Reflections on Hyperlinked Libraries

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/Internet_map_1024.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/Internet_map_1024.jpg

The idea of a hyperlinked library is not a new concept for me.  But first, what does that mean?  To me, that hyperlinked library is a library participating in Web 2.0.  Defining that a little more, a library that is participating in the social web.  I have been to many library conferences and this topic of having conversation with patrons has been a theme at many.  My library has tried to get into this mode of operation and slowly we have made progress but we are not fully there yet.  The two things that I see our library lacking are creating content and participation from the community.

Here are some examples. My library has tried setting up library blogs at least times.  They fail because the librarians do not actively post content and they become stale, unimportant. This is not just a librarian issues; the university as a whole has seen more blogs fail then succeed. At first the faculty member or whoever is excited about keeping a blog but then the enthusiasm dies and the blog goes cold.  My observation on blogs, which is also true of Twitter accounts or Facebook pages, is that content MUST be added regularly to be successful.  This can happen if there is a librarian or other blogger that is personally motivated and excited to be the blog author.  Another method is for management to actively assign blogging tasks to authors.  This goes against the ideas presented in the “Library of the Future” video clip in our lectures where staff is motivated to share and top-down management is not heavy handed.  At least for today, a little heavily handedness is necessary to keep the blogs, Twitter and Facebook active.

Another concept I like is the idea that the library needs to go to the people. I have been urging my library to make an effort in this direction. Our participation in Facebook and blogs are a few examples.  Making our collection accessible by Google and other external sites takes the library to the people.  Put information where it can be found is a job for libraries.

In the lecture, I found two other items of personal interest.  The first was the alternatives to iGoogle, the Google personal website that collectively gathers information to one site.  I like it but iGoogle will be discontinued as of November 2013.  I will need to look into Netvibes and Webflakes as possible alternatives.

I am also personally involved in using Drupal.  Drupal has a lot of features to offer and it can be daunting to get started since there are so many ways to use it.  When I tried to use Drupal 6 for our library’s intranet site, I got stuck trying to do too much at the beginning and the project got abandoned. Now, I am using Drupal 7 and I a new philosophy. I started with just converting our library’s intranet site to Drupal and slowly introducing new features. Drupal 7 is also a lot easier to use.  I saw a screenshot in the lecture that has given me some more inspiration.  The screenshot showed a calendar with pay role periods.  I did not think I needed a calendar because I did not want to re-create our Exchange calendars. But, I can use a Drupal calendar to display pay periods, conference dates and other events that don’t need to be in Exchange.   I have also started to transform my astronomy club’s website into a Drupal site.  I am still in the process but it can be viewed at http://www.sbvaa.org/drupal7/.

-Gerald Rezes

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3 thoughts on “Reflections on Hyperlinked Libraries

  1. Great post! I feel like the Hyperlinked Library is more than just libraries participating in Web 2.0 activities like, blogs and social networking. I think the basic idea of the Hyperlinked Library Model is taking the main ideas that make up “2.0”, such as user feedback and integration, and using them to improve library services. A lot of this does involve using Facebook, Drupal, and blogs, like you mentioned. I think they could also use non-Web-related things like user surveys and a comment box, as well.

    • I agree with your observation that hyperlinked library is more than just Web 2.0 and that there are non-web related items. For example, enlisting the help of public relations or creating its own PR is another factor of the library calling attention to itself, making itself and its services known to the community.

  2. Your point about blogs dying out had me thinking a lot about internships, Gerald. Last semester, when I was applying for virtual internships, I noticed that a lot of libraries are interested in hiring interns to be their social media liaisons. On the one hand, I think it seems like a great opportunity for a library to get a library student to help integrate something like that, but does the temporary addition of an intern set the library up for failure when nobody is able to maintain the momentum of the new social media? Interesting to think about…

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