Where are we going with social software?

On my drive from Ojai to Fresno last night I listened to the recent Library 2.0 Gang episode on Social Software in Libraries. A great conversation well worth the 45-minutes.

Further, this week I’ve been setting up a WordPressMU and BuddyPress installation at classes | kenleyneufeld to be used for online instruction and my new course on Social Networking and Social Software.

First the “ouch” from the library gang. The realization that not enough assessment of our social services has taken place in the library environment. There has been anecdotal success but nothing concrete has been reported. In the past several years I’ve simply thrown stuff up to see what stuck and seemed a functional service. It’s worked reasonably well but as a Library Director I see a greater need for assessment. Assessment is Goal #1 in the coming year.

I was also inspired by the conversation to add a bit more personality to our social toolset in the library. We do this a bit, but we could do more. I’ve been hesitant to engage in true conversation with the @lurialibrary account, preferring to focus on information dissemination. Thank you Meredith Farkas for suggesting to add more conversation and personality. Conversation is Goal #2 in the coming year.

Since 2006, we’ve had our Moveable Type (MT) blog operational as the primary web site at Luria Library. This past year, I’ve been reflecting on our next shift for the web site. As a small operation without significant resources (both fiscally and technically), the task of making these changes typically fall up me and therefore change can be slow.

Given the work I’ve begun with WordPressMU/BuddyPress, and given the inspiration from the Library 2.0 Gang conversation, I’m thinking about a migration away from MT to WPMU/BP.

It is a powerful tool that could allow for connections and conversations to take place within the library domain. Discussion areas, Twitteresque tools, Facebook-style friending, and blogging all exist with the toolset. Further, blog creation with WPMU/BP is so simple and integrated, the library could end up being a host to campus related learning blogs for students and faculty. I’m already asked to help with this and the connections to learning and knowledge creation is a natural place for the library to participate.

I’m excited by the possibility, though a bit nervous about implementation. Further exploration and possible implementation of WPMU/BP is Goal #3 for the coming year.

Where are you going with social software in the coming year?

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  • Christopher Verdak

    Thanks for pointing this Library 2.0 gang episode out. This is probably the best discussion and needed clarification of social software I’ve seen. Beyond concrete examples of social software/tool best practices and less successful implementations, this savvy and well-versed group cuts through the hype of the ‘implement it now’ buzz and gets to why (and when) we should implement social software. Conceptual gems abound in this session, and I found myself stopping and reviewing many segments. Broadly paraphrasing: I was especially impressed with the discussions of the “network effect”, “Creating transparency”, “creating user ownership”, “Librarians becoming knowledge management consultants”, and “facilitating communities by focusing on what our users need, not on what we need”. Bravo! I’m going to use this episode as a guideline for my library’s coming Drupal site implementation. I’m thinking of a prominent Facebook widget, user feedback blog, and an “ask the librarian” research/homework blog/knowledge base.

  • Thanks for the comments Christopher. There is nothing quite like a group of smart people getting together to help the creative juices.

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