Making Web 2.0 work for your organisation

Making Web 2.0 work for your organisation

Examples of Web 2.0 working for libraries & info agencies

Select three (3) libraries of your choice that use social networking to meet their goals.

Develop a comparative table which documents how each of the libraries use social networking tools to support information service provision, educational programs, conduct business etc.

Based on this comparison (and in no more than 350 words) develop your own list of “Reasons why libraries should be on social media”, and draw upon aspects of these three libraries to illustrate each point. 

I chose to compare the social media tools used by the State Library of Victoria, the State Library of New South Wales, and the National Library of Australia, in order to better understand the ways in which we can use social media to improve our service.

Reasons why libraries should be on social media

Improve our customer service:

Social networking sites – Such as Facebook and Twitter – can be used to connect with users in a way not previously possible. As well as receiving direct feedback from users, libraries can search for mentions of themselves elsewhere on the sites, allowing them to see what users think of their services. All three libraries have both Twitter and Facebook as part of their social media strategies.

Extend our technical services:

Social media allows us to improve and expand upon the services we provide in the library. “Ask-a-librarian” chats, used by all three libraries, means that users can find help with reference queries without needing to come into the library.

Catalogue apps, such as the one developed by the National Library of Australia (NLA), can be used to let users search the catalogue from their mobile devices and Catalogue Update RSS feeds (Used by the NLA and the State Library of Victoria) keep users aware of new items added to the catalogue.

Show that we are more than books and journals:

Social media provides an excellent way to promote events and exhibitions. Social networking sites such as Facebook, and library blogs (Used by all three libraries) provide platforms for libraries to share news.

Share our collections:

Using social media, we can share special features of our collections with users. The two State Libraries that I compared were particularly impressive with their use of Web 2.0 tools.

The State Library of Victoria provides their own “Discover Ned Kelly” app to allow users to fully explore their Ned Kelly Exhibition. I was particularly impressed with this use of Web 2.0 technology to engage users with the collection.

The State Library of New South Wales uses Historypin, a collaborating pinning site, to share their collection of historical photographs. On Historypin, users pin photos to locations using Google Maps. The State Library is contributing to this by pinning photographs of historical NSW, allowing users to engage with history as they compare the State Library’s photographs with those taken today.

State Library of Victoria State Library of NSW National Library of Australia
Facebook Y Y Y
Twitter Y Y Y
Flickr Y Y Y
Instagram N Y N
Youtube Y N Y
Vimeo N Y N
Podcasts N Y Y
Search alerts Y N N
Blog Y Y Y
Ask-a-Librarian Chat Y Y Y
Specialty Apps Y Y Y
Pinterest N Y N
Historypin N Y N

Web 2.0 technologies and social software

Web 2.0 technologies and social software


Now that you have explored some examples of how libraries and the media make use of RSS to deliver updated information and the applications that can tailor and aggregate feeds for specific users, find two (2) additional examples of ‘RSS in action’, and develop a 350 word post to your OLJ on how RSS can enhance a library or information service’s ability to meet the information needs of its users.

RSS in action:

State Record Authority of NSW RSS Feeds

The NSW State Records Authority uses multiple RSS feeds to support its users. In addition to the News and Events RSS feeds – which seem to be quite common – State Records has a feed for their eNewsletter. The newsletter, called Now&Then, gives updates on items that have been digitized to Flickr, hints on how to search for the resources user need, and updates users about current exhibitions.

The State Records authority also has RSS feeds for their multiple blogs, allowing users to keep up with new posts. By using separate feeds for each blog, users are able to receive updates on posts that most suit their interests, or are able to subscribe to updates on all three of them. Archives Outside is aimed at users who are interested in history and nostalgia; Future Proof discusses conservation and records management; Opening the Catalogue discusses the State Record’s Open Data project.

British Museum Blog RSS Feed

The British Museum has an RSS feed for it’s official blog. One of the features of this feed that I found most use was the ability to search through older post. The search function allows users to search by keyword; to sort by Author, Date and Title, and to select from a list of tags. This extra functionality makes it easy for users to discover RSS feed posts that interest them.

RSS Feeds provide a unique opportunity for information organisations to reach users in a way that is convenient. I believe that it fits in with the needs of our “instant gratification” society: Instead of clicking through multiple links, going to particular web sites to check for updates, or scrolling through their social networking news feeds, people can receive regular digests of new information.