yes, but need to pick it up & do more. </li></ul><ul><li>See also: Blog </li></ul>
  25. 25. YouTube (2009?-) <ul><li>Goals : Promotion, outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Audience: UMass Amherst students, faculty, staff involved in learning or teaching information literacy skills </li></ul><ul><li>Author : (hopefully) info lit team, liaison librarians, others? Grad student/ </li></ul><ul><li>Time investment : Significant. Writing scripts, shooting & editing videos. </li></ul><ul><li>Worth it? We think it will be. </li></ul>
  26. 26. LibGuides <ul><li>Community-building features </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ratings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback forms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Suggest resources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Embeddable in other environments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Courseware </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tweet upon publication </li></ul></ul><ul><li>See also: Facebook, Twitter, IM, Blogs </li></ul>
  27. 27. Institutional Repository <ul><li>[email_address] Amherst </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Goal: make scholarly output of campus findable, visible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Email alerts, RSS feeds by subject, author </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online journals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Departments/individuals can use to dynamically generate lists of publications on their own websites </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. LiveJournal <ul><li>Inspiration from Brian Mathews, Ubiquitous Reference Model </li></ul><ul><li>UMass Amherst LiveJournal community >> Google Reader </li></ul>
  29. 31. Next Steps
  30. 32. Overhaul LC website <ul><li>Embed widgets for IM, Twitter, Flickr </li></ul><ul><li>Investigate other means for community-generated discussion, input (like NCSU Message Board ?) </li></ul>
  31. 33. Create & add multimedia <ul><li>More, newer, better Flickr photos </li></ul><ul><li>Videos/screencasts for YouTube: tutorials, tours, events </li></ul><ul><li>Audio tour of Library/Learning Commons </li></ul>
  32. 34. Encourage user-generated content <ul><li>Video contest? (like Penn ) </li></ul><ul><li>Flickr pool? </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize LibGuides community features when teaching </li></ul>
  33. 35. Emily Alling Coordinator, Learning Commons & Undergraduate Library Services W.E.B. Du Bois Library University of Massachusetts, Amherst [email_address] Presentation available at: