Presentation on theme: "To blog or not to blog? Sue Manuel"— Presentation transcript:
To blog or not to blog? Sue Manuel firstname.lastname@example.org
Session overview Introduction to weblogs: weblog systems, RSS (Rich Site Summary) and news feeds. Loughborough University Library staff weblog use: work of the team; why a weblog format; team experience and views; weblog review – future developments.
Definition "Blog/WebLog: a web page containing brief, chronologically arranged items of information. A blog can take the form of a diary, journal, what's new page, or links to other web sites." Peter Scott - http://library.usask.ca/~scottp/il2001/definitions.htmlhttp://library.usask.ca/~scottp/il2001/definitions.html Peter Scott’s weblog compendium is a useful resource http://www.lights.com/weblogs/
Weblog systems hosted or installed - availability of technical support; depends on your needs – features list; installed – Movable Type, WordPress; hosted – Typepad, LiveJournal; iBlog – desktop software for MAC OS X.
Resources Have a go with Blogger – http://www.blogger.com/; http://www.blogger.com/ Biz Stone’s blogging software comparison - http://safari.peachpit.com/?xmlid=0- 73571-299-9/app01; http://safari.peachpit.com/?xmlid=0- 73571-299-9/app01 And Blog software breakdown - http://www.asymptomatic.net/blogbreakdown.htm. http://www.asymptomatic.net/blogbreakdown.htm
RSS (Rich Site Summary) text file (XML format) – summary of weblog post; look out for the orange buttons; feed into news aggregator services; benefit – all sources available in one place; Web based services – Bloglines or, News Is Free; download to desktop: Amphetadesk - http://www.disobey.com/amphetadesk/; http://www.disobey.com/amphetadesk/ Feedreader - http://www.feedreader.com/; http://www.feedreader.com/ NewzCrawler - http://www.newzcrawler.com/. http://www.newzcrawler.com/
Resources Have a go with Bloglines - http://www.bloglines.com/; http://www.bloglines.com/ Library RSS feeds - http://www.lisfeeds.com/. http://www.lisfeeds.com/
Weblog uses in libraries Communication of information: news page; new books list; project management tool; knowledge sharing……..
Library case study Could a weblog be used to assist staff at Loughborough with Information Enquiries work? Capture tacit knowledge – word-of-mouth; clear theme or purpose; create an information centre.
Information enquiries at Loughborough The makeup of the team: virtual team; mixture of staff grades and specialisations. What do we need for the Enquiries Service: differing demands for content; communication issues.
Information alerting systems What we had in place: central email list; ad-hoc current notices folder; word-of-mouth.
Weblogs – an alternative system Online system - information repository: quick and easy-to-use; regular updates; collaborative; available to all; index content; search facility. Facilitate the sharing of information.
The blog tool selected Movable Type: popular system; maintained and developed by its creators; search facility; categories – indexing of content.
Posting tool Web based; easy to use; text formatting options; preview entry; email notifications.
Staff weblog access habits some open the weblog at the beginning of a desk session to: read contents and/or; access links. some also refer to it from their office and home; others use the weblog occasionally or not at all.
Comparison usage statistics Entries - 9 Accesses – 250 Searches – 3 Estimated weekly averages for Oct ’03 - Mar ’04. Entries - 12 Accesses – 434 Searches – 12 Weekly averages for Oct ’04 - Mar ’05.
Staff early weblog usage Content of entries; links secondary feature. Benefits to weblog use: presentation assists information discovery; easier than email; content management features a bonus.
Staff comments - positive ‘Good as a reminder, also for searching and links.’ ‘Easy to track a particular issue or thread, this is a lot more difficult with email.’ ‘As a part-timer it is an excellent means of accessing developments whilst off-campus.’
Staff comments - negative ‘Why can’t I put anything on it?’ ‘Nothing new on the weblog.’ ‘Regular use would add to my workload.’ ‘I make use of other sources to get information and updates.’
Weblog Vs. email (1) Opinion divided between the merits of the weblog and email. “The only way the weblog will work is if current emails cease and people have to go to the weblog for information.”
Weblog Vs. email (2) Information Enquiries messages can be separated - a dedicated source has benefits: weblog can be consulted before a duty; current information is in place; check weblog at intervals during duty; reduce information overload.
Retaining visitors Keeping the weblog up to date: accuracy of information; currency. Variety of content: team participation; some reluctant to participate.
Recent developments Extended coverage - staff inclusion; single source of information for the team.
Weblog review The focus of the weblog was considered. Searching is on the increase: greater numbers accessing; more information on the weblog; does a larger repository makes information difficult to locate? Comments facility remains underused.
The focus of the weblog retain as a dedicated Information and Enquiries tool; question and answer forum; training tool; links to general Library documents.
Summary The answer to my original question – Yes; weblog use is part of our daily routine; primary source of information alerts for the team; room for improvement.