Tagging, Linking and Commenting as Marketing Tools

Jenny Levine is so cool. She just gave me a nifty idea that I’m going to share with you.

Short version – she added a tag to a flickr image of mine, and left a comment.

Long version:

  1. I wrote this blog post
  2. I created a flickr image to go with the post
  3. Jenny added a tag to the flickr image – she’s set up as a “friend” (good call, too, Jenny!)
  4. She left a comment with the flickr image that mentioned my original blog post, link included

Point? That’s one awesome way to market my blog and my blog post. Now, people searching Flickr for library 2.0 or web 2.0 will not only find my image – my original post is now accessible to them, as well, via the link. It’s even accessible via Technorati, because Technorati searches Flickr tags.

Implications for libraries? This type of simple marketing is something libraries can do now:

  • Take photos of your teen gaming events, dump those images into Flickr, and comment/link back to your events page describing similar future events.
  • Set up a Blogger blog, start posting new events, services, and resources, and link back to those things… now you’re searchable in Google, Blogspot, etc.
  • Set up a social bookmarking tool like del.icio.us, and link back to your library’s awesome topic-driven subject guide – now you’ve made yourself accessible in del.icio.us – and, according to their about page – “Everything on del.icio.us is someone’s favorite” – the implication being the these links are “trusted sources.”

[Now, take a step back from all the geekery involved for a sec] When a library REALLY wants to market themselves – what do they have to do? Print more bookmarks? Make a dandy book display? No – they have to leave the library and visit others… they have to present at community group meetings, schools, teacher in-services, faculty senate meetings, etc. They have to, in essence, make themselves known.

[Now back to the geekery] In our current changing digital environment, the stuff I discussed above is a way to leave the library and make oneself known in the larger digital world. It’s a way to grab someone, in their environment, and introduce them to the library and the amazing services and resources we have.

Think about it.

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“The point of a scholarly text”

From the Wall Street Journal, quoting Gorman:

“The point of a scholarly text is they are written to be read sequentially from beginning to end, making an argument and engaging you in dialogue.”

Come on. I went to college. I (and probably many other students) didn’t read the full text – we scanned for the good bits that matched what we needed to write about, and then shut the book. Even in grad school, I’d print 5-10 articles, scan for the good stuff, and be done with it.

Certainly, one tiny segment of the population reads scholarly works from beginning to end – nothing wrong with that. But a larger segment is looking for information, and when they’ve found that bit, is done with the scholarly work.

Plus, Gorman is missing the whole point about having the full text of a scholarly work online – one CAN pull out snippets easily, but one can just as easily read the whole thing. Online full text makes the scholar’s work more accessible to a larger audience.

And that can only be a good thing.

Music Access and Libraries – Still a Long Way to Go!

I just got off the phone with a rep at Real.com‘s Rhapsody music service. What an interesting conversation! First off, here’s what I told the rep we (and probably other libraries) wanted in a digital music service:

  • digital music for library patrons
  • ability to listen in the library
  • ability to listen at home, using the library’s authentication
  • ability to download to a portable device
  • We need all this to be an annual library system subscription, rather than a normal, individual subscription

The Rhapsody rep (very nice, knowledgeable person) had guessed we’d want something along those lines, and stated that they “probably haven’t considered” that type of model. He then shared all about record labels being extremely picky, who gets paid when, etc… all the usual record-labels-get-all-the-money types of statements. Which I’m certain is all very true indeed.

Right now, Rhapsody isn’t set up to do what my library wants. Rhapsody did offer a “bulk download license” type of model – similar to what they do with corporations (think McDonalds or Pepsi) for promotions. But what library wants to deal with multiple licenses for potentially EVERY library patron, handing out those licenses, etc? Probably not too many.

But – here’s the good thing. The rep DID say ours was an interesting concept, he’s open to further ideas, and he’d talk to the “product development” people. That’s something, anyway.

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Digital Music
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Future of Libraries post

Go – read infommuner’s post titled The Future of Public Libraries. Then discuss.

I loved it – first off, telling a long story that delivered a message rather than the usual powerpoint with pictures of people doing techie stuff – that’s so cool!

But even better – his story really DOES illustrate what’s going on in libraries and with the whole web 2.0 trend. People aren’t just reading webpages… they’re not just finding articles someone else wrote and printing them off. People are communicating – they’re interacting with each other… they’re writing their OWN articles. They are connecting with each other.

And this is what a library should be about.

College and Research Libraries Journal is going Open Access

C&RL is going open access! They plan on placing articles online six months after publication of the print version, which is a fine place to start. Good for them.

And for kicks – here’s an extremely old article of mine, from 1998: Library Home Page Design: A Comparison of Page Layouts for Front-ends of ARL Library Web Sites. If nothing else, someone might get a kick out of reading it and comparing today’s library websites with my findings from 1998.