Monday, March 31, 2008

Social Bookmarking

I started using in Nov. 2007 when my office computer had some problem and automatically removed all my bookmarks in IE, Firefox, and Safari. Now I don't have to bookmark my favorite sites in several computers. Believe it or not I use several computers on a daily basis: two at the reference desk, one PC and one Mac in my office, and one Mac and one PC laptop at home. helps me organize my bookmarks in one central location and I can access them whenever I want. I also use 2collab to organize research articles. When I was in Scopus or ScienceDirect, just one click, the article citations will be bookmarked in my 2collab site.

So, what do social bookmarking tools mean to libraries and library patrons?
Our Reference & Outreach Department created a
delicious account hoping that it can be served as a resource portal for reference staff. This site is still under development. Another project I have been working on is LISTEN grant. The project team created a delicious site to organize useful Web sites and provide easy access to its users. An online presentation, "Using a Social Bookmark Site to Assist in Diffusion of Online Information to Support Professional Practices", will talk about our experiences with a social bookmarking site as a means of providing a central repository for online information related to information literacy and evidence-based practices in nursing. It will be presented at the 13th TCC Worldwide Online Conference in April 15-17, 2008.

Is social bookmarking all that good? What is the other side of the world?
When bookmarked article citations on campus, it's better to find the citations to add to your site from free PubMed if available, otherwise, you would be frustrated. On campus bookmarks to articles will give you access to full text articles the library subscribed to while you tried to access them off-campus, the access would be denied.

Potential for research assistance?
It might be helpful and useful to create interest groups using social bookmarking tools such as 2collab,
CiteULike, or Connotea. Then invite faculty members to participate in the group activities. Social bookmarking tools can also be used to created subject guides for different group patrons such as nursing, pharmacy, medicine, occupation therapy... I might have a try.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


flickrSLiDR allows you to easily embed the classic flickr slideshows on your blog. I just did it to slide show some pictures about my library

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Blogs and wikis created by medical librarians

It's inspired and interesting to see those blogs and wikis created by MLA members. There are so many creative and amazing minds out there!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Social Networking Tools

It's been lots of fun exploring social networking tools like MySpace, Facebook, and Linkedin. The questions are:
How can social networking be used by MLA to connect members?
Social networking tools provide an unlimited virtual space for people to connect with each other. MLA can take this advantage to connect its members such as creating online forums, working groups, or interest groups, organizing meetings, setting up recruitment booth, promoting MLA stuff, etc.

Should your library have a Facebook or MySpace page?
Definitely! It provides another venue for libraries and librarians to reach out to their users and promote library resources and library services. As more and more users have presence in Facebook or MySpace and use those tools to communicate with other people, libraries should also have a space or presence there.

Are there privacy concerns for individuals when using social networking sites?
Yes. Privacy is always a big concern in the virtual space. It is effortless for the Internet constantly collect and aggregate personal information. Website managers can easily record and track users' every action, which can lead to legal consequences. Before signing up for each site, make use how personal information is collected and used. Users need to have a second thought what to put and what not to put up there.

What did you like or not like about your experience with Facebook or MySpace?
I like the fact that people, either friends or non-friends, can meet and connect instantly without geographical limitation. What I don't like? It could be addictive and it could be time consuming to build a good profile and interact with people in a regular basis. If my library has a space there, I can't imagine who can invest so much time to monitor its activities and hold users' interest.

Hopefuly, in the near future, monitoring library's social networking sites is included in librarians' daily routine responsibility just like staffing the reference desk and providing library instructions. More research needs to be done as to how libraries can grow and interact with their patrons in the virtual environment.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A blog vs. a wiki

The blog owner writes and publishes their stories or posts and has full control over the blog content. Blog readers can only comment on the posts. They can not edit blog content. What's good for a blog -- library news, new resource updates, and library services. A wiki allows users to easily create and edit content. Wikis are often used for group collaboration and everyone can contribute. What's good for a wiki - subject guides, e-profiles, department notebook, etc.

Monday, March 10, 2008

RSS feeds at the library

RSS could be used in several ways at the library. RSS feed for library newsletter to tell people what is happening in the library. RSS feed for new books to alert library patrons about new books at the library. RSS feed for library podcast. On a frequent basis, our library produces podcasts on a series of topics in using library resources. Patrons can register to get updates on new podcasts. RSS feed for database topic searches and alerts to journals' latest table of contents.

Library patrons can use RSS feeds to organize information and keep current on their research area, such as get updates about news, stay current on topics of their interest, collect blogs of their interest and share information with their colleagues, etc. RSS feeds can bring all the latest information in one location and save time to search for the information in databases or the Web again and again.

Lots of potentials using RSS feeds for librarians to explore. The question is "if we build them and promote them, are they going to be used?" Changing patrons behavior of organizing information is a hard shell. Breaking the shell needs time and effort. Even among librarians, many have never used Web 2.0 tools to organize information either personally or professionally, let along implementing and persuading patrons to try new things.

I believe Web 2.0, the new generation of web services, will play an important role in the future of library services. Whether we like it or not, it will change the way libraries provide services.