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January 27, 2008

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Edwin

Nice reading. Thanks!

GeekChic

Phil, Excellent essay. I agree almost entirely. The only quibbles I have are with these statements: "'we need to run a cost analysis to see if we use this tool'. Not when it's free you don't. 'We need to invest in staff training, we don't have the time'. Not when it's pretty straightforward you don't."

Why do I quibble? Well, nothing is truly free. Even if it doesn't cost you money it will cost you time (to deploy, to use, to keep up). And even things that seem straightforward can require training if the people that will use them are terrified of computers or refuse to use new tools without training (both common reactions at my current place of work) or if their are potential policy implications (i.e. what kind of pictures can be posted to Flickr).

Meredith

Nice response. I'm sure you know where I agree and disagree. I still believe strongly that not every library should have a blog. Some good reasons not to are that they already have communication mechanisms that work for their patrons, that their service population wouldn't be interested in that form of communication, or that they don't have time to keep the blog up. It's so incredibly easy to start a blog, but it takes a good bit of effort to write consistent and engaging material that keeps people reading it. This frequently isn't taken seriously and I think that's a big reason why there are so many abandoned blogs out there.

When done well and for an interested audience, a blog can be a terrific communication tool for organizations. I just don't think it's a good fit for every library.

Jamesm

Phil, thanks for this and Meredith also for your original post, both very thought provoking. If you haven't already ready read it there is an interesting piece in the latest CILIP Update in the review 2007 section on using Web 2.0 applications.

In it and apologies to the author because I have forgotten her name, the author argues that just because you are a Librarian using Web 2.0 applications this doesn't mean that your Library is now Library 2.0. Something I would agree with. I regularly use RSS, post to several blogs and use Social Networking sites, some of which I do for my Library and some I don't.

I also agree with your comments Meredith about blogs not fitting in every Library. Certainly within the Corporate sector a more well used solution is a Wiki as this seems to me to embrace the Knowledge Sharing and Management principles that Corporate Libraries seek to develop.

Phil Bradley

I find it interesting that there's a lot of emphasis on the blog comment. I don't really believe much in absolutes, so I'm not going to say that every single library anywhere needs a weblog. That would be silly. I will say that I think, as I have already said, that a weblog is a very good way of communicating with users, and much more often than not a library blog is going to be a good thing. My default would be 'why wouldn't we want a weblog' rather than 'why would we?' I'd like to think that my emphasis throughout this piece is to look at what you're doing and what you want to do and to react accordingly. It's not about the tools, it's about how professionals can use them.

I hope that's clarified that issue!

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