Monthly Archives: February 2012

Week 6 Social Media Policies and Assessment

This week’s readings were fascinating but also challenging to take in and process! Social media is seemingly so easy to join and use, but the significant challenge as seen in the readings is the importance of how social media is used, implemented and evaluated. This is true for any organization wishing to establish a productive social media presence, but in my case, I am thinking of libraries in particular.

Two points that really struck a chord with me were both made by Lauby. First of all, “the time to think about drafting a social media policy is now”. Secondly, one that I believe every reluctant CEO or library staff member needs to consider, is that “Social media or new media is really new media”. While creating a policy and then implementing social media in a library setting may appear to be a daunting task, it is important for libraries to buy in to the idea and formulate ways in which they can use this new media. In a perfect world, they could hire a social media specialist like Ford Motor Company’s Scott Monty. Sadly, the majority of libraries will not have the resources for such a person. It is imperative, however, for library boards to rethink how they use media and how they might need to discontinue something they have been doing in order to allow time for social media implementation instead. Has the library traditionally hung posters all over town, advertising its programs? What about the time spent creating traditional print media to advertise? Libraries would be well advised to consider moving some of their resources from these in order to allow for time to implement social media. While social media is in its infancy, it is here to stay, in one form or another. I love what Kroski‘s idea of using a wiki in order to “update your policy as new technologies develop.”

Libraries also need to clearly inform the public about what their policies are. I like how Ottawa Public Library clearly states here: “Ottawa Public Library regards online social media in the same way as its other information resources in accordance with its mission of serving Ottawa’s needs for learning, literacy and community connections.” In reality, it is “simple”, is it not? Libraries need to consider what their mandates are, what their privacy and harassment policies are, and make sure that these are included in their social media policies. What would be considered unacceptable in print or in person should also be considered unacceptable online. Libraries must ensure that someone, preferably someone who has been chosen due to his/her ability to understand new media and to stay on top of trends, and who understands the cultural nuances of the library, be able to closely follow these on behalf of the library.

While many would acknowledge and agree that policy and assessment measures are critical to a successful implementation of social media, can we really say what works? I would suggest it is too early to know. I do think that Laura Brown asks a simple but important question which we must consider: Why are we involved with social networking and is it really contributing to our library’s mission?”.

1 Comment

Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


Week 5 Mashups and “non-text” user generated content

I’ll say it right here. I was using mashups but didn’t even know that that’s what they were. The word “mashup” implies some things that are “mashed together”, but all of those times when I visited websites that included Google Maps with the regular website information, for instance, I just thought how handy it was, and never thought more about it. Little did I know!

Google Map Maker was kind of fun, although I found it hard to add something because there are so many things on there already! I focused on St. Jacobs, where I work, and it seemed like everybody had their info on it already, and I didn’t find any errors. This is good, I suppose, as tourists from around the world visit St. Jacobs so a map with few to no errors is important! I took the map a little further north, to just west of Elmira and found that one of the local churches, Wallenstein Bible Chapel, was not marked. I added it easily and it didn’t take too long to get the approval. I wondered who approves these changes. Do these people just sit in a room all day and verify changes made to Google Maps? When I peeked at the church on the map again today, I saw that  a local Elmira business (FB and Me) had just added their store, in TWO locations, including right on top of the church that I added. Hmm, now I have to figure out how to fix that. The store changes are still pending approval at the time of this writing so I am curious to see what they do with that.

Map Builder. Frankly, I found this to be a very frustrating exercise. I was working on a Mac, so there was a lot of trial and error as things did not look the same as they did in Diane’s video. I finally got to the point where I could add my locations on my map, and it wouldn’t search. An attempt on a PC the next day failed as well. So I decided to sit and wait for people’s blogs to see if anyone had any thoughts about this. Why yes, thanks to Sarah F., who said she had to switch from Chrome to Firefox, and that is all it took! I did find it all slow and tedious as I am not familiar with programming at all, but oh the satisfaction to finally complete it today! Take a look at the places I’ve been in North America.


Posted by on February 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


Week 4 Wikis and other collaboration tools

Wow, what an adventure the lesson this week was for me! Something I am learning in this class is that even though I thought I knew a lot about all of these tools, it is startling to realize how much I didn’t. It’s really great, however, to be learning so much. The challenge will be to share it with others without being annoying or overbearing. 🙂

Wikipedia. I’ve heard comments for and against. Some say it can’t be trusted because anyone can write anything. On the other hand, a couple of years ago I attended an ARUPLO conference, where the keynote speaker from SOLS told us that Wikipedia is monitored so closely that yes, you can trust what is there. Perhaps she was referring to library-specific sites – I’m not sure. I agree with Diane (and Sook) that better guidelines need to be provided for using it, rather than not using it all. I have always been somewhat skeptical, although it has come in handy, such as when I was in the middle of a reference question assignment for LIS 9003 last semester. I was immersed in databases of 100 year old newspapers, trying to find in this case the price of butter in Chicago in 1912. I was getting caught with a name, I think something like the Chicago Dairy Exchange and spent hours trying to find the answer. In desperation I turned to Wikipedia for help, where I saw that the name of the Exchange had changed in 1898, and it listed the new name. Voila! Back to the newspapers, and there I found my answer! So yes, Wikipedia has its place – proceed with caution.

I also edited, for the first time ever, a Wikipedia article. I chose to edit something about Medellin, Colombia, the city where I spent my childhood, and recently visited again. Strangely enough, I was hesitant to actually make the edits, even though they were so very minor. On one photo, I added a caption stating where the photo was taken. I have stood in that spot myself – in fact, I took a photo there just last smmer – so I knew it was right, but it still felt odd. I also added a little blurb about the pride that people take in their city, and how clean they keep it. I was actually concerned about the “power” that this afforded me, and everyone else. How can something really be trusted if anyone can edit it? I knew my little bit was right, but that doesn’t mean all other edits are accurate. If readers take all of Wikipedia as gospel truth then we have a problem.

Now, the PBworks wiki caused me some anxiety, I will admit. It took me quite some time to decide where to start the “Interesting Articles” section, as I had an article I wanted to share, and when I finally did it I was still unsure I had done it “right” until someone else added an article to it. I didn’t find it very user friendly, but perhaps I just need to get used to the format. I do see the value of having all kinds of information in one location, for a group like ours, or for a library, for instance. I think I might go back in there and post a picture of my dog, just for fun. 🙂

1 Comment

Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Uncategorized