The nice thing about presentations that are preserved on the Web is that you can go and watch them later at your leisure. The HigherEdBlogCon took place back in April 2006, but it was a somewhat busy time for me, so I was not able to attend virtually at the moment. However, the site has the presentations available, and I have a little bit of time to look at some things right before the first summer session starts. I had the site's feed on my Bloglines, so when they announced something of interest to me, I clipped it as a reminder for later. I am now going through some of those clips. If you already attended the Con, you may want to skip the post then. Now, there is some debate about the value of conferences going on and about the importance of socializing at such events. The social part I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, I believe in the value of meeting like-minded colleagues to discuss issues of common interest over an adult beverage On the other hand, I really don't give a **** about drunken debaucheries in a professional setting. I will leave it to the pundits and A-listers of the biblioblogosphere to hash it out. Find some examples of that discussion here and here. Just take this as the notes of one of the folks who cannot afford to do the jet set and barely has the time to do something synchronously. Asynchronous works for me, but it may not work for other readers, so I leave it to them to decide.
Anyways, back to this. Last week, I had a chance to watch Ms. Kristin Johnson's presentation on "Subject Librarian 2.0." I learned a few things, and I found myself thinking about my own library and some possibilities. I also forwarded the link to one of my colleagues. Maybe something will come out of that as well. So, here go some notes and thoughts:
- Things a subject librarian can do with a blog: describe new resources, announce upcoming events, explain trends, and detail services, and some other things.
- The prompt for the presenter was to find a good method of communicating with her faculty. It needed to be a method that caught their eye enough to get their attention, but it could not be too annoying, or they would stop paying attention. Blogs could meet this need.
- A blog can help reach more faculty, especially the adjuncts. She was also prompted by the fact that she only did one newsletter in six years or so. The newsletter was well received, but it was time consuming, and it was "paper intensive."
- The presenter posts to her blogs once a week.
- The presenter posts on things such as: new books, highlights of reference books, updates on Wikipedia and Google, pleasure reading posts, and what she calls "semi-rambling posts that I try to fit into information literacy. . . ."
Some preliminary thoughts include the need to have a consistent template. In this sense, activating a blog(s) on the service our library uses would address this nicely. On the other hand, if I create something, I can likely make it something nice and not be tied by having to conform to "the campus look." The "campus look" actually is one of the things that hinder our website, but as it is something we have no control over, no sense in talking about it. Another thought is that our blogs (the subject ones) lack links to useful subject-related links. By this, I mean websites related to the disciplines or to library-specific resources. Now, this can be easily corrected. I don't maintain any of our subject blogs, but I can certainly find ideas and forward them. As for my areas, making the blogs myself would allow me to select links.
On a side note, I don't have many links on my personal blogs. For one, I have avoided having a blogroll to avoid giving a sense of favorites. As for LIS links, it may be something to think about. I think part of it for me also is my guess that a lot of people (ok, the few people) who read my blogs may be doing so in an aggregator anyhow, which means they don't actually visit the blogs' sites, so there's less of a motivation. I just have a couple of things that are personal, such as my L-School and MPOW, and some buttons. As I said, maybe it is time to rethink that.
- The presenter announced her blogs via e-mail after the summer at the beginning of a fall term.
- Later, the presenter surveyed her faculty using a survey tool created on SurveyMonkey. She asked about use of the blog, effectiveness of the blog, and reader preferences. The questions were brief.
- From the presentation, I gathered that Ms. Johnson e-mails an announcement to her faculty when there is a new post to her blogs.
- Subject blogs should be practical and focused. They need good marketing. One may need to allay some faculty fears or resistance if they see blogs as "diaries." I found it interesting that she entitled her blogs "news pages."