Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Save Wasserman & the use of blogs to gather user input

If you went to library school at the University of Maryland, then you know that the College of Information Studies is planning on closing its library and integrating that collection and services into the graduate library on campus. Of course, the students started a blog to discuss the closing of the Wasserman Library and the postings have been interesting to me, since I graduated from there and remember studying (and sleeping) in that library. What though is even more of interest is that the students (and others) are creating dialogue on what this library closure and change in services means to them. For example, what will this space now be used for? And how does all of this relate to the changes occurring in library schools (or information schools)?

So...what does this mean to you?

As you build new services or eliminate old ones, consider how you might communicate with your users and gather their input. Could you use a blog to facilitate the dialogue or use e-mail discussion lists? If you didn't want to engage all of you users, could use at least engage your power users or major stakeholders? When considering a digitization project, could a blog be used to tell your users what your doing (e.g., how you are selecting materials) and garner their comments and reactions? [Imagine really lifting the veil on the section criteria and getting good feedback on what people want?!]

Remember that blogs and discussion lists can come and go. Consider building temporary ones when you need to transmit information or build discussion.

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