Category Archives: social networking

LIS 768 Paper Abstract

The paper examines the potential for use of virtual communities in academic libraries by first examining the uses of virtual communities in academia and then applying some of those uses to the academic library.  The paper also uses the research of Henri and Pudelko into the four types of virtual communities and how each is defined and then provides an example of the use of each time in the academic world.  The paper especially focuses on the virtual student and how academic libraries can use virtual communities to reach out the the virtual student.


Second Life

Although libraries and librarians seem to have caught on to the wonder that is Second Life, one of the biggest complaints that any Second Life users have is that they never see anyone else roaming around the virtual world. This seems like a trend with any new sort of online technology that explodes in its own time. I remember when Facebook membership was limited to only a small number of large universities. Well I beginning to think that Second Life’s time has come.

I was both shocked and excited when I learned that Dwight Schrute from NBCs The Office was going to be exploring Second Life on last week’s episode. Then I got even more excited when I learned that just the night before CSI: NY had done an episode featuring Second Life! And to top it all off there is now a Virtual CSI: NY in Second life where you can go and solve the crime just like the detectives did on the show!

Hopefully exposure in these two popular television shows is just the push Second Life needed to take off and we’ll all be seeing a few more people walking around now.

Here’s a clip of Second Life in The Office in case anyone missed it…


Prior to this week I had only ever heard of Ning.  Now I fear that I may become addicted.  Much like MySpace and Facebook, Ning is a social networking website.  What sets Ning apart from other social networking sites is that you join groups that a user created.  I love it!  While in Ning I created profiles with two different groups my LIS768 class ( and the Library 2.0 ( group.  Thanks to The Utopian Librarian for putting together the class Ning, I’m having a blast playing around with it!

I think something like this has great potential for libraries both on the staff and user level.  First, it would be a great way for staff to stay connected and share things with each other instead of the old fashioned (ok it’s going to be weird saying this is old fashioned!) let’s-send-out-an-email-and-copy-the-whole-staff way of communicating.  Also, it would be great for users to be able to be a part of their library’s Ning group and learn about library news and events that way.  It’s just a way of stepping outside of the library website box!

IMing Librarians

The library I chose to IM was the Phillips Memorial Library at Providence College in Rhode Island. The librarian was extremely courteous and willing to help. The questions I asked her were:

  • When did you start using IM reference?
  • What prompted your library to start using IM reference?
  • On average, how many questions do you receive by IM per day?
  • Do you publicize that you offer IM reference anywhere besides your website?
  • Is there any type of question that is harder to answer via IM?
  • Are there any barriers or problems that you have encountered using IM reference?

This particular library started using IM reference about 2 years ago.  I was very surprised when the librarian told me they usually only get 2 or 3 questions per week!  Then when I asked what they do to publicize the service she said that they have it on the website and will occasionally mention it in instruction sessions.  I’m wondering if there’s a correlation between the number of students that use it and the lack of publicizing?!  She also mentioned that any question that’s at all complicated is harder to answer through IM.  I can see where some questions that you get in an academic library setting would be harder to answer because of the whole information literacy movement.

While free IM clients like AIM and Meebo are excellent, I tend to the the new wave in academic libraries will lean more towards services like Elluminate.  Elluminate is video conferencing software that allows the conference administrator to push content at the other people in the conference and receive instant messaged or voice questions.  I know it’s not as nice for on demand information literacy instruction, but I can see where IM clients wouldn’t work as well either.

My first social networking experience

Being from a younger generation I have had a lot of chances to experience social networking beginning at a very young age.  My first experience came in the form of a email list related to a singer I really enjoy.  When I was in Jr. High School I started listening to Tori Amos.  She was getting ready to come out with a new album and I wanted to stay as up-to-date as I could on all of the gossip related to her new album.  I came across this mailing list for Toriphiles (what the fans of Tori Amos call themselves).

I had no idea what I was getting myself into at the time, but I became engrossed in the list communicating at least daily with my fellow fans.   That was back in probably 1997 or 1998 and to this day I still receive my semi-daily digest of Tori Amos related news from the Precious Things Mailing List.  It amazing for me to see how long some of these people have been actively posting to the list.  It was an extremely self-moderated list.  If anyone posted something obscene or off topic a stream of messages would come pouring in chastising them and you would never hear from them again.  It was fun to go back through the list archives to see just how it all started and to see that the list has been going strong for more than 10 years now.

My new L2 job assignment

I work at a small academic library. As one of my most recent jobs I have been assigned to propose and create MySpace and Facebook pages to represent our library in the world of social networking! I was so excited when I was assigned this task. Unfortunately it has to go through many proposals and approval channels before it can be published to the web. But better late than never right?!

So my first step in the assignment is to identify other academic libraries that are using MySpace, look at their pages, and determine what features might or might not work on my own library’s MySpace. So two nights ago at work I spent a good three hours of my time searching through profiles and taking notes about them. There could be worse jobs, right? Through my research came across an interesting library group. So any fellow librarian MySpacers out there should definitely check out the Libraries on MySpace group. It doesn’t seem to be just for libraries either. There are many librarians on there as well.

So if anyone knows of any academic libraries out there that have excellent MySpace or Facebook pages definitely let me know. Any tips of tricks that you may have for creating an awesome page are also greatly appreciated!