Friday, February 23, 2007

Learning about MySpace

This has been SO interesting. There is so much to read and consider. I have already changed my mind about MySpace several times. First I saw it as something to be a bit fearful of, and then saw that was silly, given the option to be private and careful about what you choose to put on your profile. Then after reading David Lee King's opinions and ideas, I realized issues I hadn't even considered. I think his points to consider before a library sets up a MySpace are very helpful.
*What does your library plan to offer using this new service?
*What are the library’s goals for establishing this new service?
*Can the advertising be minimized by paying a fee or by choosing certain categories?
*Does the service meet the library’s strategic goals?
*Who’s going to maintain this new service?
*And most important: if it’s successful - what’s next?

The management team considered many of these when disussing a MySpace for the library.
There are other things you may not think of unless you have a lot of experience, which David apparently does. His point about patrons visiting a library MySpace that are not users of MySpace may not understand that the library is not running the banner ads, which considering some of the ads, could be an issue for Board members and administration.

It has also made me wonder how to encourage the public to become more aware of this new technology out there and available for them to use. Kim Radcliff Smith put it this way, "... should there be links to other kinds of intellectual stimulation for the users, such as a toolbar that contains links to SL, Google Scholar, Wikipedia, Blogger, and similar products?"

I really enjoyed a thread on LibrarianInBlack's blog. It contained a variety of views from librarians about libraries having a MySpace. Everyone would agree educating the public is number one to rid people of their fears and keeping users safe on social networking sites. Also, it would be nice if these social software sites would develop a profile template for groups instead of a library having an individual profile. There was concern that teens would view libraries as a authority figure invading their cool space. Others see it as validating their space. I feel it could let teens know libraries are keeping up with technology and are more than just buildings full of books.

Friday, February 2, 2007

A brave new wiki world

I am happy to say I found wikis to be an exciting new way to interact using the internet, especially useful for libraries, schools and corporations. I would not feel comfortable with information obtained from a wiki for anything important, but they are an interesting way to communicate opinions and learn of others. I am happy our library now has a wiki, and it has been fun investigating it.

I would expect in the very near future to see all universities having a wiki, since it is an excellent way to share information about class schedules, classwork, class discussion, assignments, etc.
Since you are required to login to edit, or post, it seems the content would remain relevent and monitored, to some extent. A possible problem may be, and always remain, in getting people (staff, students and professors) to visit the wiki, read it and contribute to it.

The wiki seems perfectly matched to a library situation. Now that we have our own library wiki, we will have the chance to use it for a variety of things, such as committee reports, and see first hand how it will contribute to communitation between departments, staff and possibly the public. Robin has done so much with our new staff website and the intrawiki. Hopefully staff will visit the website often and see the changes and contribute. So far, the Learning Library has been very user friendly and will be a big help for all of us towards this goal.