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Library Blogging: Reaching Out with a Dynamic Web Presence


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This is a talk I gave at the OALT 2008 Conference in Kingston, Ontario.

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Library Blogging: Reaching Out with a Dynamic Web Presence

  1. 1. LIBRARY BLOGGING: REACHING OUT WITH A DYNAMIC WEB PRESENCE Heather Martyn Reference Services Librarian Kingston Frontenac Public Library
  2. 2. Introduction: <ul><li>Web 2.0 and libraries </li></ul><ul><li>What is blogging? </li></ul><ul><li>What kinds of blogs are there? </li></ul><ul><li>Why blog? </li></ul><ul><li>Things to consider </li></ul><ul><li>Problems & Solutions </li></ul><ul><li>The future and beyond </li></ul>
  3. 3. Web 2.0 <ul><li>Web 2.0 refers to a perceived second generation of web-based applications and services and in particular the use of the web as a platform for user-generated content and web-based communities, including particularly social networking, wikis and folksonomies (O’Reilly, 2005) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Web 2.0 <ul><li>Komito describes the “rubric of Web 2.0” as consisting of “user-generated content, dynamic web publishing, and online social groups” (Komito, 2007, 85) </li></ul><ul><li>Associated technologies include: blogs, social networking sites, wikis, mashups, podcasts and vidcasts, RSS feeds, shared bookmarks and image sites. (Bawden et al ., 2007, 15) </li></ul><ul><li>The Machine is Us: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  5. 5. Web 2.0 and Libraries <ul><li>Basically, the point of 2.0 is to make it easier for people to communicate and connect using the internet. </li></ul><ul><li>Library staff communicating with patrons. </li></ul><ul><li>Patrons communicating with staff. </li></ul><ul><li>Patrons communicating with each other. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>All these Web 2.0 applications-- Overwhelming! </li></ul>
  7. 7. Habib, Michael C. Toward Academic Library 2.0: Development and Application of a Library 2.0 Methodology. School of Information and Library Science, 2006.
  8. 8. What is a blog? <ul><li>“ Blog” is short for weblog. </li></ul><ul><li>So what is a weblog, anyway? Generally speaking, it's an online journal comprised of links and postings in reverse chronological order, meaning the most recent posting appears at the top of the page. </li></ul><ul><li>http:// </li></ul><ul><li>See Also Wikipedia: http:// /wiki/Blog </li></ul>
  9. 9. Types of Blogging for Libraries <ul><li>Internal staff blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Personal blogs </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Library-related groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Institutional blogs </li></ul>
  10. 15. Why we blog… <ul><li>Outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Promotion </li></ul><ul><li>Information </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>Humanization </li></ul><ul><li>… and more… </li></ul>
  11. 16. <ul><li>“ In my view, the more human we look, the more we personalize our services, the more connected we will be to our patrons” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>-Terri Bennett (Webster Public Library) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Brookover 2007, 28) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 17. <ul><li>“ Why don’t we have someone who specializes in publicizing what we do well? Why are we not getting our positive messages across? . . . . Why aren’t we more proactive in sharing all of the good things that happen in education on a daily basis?” </li></ul><ul><li>-From an April 26 post on Not So Distant Future ( ), attributed to the Principal’s Page blog. </li></ul>
  13. 18. Before you start… <ul><li>There are things to think about: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the focus of the blog? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who is the audience? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How is it managed? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential subjects (is anything off limits?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anonymity vs. signed posts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time commitment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will comments be allowed? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will success be measured? </li></ul></ul>
  14. 19. Focus <ul><li>Some libraries have blog missions*: </li></ul><ul><li>“ We can bring news about the library to you on your schedule” (West Long Branch PL) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Keep our patrons informed and amused with information about news releases in the library, local and online resources, as well as news about upcoming library and community programs and events” (St. Joseph County PL) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Anything goes” (Ann Arbor PL) </li></ul><ul><li>*(Brookover, 2007, 30-31) </li></ul>
  15. 20. Audience: Blaugh:
  16. 21. Management: <ul><li>Everyone posts whenever </li></ul><ul><li>One person manages posting </li></ul><ul><li>Posting schedule </li></ul><ul><li>What about when the novelty wears off? </li></ul>
  17. 22. Content: <ul><li>Think about how personal you want to be. </li></ul><ul><li>Think about who/what you are representing. </li></ul><ul><li>What, if anything, is off limits? </li></ul><ul><li>Spelling & grammar count. </li></ul>“ Farkas (2006) reminds us that there is no point in just “being where our patrons are”; what is necessary is “being useful to our patrons in where they are”, by providing immediate access to resources interactive reference services etc. There must be content and purpose, as well as flashy technology, in Web (or Library) 2.0.” -In Bawden (2007, 16)
  18. 23. <ul><li>“ At autumn library conferences, I heard numerous presentations that focused on younger people's use-and perception-of technology (people, that is, who are younger than the presenters). Comparing expectations of digital natives with those of digital immigrants led to much angst on the part of immigrant presenters. Not born into a digital world, computers were not embedded in their upbringing. They not only remember when they were not connected 24/7, but they also remember those days fondly. They worry that digital natives' information-seeking behaviors, shaped by social media, will dilute rigorous research, yet they realize that new formats and sources greatly enrich available content.” </li></ul><ul><li>-Marydee Ojala (2008) </li></ul>
  19. 24. Travel book reviews Story about travel Tax forms available Voting New titles Life Science 7 Genetics project Cathedrals for Mrs. Rutowski’s Class Captains of Industry Links for April Gutsy Girls Book Display Upcoming Books Are you a reader? See the movie! Do the bibliography! Refworks! Empowering ourselves to empower our students Why Blog Anyway? Love your library? Fashion books Local poets night Library wiki Tax info Spring projects Preserve and protect Express DVDs Book launch Hours changes Contest winners Database/Firewall issues Free web vs. library databases New York Archives Research Competition Randomness Nonfiction new this week Russian UN political affairs minister to speak Fiction writing workshop Easy Green Reads for Earth Day Renovation pics Miss Amy is back from maternity leave! Celebrate Children’s book week Catalogue help Tell us what you think! Rotary RibFest Welcome new staff Whatever happened to Silence in libraries? The public library budget We need your opinion Spring into learning Colorado Springs blogroll Friends of the library Fantastic Fiction is Fantastic Some ideas on what to read next…. Another business database to try out A library in my hometown made what I am Where’s the best place to read? Fax machines available National small business week Library surveys help us improve services Streaming video now available Job hunting resources One new infected webpage found every 5 minutes Google map directions get street view New books Upcoming workshops Spring quarter has sprung CRUNCH or Click Cartoonist Bierman passes away Open Access Publishing Exhibition: Special Collections Semester Loan books due Internet Research Sites Leaving for the teacher-librarian conference Recent news We have a new website! Call for artists GSA Marriage Booth Extravaganza What are you afraid of? The creativity god is pleased Seek and ye shall find
  20. 25. Anonymity? <ul><li>For staff? </li></ul><ul><li>For users? </li></ul>From Haiku for You:
  21. 26. Time commitment: <ul><li>Brookover interviewed bloggers who reported spending (on average) 30 minutes per day on blogging. (Brookover, 2007, 30) </li></ul><ul><li>Spread out the work among staff </li></ul><ul><li>Cross posting saves time </li></ul>
  22. 27. Updating: <ul><li>Some think blogs should be updated every day: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ You are building an audience that is interested in your subject matter.  Some people with either go to a web site on a regular basis, if they are getting something from it or they will subscribe to that site's RSS feed.  You want to give you readers something every day.” (Simpson 2007) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The new content will be picked up by the search engines, therefore, giving your blog a higher ranking.” (Simpson 2007) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ In the eyes of your loyal readers, you become an expert on the subject...and they will remember who you are.  This way, when they end up going to your business web site, they will already be familiar with the quality they will receive from you.” (Simpson 2007) </li></ul></ul>
  23. 28. Comments <ul><li>You will hear both what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong </li></ul><ul><li>Spam </li></ul><ul><li>Patron confusion </li></ul><ul><li>What about moderating comments? </li></ul>xkcd:
  24. 29. Success: <ul><li>Traffic </li></ul><ul><li>Comments </li></ul><ul><li>Posts </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback </li></ul>
  25. 30. Problems & Solutions <ul><li>“ […] some misgivings among staff may be noted, to do with workload, problems with technology and support, lack of expertise, and a possible negative effect on current teaching/learning.” </li></ul><ul><li>-Bawden (2007, 17) </li></ul>
  26. 31. The future is now! From Gatland, Kenneth William and David Jeffries. Home and Living into the 21 st Century . Edc Pub: 1979.
  27. 32. References: <ul><li>David Bawden, Lyn Robinson, Theresa Anderson, Jessica Bates, Ugne </li></ul><ul><li>Rutkauskiene and Polona Vilar (2007) Library and Information Research Volume 31 Number 99 </li></ul><ul><li>Brookover, S. (2007). “Why We Blog” Library Journal , November 15, 28-31. </li></ul><ul><li>Habib, Michael C. Toward Academic Library 2.0: Development and Application of a Library 2.0 Methodology. School of Information and Library Science, 2006. Accessed: [accessed 02.05.2008] </li></ul><ul><li>Landis, Cliff. “It’s all about the user”: [accessed 01.05.2008] </li></ul><ul><li>Ojala, Marydee (2008) Information Today Volume: 32 Number: 2 Mar/Apr 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>O’Reilly, T. (2005). What is Web 2.0 ? Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software . URL: [accessed 17.04.08] </li></ul><ul><li>Simpson, John A. (2007). “3 Reasons to Blog Regularly” Website Promotion for Small Businesses v.2 28 Oct. 2007: [accessed 05.05.2008] </li></ul><ul><li>Spivak, Nova, 2004, in J. Schwartz da Silva “The Networked Future” ECIS- European Conference on Information Systems June 2007: p.29 [accessed 02.05.2008] </li></ul>