Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bloggers, wikimeisters, and 100 kinds of tequila

Dateline: Baltimore

Friday night I participated in “Dinner with Colleagues.” In this activity, you sign up to eat dinner at a local restaurant with a group of other conference attendees. The dine-outs were organized around topics. I chose “Blogs and Wikis” and found myself with 15 aficionados at the Blue Agave, a Mexican restaurant boasting 100 different kinds of tequila. I got my kicks, however, from my lively companions, who shared all kinds of projects and ideas. Here are a few:


Library blogs for promoting events, general information, new books, etc.
A “desk blog” allows reference librarians to share news about new assignments.
Consensus that personal blogs are really challenging to maintain.


Wikis are being used for reference desk and circulation manuals—easy to update.
A wiki for library instruction, with much flexibility on who can access it.
A wiki for coordinating library projects at different campus locations.
BizWiki at Ohio State (?) is a great example of a subject-specific wiki.

Other items of interest

A focus group at one colleague’s library revealed that students love IM but want librarians to stay out of Facebook. These students prefer to go to librarians, rather than have librarians hunt them up online.

One librarian reported 600 downloads of podcasts on how to use various resources such as the library’s new metasearch product. The library had placed a podcasts link on its homepage.

Food for thought

Would my reference desk colleagues like to see a blog for reference desk reminders and FYIs? How about turning our reference librarian training manual into a wiki?


We dream about it. Portland State is doing it.

Dateline: Baltimore

On Friday, three librarians from Portland State University addressed a packed session on the topic “Library Mashups for the Virtual Campus: Using Web 2.0 Tools to Create a New Current Awareness Service.”

They described how the library developed Topic Watch, a mashup using several technologies to deliver program-specific resources to faculty via the university’s Luminis portal. Topic Watch provides channels for RSS feeds and blogs, podcasts and videocasts,, and articles. This last allows faculty to search directly from the portal page and list titles of the first five hits without ever leaving the portal. The article feature also incorporates Serials Solution’s Article Linker. In addition to these channels, Topic Watch includes a YouTube channel, but the library is running into copyright issues, as you might imagine. So far, the library has developed two Topic Watch subject areas: Business and Film Studies.

Topic Watch comprises one of several channels on a library “tab” on the university portal. Other channels include QuickLinks, Ask Us, Databases and Full-Text Resources, and several others.

To develop Topic Watch, Portland used HTML, JavaScript, XML, CSS, and Asynchronous JavaScript, as well as well as something called “screen scraping.”

Portland State is “considering” sharing their programming for Topic Watch via a Creative Commons license. The presenters encouraged librarians to contact them if interested.

Food for thought

What would it take to convince our ITS leadership to add a library tab to LCC’s new portal?
If we had a library tab, who would be the audience(s) for its resources and what would those resources be?
Do we have the skills to develop a tab like Portland’s?


Friday, March 30, 2007

Big Brother and Library 2.0

Dateline: Baltimore

Another thought-provoking ACRL conference session was Edward Corrado's presentation: "Privacy and Library 2.0: Do They Conflict?" Ed, the library systems guy at the College of New Jersey Library, reminded his audience that we've long attempted to protect patron privacy by reducing the number and duration of patron records to a minimum. However, those shiny new Web 2.0 resources like RSS feeds and blogs can create quite a trail of user interests.

To find out what we think about this, Ed conducted a Web-based survey among the members of several library email lists in September 2006. Nearly 85% of his respondents said privacy issues are a great concern, and 75% thought librarians should address privacy issues in library instruction sessions. However, only 8% said they post any warnings about privacy at links to websites, databases, and other resources on their websites.

Ultimately, Ed concluded, librarians need to lobby for laws that protect library patron privacy in these areas.

Food for thought

As we consider taking our library farther into Library 2.0, what privacy issues should we consider?
Should we provide privacy / confidentiality warnings on the library website? Would these discourage students from using these resources?
How could we educate students about Web 2.0 privacy concerns in library instructions sessions?


What's a nice librarian like you doing in Facebook?

Dateline: Baltimore

Greetings! This morning I attended my first ACRL program--"From Midnight Breakfast to Social Networking and the Small College Library." The speaker was Liz Wavle, director of the Elmira (NY) College Library. Elmira is a small liberal arts college with an enrollment of 1200 students. With such a small student body, faculty and students get to know each other pretty well, and there are a number of traditions that bring them together. For example, once a year, faculty serve students a hot "midnight breakfast."

Liz Wavle and other library staff are enhancing their relationships with students via Facebook profiles--a smart move, considering that over 1000 of Elmira's students participate in this social network. Liz reported that within a few minutes of posting her profile, several students asked to be her friend. Liz uses her profile to enhance communication about the library and to notify her "friends"--who now number over 200--about library events and news.

Liz's tips for librarian Facebook wannabes

1. Be authentic. Share a few personal and professional facts about yourself.
2. Post photos.
3. Be a friend: respond to friends, send birthday wishes, join Facebook groups.
4. Keep your profile updated.
5. Remember that information you post is "public."

Did you know?

Liz says the time committment to remain her profile is small. Since Facebook uses a template, it's fast and easy to set up and maintain a profile. Liz spends a "few minutes" each week to post information to her profile.

Any profile should be about a person, not an institution or a library. In summer 2006, Facebook pulled all institutional profiles for that very reason. However, as an individual, you can include lots of information about your library.

Food for thought

Could LCC librarian profiles help us build relationships with students and help us tell the library's story? What do you think?


Monday, March 26, 2007

webOPAC 2.0

These two library catalogs were discussed at WIT last week and I thought everyone might like to see a couple of catalogs that are really "outside of the box"!

1. Plymouth State University -- This was created in-house using WordPress, a blogging program. Plymouth State is a III library and they are some how able to overlay the WordPress site on to their catalog. The creator will be sharing the coding once he has ironed out the bugs.

2. Carroll County Public Library -- This is a Dynix library that is using a program called AquaBrowser on top of their OPAC. Do a keyword search and check out the search constellation on the left side of the screen. Very neat! I believe that AquaBrowser can work with any ILS. I will be contacting them for some more information.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

New book

Just an FYI -- the following title is now available Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (HD 69 .S8 T37 2006)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Library 2.0 in 15 minutes a day

I found this wiki today and thought I'd share:

Some of the items aren't really Library 2.0 but they are things we should be familiar with in order to stay current with our students.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

IM Product Called Pronto

Today I attended a webcast on IMing w/students. The presenter, Eric Kunnen, works in the IT dept at Grand Rapids Comm College. Eric was "singing the praises" of Horizon Wimba's school-centric product called Pronto.

What follows are a few of my notes from the webcast:
  • Pronto communicates w/WebCt and Bb right now; will communicate with Angel fall'07
  • Pronto is free; Pronto Plus is not free
  • Don't have to be logged into WebCt, Bb, etc to use Pronto
  • Classmates are auto populated
  • Common platform for academic contacts
  • Instructor overides and has user preferences
  • Ability to link multiple sites

Here are a couple of future IM applications that Gr Rapids CC is discussing (thought these were interesting):

  1. Emergency notifications and campus closing
  2. Targeted messaging- i.e. "Gibson's is running a 5% discount on nursing textbooks today."

Thursday, March 8, 2007

A Librarian's 2.0 Manifesto

Here's the video that Elenka mentioned in her e-mail. Post comments right here!