NELINET IT Conference 2006–Blog that Bibliography

Blog that Bibliography

Gary S.   Atwood
Babson Library

Springfield College
private, coed college
210 faculty
5000 students
20% of students enrolled in Health, PE, Recreaton (HPER)

This presentation about HPER Librarian

Research by Topic guides
Gary says his research guides had their limitations
–no mechanism to highlight new sites
-site management is time consuming
—html updates are time consuming
–no alert system

Use Web 2.0 to get over these limitations
–Gary admits that he should have done some more investigating
—he decided to use blog software, as it helps to highlight new sources at the top, has RSS feeds

Blog software blogs
–new sites featured at the top of the page
–site management is largely automated
–RSS feeds

Gary demonstrates how to do a post in WordPress to show how easy it is.

Gary says there is more to blogging than the technical aspects.
There are usability issues to contend with—how easy is it to use?

Five usability issues for Blogs
–Use descriptive headlines
Most people will make a decision about reading the post based on the title
–Write clear and concise annotations
–Links say where they are going
Don’t say “click here”   . Tell them where the are going to go
–Publish frequency
Gary tries to write every Friday.
–Use Categories carefully
Don’t label posts with multiple categories.   Multiple categories will confuse the reader.   Don’t be too general or too specific.
Gary admits falling into one of the traps of being too general with some of categories.   for example, a category called “Health”
Gary admits that he created categories on the fly, when he should have put more planning into it.

Additional problems
Gary did not anticipate how difficult it would be for them to use it
He focused on the faculty–try to tie in with faculty’s class
Gary admits that he should have built a marketing plan
If no one uses the blog, it’s a failure, according to Gary
—RSS adoption
RSS adoption is fairly low

Challenges for the future
–Clearing out dead or obsolete sites
most blogs you don’t worry about dead links, but with a research guide blog, you need to
–some links need to get migrated into research guides
–blog needs to be integrated into the research guides

Has HPER been a success?
Gary admits yes, technology, but strategically, maybe.

See Nielsen’s Weblog Usability:   The Top Ten Design Mistakes

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