Monday, April 07, 2008

CIL2008: User Generated Content (and more info on LOC & Flickr)

Roy Tennant gave a talk on User-Generated Content to a full crowd. He's going to cover both real (photos, movies) and descriptive content (tag, ratings).

He plugged "Social Software in Libraries by Meredith Farkas.

Why (user generated content)?
  • More (decent) content is better -- Let's find ways for our users to contribute
  • More access is better
  • Help provide more personalized service
  • Can foster interaction and community
  • "We don't know everything" - Meredith Farkas
  • More data trumps better algorithms
Contributions to Content
  • Added new content
Descriptive Contributions
  • Helping to describe the content
  • Provide missing information
  • By exposing content on the web & providing a way for people to contribute info. Lower the barriers to participation.
Library of Congress Photos on Flickr
  • 5.4 million views in one month
  • More than 10,000 unique tags (out of nearly 55,000 total)
  • Acquired more than 11,000 contacts through Flickr
  • More then 3,500 comments posted by more than 1,400 users
  • Have updated 68 records based on user input
What have they accomplished?
  • Higher profile of its collections
  • Community engagement
  • Corrections and additions to metadata
  • Sparked discussions and elicited personal histories that relate to photos. People did really investigate the full images
  • Higher visibility for the LC blog
Exploiting the knowledge of the masses
  • Many eyes increases the likelihood of getting things right
  • Library staff are often distant from localized knowledge of items in their collections
  • the web can provide a feedback loop
Contributions to Discovery
  • For example, Hennipen Public Library --> bookspace
  • User terminology
  • Low barrier (only the cost of typing)
  • Low overhead (uncontrolled)
  • Can have redundant terms
  • Odd grammar
  • Steve.Museum
  • LibraryThing
  • Aggregating synonyms
Third Party Providers
Thoughts & Considerations
  • Our idea of "content" may not their idea of content
  • It's going to be messy and that's (mostly) okay
  • There are ways to increase effectiveness
Issues to Consider
  • What are your goals?
  • Are you set up appropriately to meet those goals?
  • Are there strategies you can use to maximize benefit?
  • How to distinguish between user and library content?
  • Will you need to vet/moderate?
  • Is the impact worth the investment?
Where from here?
  • User engagement is a GOOD THING
  • Need to get up to speed on how to foster engagement in our systems
  • Need to get savvy about how best to use things like tags more effectively

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