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Updated: 2017-10-25T16:43:12.402-04:00

 



Social Software Tools: Personal Experiences

2007-08-07T21:41:43.602-04:00

I found Social Software and Libraries to be a great learning experience. I had never blogged before and was amazed to discover how easy it was to create and maintain a blog. I really enjoyed using blogs as learning tools in this course. At first I was annoyed by having to visit all of the blogs to see if anyone had posted anything new, but then Amanda introduced us to RSS. I was very excited to discover that I only had to visit my reader to determine if anyone had posted anything new. Posting on my own site and commenting on other student’s blogs every week helped me become extremely familiar with the technology. Although I enjoyed using blogs for this class, I do not think that I will continue blogging. I just don’t feel like I have enough to write about. Sadly, my life really isn’t that exciting!

Some of the social software tools that I will continue using are: wikis, RSS and bookmarking/tagging tools. My group had a great experience using a wiki to create our collaborative presentation. I am definitely going to suggest using wiki technology for group assignments during my final term in the fall. I must say that wikis are my favourite social software tool. I also really like RSS and I am going to try and sign up for some library career job site feeds (I graduate in December—whooo hooooo!). I think that bookmarking/tagging tools like del.icio.us are great ways to remember articles and Websites; however, I was a little turned off by how many del.icio.us articles from LIS 757 were sent to my reader. I have to admit that after awhile I stopped checking them. Seeing 100+ articles became very overwhelming. I do not think that it is really necessary for students to tag every single week. Perhaps this can be tweaked the next time Amanda teaches this course.



Evaluating Social Software for Libraries: My Favourite Tools

2007-08-02T21:44:57.669-04:00

I definitely believe that social software has a place in library service provision. I think it is wonderful that many libraries are embracing current trends and reaching out to different types of patrons. As Dames notes, “social software tools not only afford libraries the opportunity to extend its reach beyond the library building, but also allows the library to serve its patrons in ways that previously were impossible (Features- Social Software in the Library). One key concept that I learned this term and will never forget is that it makes no sense to implement any kind of technology if it is not going to be useful. Librarians must make sure that they are implementing social software to benefit their patrons and not just because it is the hip thing to do.

My favourite social software technologies for libraries are the tools that that I believe to be the most beneficial to patrons: wikis and online social networks. Prior to taking this course, I did not realize that wikis could be employed in so many unique ways. Implementing a wiki for a group assignment was a foreign concept to me. My Online Social Network group decided to try it out and it worked extremely well for us! I was very impressed how easy the wiki made group collaboration. When libraries use wikis to enhance library instruction their patrons gain valuable insight not just from one person, rather from the whole library community. Miami University Library is making great use of wiki technology through their Information Desk wiki, which they use to “to share and continuously refine information” (Withers 775). Many libraries use wikis as tools for collaboration just between staff members, but Miami University’s Information Desk wiki is also open for students to edit. This demonstrates that Miami University students are an important part of the library community and that the library values their knowledge and insight. I also think that libraries should introduce wikis as virtual study areas for students. In this way, students can brainstorm with one another and librarians can offer study tips.

I was very impressed with UWO Western Community’s LiveJournal. Through this site many students are exchanging useful tips. I think that it would be a great idea for all university libraries to create similar online social networks. These networks do not have to be library related; they could include anything relevant to the Western community. After all, the library is the place where students go for information. I found UWO Western Community’s LiveJournal very difficult to locate and wondered how students even heard out about it. To make it easy for students to find, university libraries could create a network and embed a link through the library home page. I’m not sure if any university libraries are using online social networks in this fashion, but the Southeast MA Regional Library System has created My Own Cafe and it seems very popular with young patrons. Another great way that libraries are using online social networks is by creating profiles in popular sites and embedding links to resources. This makes library services more easily accessibly to patrons.

I think that both wikis and online social networks could easily be implemented in libraries. To employ these technologies libraries simply need a librarian who is familiar with the software or who is willing to learn. Wikis and online social networks are not difficult to use and would not take too much time to become familiar with. Both of these social software tools have free options, so expensive is not a big issue.



Case of Facebook Mistaken Identity

2007-07-27T09:12:29.456-04:00

Hello Everyone,

While reading the paper this morning I came across an interesting article that I wanted to share. The article is entitled "Facebook user caught up in 'ghetto dude' backlash" and you can find it on the front page of today's Toronto Star. So, basically this Facebook user is being wrongly identified as the Ontario cabinet staffer who used the term "ghetto dude" in an e-mail and mistakenly sent it to the black job applicant to whom she was referring. The reason behind the confusion is the fact that the Facebook user and the Ontario cabinet staffer have the same name, Aileen Siu. The Facebook user is really getting her reputation dragged through the mud and she has done absolutely nothing wrong! How come people do not check their facts? The article noted that Aileen Siu (Facebook user) received more than 30 nasty e-mails and bloggers were posting her photo and personal profile lifted from Facebook. This is just ridiculous! Many people have the same name. If you do a search for my name there are about 10 pages of people. You do have to be careful what you choose to put online, but I don't see how Aileen Siu, the facebook user, could have avoided this mess, other than if she had never created an account at all. Any thoughts?



Blog Holiday!

2007-07-23T20:58:49.284-04:00

Hi Guys,

I am taking my second blog holiday this week. See you all next week!



Case Studies

2007-07-20T16:16:12.777-04:00

Libraries on MySpace – MySpace group – I didn’t find this site extremely useful. Some of the links to discussion about online social networks are broken (a pet peeve of mine!) and the other links seem kind of random. I’m not exactly sure why they chose to post just one article. There is a myriad of information available online, but just one lonely article is posted. I did find the powerpoint presentation insightful and I felt that it did a good job of providing an overview of using MySpace and FaceBook for outreach and learning in libraries

My Own Café – I was a little confused by My Café. I spotted the “register now” and “login” links, but I could not see a list of friends. Am I missing something here? I thought that all online social networks listed their members. The only real communication seems to be taking place in the My Café forums, but these all have specific themes. What happens if teens want to talk about different issues?

MySpace & Teens – Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki - The library MySpace profiles that I checked out in the Best Practices Wiki are really great! These libraries are using online social networking to benefit their patrons and not just to look cool! Many of the sites had useful links embedded right into their profile. I was actually pleasantly surprised by how many services were being promoted through MySpace profiles. Most sites include links to their library blog, calendar and chat services, but some include a lot more on their profile. The Hennepin County Library also has links to homework help and advice on college, dating and health. I think that this is such an awesome idea. While looking through these profiles, I only noticed one library that asked teens to add the library as their friend. I think that this message should be on all of the library profiles, right at the top of the page. If teens just look at the library profile and do not add the library as a friend, they may forget all about it. It is important to get onto teen’s friend’s list so that they will be aware of library events and can be sent reminders.

UWO Western Community & Livejournal – It seems that this online social network is very useful to Western students. Students with all sorts of questions, from living accommodations in London to course selection, are communicating. I must say that I am pretty impressed by the exchange of information. Almost all of the posts seem to have comments and everyone seems to be very helpful.



Libraries and Online Social Networks

2007-07-18T16:03:47.373-04:00

I think that libraries definitely have a role to play in online social networks, but as Farkas mentions, the reasons behind a library’s use of online social networks must be examined. Some libraries implement social networks just “because they’re ‘cool’ and not to serve a specific purpose” (Farkas). Really, what are they thinking? It makes no sense to implement any kind of technology if it is not going to be useful. These online social networks that “look cool” might initially attract patrons, but when the patron’s realize that the library is not offering anything helpful through their online social network, they will be turned off. I think that employing online social networks because they are the “in” thing makes libraries look very “out”, not to mention just plain silly. Like Steph pointed out in our presentation, these libraries “may seem like try-hards” (Steph) and damage their image.

I am all for libraries implementing online social networks for outreach and to make their services more easily accessible. I believe that Lackie makes a very good point when she notes that “by using online social networks, librarians can increase visibility and update the stereotypical image, but, most importantly, [they] can let students know what the library is really all about” (Lackie). By using online social networks, such as MySpace and Facebook, libraries can reach teens and young adults. I think that it is very important to target this age group, as they may be the most unlikely to visit the library because of their “everything I need I can find online” mentality. Schmidt notes that libraries can use online social networks to “refer back to the teen portions of their website” (Schmidt). Teens may not think about searching for this information on their own, but they may check it out if the information is visible on a social network and if access is simple, i.e. accessed by clicking a link. By embedding links to library catalogues, library chat rooms, library calendars, reference pages and research guides, right into the online social network site, libraries can make it incredibly easy for young people to find resources. Many students are logged into Facebook or MySpace while they are doing their homework, so it makes perfect sense for libraries to create profiles and offer services from these sites.

I enjoyed Harris’ article “MySpace Can Be Our Space” and I think that he raises some very good points. He believes that online social networks should be utilized as teaching tools. His article focuses on online social networks in the classroom, but there is no reason why this cannot cross over into the library. Harris’ article mentions copyright issues involving students adapting protected works, such as music, onto their MySpace accounts. Copyright infringement is a hot topic in the library environment and perhaps librarians could use the MySpace music example to explain copyright laws in a fashion that would appeal to students.

There are so many useful ways that libraries can implement online social networks. It is truly a shame that some libraries are not using the technology to the best of their ability. When libraries use online social networks to reach out to their patrons and garner valuable feedback, everybody wins.



Social Networking In Higher Education

2007-07-11T16:01:10.436-04:00

I have to admit that I was a little bothered by Matthew William’s article “MySpace and Facebook: What Higher Ed can Learn from Social Computing.” William’s article blames instructors for treating students as “mute receptacle[s]” and says that it is no wonder they are spending so much time on social networking sites, as these sites allow them to express themselves. William’s article suggests that most classrooms are instructor-centered and that students often do not get a chance to participate. He thinks that students like social networking sites because “users are invited to participate at a personal level.” I do agree that instructors should attempt to get students involved in their education and that social networking sites may help; however, I wouldn’t bank on these educational sites becoming incredibly popular. Students like social networking sites because, well, they are SOCIAL!!! Social time is always more fun than school time. Implementing these sites into higher-education may help get a few more people involved, but it is naïve to think that students will ever want to complete school work, rather than socialize.



Identity Production and Facebook

2007-07-11T08:58:42.457-04:00

I am not going to talk about the security concerns surrounding social networking sites because I covered this in my presentation. Instead I will focus on identity production. I find the issue of identity production and social networking software really interesting. I signed up for a Facebook account only a few months ago. I had a difficult time deciding if I should join. I guess it was because I am a pretty private person and I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of my “identity” (although I didn’t think of it in these terms at the time) being posted online. When I finally joined, I did not fill out the complete profile or post any pictures. I also hid my wall (if people want to talk to me they can send me a confidential message) and changed the privacy settings. Maybe I am being paranoid, but I don’t like the thought of everyone on my friend’s list knowing exactly what is going on in my life, especially when half of them aren’t really my “friends.” I have found that many people add others just to increase the number of friends on their list, like it is a popularity contest. I just checked my Facebook friend’s friend’s lists and one person has 632 friends. Isn’t that a little extreme? I find it very interesting that all of the people I know who have a crazy amount of friends on their lists are the type of people who love attention. I think that Boyd is exactly right when she states, “for those seeking attention, writing comments and being visible on popular people's pages is very important” (Boyd). Boyd is speaking about teenagers in her article, but I have learned that university graduates are not much different. I guess this attention is what attracts some people to social networking sites, like Facebook. Perhaps these people want others to know that they have a boyfriend, have lost weight, are successful, etc. Am I being overly cynical? I honestly don’t think so.

In her article, “Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace” Boyd states that “profiles are digital bodies, public displays of identity where people can explore impression management” (Boyd). Impression management is an interesting concept and one that I had never really thought about in terms of an online environment. I think that many people on my friend’s list hope to give the impression of leading interesting and exciting lives. Many people also post the activities they are participating in, such as “BLANK plans to attend Evil Dead the Musical on Friday.” Really though, does anyone actually care?

I guess you can tell that I am not so into the identity production aspects of Facebook. I do; however, think that the site is great way to re-connect with old friends and stay in touch with people and this is how I use it.



Online Social Networks Presentation

2007-07-09T08:54:02.202-04:00

Hi Everyone,

Here is my group's Online Social Networks Presentation. Enjoy!



Folksonomies VS Controlled Vocabularies

2007-06-25T22:00:31.982-04:00

Although most of the articles this week mention top-down and bottom-up classification schemes, the only reading that explains the difference between the two is “Folksonomies: Power to the People.” I am not impressed that the other articles assume that their readers understand these terms and employ them without any sort of definition. Had I known this prior to beginning my readings, I would have read Quintarelli’s article before the others.

This week’s readings make it quite apparent that there is a real struggle between the folksonomists (bottom-up classification scheme) and those who favor controlled vocabularies (top-down classification scheme). While reading I realized that both folksonomies and controlled vocabularies have certain shortcomings. Controlled vocabularies are “rigid, conservative and centralized” (Quintarelli). This system places items in just one category, although items may actually fit in numerous groups. Folksonomies, on the other hand, are imprecise and unstructured and this may cause difficultly locating information.

Folksonomies allow people to examine how others tag resources and this often influences the folksonimist’s tagging choices. Kroski finds this trend interesting stating that “it gives us an opportunity to observe user behaviour and tagging patterns” (Kroski). Lawley; however, sees a problem with the trend to “maximize agreement rather than depth” (Lawley). Lawley seems bothered by the fact that “increasingly, people are changing the way they label their links or photos because of how they see other people labeling them” (Lawley). I don’t totally understand her point; however, because to me this does not seem much different than using controlled vocabularies. In fact, it could be a good thing as folksonomists are using similar tags and therefore providing consistency without being forced to do so.



Blog Holiday

2007-06-18T18:20:13.859-04:00

Hi Guys,

I am taking my first "blog holiday" this week. See you all next week!



Week 6: Case Studies

2007-06-14T15:07:00.850-04:00

Bull Run Library- This wiki does not seem to have much of a purpose or structure. There are only two headings: “News” and “Seen on the Web” and they mainly consist of links! The “News” section seems to mostly be about library news, but this is not clearly indicated. The “Seen on the Web” heading is rather random. The creators of the wiki have posted links to all kinds of websites, from medical resources to colour palette generators (what the heck?). The Bull Run Library really needs to specify what type of information they are posting.Butler WikiRef – I think that using a wiki to make a collaborative review of reference resources is a good idea. Once people add more information Butler WikiRef will be a very valuable source of information. As of right now, it does not seem like many people have contributed. Each resource contains only a summary of about one or two sentences. I wonder how Butler Library could promote their wiki. One thing that I noticed was that the wiki does not have a link to the university or library websites. Therefore, I am unsure of the school with which the wiki is associated. I would hope that the main library page has a link to Butler WikiRef! If not, no one would be able to find it! One other problem that I noticed was that users are told to “click in the search box (top left) and enter a keyword” to locate a resource; however, the wiki does not seem to have a search box.Ohio University Libraries Biz Wiki – I really appreciate the organization of the Biz Wiki. The goal and contents of the wiki are clearly stated just underneath the title. In this summary there is also a link to a more thorough explanation. I feel that this is a very important feature of a wiki because people need to understand the purpose in order to contribute. Many of the categories remain blank, but with all of the assistance that the creator, Chad Boeninger, provides potential contributors (ex. “Help Page”, “About Biz Wiki” page, his Facebook link and an instant messaging option) I have no doubt that it will quickly fill with useful business information.Princeton Public Library - Book Lovers Wiki – The first thing that I noticed about this Wiki was the colour. The red background is very appropriate for a book "lovers” site and I found it very visually appealing. I like the idea of a book review wiki, but it bothers me that most of the books only have one review. It would make sense for the Princeton Public Library to pick a book a month for the Summer Reading Club and then have members post their reviews at the end of the month; however, I do not think that this is how the club works. It seems to me that members can read anything they fancy. This means that many of the books on the wiki only have one review because members are not reading the same books. One review is not very helpful, especially when you have no idea who reviewed the book.SJCPL Subject Guides – I think that more public libraries should use subject guide wikis. The SJCPL Subject Guide Wiki is full of helpful information. I especially like the guide on Local & Family History. Many people who use public libraries are interested in genealogy and this guide is a great starting place. I noticed that the subject guide links change colour when they are first clicked, but then turn back to their original colour. When searching the wiki I found this frustrating. There are quite a few subject guides and I kept re-clicking on the guides I had already viewed.USC Aiken Gregg-Graniteville Library – I was surprised to discover that this is a wiki. It looks just like a regular library website! I would have never known if it weren’t for the “Powered by PmWiki” and “Edit” links in small font in the bottom left-hand corner. I att[...]



Wikipedia and Oversight

2007-06-12T18:50:19.164-04:00

The article “Know it All: Can Wikipedia Conquer Expertise” mentions that Wikipedia has an “oversight” function by which some admins can purge text from the system. I wonder if other wikis have a similar function. It seems to me that this goes against the main goal of a wiki: open collaboration in which everyone can see what is added, removed and edited. I guess that I can understand removing personal/private information that gets posted, but I think that there should be a note indicating that this information has been deleted on the “Recent Changes” page. I believe that Wikipedia should publicly document when they use the “oversight” function; however, they do not. As Schiff notes: “even the history page bears no record of [deleted information] ever having been there” (Schiff). I wonder if most people are even aware that this function exists. As only a select few admins (28 as of February 2007) have the authority to use the “oversight” key, the general public may have no clue. This does not seem right. Wales says that this measure if rarely used, but how do we know if this is true? Does anyone else see a problem with this “oversight” function?



Using Wikis for Group Assignments

2007-06-11T20:38:42.553-04:00

Some of the readings this week mention using wikis for group assignments. What a great idea! As MLIS students we have many group projects and I’m sure most of you would agree that sending e-mails with various edits gets totally confusing. A wiki is the perfect solution. As Farkas’ notes, a document “can be edited in the wiki rather than having different versions of a word processing file going back and forth through e-mail” (Farkas). I really had never thought of this before, but it makes perfect sense. Initially setting up a wiki for a group assignment may cause some worry, but Brian Lamb says that “new users need to learn a few formatting tags, but only a few” (Lamb). Learning just a few formatting tags probably wouldn’t take that long. I noticed that this week’s group presentation was on a wiki (it looked great, by the way). Did you guys find the setup difficult? What kind of tags did you have to learn?



Vendor Case Studies

2007-06-08T14:04:17.835-04:00

Engineering Village 2 and EBSCOhost allow users to set up their own customizable queries for RSS. This is an awesome feature because it allows researchers to specify exactly what they are looking for and how often they want to run the search (once a day, once a week, bi-weekly, etc.) ProQuest RSS Feeds page did not mention customizable searches. I would assume that they have a similar feature; however, I do not understand why they do not promote it. The most helpful vendor page is Engineering Village 2, which provides detailed information about their RSS feeds, along with screen shots. If I were choosing a vendor based on the information from this week’s cases, I would definitely go with Engineering Village 2.

Working in a special research library, I can see how customizable searches would be very valuable to researchers. It makes me wonder how many people who work in my building know about RSS and the customizable search feature. I think that it should be a library’s goal to promote these tools. A library could easily promote awareness through e-mail messages or library orientations.



Libraries Improve their Services with RSS

2007-06-06T14:10:08.009-04:00

Many libraries are improving their services with RSS. One example of this is The University of Alberta library, which “provides a feed for its ‘Library and Instruction’ program page” (McKiernan). I think that this is a great idea. I took a look at this page and found that it has a lot of useful information about navigating the library (finding books and journals in the library, searching databases, requesting interlibrary loans, etc.), navigating the library for biology resources and introductory guidance for English Literature Research. I majored in English in undergrad and this introductory guide would have been extremely helpful. I also noticed a link for “Doing research from a Distance” which I thought may be useful for this class; however, the link was broken (don’t you just hate that??) I think that the library should encourage all undergraduate students to apply for this feed. All of the information on this site would be of great help to new students. In my post, “Next Generation of Library Blogs”, I talked about how more libraries should employ blogs for bibliographic instruction. Although The University of Alberta “Library and Instruction” program page is not a blog, they are using similar technology (RSS) to get bibliographic instruction to their students. This allows busy students to remain up-to-date, without having to go into the library or remember to check the program site. Good job University of Alberta Library!!



How did we ever do without RSS?

2007-06-06T14:38:09.717-04:00

In his article "Success Story: RSS Moves Into the Mainstream at the University of Alberta Libraries", Reichardt mentions that RSS and even weblogs are not very well known by undergraduate students. Reichardt asked two engineering classes if they had ever heard of RSS and not one student raised their hand. This was very surprising to me, although I am not sure why, as I had not heard of RSS until a few months ago. In the last month I have been immersed in RSS technology through the course readings and hands-on experience. Perhaps my new-found familiarity with the concept has made me assume that since I know about RSS (and I am not particularly technologically-savvy) other people must know about it. Does this make any sense at all?? I think that Reichardt makes a good point when he states that "the groups that need targeting initially are graduate students, faculty, and engineers in industry, who have a greater need for current awareness" (Reichardt). I believe that once these groups become aware of RSS's enormous potential, they will be hooked. It seems to me that RSS is the type of technology that once you begin using it, it is hard to see how you ever did without. If graduate students, faculty and engineers are initially targeted, I doubt that it will take them very long to tell their family, friends and business associates about the great benefits of RSS. I just started using RSS and I was so impressed that I have already recommended it to a handful of my friends.



My Thoughts on the Case Studies

2007-05-30T20:56:17.423-04:00

Categories & Guides - Kansas City Public Library

I wasn’t too impressed with the Kansas City Public Library’s use of RSS. I think that patrons who are unfamiliar with the concept of RSS would be a little confused. They do explain the concept of RSS, but they don’t seem to make the actual subscribing part that easy. When you click on a subject under “most popular guides” the XML link is all the way at the bottom of the page. It is not very prominent and I’m sure that many people don’t even pay attention to it. I think that the Kansas City Public Library should try to highlight the fact that they use RSS and move the link higher up on the page.

Hennepin County Library - Subscribe to our RSS Feeds

In addition to regular library news and announcements, the Hennepin County Library offers feeds on various subject guides. Many of these guides contain information that would be of great help to all sorts of library patrons. I was especially pleased to find subject guides on learning English, immigration and citizenship, jobs and careers and parenting and childcare. What a great way for the library to reach out to their patrons! I am very glad to see a library using RSS technology to offer such valuable assistance.

NHMCCD

NHMCCD’s use of RSS is neat because it allows users to view a sample of the current content of each feed before subscribing. I think that this is a very helpful feature because sometimes a title is not always enough information when deciding if a feed is something in which you are interested.

Tacoma Public Library - RSS/XML Feeds

I like that the Tacoma Public Library includes cover art in their feeds. It is nice to have a visual of all of the new books. Also, I think that knowing what the cover looks like would be helpful for patrons who have read the feed and wish to find the book at the library.

University of Oklahoma Libraries RSS feeds

I was quite impressed with the New Book feeds at the University of Oklahoma Libraries. You can subscribe to any general discipline feed, or if you are interested in something more specific, you can click on the discipline, such as Language and Literature, to find a vast array of options, ranging from Artificial languages to Modern Icelandic literature.

Western Kentucky University Libraries

I don’t like how Western Kentucky University Libraries have set up their RSS. Only some links have RSS feeds and I can’t seem to figure out the reasoning behind why some do and some do not. Also, many of the feeds are confusing. Patrons can subscribe to three different event feeds: coming events, current events, and past events. Wouldn’t it make more sense to put all of these “events” in one communal feed? One of the libraries subheadings is entitled “stuff”. Could this be any less helpful? What the heck is “stuff”? And to make matters worse there are two feeds to which users can subscribe: new and old. Is anyone really going to be interested in subscribing to “old stuff’? Oh dear……



RSS: Are All of These Different Versions Really Necessary??

2007-05-30T19:41:50.562-04:00

I found the RSS Tutorial for Content Publishers and Webmasters interesting. It was neat to see the other side of RSS, such as how to publish a feed, choose content and inform others about your feed. It all seemed pretty straightforward until I reached the section on format versions and modules. All of the different versions of RSS were thoroughly confusing to me! I still don’t really understand the difference between RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0 and Atom and I found that the Wikipedia article just confused me even more. When I installed my aggregator and subscribed to my first few feeds, I was blissfully unaware of all of this techno mumbo-jumbo. I was just pleased that everything seemed to be working as it should. I remained unaware of any possible problems because, as Good notes, for now most aggregators read all of these different formats. It makes me nervous that she uses the term “for now.” What does this imply about the future of RSS?



RSS is great!

2007-05-30T19:00:22.015-04:00

The concept of RSS can be somewhat difficult to grasp, but this week’s readings do a good job of clarifying. I had only briefly heard of the term before beginning this class and did not really understand how the technology could be useful. I watched the RSS in Plain English clip before attempting to begin with RSS; however, I didn’t really “get it” until I installed an aggregator and subscribed to each student’s blog. When I opened my aggregator the next day, I was surprised and delighted! No more random blog checking for me! Before that point, I had been checking each blog for new posts a few times a day and needless to say, it was getting pretty annoying. So far I am a big fan of RSS. As of yet, I haven’t attempted to subscribe to any feeds other than those for this course. I wasn’t sure which ones I wanted to subscribe to and if I should mix my course stuff with other feeds. However, the Hot! Fresh! Delivered to You! RSS Tutorial made some great suggestions of types of information that you can get via RSS feeds, many of which I had never even considered. My favourites were zipcode-specific weather forecasts from the Weather Channel, custom movie listings and job listings. What great ideas!! I think that I may have to subscribe to some library-related job listings, as I will be graduating in December – scary!!!



"Next Generation" of Library Blogs

2007-05-25T23:28:10.318-04:00

One of our assignments for this week was to start thinking about the "next generation" of library blogs. I think that more libraries should use blogging software for bibliographic instruction. LaMee's article "Market your Library with a BLOG" notes that "a blog can become an additional tool for getting instructional information in front of the people who need it most... A few screen captures and some explanatory text can lead a student to the best resources and demonstrate how to use those resources" (LaMee). Librarians are not available 24/7, but a blog with useful tips can always be accessed through the Internet. I like the idea of creating screen shots to aid users through various exercises. This very simple use of library blogging software could have major impact.



Darien Library Blogs--Good Job!

2007-05-25T22:11:38.306-04:00

I must say that I am very impressed with the main page of the Darien Library Blogs. The page includes links to all ten of their blogs and also to the Darien Library Podcasts. It also offers an easy way to subscribe to the feeds from these blogs. I also really appreciate that the library explains the terms "blog" and "RSS" and how to use them. They even include links to various articles incase anyone needs further clarification. I think that this is a great way to attract repeat users. People who are new to blogs and RSS may feel intimidated by many library blogs, which generally do not offer much explanation. The main page of the Darien Library Blogs makes it apparent that the library staff want to help users get the most out of the blogs.



Beware of Weblog Usability Mistakes!

2007-05-22T22:37:06.711-04:00

I think that the article “Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes” is extremely helpful. Jakob Nielsen lists ten weblog usability problems which are very important to consider when blogging. Some of these issues I had already encountered and thought about, even in my short time as a blogger and blog reader. Others were new to me, but they made great sense.Point #3 “Nondescript Posting Titles” jumped out at me because I struggled with this issue in my last post. It was the Friday before the long weekend and I started to type “Whooo hoooo, it’s the long weekend” as a title. As I was doing this, I realized that my readers would think that I was just posting regarding my excitement about enjoying three whole days off from work and not about the fact that “Blogs need to be visually appealing!!!” I quickly deleted the first title and chose the second, more appropriate headline. After reading Nielsen’s article I am glad that I did, as he states that “headline writing is the most important writing you do” and that “users often see only the headline and use it to determine whether to click into the full posting.” I doubt that many of you would have clicked on my “Whooo hooo, it’s the long weekend” post or taken it seriously, for that matter.I found Usability Problem #5 “Classic Hits are Buried” to be a new and useful tip. Nielsen mentions that bloggers must “remember to link to [their] past pieces in newer postings.” I have gone ahead and taken his advice in my previous paragraph (check out my “Blogs need to be visually appealing!!!” post!!) I think that it is very important for bloggers to remember that all of their readers may not have been with them from the beginning. I may not have thought about this issue prior to reading this article because I have only posted a few times or because I don’t think many other people, other than my classmates are reading this blog, but in the real world, Usability Problem #5 makes great sense.Ok, I don’t want to make this post too long, as Fichter notes “Brevity is important”, but I have one more issue that I would like to note: Usability Problem #1 “No Author Biographies.” I have noticed that many blogs do not mention anything about who is writing other than their name. This is quite bothersome. How can you trust a blogger when you know nothing about them? It is important for readers to know if bloggers “have any credentials or experience in the field [they are] commenting on” (Nielsen). Many of our case studies this week suffer from this usability issue. Some of the public library blogs we examined have a “Posted by …” at the bottom of a post or the blogger signs his/her name, but this information is pretty meaningless if you don’t know their position in the library. I did not notice any “about me” pages on any of the case study blogs. The only library blog that I believe did a good job of explaining who was posting was the Virginia Commonwealth University – Library Suggestion Blog. A library staff member answers each suggestion, and the posts begin with the name of the person responding and their position. For example, one post begins: “Pat Flanagan, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, responds....” I think that the other weblogs should consider a similar style or perhaps post an “about us” page on their weblog. I have an “about me” on my Loco Librarian blog, which states that I am an MLIS st[...]



Comments: WordPress VS Blogger

2007-05-18T23:22:02.310-04:00

I just noticed something.....

I like posting comments in WordPress because when you do, you can still see the original post. This makes it really easy to reply. Blogger takes you to a new, blank page and I have found that I often forget what I wanted to say and have to open the original post again in another page--*very* annoying!



Blogs need to be visually appealing!!!

2007-05-18T20:16:11.260-04:00

Hi Hi,

After reading all of your blog posts about the "case studies" for this week, I realize how important it is for blogs to be visually appealing. Stephanie, Kaush, Christy and Gerry all noted that they were turned off by Georgia State's library blog because of it's formatting and drab colours. I did not find Georgia State's blog too bad, but one pet peeve I do have regarding blogging is when people choose to use dark letters on a dark background. How do they expect anyone to be able to read their posts??!! I found an interesting article about useful blogging tips entitled: Ten ways to become a better blogger. Check out # 2!!!