Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Library Blogs, Bulletin Boards and RSS Feeds

Librarians and libraries are not much different than individuals in others organizations. They have needs to communicate and strive for ways in which to heard above the din. Blogs and RSS feeds are among the newer technologies that assist individuals and their organizations in distributing information to people they want to reach. Speed, quality, access and ultimately, control always come up as issues.

At the risk of revealing my age, I remember these same issues when I was involved in the introduction of early text only menu and information systems, proprietrary mail, Gopher and pre-Mosaic web applications. Quality assurance and accuracy are institutional goals that can be assured by an authoritarian model. Interactive newsgroup and wiki pages are probably the most democratic means of sharing information but one poorly conceived commentary can reflect badly on the instituion.

I can see an intranet that allows for the interaction between staff and departments that could foster better communication that the traditional staff newsletter. Moderated bulletin boards could also be used for interaction between the library and its patrons. These are great tools and can be effectively used by libraries when they also provide the support these tools need.

I know several fellow staff members who have blogs but each take the extra effort to keep their presence on the Internet seperate from that of their institution. They can express their own opinions. I see that as a good thing.


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