Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Social Software in Libraries

The ARL Spec Kit, Social Software in Libraries, came out in July but I've just now had a moment to spend a little time with it. Beth and I answered the survey for the University of Kentucky. Imagine our delight to find that both the UK Second Life presence and our Blue 2.0 del.icio.us page were both chosen as examples in the report.

UK Libraries have been early adopters in many areas. To be good neighbors in a cubicle environment, many staff began using chat when the Young Library opened in 1998. Beth created a wiki for a conference way back in 2004. In the olden days of campus-only Facebook, we had one of the first Facebook profiles that got shut down. Then I created one of the first Facebook pages for a library. It's been cool to have the support to be able to experiment so much with social networking software.

As for the report, a few findings from my notes:
  • 64 of 123 ARL member libraries completed the survey (tends to be such a small group, which is unfortunate)
  • 95% of respondents indicate that they use social software in some fashion
  • 94% provide user assistance via chat or IM
  • 86% use wikis in some fashion
  • 84% use RSS feeds to disseminate information to library users
  • 82% blog
  • 71% use widgets (example: Meebo)
  • 70% participate in networking sites such as Facebook
  • 62% share media on sites such as YouTube or Flickr
  • 55% use tagging
  • 80% of respondents reported they began using social software through a grassroots effort of individual librarians
  • 92% said they use social software in hope that it will increase user awareness of library collections and services
  • 60% hope to support faculty teaching and learning through use of social software
There's much, much more here. For more information, see the PDF Table of Contents and Executive Summary

No comments: