Tag Archives: twitter

Types of library Twitter accounts

Pew Research have published a new infographic on the “six structures of Twitter conversation networks“.

infographic of Pew's six types of Twitter conversations - link above also has full report

Looking at this, I realised that number 6 – the “out-hub and spoke” shape, a “support network” where the organisation responds to complaints and requests – is how I’d always envisaged a successful library Twitter account to be. Lots of conversations, with lots of users, yay! One of our followers tweets a question about 3D biological models and I can share a link of something I saw mentioned at VALA – it feels pretty good (and apparently made him happy too). ā€”But as the text points out, these are still disconnected users.

What I now think might be a better(*) structure for a library Twitter account is something more like number 2 – the “unified” “tight crowd”. That is, where the library isn’t the centre of the universe, using Twitter as yet another medium in which to guard gates. Instead it’s one member of a group of equal members who all just have conversations with each other.

Fortunately this revelation ties in nicely with my unofficial policy of only following back people who are part of the group(s) we want to be part of. (Staff, students, other departments, local community groups.)

This has paid off pretty well because one such group where I work is actively developing a great wee tight-knit network, and by keeping an ear to that conversation we’ve been able to just slip on in. So they were organising a “Twitter for Academics” session and in preparation one of them asked for top tips to share. I said that what you see on Twitter depends on who you follow. Other people said other things. The library’s not just answering a question: we’re taking part in a conversation (which subsequently got storified).

So if you asked me today my top tip for twittering libraries, I’d say: Don’t just try to start conversations. Also find the conversations that are already happening and join in(**).

(*) Someday I need to blog about “good”, “better” and “best”. Short version, I think the words are actually meaningless unless you’ve answered the questions “Good at doing what?” and/or “Good for who?” Note that I’m not actually answering these questions in this post. Really the best structure depends on what your goal is.

(**) This raises as much as ever the question of “When is this proactive community engagement and when is this creepy stalkerish behaviour?” I think you’re safe if the conversation has a hashtag; pretty safe if there are otherwise a large amorphous group of people discussing something; and likely safe if someone is asking a question to the world at large, but you’re going to have to use your own judgement to figure out if they’re actually intending to ask the world at large or just their friends.

New Zealand libraries on Twitter (part 1)

[Edited 30/8 to add some more names and htmlise the @ links. Shall try not to edit further without extreme provocation. šŸ™‚ ]

I tweeted that I was planning a blogpost about New Zealand libraries on Twitter, but neglected to mention that by “planning” I meant that I have all sorts of cool ideas about it in my head, the extraction of which generally depends on what other cool ideas I come up with in the meantime. This seems a bit unfair, so I decided at least I can blog this much so far, and hopefully having blogged a bit will inspire me to keep going.

So, I have a list of all the New Zealand libraries I’ve found on Twitter. (If I’ve missed one out, please let me know!) As of today, these break down to:

(Oh Access! The whole point of me typing this up in a database was so I could rearrange the information and copy/paste it out again! If I’d known you were going to be like this I’d have used Excel! –Hah, found the export function.)

Academic Libraries

Public Libraries
@Ed_Puke_Ariki (I think? or possibly should count as museum, for which I have another more haphazard list.)
[ETA @RotoruaLibrary]

School Libraries

Special Libraries
[ETA @L2_S2S]

Stuff that’s awesome but isn’t a library communicating with its users

I may remove have removed this last category from my list and will remove it from any further analysis I do.

Not all of these accounts are currently in use. Further analysis to follow in due course.

Links of interest 25/3/10

C-SPAN Video Library “indexes, and archives all C-SPAN programming for historical, educational, research, and archival uses.” (Content is primarily US politics but see here for overlap with other subject areas.) All programs since 1987 can be viewed online for free.

Following in the popular footsteps of the Fake AP Stylebook Twitter account (“Use a hyphen to join words together, a dash to separate two words that really don’t like each other.”) come rival accounts Fake AACR2 (“2.17B1. Describe an illustrated item as instructed in 2.5C. Optionally, add woodcuts, metal cuts, paper cuts, etc., as appropriate.”) and Fake RDA (“2.3.3 When attempting to parallel title, line title up to proper title, put title in reverse, turn left, shift into drive, turn right.”)

Neat stuff

Links of interest 4/3/2010

Subject Guides
Springshare have created a Best of LibGuides LibGuide to share ideas about “the best of what the LibGuides system has to offer”.

Gale notes on Twitter that “We analyzed search usage growth for 5k libraries; 20% of them use widgets. The libraries using widgets had 60% higher growth.” Widgets can be built from their website (among other tools for measuring and increasing usage).

Infolit by video
Using video to address an immediate research need is an answer to a faculty complaint with students not researching broadly enough. The librarian put together a video in 30 minutes, posted it on his blog, subject guide, and course management system, and watched the video stats climb as students watched it.

COPPUL’s Animated Tutorial Sharing Project collects video tutorials that can be shared among library systems to avoid reinventing the wheel – including project files so libraries can tweak it to fit their environment. The ones I’ve seen are licensed with a “share-alike” Creative Commons license (meaning you can use it and change it but you have to license your finished product with the same license). You can browse or search for databases eg JSTOR.

Miscellaneous Web 2.0
7 Things You Should Know About Backchannel Communication: Mostly backchannel communication happens at techier conferences but 7 Things points out that: “Backchannel communication is a secondary conversation that takes place at the same time as a conference session, lecture, or instructor-led learning activity. This might involve students using a chat tool or Twitter to discuss a lecture as it is happening, and these background conversations are increasingly being brought into the foreground of lecture interaction.”

10 Technology Ideas Your Library Can Implement Next Week “to start creating, collaborating, connecting, and communicating through cutting-edge tools and techniques”.

Measuring the impact of web 2.0 (via a colleague via the LIS-WEB2 mailing list):

Opening hours

I have a saved Twitter search for mentions of ‘library’ within 1000km of New Zealand. It gets people talking about iTunes libraries, programming libraries, and even actual book libraries. Sometimes people just mention visiting by-the-by, and sometimes they talk about good experiences (yay wireless, yay free stuff, yay nice staff!) or bad experiences (overdue fines, book wanted is out, library too noisy).

I’ve seen a few recently surprised at how late libraries open in the morning, but this one made me laugh:

9:30? The library opens at 9:30! Why so late? Is it because librarians need extra time in the morning to put their hair in a bun?

Web 2.OhMyGod to Web 2.OhNo

Douglas Campbell and Chelsea Hughes

Chelsea Hughes and Douglas Campbell
Nautical theme using the Web 2.0 Map.

MySpace – went to tell musicians “Give us your CDs, it’s the law.” Message was clear but didn’t actively engage; then left and had no exit strategy.

Blogs – started up a couple. Also name “The Collections blog that never happened” – because would be too time consuming for staff to do necessary research. Other blogs (Library Tech and Create Readers have been successful and they’re sticking around.

Flickr – Rights was an issue to start with but now joined Flickr Commons. Staying but passively – adding stuff but not joining discussion and groups.
Learned how to take risks, created relationships. But didn’t have resources to really nurture their pressence – like blogs it’s not really anyone’s job.

2008 Web Harvest
Timeline: anger because of bandwidth. NatLib explained so people were happier. What went well – they were already in the social spaces so were alerted to anger quickly and could respond quickly.

Twitter – worked well because could apply past lessons. Identified as opportunity to promote collections. Tea-break tweets only – no system outages, media releases. Try to be at desk for 30 minutes after tweets go out in case of replies so can stay engaged. Don’t measure success by number of followers but by clicks on bit.ly links and conversations. Low effort so definitely staying. Much went well; so far nothing’s gone badly!

Have tested waters in wikipedia, slideshare, delicious, youtube, but so far haven’t found a good fit at them. These places don’t meet their criteria of having something to offer, someone to tell it too, and a way to sustain it.

Lessons learnt:
Engage, set goals, know your audience, know your limits, know yourself, be social, own it, choose your platform wisely, make it personal, take risks but be smart about it, be casual but not too casual.

Handout folded in shape of boat with chocolate ‘gold coin’ folded inside. Contents will be on Library Tech.

Q: Still doing Flickr Commons?
A: Yes, still adding things, just not more involved.

Q: Are you capturing NZ Tweets through NDHA?
A: No. Not sure how to identify NZ twitterers. Only covers .nz and “known offsite distributors”.

Q: How do you sell Flickr etc to bosses?
A: Get a longer leash to trial it; point to success examples; show them the benefits. Get a three-month pilot agreed.

Q: Re “just do it” – but it’s about the library’s reputation too.
A: If you’re just doing it then use a personal account but also be smart about it.

Being online is just another way of living your life – a staff member could make just as bad a reputation for you at the pub.

Implementing Web 2.0

Paul Hayton

Metrics are important – available on flickr, wordpress, facebok, youtube, witter. Wikipedia doesn’t.

Launch dates all refer to Dunedin Public Library’s accounts.

consider using a secret email address; it negates most IT/Council security uploading hassles. Subject heading becomes title and body is description.
Flash-based tools may break so use the basic uploader
Pro account gives features that are worth it.
Link Flickr to blog, facebook, etc – facilitates crossposting.

Started having news and reviews blogs. In Feb 08 merged to a single blog at wordpress.
Use Google Analytics. Hosting on own servers makes it easy to put code in.
Suggests posting every 1-3 days. Every day is too much, every week not enough.
Include youtube clips, flickr banner and links to other services down the side.

If doing more than one thing then reuse your content! Eg description on images / blog description of event. Push people through to different services by linking blogpost, photo, through to youtube video etc.

Post a little content often rather than a lot infrequently.
Link to other online spaces proactively
Review content using metrics to discover what really is popular content (eg topical links to Swayze-related collection)
Use categories, not tags to standardise search when running a blog with multiple contributors – forces authority control.

Wikipedia article – launched April 08. Anecdotally well-received but hard to read statistics. Have had one instance of vandalism – corrected by wiki community within 24 hours. When Paul started adding stuff he had people telling him he couldn’t put up library-copyrighted stuff.
Establish an account
Declare who you are
Start small, build content as time permits
Add images and links to other online spaces
Reference where you can
Seek other pages with related content and edit to include a link back to your own page

Launched May 08; now 111 videos, average of 40-60 viewers per day.
Invest in a tripod
Recording at 320×240 at 8 frames per second is fine and reduces both file size and upload time
YouTube has a 10min limit
Don’t pan and zoom.
Be consistent in categories and tags

Launched December 2008 – wanted to establish a profile and generate viral promotion; engage in dialogue with fans and deliver targeted promotional info to fans
Address is horrible – get a badge. (Me: if you have 100+ fans you can get a custom address)
Metrics interesting – fans are 64% female which reflects library membership. Highest fans are at 25-34%
Good conversation going.
Have a response plan for if customers engage.
Establish a page, not a group.
Post links to other online spaces
Use the events feature and selectively send invites to fans
If you have a Twitter account, consider linking your status updates to it.
Import blog, flickr content etc to your page.

Launched Feb 09
Can get statistics from various analytic sites eg tweetstats.com
Predominantly events stuff.
Use web stats services to analyse account
Use the power of the + in http://bit.ly/1894XD+ to get stats on how often it’s been viewed.
Firefox – install Power Twitter add-on.
“The more you give the more you get” – the more you tweet the more followers you get – but it’s more about quality vs quantity.

– Strategy – be clear about why and where you’re playing, but you don’t need a full strategy before you dive in. No analysis paralysis!
– Staff/time – better to do one thing well than several things poorly. Look for something you like and do that.
– Learn by doing. Forgiveness vs permission, action vs policy.
– Proactively network with like minds.
– Spend time each week being a ‘naive enquirer’ to learn more.

Q: Release permission for filming booktalks, audiences?
A: Get permission for authors, performers. Camera is generally not on audience – only incidental and not very identifiable. Anecdotally – email from someone in a video who wanted a copy to send it around

Q: Problems with Wikipedia’s rule against editing your own page?
A: No issues.

Q: YouTube filming at low resolution – shouldn’t we film at high resolution for posterity and just upload a low-res version?
A: Yes, valid point – could be something we could do better at. But currently dealing with practical issues

Links of interest 14/9/09

The National Library of China is celebrating its centennial.

Nga Upoko Tukutuku korero is a new blog for discussion on Maori Subject Headings – each week they post a new question for readers to answer/comment on.


  • Promoting Library Reference Services to First-Year Undergraduate Students: What Works? (feature article in RUSQ this month) “describes a study that sought to answer three questions:

    1. What percentage of first-year undergraduate students are aware of reference services?
    2. What percentage of first-years seek information from reference librarians?
    3. Through which media are first-years comfortable communicating with reference librarians?”

    The summary on page 4 begins “At least in their first year of college, students respond most strongly to library reference service promotions given in person.”

  • The Swiss Army Librarian posts a “Reference Question of the Week” describing the question and the way he found (or didn’t find) an answer. His recent post on “What’s in your ready ref?” is also fascinating.


  • The British Library Sound Archive has made over 23,000 sound recordings available for listening online (where copyright permits) to anyone anywhere in the world. This includes music (classical, popular, traditional), oral history, nature, and linguistic recordings.
  • The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre has released 1000 NZ classics in e-book format

There seems to be a revival in posts about Twitter recently – in the last couple of weeks I’ve come across:

(And for those interested in New Zealand birds, Twitter accounts Kārearea (kakarapiti) and newzealandbirds.)

Links of Interest 26/8/09

University of Otago Law Library has a new blog to go with their new library.

Massey University Library have added book ratings to their catalogue – when logged in, your ratings show in yellow; when logged out, average ratings show in blue.

Westlaw have annoyed librarians everywhere with an ad that “Are you on a first name basis with the librarian? If so, chances are, you’re spending too much time at the library. What you need is fast, reliable research you can access right in your office. And all it takes is WestĀ®.” They have since apologised.

Useful sites
A Digital Outrigger is a blog covering issues in digital libraries and usability – it posts regular link roundups and is well tagged to allow focusing on specific areas of interest.

The JISC Academic Database Assessment Tool lets you compare journal title lists, databases, and ebook platforms.

Heard of Project Gutenberg but don’t have time to read all its books? Now Project Twutenberg aims to convert each of these books into a 140-character summary.

Food for thought
After a presentation on Digital Reference, some librarians have started talking about the emerging trend towards the real-time web and the real-time library. David Lee King points out, “remove all the 2.0, digital, online stuff from this idea, and we’re simply talking about the real, physical, day-to-day experience of a normal (yet very good) library. Emerging online services are working to make this normal, active experience we have at the physical library the same when we’re online.

Elsevier scandal for 24/6/09 and other links of interest

Not content with publishing fake journals, Elsevier’s marketing division recently decided to “offer $25 Amazon gift cards to anyone who would give a new textbook five stars in a review posted on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.” Upon exposure, it’s now recanted the scheme.

More New Zealand libraries on the social web:

Photos of libraries to drool over:

A report from Cambridge University about what students are interested in doing on mobile phones: primarily opening hours, location maps, contact info, and access to the library catalogue.

A hilarious and very true rant on attending vendor training sessions; and a more serious post in response on how this applies to the kind of training sessions we give students.

National Library of the Netherlands is to secure long-term preservation of the content of the Directory of Open Access Journals.