Category Archives: LIS Weblogs Rule!

TTW Reading List: Blog Blazers

I spent part of the afternoon today reading through a wonderful book called Blog Blazers: 40 Top Bloggers Share Their Secrets. After writing my dissertation on the motivations of early adopting librarian bloggers, it’s nice to see such a broadly diverse group of well-known bloggers sharing similar thoughts about their writing and what makes a good blog tick. Author Stephane Grenier interviews 40 bloggers – many of whom may be well known to TTW readers including Seth Godin, David Armano and Jessamyn West, all sharing their insights in the book.


I’m especially fond of the question Grenier asks many of his subjects: What tips can you share on writing a successful blog post?

Seth Godin’s answers include: Use lists (NICE!), Be topical, Break news and write posts that will be readable in a year.

David Armano weighs in with Find your voice, Do something different, Be true to your brand, Provide value and Only write what makes you happy.

Jessamyn offers these tips –  amongst my favorites of all time for bloggers – Be kind, Be original, Be thoughtful, Be part of a community, Ignore bad juju in its many forms.

I’d suggest this book as a good, informative and FUN read for folks looking to get into blogging, interested researchers looking at bloggers or those working with social media in their institutions.

The Pragmatic Biblioblogger is in IRSQ

modelI realized I hadn’t blogged this, but my article “The Pragmatic Biblioblogger: Examining the Motivations and Observations of Early Adopter Librarian Bloggers” is in Internet Reference Services Quarterly, Vol. 13, Issue 4, p311-345.

It’s been a long time since November 2005 when 238 hearty bibliobloggers took my survey. The changes since then are incredible.


Six Reasons I Heart the DominiNET Student Blog

I’ve posted about this blog already but I have to come back to it. A Dominican University Journalism class is using a Blogspot blog to report news and more to the campus and beyond. Our Dean of Rosary College, Jeff Carlson, shared the URL with me and I subscribed immediately.

I was rather excited so I emailed the GSLIS Faculty and the Academic IT Committee:

It’s a journalism class – and the content just keeps coming! The voices are human, honest and engaging. I have learned so much about Dominican and student life from this blog – I’ve added it to my news portal. Created simply with Blogger, it seems to be generating many comments and feedback. I have pointed to it once on my blog but will be writing about it again and sharing it with my social tools colleagues.  Good stuff.

I truly believe this is the future of marketing and engagement – a perfect example of social media done right: sometimes messy, sometimes silly, sometimes thought-provoking…but very real.

I checked in today and found that the posts and comments continue, so here are five reasons I think this is a good thing for the University. This venue seems to be a useful way for students to learn and more:

They are learning journalism skills but also media and promotional skills. Check out the video embedded in this post about the blog’s promotion around campus. Images augment posts as well.

They are finding their voice. “Ya know what really grinds my gears?,” asked one poster. “Mandatory attendance at extracurricular academic activities.” Entering the conversation openly and honestly is important. Learning how to state one’s case fairly and evenly is even more important. A “grind my gears” post is a good way to express frustration and call for solutions. The act of writing it down helps the thinking process.

They are getting invaluable experience in new media. Blogging didn’t exist when i took journalism classes at IU. These skills are invaluable. And sure, blogging will fade away but the next online communication mechanism built on it will be just as important for our future leaders to understand. Imagine: the blogging undergrad of today might just be tomorrow’s library director.

They are interacting with University officials. The “Bullet found on Campus” story generated buzz and one young reporter found herself chatting with Dean Carlson not only about the story but about the journalism program. “After the 45 minute discussion Carlson and I shared, I left his office feeling fabulous about the possibilities DU can provide future journalists. I was enthusiastic to see how receptive, appreciative and understanding Carlson was in hearing what, why, when and how I think new courses would dramatically enhance the journalism curriculum…” Here’s another example of that interaction.

They are asking important questions. This post really interested me: within our MyDU Web site, photos are featured prominently, including some of students who did not know they were being photographed. “Perhaps the mystery photographer was trying to capture the “essence” of Dominican. I still don’t think it would have been ridiculous for the photographer to ask for permission, or at least make the students aware that Dominican was going to use the photos. What do you think about this? Would you care if this happened to you? Do you find it creepy, or not a big deal?” As we all deal with our online lives and “digital dossiers,” asking these questions about photos, privacy, student rights and the University are important in deciding how we might share ourselves. 

They are marketing Dominican University in a way that no PR campaign ever can. I really appreciated the varied voices, the honesty and the range of topics. As I said above, I’ve learned more about what’s up with our students and the way they see the University than any other online offering available. Google loves blogs and future students will find this blog and the voices and it may just help them decide to come to school here.

Well done, DominiNET!

Vampires are HOT right now.

Really – I’m hooked on HBO’s True Blood!

But in Libraryland, the excitement is also building via this new blog “Bella’s Book Club,” a blog celebrating all things Twilight and counting down to the premiere of the film.

Created by Deb Noggle, the blog offers video clips, reviews, and engagement with the mebers of the book club. The good folks at ACPL sent this story along about the blog from Deb herself:

So, we started a book group for Twilight Fans called, “Bella’s Book Club”, named after the main character.  My concept for this was to bridge the gap for these teens by introducing them to other books that are similar in nature to their beloved Twilight books.  I also created blog, for the kids to chat about the books we are reading on, and it also contains video and news updates about Twilight stuff.  Well, last month, we were reading a  YA book called Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith.  One of the teens contacted the author and told her about our book club.  She responded by offering to send autographed bookmarks and goodies to the teens in the book club.  I gave her the library’s address and also asked if she might say a few words about her book on our blog, because it would mean so much to the teens. 
Cynthia Leitich Smith commented on the blog, and complimented us for the site.  She also noted that we should watch her blog, “Cynsations”, 
for an announcement about our Bella’s Book Club blog!!!  Yesterday, on her site, she said:
Visit Bella’s Book Club: a real book club at the Allen County Public Library, Tecumseh Branch, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
You can check out and comment on 
their post on Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008)(Listening Library, 2008)! Peek: “The book is cleverly written, and sectioned into portions like a restaurant menu. Clearly, the author intends for us to savor and enjoy the ‘meal’ as we digest this book!”

See also discussions of Blood and Chocolate (film and novel), the Vampire Kisses series, and more. Upcoming topics include The Vampire Diaries, the Twilight series, the Blue Bloods series and many more.

And now, we’ve received a comments from people who were led to our site from her site.  We have 13 followers of the blog right now, including people from outside of Allen County.  We even have a blog follower from Bringelly, New South Wales, Australia!  I think that it’s pretty cool that this all started from one of our teens!

Google Friend Connect

Via Brett Kochendorfer

Google Friend Connect lets you grow traffic by easily adding social features to your website. This means means more people engaging more deeply with your website — and with each other. In this video, Google Product Marketing Manager Mendel Chuang gives a short introduction to Google Friend Connect.

Very interesting -especially the bit about ease of sign on via any number of services and adding the Friend Connect to your site takes no programming skills whatsoever. Looks like ratings, friends and comments can easily be integrated. Ways it might affect libraries:

  • Folks will come to expect this type of functionality more and more. Sites that aren’t “friendly” might not be the most popular.
  • Some libraries will experiment with this as an easy to configure “buy it now” (for free) social option for their sites.
  • This could become a popular add on for many Biblioblogs.
  • It certainly positions Google to have even more integration into what we do on the Web.

Take a look at the video. What other uses do you see? What misuses do you see?

TechStatic Offers Reviews

Don’t miss:

The Tech Static, a new collection development resource for technology titles, published its inaugural issue today.

The need for such a resource became apparent when October 15 marked the last installment of Library Journal’s “Computer Media” review column, which The Tech Static’s creator, Rachel Singer Gordon, had been writing since 2002. This left a large gap in the library literature: no other librarian-targeted publication currently reviews computer books on a regular basis. To fill that gap, Singer Gordon created The Tech Static, a new resource for librarians focusing on reviewing technology-related books.

The Tech Static assists librarians with technology-related collection development.

Evaluating the Library’s Weblog

From an LIS768 Class Discussion:

About a year back, my library department (youth services) decided to maintain a weblog – mainly with the purpose of highlighting the collection, programs, and services, and displaying photos of kids using the library.  We promote the blog by word of mouth (although, to be honest, this has method has fallen off since the blog’s early days), providing a link to the blog on the website, and displaying the addresss on some library materials.

Well, almost a year later, the blog is fairly presentable and is updated somewhat frequently (between 4 and 10 times a month).  The author is usually me or another part-time, associate level staffperson (while the full-time librarians have been supportive of the project, they haven’t contributed to the blog themselves).  Trouble is, we have done virtually no work to evaluate this service. Most importantly, we do not know who – if anyone – reads the entries. Yikes.  Part of me was okay with this at first – we’re still figuring this whole thing out, so maybe it’s OK if no one is reading. At this point, though, I know we need to decide whether the service is relevant, and if so, how to make it good.

Thus, the question – how to evaluate the blog? These are some ways we discussed in class:

  • Find out how people are using your site with free statistic analyzers – Feed Burner (stats on subscribers to your blog), Google Analytics, stats
  • Observing the number of comments you’re getting, and the nature of these comments
  • Asking patrons directly if they know about the blog, how they use it, what could make it better, etc.
  • Conduct a time study – figure out how much time it takes your staff to update patrons on services and announcements on your weblog vs. website

What are some other ways you have been able to evaluate your library’s blog?  What ways have you had success marketing your blogs?

Library Blog: Embedded Training & Video

I caught note of this via Twitter. Thanks Kenley!

Take a look at this post at the Luria Library’s blog. They’ve turned on video comments as well as sharing an embedded slide show that details basic searching of Ebscohost. 

This so ties into my takeaways from spending a day at IDEA2008. So much of what we do in the library world and design world comes down to interaction, extension of human feeling, offering something useful and ease of use. This is a perfect example of those things coming together perfectly.

Types of Blogs


Types of Blogs, originally uploaded by cambodia4kidsorg.

Don’t miss the Technorati report on the State of the Blogosphere.


Bloggers are not a homogenous group, but they are an educated and affluent one: three out of four U.S. bloggers are college graduates, and 42% have attended graduate school. They skew male, and more than half have a household income over $75,000.

They are experienced: although it has only recently exploded into the mainstream, blogging is not a new phenomenon. Half of bloggers are on their second blog, and 59% have been blogging for more than two years.

The rest of the report is equally fascinating. Look how far we’ve come:

Why No Comments?

Don’t miss:

One of the stumbling blocks for libraries when we talk about blogging is the fact that so many library blogs never get comments. This article – focused on associations – might be very useful for strategic planning for the library blog.

I especially like this one:

2. Open and easy. If you really want to build comments, you have to be open and make commenting easy. Limiting your blog content or commenting features to members also limits what you can achieve with your blog. A members-only strategy may be appropriate in some cases, but not if your goal is to engage a vocal audience. In fact, to truly be open, try setting up a blog with

  • No login; 
  • Easy to find comment links; 
  • No captchas—those annoying things that make people spell out letters to prove they are human; 
  • No moderation. (You can always be notified of new posts and moderate after the comments are posted.) The instant gratification a new commenter feels when they see their name and content post to your site is not to be underestimated.
The article goes on to list ten types of posts that can rock. They fit well with our purposes:
  • Insight or opinion. If your blogger can be honest and open enough to share an opinion, you’ll build rapport and attract readers. If you’re brave enough to express an unpopular opinion, you’ll get even more comments.
  • Conference. You have a backstage pass. Why not use it to bring a whole new side of the conference experience to your members, and hear what they think about it?
  • Interview. Find out what the experts really think and share it with your readers.
  • Lists. Hey, you’re reading this list, right? People love lists because they’re easy to digest.
  • Live. What if you live blogged the congressional hearing on the most important issue affecting your members?
  • Announcement. This is about using your position in the industry to let people know about the most important stuff they have to know—even if it’s from a competitor.
  • Survey. We sure do enough of them, right? Whether you’re surveying just your blog readers or sharing the results of a broader survey, it will get people talking.
  • Response. If you’re not getting called out by another blogger once in awhile, you’re not doing it right. Debate draws audience, and a good rebuttal might even change some opinions.
  • Meme. When you’re trying to build awareness about an important topic, starting a meme (something like an online chain letter, but with substance) is a great way to get lots of bloggers talking all at the same time.
  • Guest. Hand over the stage to one of your celebrity members for a day.
  • I think I’ve done many of these at TTW. Which ones have you done? What would you add to the list?
    And watch out for the type of posts they say to avoid:

  • Announcement. I know—we said this was a good one. But it will backfire if you only announce your own new products and conference dates.
  • Rant. Stirring the pot is one thing, going on a negative rant is something different. This works great for some bloggers, but for associations, it’s a losing proposition.