Category Archives: LIS Weblogs Rule!

The Reference Blog: Evidence for Success

Stephen Francouer writes about the usefulness of his library’s Reference Blog:

I am really pleased with the way that our library’s reference blog,Reference at Newman Library, has continued to thrive after being launched four years ago. We’ve now posted over 1300 messages (and hundreds of comments, too); our weekly average is about a dozen posts.

When we started the blog, it was intended to do away with the informal and haphazard systems we had to notify each other at the desk of technical problems and to alert each other to new resources and tools. We had been using:

  • notes taped to the desk
  • a printed reference manual in a 3-ring binder, which is now replaced by our password-protected reference wiki (screenshots)
  • emails on internal listservs
  • word-of-mouth (i.e., tell the person coming on after you at the desk what to watch out for)

With the blog, we made all that great content easy to publish, easy to share, and easy to find again later. Since most of my colleagues don’t like using feed readers to keep up with RSS feeds, I set up a system to forward every post to them via email as soon as the posts are published.

 

I’m pleased to see a discussion of this type of anecdotal evidence/support for using blogs and CMSs to improve productivity. This should definetely be part of the evaluation process. A click through reveals a survey on the blog itself: Where do you primarily read this blog’s posts? I agree with Stephen and the results of this small survey of the blog’s users – getting library on oard with RSS aggregators is an important and logical next step.

TTW Mailbox: Library Seeks to Save Coltrane House

Ellen Druda, at Half Hollow Hills Community Library, writes:

A Love Supreme

We are so excited here at the library to be part of the community effort to restore the last home of the brilliant jazz artist John Coltrane. John lived here in Dix Hills and it was in this house that he composed “A Love Supreme,” one of his best-known and most beloved works. One of our patrons, Steve Fulgoni, came to the rescue when the house was set for demolition, but now he needs our help bringing it back to life. The first step will be a computer in the library dedicated to a large Coltrane collection of music and pictures, suitable for students, scholars or just the casual user. In the fall, the library will be part of an educational music program that will feature John’s son Ravi, and saxophonists David Liebman and Joe Lovano.

We share Steve’s dream of bringing life back to the house, fill it with children learning about jazz and how a musician lived his life in suburbs, and to inspire visitors with John Coltrane’s deep spirit and soul, which can still be felt when you walk through the rooms.

Want to know a little more? Visit thecoltranehome.wordpress.com .

DOH! Happy Blog-versary TTW

Too much on this professor’s plate folks. I missed marking the five year anniversary of this blog on April 1st 2008. What an incredible time it’s been! These past 12 months were something and I’m so glad I’ve had the community we’ve built for support and inspiration. 

Last year at this time, I did remember and actually blogged about blogging at ALA TechSource too. Remember the Points of Unity? 

I’ll thank Blake for keeping TTW healthy and online. I’ll thank Kyle and Lee for contributing their time and viewpoints. And I’ll thank YOU –  for reading, responding and for sending me little snippets to share.

So pretend I remembered this on April 1. :-)

 

 

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/101655312

Library Board Members or Trustees Blogging?

In the last three weeks, I’ve presented a special version of the Hyperlinked Library to groups of administrators and board members/trustees around northern Illinois. One question came up a few times:

Are there any library board members or trustees blogging?

Please comment if you know of one – AND maybe it’s time for someone in those groups to start! I know there are some rules/laws about what board members can say, etc.. but some tpe of bloging would be okay, wouldn’t it?

Why Professional Librarian Journals Should Evolve into Blogs

Marcus writes:

But something funny happened on the way to OJS: I became firmly convinced that the traditional journal model is antiquated for sharing research and knowledge among librarians.  A better course is to develop and nurture excellent blogs, with multimedia capabilities and guaranteed preservation of the postings. This could be an entirely new blog that starts from scratch, or an established journal that evolves into a blog. 

One of his arguments:

Peer review should be a post-publication process, rather than a pre-publication process that sometimes drags out for many months.  If physicists can post pre-prints that get discussions flowing quickly, why can’t librarians?

Read the whole post. I am particularly interested in this for two reasons: I’m on the tenure track and peer-review is important for me and much needed AND I’d like to see more and more opportunities for folks to get their ideas out there, get credit for them, receive feedback, and move forward.

Practitioners and students alike should be able to experience the value of the blogosphere and use it to expand their thinking.I know many great folks in the field are blogging and extending the conversation.I think  Librarians like Cliff Landis, Kathryn Greenhill, and Cindi Trainor who are actively pursuing scholarly endeavors and working to make their libraries better could certainly benefit from a peer-reviewed, blog-based community-focused “journal” environment to get credit for their work, etc. And it should count for those librarians on the tenure track even as the feedback rolls on.

Students too. I just read 15 papers from my Library 2.0 & Social Tech Class — top notch stuff approaching emerging technologies, foundational library practice and more. I’d certainly send many of them to Library Student Journal but I also wish for more channels for publication. 

Finally, as a recent editor of an issue of IRSQ, it amazes me how long it takes from a call for papers to the publication date. Another benefit then is rapid dissemination of content. Why wait months or years?

 

Citegeist

citegeist

 

Don’t miss CindiTrainor’s newly revamped and newly retitled blog: Citegeist. She ponders some fascinating uses of Twitter and other tools for research in a recent post:

 Say I am doing research with colleagues and find an article that should be included in the literature review section, when we get around to writing our article. Building on the FoxyTunes model, I would need a browser extension that can read citation information from a number of citation management sites as widely varying as EndNote Web, RefWorks, Reference Manager, Zotero, del.icio.us, or even a locally-created database, as long as there were a standard set of fields. Layer the OpenURL standard onto this extension and I suddenly have a way to link to nearly limitless related information, the first being the full text of the item itself, and other items by this author; other items with certain keywords; other articles from the same journal issue or title; frequency of citation of this article, author or journal; my local library holdings by this author, of this journal or on this topic. Those familiar with OpenURL link resolvers such as SFX will recognize that as a laundry list of many of the capabilities standard to those products. Add content made possible by Web 2.0, the Read/Write web, user-generated content–whatever label you want to use–my deli.cio.us bookmarks related to this research topic; blog posts about this author or topic; web search results for this author, journal or topic; the wikipedia entry for this author or topic. What about web-accessible information about the author him- or herself, such as videos posted to YouTube of recent presentations or podcasts of same? Photographs on flickr or screencasts on SlideShare created by the author? Here, I think we start to get a sense of an author as a human being rather than as a byline. How will this change the research process, if at all?

 

This perfectly points to the human factor that is becoming so important in what we do. Research – and many other forms of library use — are not only enhanced by this participatory upswing of features, technologies and channels for sharing, but I think the possibilities for learning are greatly improved as well. Watch Cindi’s blog closely, her voice is important.

 

Want your own Mii & Wii? Read On!


Jenny Levine and I are joining forces to run a fundraiser for good ole LISHost.

Jenny just posted about it at TSL:

If you’re a regular online, you probably know or know of Blake Carver. Even if you’ve never met him, you know his work. He’s been running and maintaining the incredible LISNews hub since 1999. This contribution alone is why many of us admire him for his dedication and vision.

In 2002, Blake started LISHost, an affordable website hosting service for libraries and libraries. On the very rare occasion the LISHost server goes down, you can tell something’s amiss because half the known LIS world must house their sites there. I do, as does Michael Stephens, and we can both tell you from first-hand experience that Blake does a superhuman job of maintaining the server (especially security) and providing technical support.

I can’t think of a time when Blake hasn’t responded immediately when there was a problem, when he said no to a request to add software just for me, or when he didn’t come up with a creative solution to a problem no one else would have wanted to deal with. And for all of his hard work (truly, the man must not sleep), he charges next to nothing for the services you get.

So to thank him for all of his efforts, both on our behalf and for the profession, Michael and I are raffling off a Nintendo Wii to help show our appreciation in the form of a fundraiser. Please note that neither LISHost nor LISNews is in financial trouble, and this is not a call to “save” them. This is simply a way for us to acknowledge Blake’s efforts and thank him for everything he does.

So here’s how it works. Everyone who donates $10 or more to LISHost by 11:59 p.m. on March 14, 2008, will be eligible to win the Wii. We’ll pull a name out of the digital hat, so-to-speak, and send you the Wii if you’re the lucky winner. To enter/donate, click on the button below. Your donation is your entry, as we’ll have a full list of names from Paypal.

I can’t begin to tell you, TTW readers, how helpful Blake has been getting this blog ported into WordPress — and he worked with me on it during the Holidays! If you’ve enjoyed the blogs and sites that LISHost serves, please consider a donation.




From the Front Desk….

At Darien Library, staff at the front desk have their own blog. This level of openness and transparency does my heart good. When was the last time someone on your front lines got to do a shout out to the staff?
http://tinyurl.com/yut83k

Sometimes I lose sight of how wonderful the people I work with are and it takes a patron comment or the observation of an interaction to remind me of that very fact.

Last month a patron told Desketeer Alison that they felt we were the ‘Jet Blue of Libraries” for our willingness to go above and beyond.for our patrons. How nice is that?

So I end the week with a salute to my wonderful co-workers: To the Desketeers in all their fabulous Desketeer Diva-ness, to the Ref-Cadets who take on any and all questions (you would not believe the stuff they get asked!), to the Children’s Room Scouts who I swear must be deaf at the end of the day from all the activity that takes place in their room, to the Techies who if a computer can do, they will find a way to make it work for you, Shelvers who have the most thankless yet important job in the joint and to Admin-ministers who toil behind the scenes and do all the stuff that makes us able to open our doors every morning. Yeah us! We rock!

So next time you walk through the doors, check us out. You will be amazed at what we do.

Are other libraries experimenting with a “Front Desk” blog?

WordPress Screencast by Kyle Jones

WP Screencast

 

In my LIS753 and LIS768 classes, all of the students create WordPress blogs for journaling, reflection on readings and assignments. I asked my graduate assistant and TTW contributor Kyle Jones to give his new MacBook Pro a workout by creating a spiffy “How to set Up WordPress” screencast. For weekend classes where our time is precious, this screencast will be invaluable. Students can set up a blog before class so we can dive right in! Online classes will benefit as well.

http://screencasts.thecorkboard.org/wordpress.mp4

Kyle gave me permission to share it here as well – I think it might be especially useful for any Learning 2.0 programs that get the participants started with a blog. Kyle has licensed it under the Creative Commons. If it is useful to you, please let us know.


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