If you build it, will they come?

If a library were only able to offer one mobile based service, what do you think it should be and why?

If I was the director and had the final say in a mobile based service for the library I was choose a mobile website or webpage in terms of an academic library.

Why? The key to the success of a library is the patrons. What comes to mind is “if you build it they will come”, the famous lines from Field of the Dreams Our patrons can only use our services if they know about it.

With the World Wide Web being the main median to finding information it is important for a library to have a website to advertise their services.

It is implied that when you create a website you create a print version and now even more so a mobile version. In a survey published by Nielsen, they found that over 50% of US consumers use smartphones.

Taiwan Today published that 62% of smartphone users in the US access the web on their phone. By not providing a mobile website for the library it will be failing to serve its users to the best of their ability

There are many mobile based services a library could and should offer by you need to start with the basics, mobile website. The website is where you post information about the library, where you will soon post links to mobile reference services, to the Library OPAC, any many other services.

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OPAC Tags

One of the best ways  libraries can enhance their catalogs are with tagging in the OPAC. The population we target understands tags. They used applications like Tumblr, Flickr, Pinterest, Facebook, and many others.

Allowing the tags to be user-generated will bring a new light to what the students think of outside of the typical LCSH. Their tags will help us understand how to market our resources.

A disadvantage to employing user tagging is you may get tags that are not related to the title. It is always a risk letting other in to do a work you know so well but it is important that we tailor our marketing to our audience and OPAC tags are the perfect way. Not only with marketing but with the services we offer.

LibraryThing is a tagging system that OPACs that accepts HTML  you can add the tagging from Library Thing.

I encourage everyone to get a LibraryThing account, you can get a personal account and add 200 books for free. If you are like me and have over 200 books you can buy a lifetime account for $20.

UCSD

UCSD (University of California, San Diego) libraries have multiple collections on Flickr

Moments in time, Library exhibits and Library events. Along with organized and labeled collections they, UCSD, have a photo-stream that included over 1,400 images that have been taken and tagged and submitted about the UCSD library, great for browsing.

As I browsed through these collections I noticed each picture had at minimum the tag “UCSD libraries, brownie point of UCSD. Donna Ekart states as rule one in Tech Tips for Every Librarian, “First, tag, tag, and tag again” (2010, p46). By tagging photos with appropriate tags such as location, event, library name, popular acronyms, etc. the library’s photos will be discovered more easily and more often, bringing in a greater recognition to the library and hopefully more patrons to help.

 Fault: there is not enough tagging. Some photos only include the tags “UCSD libraries and UCSD”, they need more tags including: San Diego, California, library, education, architecture (when building pictures) and other descriptive tags about the photo, you can never have too many tags.

UCSD libraries do a great job and being consistent with adding to the Flickr, most recent photos are from Oct. 29, 2012.

I think UCSD is a great model for starting libraries who are looking into using Flickr. They show what a complete profile looks like, they have photo streaming, collections, sets and a gallery. However, I do not see them as a library that has itself mastered the use of Flickr.Still, they have a fun collections to browse through.

References:
Ekart, D. (2010). Tech tips for every librarian. Computers in libraries, 32(4).

All Time 10s

I have been recently introduced to this YouTube channel, All Time 10s. They are amazing. Each video features 10 facts about something.

I found it fitting to include the video “10 sweet facts about chocolate” on a Holiday surrounding candy. 🙂

These videos are done very well, often only consuming 2-3 minutes of your time while feeding you pieces of knowledge. The channel has 452 videos, I have watched about 7 and am enthrawled. The videos teach you in a couple of minutes. Just like the featured Library Minute series by Arizona State University.

I actually think the videos are done too quickly, sometimes it is hard to read and understand each fact, but a job done very well.

Online Communities

What is an online community?

Wikipedia: “An online community is a virtual community that exists online and whose members enable its existence through taking part in membership ritual.” (link to Wikipedia article)

Meredith Farkas: “An online community is simply a group of people who gather online for a specific purpose.” (Farkas, 2007, p86).

Just like an offline community and online community needs a leader or someone to moderate what goes on with in the community. A moderator has many tasks and a great responsibility to the community.

Online Community: Best Practices

  1. Recognize your role as a moderator but also recognize the role of your members, do not try to control everything. “…allow people to connect with each other and speak their minds, it helps build trust and foster an environment where people are wiling to both own and share their work together” (Farkas, 2007, p105)
  2. Have guidelines and understand that not everyone will agree with them but they need to be followed.Often members join a community because of the guidelines set in place, similar to why someone chooses a particular school, if you allow them to be violated you will loose members and reputation.
  3. Hinder lurkers. Encourage visitors to become members. “By requiring users to take
    an affirmative action (that requires some minimal effort on their part), it weeds out the casual
    troublemaker from an interested user.” (Grohol, 2006)
  4. Communicate effectively by being clear, direct and frequent. Guidelines need to be communicated direct and clear, community updates need to be informational, and become a ‘human’ to the community, members like to hear from the ‘higher ups’. 

Communities to join:

  • Wikipedia is a free, collaboratively edited, and multilingual Internet encyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation
  • FreeCycle a community the derives off everything being free. Members can request items or offer items. Main rule: It must be free. 
  • Urbanspoon a community that enocurages members to leave reviews on restaurants they have eaten at. 
  • FourSquare a community that encourages members to check in to places they visit and leave tips or comment for other visitors. Incentives often are special coupons or offers when you check in. I once received 15% off my dinner bill just for checking into the restaurant on FourSquare. This community is predominantly mobile based.

References:

Farkas, M. G. (2007). Social Software in Libraries: Building collaboration, communication and community online.  Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, Inc.

 

Why Twitter works

Twitter, signified by a little blue bird in relation to the verb “tweeting”, has boomed over the past couple of years. You are limited to 140 characters to say what you want, how is that enough room to express your rant about something significant, but not really, that you dealt with.

Twitter succeeds in my personal opinion because its easy to read, easy to update and a sufficient time filler while you stand in line at Starbucks at 6am to order you steaming hot cup of wake me up, or some other event in which your attention is found in your palm and not elsewhere.

In the library world, Twitter is most effectively used as a megaphone for events, new displays, new books, etc.  UBC (University of British Columbia) libraries used twitter to share with followers the types of reference questions they answered throughout the day. (Fields, 2010) Using Twitter in this unique way encourage interaction with followers. The best application of Twitter in a library is a perfect combination of both. Too much personal can lead to an incorrect view of the library where as too much professional can lead to an incorrect view of the library. Do you see where I am going with this?

SJSU Library uses their twitter account in a such a way. I know by browsing through past tweets I will be abelt of ind just about every event, new exhibit, hour change and new resource that occurred since the birth of @SJSU_kinglib. However, I can also find some inner touches of personality, although I think they could do a better job in spreading that around.

What is your opinion? Let me know @NimbleLibrarian

PS: graphics? no graphics?

-NimbleLibrarian

References:

Fields, E. (2010). A unique twitter use for reference services. Library Hi Tech News, 27(6), 14-15