SPEC Kit 304: Social Software in Libraries · 13
ment. Two of these also have a MySpace presence.
Most respondents implemented their site in either
2006 or 2007. Typical uses include promoting library
resources and services, communicating with staff
and users, and searching library catalogs and other
online resources. For example, several libraries place
ads promoting services and events in Facebook one
used an ad “to recruit for focus group participants.”
Many are embedding applications in social network-
ing sites that will search the catalog or databases, and
widgets that connect to the local Ask A Librarian
service. The main goals for using this tool are to con-
nect staff with users, users with users, and staff with
staff to share information, market library services and
facilitate communication.
Media Sharing Sites
Thirty-nine respondents report using media sharing
sites. Flickr and YouTube are the most popular (20
or 50% and 11 or 28%, respectively). Only two use
iTunes University. Most began using these sites in
2007. Libraries are posting photo tours, promoting
events and exhibits, showcasing digital collections,
marketing services such as Ask A Librarian, stream-
ing instructional videos, and providing updates on
building or renovation projects. For example, one
institution posts photos from the university archives
on Flickr, “to provide access to them in a space where
users might be more likely to find them and com-
ment on them.” The main goal is to connect staff,
users, alumni, and the general public to share infor-
Social Bookmarking or Tagging Sites
Thirty-four respondents use bookmarking or tagging
site, mostly del.icio.us (22 or 61%). Three report using
LibraryThing. One or two mentioned Connotea, Digg,
and tagging within the library catalog. Librarians are
creating subject guides and webliographies, even us-
ing such software as a way to create course-specific
instructional guides “on the fly” using course num-
bers as tags. Tagging is also used to promote new
acquisitions, and track answers to difficult reference
questions. The goal of tagging is most often to en-
able discovery of and share useful information with
Fifty-three respondents report the use of Wikis in
their libraries. One was implemented in 2002 and
several more began in 2004 and 2005, but the major-
ity of Wiki users (37 or 70%) started in either 2006 or
2007. Three began in early 2008. Most of the Wikis
are used to support staff communication, training,
and projects. A few libraries have turned the library
FAQ into a Wiki. Others support chat reference or
instruction. For example, one library uses a wiki to
provide reference assistance to an undergraduate
class of 7800 students in their research assignment,
taking the “pressure off the Reference Desk.” The
main goal for using Wikis is to share information,
facilitate communication, and create content among
library staff and to a lesser extent between staff and
users and between staff at different institutions.
Fifty-two of the responding libraries have imple-
mented one or more blogs, mostly between 2005 and
2007. Many blogs are used to announce library news
to the general user community others are targeted to
specific departments or user groups. One library blog
features “research ideas ripped from the headlines”
for undergraduates. Some blogs are for library teams
or committee work. Not surprisingly, the main goal of
blogs is to share information among staff and users.
Fifty-three respondents have enabled RSS on their
library Web pages. Implementation began in 2003
and reached a peak in 2006 and 2007. RSS is used to
alert users about new services, collections, events,
and faculty publications to report services outages
and to provide another connection to library blogs,
subject guides and course pages. As with blogs, the
main goal of RSS is to share information among staff
and users.
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