Monday, April 16, 2007

Social Networking Software in the Library

How social networking software is changing the way library services are delivered

Presenter: Meredith Farkas, Distance Learning Librarian at Norwich University and author of Social Software in Libraries. Blogger -, and, author of best practices wiki.

Lots of interesting examples in this talk - I have tried to link some of them below.

Software facilitates "democratization of information" and "online collaboration" through tools like Google Documents - , and wikis, "online conversation" with blogs, networking with blogosphere "trackbacks" that enable a blogger to track a conversation across the blogosphere - Blogs to put a human face on business, like GM's FastLane - Sites like Flickr allow photo sharing - , or video sharing -

Wikis allow the knowledge of groups of people to be collectively validated -

Instant messaging is a tool for sharing information easily and informally - Meredith introduced IM as a quick and friendly "live ref" tool that students are willing to use, and offers a "text a librarian" text message reference service - University of Florida uses IM to provide all reference services to remote users. She cites these as examples of using tools students are familiar and comfortable with, rather than struggling to introduce more cumbersome unfamiliar live reference software.

What can social software do for libraries?


  • avoid technolust - look at needs, not tools
  • involve staff at all levels, and IT in all planning
  • consider maintenance and sustainability
  • consider written policy statements
  • trust the patrons - social networking software requires radical trust

Check it out - Second Life Library - virtual reality in libraryland

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