Computers in Libraries 2007: Day 1 – Building Collaboration, Communication and Community Online

Meredith Farkas

I’m in the overflow room – coolness.

defined social software (missed it)

Easy content creation and sharing

Online collaboration – she’s used Googled documents and wikis to work with colleagues – collaborate in a single shared space

conversations: distributed – used blogpulse as an example – it shows commenting

Conversations: Real TIme – IM

Capitalizing on the Wisdom of Crowds – using, tagging, etc to see what others have found interesting

ALA Chicago 2005 wiki – hundreds of librarians contributed to this wiki! It was an amazing way to collect knowledge from a diverse group of people

Transparency – we can share real stuff – what we’re passionate about. You can also give reviews of things – good or bad


Portability – the whole mobile web thing

What can social software do for libraries?
disseminate information – push info to students about new databases, new studies, anything of interest to your users. Book/video recommendation. Do it via rss. RSS in catalog – subject searches. Use to collect web links by topic. Podcasting, too.

Get feedback! Start a conversation! as an example. They leave their comments open and answer them quickly. Good point – this way, others, both staff and customers, can see everyone’s comments, can comment on those, etc – it starts a great conversation.

Give the library a human face: flickr – showed LaGrange Park Library’s flickr feed – they photo all library events, end up showing people having fun at the library. Blogs – conversations on a human level. SJCPL writes blog posts in a conversational tone, which humanizes the digital library experience.

Providing services to remote users: IM rather than VR. IM is a tool students already use, so use it rather than VR. Screencasting – a way to teach how to use something.

Providing services where our users are: myspace… Brooklyn College Library is providing a MySpace portal to theri library, including links to their databases, calendar of events, a news blog, etc – really using MySpace to provide library services. Cool. MeeboMe widget – easy access to IM on your website. SMS messaging – consider this as a way to do this via cell phones. SIMS Memorial Library has a text-a-librarian service. Text messages go to librarian’s email, gets sent back to cell phone.

Capitalize on the collective intelligence of colleagues and users: amazon as an example – customers who bought… also bought… some libraries have added tagging into their catalogs. AADL’s users who checked out this also checked out this – an amazon-like service. Hennepin County Library has added customer commenting into their library’s catalog. Wikis… using collective intelligence.

Strategies for Implementing:
Avoid technolust. Think about the needs first. What’s lacking at your library? Then work from that.
Will it improve library services? Will patrons use it?
Involve staff at all levels in planning
Please include IT in planning! Oh yeah! (I’d add that that one goes both ways)
Play with technology! Kick the tires! That’s the only way you’ll learn new tools.
Trust your patrons. Learn from them.
Consider Maintenance and Sustainability – Showed a blog that hasn’t been updated in 2 years
Do you need a policy?
Marketing – focus on the functionality. Don’t say “we have a blog!” Instead, say “We have a new books list.” – focus on what you’re giving the patron.

Her book cover contest… announced the winners.