ASIST 2011: Day One: Blogging for User Needs

The afternoon session I attended focused on the variety of ways that blogs can serve a collection and user base. Not exclusively as a publishing venue, but also as a focused user feedback tool, as a catalog, as well as a supplement to their collection.

The first speaker was Grace Constantino from the Smithsonian who talked about their survey project for the Biodiversity Library. They not only surveyed their population of users by traditional means (sending out an e-mail survey), but they then published it. They encouraged the users to include specific citations and links to their own work to serve as an incentive for participation. The speaker mentioned that due to the small, dedicated group of users they have, most were participating out of loyalty to the tool itself.  They learned a great deal, specifically that they had a user base within the artist community, who were interested in their images collection (many of them are hand drawn/painted) but had no way to access them specifically. As a result, they are adding in an image search. Here’s the “Users” section of their blog.

Next up was the UMarmot project out of Amherst. What I felt was most interesting about this project was the emphasis on the adaptability of the blogging platform in a library world of constant technological change. Here’s there collections.

Finally, Carolynn Sheffield of the Field Book project also from the Smithsonian Institute presented the exposure and sharing of field books. This includes not only their collection, but guest authors sharing info about their own uses of field notes.

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