Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Social Networking SItes

Social Networking Sites
  • How can social networking be used by MLA to connect members
  • Should your library have a Facebook or MySpace page?
  • Are there privacy concerns for individuals when using social networking sites.
  • What did you like or not like about your experience with Facebook or MySpace.
A social network created by MLA could have enormous value for the library community. Imagine the ease of communicating, finding co-authors, getting answers, etc. all practically instantly and at your fingertips. Every MLA member could be there and unlike a listserv or email they wouldn't have to worry about getting a bunch of junk. They can choose to use the site when they need it, offer help when they want and solicit opinions. Members could choose to only communicate with others members they know or they could open themselves up to a whole new group of people. Isn't this part of the reason we join these kinds of organizations?

I'm still undecided on the Facebook and MySpace presence for the library. I can see it's value for me to keep up with friends from college who have moved far away (or who have stayed when I moved far away.) However, I don't see a lot of value for our library to be on either of these social networks. I know the students are and I can see the advantage of having individual librarians on to act as another contact point for the students and faculty. I don't think it would hurt to have a presence, I just have doubts as to how much that presence would be utilized.

Social Networking challenges the way that we look at privacy. The internet has constantly been making us look at privacy and how we define it. I think younger generations do not have the same sense of privacy that older generations do. I include myself in this area even though my sense of privacy is still greater than people in college or below. Google and Facebook are not only ways to communicate, but ways to gain information on people. We used to have no way to find out about what people did or what kind of people they were until we got to know them. Now we can jump on the internet and google them, then look up their MySpace or Facebook page. We can gain a lot of information, most that they have made available themselves or is publically available. I think that many people do not understand, really understand that when they leave their profile open that anyone (anyone!) can view it. They only think of this as a way to communicate and it doesn't occur to them that someone they don't know might be interested in what they have placed there. I think these pages make us both safer(from people we meet and google) and less safe(from strangers tracking us.)

I personally love Facebook and Hate MySpace. Facebook allows more privacy and I can limit my profile so that only people I know can see me. Those are the people I communicate with ane reach out too. I do an occassional search on friends and when I find them I can ask to add them in, then it's their choice. People have created a million fun add ons that you can choose to or not to participate in. Facebook can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it. I dislike MySpace because even at it's basic level it's busy. I know you can do a lot more and people love it for that, but I felt like it's something you have to put time into to get the way you want and I just want a way to keep up with my friends.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What's in a Wiki?

What is the difference between a blog and a wiki? What sort of things might be better suited for a blog and better suited for a wiki?

Blogs are basically used as public diaries. Using them in this way seems to make sense in libraries as well. Letting patrons know what has happened or is happening int he library. Keeping a blog on the library homepage would allow Librarians to update daily with classes, events, and future plans. This would aid communication within the organization as well as with the library community.

A Wiki seems to be a more complex tool. Or it can be used as a more complex tool. Keeping a chronological listing of events seems well-suited to a blog, but for more information that would be better served with a different organizational system a wiki seems to be the ticket. A wiki detailing current library policy and procedure may be just the thing to create a wiki for. At larger libraries a wiki may be used to keep track of librarians and classes, but smaller institutions would find this unnecessarily complex.

The wiki created by my colleague at the Greenblatt Library will be used to host our Reference Desk policies and procedures. These will take a bit of time to place and organize in the wiki, but they will then be bookmarked on the reference computers. New staff and faculty with fewer hours at the desk can easily answer complex questions by referring to wiki, instead of taking the time to find a source who knows or flipping through the print copy. The wiki I created will address Evidence-based nursing. As our hospital works to attain Magnet status I hope that this will provide information to nurses on searching for evidence, what to do with it, how to conduct research, and magnet information. Basically, everything they will need collected in one easy to access spot.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Blogs and RSS Feeds

My poor little Blog has not been used for much lately. After being set up a year ago it was abandoned, but not forgotten. Now it has a new purpose and maybe new life beyond. I am currently enrolled in a Web 2.0 class. I know some of the technology, but not all and I'm excited to learn. So without further ado, my blog assignment for week 1.

How do you think you could use RSS feeds at your library? How do you think patrons could use RSS feeds? Write a brief response on your blog.

I think RSS feeds could be used in the Library as both a tool to receive and push information. At our Reference Desk we could set up a blog reader to receive a variety of journal TOC's and update information from PubMed, EBSCO, etc. This would give us information at our fingertips and keep the reference desk informed. I also think we could create our own feed to push library information to our patrons. They could receive library information and when they come to the library we could help them to set up reader accounts and to subscribe to not only library information, but also to their most frequented sites and publications. Many researchers on our campus would also benefit from a reader account that updates them with the latest studies pertaining to their research areas. The library staff could help them to set up search feeds as well as journal feeds.