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Archive for the ‘2.0’ Category

I thought I would drop a link to the Map of Online Communities. Infomancy mentioned it today and I thought it was of very interesting merit. I am a little surprised that Google isn’t on there and owning a large chunk of the real estate (though they would clearly not be banished to The Icy North with Yahoo, Windows Live, and AOL). But still, its a very interesting visualization of Web 2.0 land and just fun to boot.

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In the upcoming website revamp one of the main concerns, outside of format and graphics, is bringing the library together on the website. The concept of a virtual branch is heavy in the air, the idea of ‘walking’ into the website and knowing where to go. Intuitiveness, in short. This can be a tricky concept, since no two users will go to the same place or even have the knowledge to find those places the first time. That is why making the navigation and the layout as open and friendly as possible, yet keeping a keen and contemporary look is so important.

However, perhaps even more than this is showing our users what we have. Even customers that come into our library on a frequent basis often don’t realize the myriad of programs and services that the library offers. It’s only on the off chance they pick up a flyer or see a poster on the wall, just that one time. But is usually only takes that one thing to get them hooked. This is where I hope Web 2.0 technology will lend a helping hand. Already we’re putting ourselves out there on Flickr and Librarything and both have done well for the limited uses we’re currently employing them for. But they can do so much more. Using a blog to promote events and allow users to comment on whats going on, to give their feedback on things, what they like and what they don’t. That is important to any business these days, feedback when and where the customer wants it. RSS to keep them updated, along with explinations on how to use it, since we can’t assume anymore, about anything. And things like Flickr to chronicle what has happened, changes in the library, the history in pictures instead of dry paragraphs. That is what brings the library to life.

It will take time of course, though setting up and using Web 2.0 utilities is a heck of a lot easier than writing CSS and XML, I can tell you that right now. I’m rambling by this point, yes, but this is important to create a virtual branch that is as interactive as a physical one. (And perhaps less intimidating too.)

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Our revamped 5 Year plan has just been given out to us, or at least the first draft of it though I doubt much will change between that and the final version, and finally something to be optomistic about. Finally finally finally we’re going to be embracing blogs and IM reference within the system. It’s almost hard for me to say just how excited that makes me after I’ve been pushing for quite awhile for it. I had a particular fervor after reading The Shifted Librarian’s article about Online Outreach for Patrons. There were so many things in that entry I had never even thought of and it allowed me to do more than I ever would have tried on my own. Adding us to Wikipedia, Wikimapia, utilizing Google Local and Craigslist were only a starting point.

Considering how many of our young patrons don’t seem to want to come into the library these days and the age old problem of people not wanting to walk up to a librarian and simply ask a question, it makes so much sense to meet the patron where they are. That seemed to be particularly true out of a part quote I picked up through David Warlick’s SLJ Summet Powerpoint cited from Vinod Khosla that ended with “…everything is clickable, even their parents.” I don’t think most libraries (read: library administration) realize this.

But I swear, one way or another we are going to drag this library into the 21st century. If not, what good will we be to our patrons who are living and breathing this day and age while we’re stuck in the past?

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