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To blog or not to blog? Sue Manuel

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Presentation on theme: "To blog or not to blog? Sue Manuel"— Presentation transcript:

1 To blog or not to blog? Sue Manuel

2 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.

3 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 - Peter Scott’s weblog compendium is a useful resource

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5 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.

6 Resources  Have a go with Blogger –  Biz Stone’s blogging software comparison /app01; /app01  And Blog software breakdown -

7 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 -  Feedreader -  NewzCrawler -

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9 Resources  Have a go with Bloglines -  Library RSS feeds -

10 Weblog uses in libraries Communication of information:  news page;  new books list;  project management tool;  knowledge sharing……..

11 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.

12 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.

13 Information alerting systems What we had in place:  central list;  ad-hoc current notices folder;  word-of-mouth.

14 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.

15 The blog tool selected Movable Type:  popular system;  maintained and developed by its creators;  search facility;  categories – indexing of content.

16 Posting tool  Web based;  easy to use;  text formatting options;  preview entry;  notifications.

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18 Administrators privileges  system configuration;  ban IP addresses;  access and create templates;  add users – allocate permissions;  View activity log – records entries and searches.

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21 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.

22 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.

23 Staff early weblog usage  Content of entries;  links secondary feature. Benefits to weblog use:  presentation assists information discovery;  easier than ;  content management features a bonus.

24 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 .’  ‘As a part-timer it is an excellent means of accessing developments whilst off-campus.’

25 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.’

26 Weblog Vs. (1)  Opinion divided between the merits of the weblog and . “The only way the weblog will work is if current s cease and people have to go to the weblog for information.”

27 Weblog Vs. (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.

28 Retaining visitors Keeping the weblog up to date:  accuracy of information;  currency. Variety of content:  team participation;  some reluctant to participate.

29 Recent developments  Extended coverage - staff inclusion;  single source of information for the team.

30 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.

31 The focus of the weblog  retain as a dedicated Information and Enquiries tool;  question and answer forum;  training tool;  links to general Library documents.

32 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.


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