Integrating Blogs and Subject Guides

The Edmonton Public Library‘s subject guides are an excellent example of how RSS feeds can be integrated into library subject guide pages. See, for example, the guides to Architecture and Books Similar to the Da Vinci Code.
Both of these subject guides offer a variety of static links to other web and library resources. They also have a section of “Blog Entries” — comments and suggestions by EPL staff to other resources. According to Peter Schoenberg, the EPL’s Virtual Services Librarian,

Our distributed subject page authors/editors, can add a feed to their page by typing the url of the feed into a web form on their edit page. They can add a blog entry in the same way (typing text in a box). The format, title and page placement are all controlled by our web edit pages.
Not sure how many blog entries we will be seeing, but we are hoping it will allow a more personal and less institutional feel to the subject pages.
We use our home built cold fusion pages to provide the content management / web edit pages for our authors.

EPL naturally offers RSS Feeds for their subject guides along with book reviews by patrons (in fiction, non-fiction, kids, and teens).
[Via [Web4Lib.]

Rhode Island Libraries

The Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services offers Rhode Island-wide library news and information via its Rhodarian blog. From their site:

We are Rhode Island librarians and our mission is to post items that are of interest to the general RI library community, categorized so that you can find content in your area of interest.

According to the Oh!Libraries (Ohio Libraries) blog, similar services are offered by at least four other states’ libraries: Idaho, Indiana, Utah, and Ohio.

Topical Feeds at UPenn Library

The librarians at the University of Pennsylvania maintain a Library RSS Feed Generator. The main page of this site lists subject areas for which there are research guides (with the most recently updated on top). Each entry on the home page provides links to specific resources, a link to the RSS feed for that list, and a link to all the guides within a broader subject area.
For example, the History category has both an overall RSS feed for guides in history as well as individual feeds for guides to articles, historical image collections, and databases of print advertisements.
Even better, the librarian who curates each guide is listed by name, with an email address and last-updated date displayed on the web page.

Legal Advice for Bloggers from EFF

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a legal guide for U.S. residents on issues related to publishing a weblog. The 9-part guide, Legal Guide for Bloggers, is formatted as a series of frequently asked questions:

This detailed resource answers many questions bloggers may have — what is defamation and libel, compared to opinion; the benefits of obtaining a press pass; and an explanation of the legal difference between what you write and what a visitor to your site writes via blog comments or other such tools.

The Bloggers’ FAQ is a very handy guide to the world of publishing that so many of us are now joining.

[Via Web4Lib.]

Note: The original posting was edited on 7 November 2016 to correct links to the sections in the guide.

Have You Heard the News Today?

The Highland Park Public Library is using a tool called Speakwire. Follow the link to Speakwire from their blog (Highland Park has the link near the bottom of the right navigation column — “Want this blog to read to you? Click Here”) and after a few seconds’ pause, you’ll start to hear the blog entries read to you. The voice is synthesized but utterly understandable.
Bridging the gap between blogs and podcasts, Speakwire opens an interesting set of possibilities to reach vision-impaired patrons with library news and announcements.
Another tool, called “Talkr,” goes a bit further — it will turn blog entries into podcasts that you can download to play on your MP3 player while you’re offline. Talkr offers three podcasts for free; you can subscribe to their service to receive more.
[Via Shifted Librarian and Web4Lib.]

Book Club for Kids

I think this is really neat. The Roselle, Illinois, Public Library is publishing a kids-only book review weblog: Blogger Book Club.
Kids in grades 4-6 can sign up to be authors. The Youth Services department has selected a set of books for review (mostly nominees for the 2004 Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Award). These young bloggers can then post their reviews of any of the books they have read. Registered bloggers can also comment on other blogger’s reviews.
In addition to the rules for bloggers, the library also has a separate page of explanation for parents — a clever move to assuage any doubts parents might have about their children becoming public writers.

Minnesota Offers Blogs for All

It’s probably far from a secret, but the University of Minnesota library offers everyone in the University community a weblog of their own. UThink has been around just over a year — they celebrated the service’s first birthday on April 12, 2005 — and has an impressive level of use:

As of [12 April 2005] UThink has 1,231 individual blogs, 2,200 registered blog authors, 17,654 individual entries, and 12,486 comments to those entries…. [Of the registered blogs,] UThink has about 400 active blogs and a blog abadonment [sic] rate of about 65%. Some of you may be stunned by this data, but it shouldn’t be that surprising given that about 66% of blogs are abandoned in the “blogosphere” at large. UThink, it seems, is no exception.

Just think what a powerful communication tool your library could offer your user community. Whether for book discussions, community organizations, “birds-of-a-feather” gatherings among patrons with similar interests…. The possibilities are amazing.