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Amy Watts Robin Fay Presentation online at: How can libraries use web based tools to market their services, educate their patrons, and provide value added services?
News & Events Blog : A Wordpress blog RSS feeds via the blog Web forms in the Libraries Catalog (GIL) Report and Error and other web based forms Web Presences for internal & external customers Departmental pages & procedures manuals OVERVIEW
What is a blog ? Briefly, a blog (short for weblog) is a web based publication which is updated in a periodic manner. The goal of blogging is to provide an easy means to put content on the web. Most modern blogging software functions very similar to word processor software. When you see this icon (think of satellite transmission beams), you know you are seeing a live site which is updating via a feed. Briefly about blogs
…and why would a library want one? Libraries use blogs to promote events & services, provide access to up-to-date information about building issues (special hours, etc.), highlight new databases, and communicate a variety of information from readings to exhibits to new features in the catalog! Users can subscribe to ‘feeds’ via their phones, pdas, special web based reader services, as well as internet browsers and programs such as Firefox and Thunderbird to get the latest up to date information. Briefly about blogs
Chart permission of blogswithoutalibrary.net
UGA Libraries WAG (Web Advisory Group) which works with the Web Editor in oversight and maintenance of the UGA Libraries webpage, charged a subcommittee to investigate blog software as means of keeping our users up to date on Libraries news & events. Not only did we want to add some dynamic content to our website, but we needed another means to push information to our users. Beginnings of The Libraries “Blog”
This subcommittee investigated many different blog softwares including Blogger (Free, Commercial, with ads) Expression Engine/PMachine (Paid, Commercial) Movable Type (Paid, Commercial) WordPress (Free, Open Source) Beginnings of The “Blog”
Desired features Yes Inexpensive Easy to use Categories Multiple users with levels Easily configured, support for CSS Nos Contracts/subscriptions Preferably ad free Coding experience or considerable training needed for contributors
Blogger Pros Free No installation Easy to use, one push publishing Cons Ad oriented No categories No control over URL address Limited ability to customize display
Blogger examples Who is using it (a brief sampling) Google Blog library-and.html Georgia Perimeter College at Decatur Marion County Free Library
Blogger User interface
Expression Engine/PMachine Pros Very professional Good Tech support Categories & subcategories Support multiple users with varying degrees of authority Easily supports a blog within a blog Cons Expensive Contract based PHP database installation needed, Server
PMachine/Expression Engine Who is using it (a brief sampling) Lannom Public Library Douglas County Libraries
Expression Engine User interface
Movable Type/Typepad Pros Very professional Good Tech support Categories & subcategories Support multiple users with varying degrees of authority Support multiple blogs Cons Expensive Contract based PHP database installation needed, Server
Movable Type/Typepad Who is using it (a brief sampling) University of Colorado, Bookends Washington University in St. Louis University of Minnesota (U Think)
Movable Type Example
Movable Type/Typepad Movable Type Example
WordPress Pros Categories & subcategories including separate pages (mini blog eseque) Support multiple users with varying degrees of authority CSS based and easy to customize Open Source & “free” Cons Tech support mostly nonexistent but relies heavily on user forums Multiple blogs are available as separate installations although pages can provide some customization and organization PHP database installation, Server Open Source & “free”
WordPress Who is using it ACRL Auburn University Library University of Alberta Libraries
Movable Type/Typepad Movable Type Example Wordpress Example
Just to recap. Desired features Yes Inexpensive Easy to use Categories Multiple users with levels Easily configured, support for CSS Nos Contracts/subscriptions Preferably ad free Coding experience or considerable training needed for contributors
WordPress fit our most basic criteria, and in July 2005, the UGA Libraries went live with our first blog. 25 Blog Reporters including a representative from every department a collective average of a post a day Design Keep the look of the main site through coding CSS No open comments box but a Link to a web editor mailbox. Of the comments we have received in the last 6 months, 99% of them are spam (we’ve received 1 legitimate comment). And the winner is WordPress!
So, let’s check it out! Behind the scenes…. Schedule news to post… Write here News from WordPress, especially UPGRADES!
Go Live The title corresponds to the headline on the main page and is also what displays in RSS readers. Note: We also have pre-selected categories for our writers to chose. So, let’s check it out! Behind the scenes…. Writing a post.
Go Live The title corresponds to the headline on the main page and is also what displays in rss readers. Note we also have re-selected categories for our writers to chose. and more stuff…. Which all ends up in the blog.
And the winner is WordPress! Go Live Title Categories
Our RSS Feed from the blog is captured here.
So what is a feed? RSS stands for (depending on who you ask) Really Simple Syndication Rich Site Summary Basically, websites collect their stories and ‘send’ them out to various readers A reader is a software that allows a user to view (and sometimes hear or see) headlines, summaries, complete stories, etc. Examples of ‘readers’ include Firefox (live bookmarks), bloglines, newsgator, pluck, etc. Think of RSS as the newspaper or the morning news you listen to. Each day is fresh, and the content is available to you. All you have to do is open the gateway (a newspaper, the tv, computer, radio, etc.) RSS feeds
Go Live In firefox, the rss feed will display as an orange icon in the address bar. To pick up a feed, click on the little orange icon.
RSS feeds By subscribing, you will receive the latest headlines linked from your bookmark.
RSS feeds: how to read Bloglines is a website to login to read news; Newsgator integrates with outlook; Thunderbird has built in capability
Thunderbird News Reader
So, you’ve got your blog all set up… now what? First, it starts with the participants aka writers. You need at least one person who is willing to write regularly. You need at least one person who is willing to write regularly. You may or may not need ground rules and writing/style guides (we did!). You may or may not need ground rules and writing/style guides (we did!). You may or may not need to do training sessions (we did). You may or may not need to do training sessions (we did). An editor of sorts is also necessary. An editor of sorts is also necessary.
Bringing in Contributors: Make them stakeholders. Emphasize that almost every department is doing something interesting or has something important to say to your patrons. They don’t want to be left out! And once one department starts posting frequently, the fun really begins … they can’t help but be competitive. Contributors
Give them hands-on training and back it up with accessible training materials. We did a handout and put the same contents of the handout online. (www.libs.uga.edu/blogetc/)www.libs.uga.edu/blogetc/ Also be sure to give them a human they can contact with questions/problems. Training
“Look what we’ve got” Events/programs/exhibits – events can have home page exposure and can also be archived, when they rotate off the home page Collections – Again, highly visible announcement of acquisitions and addition to the archive Electronic Resources – Avoid new databases getting buried in GALILEO. Highlight digital collections. Marketing
What should the blog look like? Does it need to maintain the look of other pages already on the site, or should it be distinctive? How much real estate on the main page? And where will it be? We have the happy problem now of so many posts that people want to see more headlines on the front page! Making sure your blog doesn’t die – needs continuous care and feeding. Additional Challenges
Most pressing, is to identify a better means of collecting statistics. There are plug-ins for WordPress statistics, which we are currently testing and evaluating. Out of the box, WordPress has very poor statistics collection. The Libraries website statistical information, while does not seem to be as good at tracking in-depth blog statistics. Testing pages to provide a more unique blog experience for special collections. A better workflow for doing upgrades. As WordPress is Open Source there is no one official tech support and no notice of new upgrades. However, there is a mailing list for notification. Next steps and challenges
Possibly not as exciting as blogging, but a ‘classic’ in terms of communication via the web HTML web forms (such as contact forms) are used in a variety of places including within the Libraries catalog, GIL on departmental and service related webpages Examples include Ask a Question via , Report an Error (in the catalog), suggest a purchase, request a classroom session, request software training, and collecting internal statistics Moving on to other tools
In 2005, 321 errors/questions were reported by Libraries staff & faculty, UGA faculty & students, and visitors. Not only has the form provided an easy way for Library staff to communicate with each other (much of the information is captured automatically from the screen) but it provides a quick means of identifying problems in the catalog… among them…. Other uses of web tools
Some errors/questions reported No error. I just want to know what “discharged” means. Is the book on the shelf or not? – a patron There is a typo in one of the subject heading dates – should not be – a patron Do we really have 2 copies of this and is one still in the In process collection? Or do we really only 1 copy and the Inprocess one should be merged? Or do we have 2 copies and the In Process once should be made copy 2? – library staff Other uses of web tools
Other examples of web based forms linked to the Libraries’ catalog Request a book from the Repository: While in the Libraries’ catalog, GIL, if you want a book which is located at the offsite storage facility (Repository), you can request it from a form in the catalog. Rush Catalog: Request a newly acquired material which is still in the queue Other uses of web tools
Other examples of web tools include Coldfusion: Database software which drives the Libraries’ Staff Directory, EndNote instructional materials, Reference instructional materials, and others in progress Instant Messaging: Used by Reference Other uses of web tools
Departmental pages In addition to our external customers, we all serve internal customers. Each department in the Libraries’ maintains a web presence with information such as Hours, phone numbers, and/or staff directories Information about the services provided and what the department does Links to resources and services, both for internal and external customers such as Large full-scale portals such as the Digital Library of Georgia Reference Guide, Ask a Question and BI Forms Online Resources for Catalogers Policies and Procedures online (Acquisitions, Cataloging) Other uses of web tools
How many of you are using web tools (contact forms, etc.) or blogs to increase communication between your library and your users? What have been your experiences? Is it successful? Q&A
ACRL (Wordpress) Auburn University Library (Wordpress) Douglas County Libraries (Pmachine) Georgia Perimeter College at Decatur (Blogger) Google Blog (Blogger) and.html Lannom Public Library (Pmachine) Libraries News & Events (Wordpress) Websites Cited
Libraries Cataloging Department Procedures Manual Libraries SLC & Reference Wiki Marion County Free Library (Blogger) University of Alberta Libraries (Movable Type) University of Colorado, Bookends (Movable Type) University of Minnesota (U Think) (Movable Type) Washington University in St. Louis (Movable Type/Typepad) Websites Cited
11 reasons why Library 2.0 exist and matter, blyberg.net, matters/ matters/ Blog training for UGA Libraries, Amy Watts, Blog overview for UGA Libraries, Robin Fay, (Appendix A), Blogging Libraries Wiki logging_Libraries_Wiki logging_Libraries_Wiki Market your library with a blog, James LaMee, Weblogs Compedium Why and how to use blogs to promote your libraries services, Darlene Fitcher, Articles
More on RSS Bloglines (RSS reader) Firefox (Web browser & RSS reader) How to add a live bookmark/rss feed in Firefox Newsgator (RSS reader) RSS News you choose (C NET) Thunderbird ( &RSS reader) What Wikipedia history and definitions of rss (
Presentation info Contact info Robin Fay, Amy Watts, Presentation: (