Monday, September 15, 2008

Question 4 – Using blogs and wikis to communicate with library clients

While moving with changing technology is important for libraries and information services, certain guidelines need to be adhered in order for libraries to communicate effectively with clients. The article ‘using blogs and wikis to communicate with library clients’ outline six very important lessons for libraries to follow when developing a communication tool.

The article titles the first lesson ‘manage your communication tool’. This basically means that when implementing new technology the library must keep in mind the organisation’s goals and objectives. Within this there needs to exist policies and procedures for this new tool.

‘Control technolust’ is the heading for the second lesson contained in the article. The article advises libraries against technologies that do not suit the organisation’s strategic plan then it is best to look for an alternative communication tool. It also cautions libraries to test new communication tools internally before a public release to ensure that it is suitable for use.

The third lesson that needs to be remembered from the article is to ‘have an agreed upon, honest library voice’. The title of this lesson says it all. The library needs to have someone to speak to library patrons with the communication tool, e.g. a blog or wiki. The most important part of this lesson however, is that this voice needs to be honest. The authors use Mazda as an example of what not to do, “a fake blog was released by the car company to appeal to Generation Y was apparently written by a 22-year-old Mazda M6 enthusiast” (Watson & Harper, 2006). This was removed due to heavy criticism less than a week after it was released. This proves that if a library is going to use a communication tool, they need to be truthful, anything else will lead to distrust from clients and will have adverse affects on the progression of the library in the community.

The key factor of the fourth lesson is to ‘update often’. This is self explanatory in that any information placed on the wiki or blog needs to be current and fresh. Users need to feel that the communication tool is of importance to the library. This is important to remember as, after implementing the blog or wiki and the use of resources, both monetary and staff time, it is important that patrons use this communication tool. Otherwise the library has wasted an excellent opportunity to move with technology and reach users and potential users. Therefore the blog or wiki must be updated regularly so that not only is the information current but also new information is presented as well.

The fifth guideline outlined in the article is ‘enable comments, where appropriate, and respond’. For libraries using communication tools such as blogs and wikis, this means that clients need to be provided with the opportunity to comment. This, however is not enough, library staff need to respond to these comments when appropriate. This is important because, not only does it give library patrons an opportunity to be heard but also give library staff a chance to receive feedback and suggestions to possibly improve library services.

‘Use RSS feeds or other promotional avenues’ is the final lesson the article suggests. The best communication tool can fail if people do not know about it. Consequentially, if a library is going to use a blog or wiki as way to communicate with patrons then it is essential that it is promoted. This could be done via RSS feeds that alert clients when new posts are added.

It can be seen that the article offers valuable guidelines for a library to implement a communication tool. Although blogs and wikis are an excellent way to communicate with patrons, especially with many patrons already competently using the internet, if the lessons outlined in the article are not followed it can be catastrophic for the library, not only in its public image but also in the resources that were spent or implementing the communication tool.

Reference List
Watson, K., Harper, C. (2006). Using blogs and wikis to communicate with library clients. Retrieved September 7, 2008 from

Question 3 – Emerging technologies changing our service delivery models

As new technologies emerge, libraries need to embrace these in order to stay current and service customers. Some of these technologies that can be implemented into the library environment are discussed in the article ‘emerging technologies changing our service delivery models’. These include blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, podcasts, vodcasts, web conferencing and instant messaging.

Traditionally blogs have been viewed as “an online diary” (Kajewski, 2007). It allows for multiple entries that are displayed sequentially via date. Able to be used by multiple users, blogs do not require authors to be experienced in web publishing. With the ability to be viewed by anyone, blogs are then ideal for libraries to provide information to the community and reach potential users. For example libraries could use a blog to communicate to users about new items recently acquired similarly to that published by the eastern regional libraries in Victoria as shown in the article.

The next technology to be discussed by the article is wikis. Wikis allow anyone to add information or edit existing content. Wikis are a useful tool for libraries as anyone can add to the content, for example, a review of an item. The article suggests that by “allowing everyday users to create and edit any page on a website is exciting in that it encourages democratic use of the web and promotes content composition by nontechnical users” (Kajewski, 2007). This proves not only how easy wikis are to use but also that anyone, with any background, can add information, in other words, have a say.

RSS feeds
RSS is an acronym for rich site summery or really simple syndication. At a basic level a RSS is a way to stay up-to-date with changes to selected websites without needing to receive emails regarding this or check each website.

The article presents podcasts an audio program that can be listened to whenever, wherever or however the user wants. This can be done via RSS, unlike ordinary downloads. The article suggests ways for libraries to use podcasts such as training tools for online resources, a teen podcast and library tours.
Vodcasts are similar to podcasts except for that it also includes video. The term vodcast is an acronym for Video On Demand. While the article does not have a lot of information regarding vodcast, it does suggest that libraries could use vodcasts to highlight achievements of the library and to attract people.

Web conferencing
Web conferencing is an excellent way to conduct meetings when participants are in different locations. They usually involve a powerpoint presentation and co-browsing of the web. Participants can see the same as what is on the presenter’s screen and can talk to the other participants. Another version of web conferencing is webinar, in which the discussion follows a set program with a start and finish time.

Instant messaging
In today’s community in which instantaneous response is expected, instant messaging allows for this technologically. Basically messages are typed and sent immediately to another user. Instant messaging can be compared to sms via mobile phone except that instant messaging occurs through computers. The benefits to reference services in libraries could be astronomical as clients can receive quick response to queries while being online.

Obviously there exist many new technologies that are useful for libraries, or anyone for that matter. Depending on the situation, certain technologies will suit better than others. Although using this technology on a professional level, it is worthwhile for promoting libraries and attracting new users.

Reference List
Kajewski, M. (2007). Emerging technologies changing our service delivery models, The Electronic Library vol.25 no.4 pp. 420-429. Retrieved September 7, 2008 from

Question 2 – Library 2.0: service for the next-generation library

Similar to the changing nature of the internet with web 2.0, the library environment is also changing. This change, commonly known as library 2.0, is discussed in the article ‘Library 2.0: service for the next-generation library’ by Michael E. Casey and Laura C. Savastinuk. This article talks about the changes, both physical and virtual, that libraries can make to become 2.0. Involved in this is a model of library 2.0 and the elements included in this.

Library 2.0 revolves around user demands and implementing changes to attempt to meet these. The article describes this change as “user-centred change” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2006). One of the major changes outlined in the model is the need to reach out to non- users. Although it is often difficult to reach this group, technology may assist by offering new services. Likewise physical changes, such as a designated teen area, can also help to bridge the gap between libraries and non-library users.

The leading element of library 2.0 is user participation in the services provided. As the article states “the library 2.0 model seeks to harness our customer’s knowledge to supplement and improve library services” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2006). This means consulting with both users and non-users about the level of service currently provided and potential additional services. Without consulting with clients it is impossible to know if the services provided are meeting their needs and wants, let alone what services need to be introduced to allow the library to better perform as an information service. Additionally, clients will feel more involved if their opinions are solicited and may be more likely to use services if they are tailored to suit the needs of each specific community.

Although Library 2.0 may give the impression that it is technology based, many libraries, especially in small rural communities, cannot afford to make major changes to technology. Instead, the article states that libraries should “consider physical functions that will better serve current customers as well as bring in new ones” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2006). Additionally some libraries may not be ready to make the change to apply library 2.0 in a technological way. An important part of the change to library 2.0 is the philosophy of the librarians. The article suggests that many librarians are not thinking in the right way for the change in technology and so implementing library 2.0 technology could be disastrous. For those libraries that are ready to introduce new technology to add to their existing services there are many free or inexpensive technologies available. These include word processing online tools. These are often more advanced than locally installed programs and some even offer the ability to work collaboratively, something that can be very helpful to teams working long distance.

A major part of the model presented for Library 2.0 by the article is regular revision of services offered and what services could be offered. While there is a tendency to plan but never implement change, the model for Library 2.0 combats this by suggesting developing schedules for changes to be made. This allows for review of changes made to see if they are viable and suitable. At this stage existing services should be reviewed as well new ones as they may have become obsolete or need to be adjusted to continue being useful to clients.

The article proves that Library 2.0 is not simply technological based. Services can be virtual or physical, as long as they add new services to what is already offered, especially those services that will reach non-users. Although it will take time and effort to introduce the important thing is for librarians to be open to the new way of thinking established by library 2.0 and for regular review of services to make sure that they are still suitable for the community the library serves and investigate any possible changes.

Reference List
Casey, M.E., Savastinuk, L.C. (2006) Library 2.0: service for the next-generation library. Retrived September 7, 2008 from

Question 1 – User collaboration in websites

Web 2.0 differs from Web 1.0 in that it allows users participate in content. Web 1.0, that is, the original version of the internet, is static in that creators are the ones to add and edit content. Web 2.0 surpasses this by allowing user contribution.

The article lists some websites that are excellent examples of Web 2.0 like “eBay, Wikipedia, Blogger, Amazon and Google” (Pearce, 2006). These sites share the characteristics of Web 2.0. These include being based on large data repositories, encouraging user input and allowing relationships between different services. These are all important as it allows Web 2.0 sites to remain fluid and therefore meet the aim of Web 2.0 of allowing “people to contribute and share information in previously unavailable ways” (Pearce, 2006).

Two projects of the National Library of Australia are used in the article as examples of how Web 2.0 works. These sites are the flickr Pilot Project and Australian Dancing. The flickr Pilot Project is an image based site in which users can add photos. This meets with the web 2.0 philosophy of user participation. The pictures uploaded on flickr are then added to the Picture Australia site. Users can add tags to pictures to identify the subject of the picture which then assists other users in finding images when searching. This website exemplifies web 2.0 in that users work together to the benefit of everyone and allows more content to be added than would otherwise be possible. The flickr Pilot Project also has benefits for other websites. Not only has it added to the coverage of Picture Australia’s content but it has also increased the awareness the community has for this site. This then shows how web 2.0 theory can transfer to other sites, without that site specifically using web 2.0 technology.

The second project the article discusses is the Australia Dancing Takes Part project. This site contains biographical material about Australian dancers. It is an extension of the Australia Dancing website in response to user demands. As users discovered that they were not included in the biographies in Australia Dancers, the Takes Part project was launched to combat this. The Takes Part project uses web 2.0 technologies to allow users to input to the information contained in the biographies. Policies exist to maintain the integrity of the website and users need to follow these when contributing information. Although this web 2.0 method of writing biographies has attracted speculation about the quality of biography provided by users the project continues and theories of how it could be fully incorporated into the Australia Dancing website are being discussed.

The article provides not only an excellent description of web 2.0 but also provides Australian examples of this. In addition to this, the article provides examples of how web 2.0 can be included in existing web 1.0 websites such as the flickr Pilot Project and the Australia Dancing Takes Part project, both from the National Library of Australia.

Reference List
Pearce, J. (2006) User collaboration in websites. Retrieved September 7, 2005 from