Achieving Subject Blog Success


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

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Achieving Subject Blog Success

  1. 1. Achieving Subject Blog Success<br />Rebecca K. Miller<br />University Libraries at Virginia Tech<br />ACRL 2011<br />Philadelphia, PA<br />
  2. 2. Background<br />Virginia Tech’s College Librarian (liaison) system<br />In May 2010, became College Librarian for:<br />Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (HNFE)<br />Computer Science<br />Engineering Education<br />Mathematics<br />Departmental cultures and expectations of librarian<br />Previous HNFE librarian(s) very involved in research and instruction<br />Fortunately, I have been able to follow suit!<br />
  3. 3. Supporting HNFE<br />Teach information literacy and bibliographic management<br />Work closely with department to determine collection needs (we also have a special culinary history collection in Special Collections)<br />Hold regular (twice a week) office hours in the main HNFE building on campus<br />Communicate regularly through subject blog: Notes from Newman: HNFE Research & Resources<br />
  4. 4. Why a blog?<br />Until July 2010, I was pretty much averse to the idea of subject blogs<br />Worth the time/effort?<br />Who would actually read it?<br />What would I actually post?<br />Can it be a very versatile resource?<br />Willing to experiment, I decided to try it as a way to communicate with/reach out to my new, welcoming department<br />But, I would need to develop it with specific guidelines…<br />
  5. 5. In the beginning…<br />Mission: prominently placed on header<br />Aesthetically pleasing/well-designed<br />Schedule: 2-4 posts a week<br />Regular features: expert research advice, library news, tutorials (with Jing or Screenr), frequently asked reference questions, culinary history highlights, new books, etc.<br />Link to recommended resources, showcase services, use RSS to pull in journals, blogs of interest<br />Publicize the blog and its value<br />Gather statistics through Google Analytics<br />
  6. 6.<br />
  7. 7. Spring 2011: Major Expansion<br />Platform to explore library issues<br />Library Day in the Life<br />Guest Contributions<br />Book reviews from VT Dietetic Interns<br />Platform for instruction about “social information”<br />Was invited to speak to a “Communicating with Food” undergraduate class about blogging, social information<br />Collaborated with instructor to develop an extra credit assignment around National Nutrition Month<br />
  8. 8. Usage: 7/21/10 - 3/23/11<br />Published a total of 125 posts (at least 2-4 per week!)<br />428 total visitors from 28 different countries/territories<br />878 total visits<br />5, 885 page views<br />Average time on site: 5:18<br />
  9. 9. Pros & Cons<br />Pros<br />Having a dedicated space for liaison communication, and MORE<br />Having a space to explore library issues<br />Using it to teach about social information/ media, and publish student work<br />It’s fun!<br />Cons<br />Too much in one place? Too versatile?<br />Should mission of blog be tightened?<br />Audience seems to have shifted—most posts still written for HNFE, but seem to be reaching others<br />Students don’t really read blogs…<br />Are subject blogs “over”?<br />
  10. 10. Feedback, please!<br />Rebecca K. Miller<br />University Libraries at Virginia Tech<br /><br />540-231-9669<br /><br /> <br />