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.