Thanks to David Lee King I’ve found out how to offer email notifications for my blog! Obviously RSS is great and I love my feed readers but it’s not always the best way to communicate with people who have only just worked out how to send an email. People reading this blog may not come into that category but as more libraries start using blogs to share library news and alerts it is useful to offer more than one way for people to subscribe to that information. We had a lot of people sign up for email notifications for our conference wiki, probably because email is a familiar tool and not too scary. Being able to offer RSS feeds and email notifications makes me feel much more comfortable about suggesting that we offer our conference news in a blog format in future, yes I’ll post about feed readers and promote them at the conference but people who want to stick to email won’t be left out.
I used Feedburner to set up my email notifications (free service) and have added the subscribe link underneath the RSS option using a widget. (FeedBlitz appears to offer a similar service.) Feedburner also appears to offer a pretty comprehensive stats service and there are some other interesting options mentioned such as mobile versions of feeds and a BuzzBoost option for displaying feed content on other sites.
I’m very excited at the moment because we’re using a wiki as part of our LMS training project! Only been going for a week or so but most people have edited it now and it has been a very useful way of sharing ideas. At the moment it is more a collection of conversations than an interactive wiki but it has been interesting to see how people use it and what their first steps are. It also saves me sending out an email with attachment every time I edit the training documents, instead I can upload the updated file to the wiki and everyone knows that the version on the wiki is the most up to date version. Final versions can go on the intranet as usual but this way I can make drafts easily available for comment. It’s a useful way to try out a wiki because it is a short term project with a small group of people involved. Hopefully I will be posting more on this over the next couple of months looking at how we use it and what the pros and cons turn out to be.
This picture sums up some of the things that I have been excited about this week. The CDs are Tom McRae from the gig that I mentioned on Monday. The books are Harlequin by Laurell K Hamilton (yes I admit to enjoying vampire novels on occasion!) and How to Use Web 2.0 in Your Library by Phil Bradley. The latter book is going to take a lot longer to get through than the former as every couple of pages I keep going online to explore the resources discussed. I was very excited when I ordered the book and so far it is surpassing my expectations. The strange document at the back is a copy of a document from the National Archives showing my ancestor’s military service in the Suffolk Regiment (2nd Regiment of the Foot as it was then) in the first half of the nineteenth century. Thanks to this I know that my ancestor had grey eyes and was 5″8 tall and that received a good conduct medal. 150 years after he was discharged, John Chapman’s great, great, great granddaughter could find out what colour his eyes were thanks to a document she ordered online. Isn’t the internet fantastic?!
It’s easy to get over excited about different applications and ideas for ways to transform library services. Harder to make sure that we change things that make a difference to library users. Today I’ve been trying to think about what I would want from my library account if I didn’t work at the library. Some are 2.0, others are just things that would make a difference to me.
1. Pay my library fines online with a credit card. If I didn’t work here I would certainly have library fines and I would want to pay fines when I renewed my late books online to save time when in the library and stop my card getting blocked.
2. Manage my loans history. A chronological list is fine but if I can borrow 30 items at a time I would want to manage that list, save items that I may want to borrow again and mark authors that I didn’t like so I don’t make the same mistake twice!
3. RSS feeds for authors and titles. I’m pretty addicted to my Bloglines and I’d like a feed for new books by authors I have enjoyed and a feed for my wish list so I know when new titles I’m interested in have arrived.
4. A wish list! At the moment I add items I want to borrow to my Amazon wish list but I would love a library wish list that I could add to even if the book isn’t available in the library. I’d then like to be able to search for and reserve items from my wish list.
5. Online ILL requesting. I know many libraries do this already but we haven’t quite caught up yet and this is something I would really want as a reader.
6. Books due reminders. Again I’ve seen this elsewhere and it’s something that would make a difference to forgetful folk like me! Email or SMS acceptable.
What would make a difference to you?
My local CILIP Sub Branch has a blog! One of the committee has been inspired by Karen Blakeman’s talk to set up a blog and Hampshirelibrarian has already posted on internet browers and search engines. Unfortunately the comments are restricted to members of the group and there is no obvious way to send a message asking to join in but I’m in the process of emailing the committee to find out more. If people get involved I think this could be a great community blog for folk working in libraries in the region to discuss 2.0 technology and share general library ideas and problems.
Brian Kelly of UK web focus has written another post on the subject of UK library bloggers and he’s now on the lookout for volunteers to join in his experiments and this is his challenge…
“Well I’m still carrying on with the experiments (especially the experiments which relate to the needs of the smaller libraries, museums and archives – such as my current experiment in email delivery of blog postings).
But I’d be even more keen to carry out a community experiment – perhaps with a small group who would be willing to contribute their experiences using a Wiki, could be presented at ILI 2007.”
I think this is a great idea and a good opportunity to build a UK library blogging community sharing ideas and thoughts about 2.0 things – if you’re in the UK please consider joining in!
Working my way through the handouts from last night’s event I’ve just come across this post from Brian Kelly on Where are the Blogging UK Librarians? I think this is an issue that will be discussed more and more this year as blogging becomes less “something geeks do” and more a useful tool of everyday life. Reading the blogs from US library folk you get a real sense of community and I think this is something that will develop over here too. I’d like to see more mention of blogging as a CPD tool too – CILIP’s new framework is very much about reflecting on what you have learned and showing your professional reading and writing this blog has pushed me to do this and keep doing it over the last few months. Can’t let my subscribers down! Huge thanks by the way to those people who have commented on my posts, I still can’t believe people read this and it’s fantastic to get feedback and suggestions. Isn’t this what a professional community should be?