I’ve been thinking through different content types that tend to be presented on library websites. Here’s what I have so far:
- Traditional Content, or “Stuff we Buy”: this is the no-brainer area. It includes books, videos, music, journals, etc. All the usual stuff that libraries collect. The main thing to remember here is to be format-agnostic. For example, libraries collect books – paper books, audio books, ebooks, digital audio books, etc. but they’re all books.
- Original Content, or “Stuff Librarians Create”: Library employees create great content, and most of it should be featured prominently on our websites. Here are some examples of original content: tipsheets on using databases, topical pathfinders (gee, I hate that word), articles about a topic on a subject guide, and all those “if you like Danielle Steele, try…” Reader’s Advisory guides. I’d lump in digitized local history content here as well. Much of the read/write web would also appear here (blogs, wikis, etc).
- Attendable Content, or “Things you Attend or Visit”: My library puts on seminars, classes, storytimes, exhibits, and even concerts once in awhile. All these types of events are “attendable content” – great content, but you have to be there to soak it in.
- Collaborative Content, or “Interacting with Patrons”: Think of this as content that patrons create or help to create. This can be slightly more traditional, like taking a poll of favorite romance videos (and then placing those results online), or hip and emerging, like commenting on blogs, wiki content added by patrons, etc. But it’s all content coming directly from patrons.
- Library/Librarians as Content, or “Content About the Library”: This last one is a bit more of a hodge-podge (so if anyone has a better way to explain it, please chime in!). Here, I’m including library services, locations, staff contacts, etc – everything under that “about the library” link found on most library website pages. Steve Krug calls this type of information “Utilities.” Besides all that About stuff, here’s another couple examples of what I’d include in this section: information on your home-bound books program (a library service), or information about free wifi at the library (library service, freebie you can get when using the library).
Am I leaving out anything? Should this small list be expanded? Let me know…