The meaning of social network sites for libraries

I haven’t studied the literature about social network sites much and libraries but I stumbled on this article: Academic Libraries, Facebook and MySpace, and Student Outreach: A Survey of Student Opinion by Ruth Sara Connell in portal: Libraries and the Academy, Vol. 9, No. 1 (2009), pp. 25–36.

The Valparaiso University Library, outside Chicago, surveyed 366 first-year students during January-February 2008: “…to discover their feelings about librarians using Facebook and MySpace as outreach tools”. Here’s a conclusion extracted from the article abstract:”Most indicated that they would be accepting of library contact through those Web sites, but a sizable minority reacted negatively to the concept. Because of the potential to infringe on students’ sense of personal privacy, it is recommended that librarians proceed with caution when implementing online social network profiles”.

The students were asked if they had a profile on Facebook (338 out of 366) and MySpace (151 of 366). 190 had Facebook but not MySpace and 145 had both. They were asked if they would add the library or librarian as a friend. The majority of respondents (211 or 57.7 percent) said that they would not be proactive about it, but if the library friended them, they would accept the friend invitation.

The were also asked: “how would you feel if the library tried to send you announcements and communicate with you via Facebook and/or MySpace?” More students (156 of 366) answered that they would be more receptive to information received in this way than any other response. The second most commonly given answer (134 or 36.6 percent) was that “I would not pay attention but not mind this communication.”

Other comments from the survey, negative and positive:

“I think this is a really good idea because students check Facebook and MySpace before Groupwise campus e-mail system…”

“It’s probably not worth your time unless the library does new and exciting things”.

“Facebook is to stay in touch with friends or teachers from the past. E-mail is for
announcements. Stick with that!!!”

Beside of the Valparaiso survey the article is a nice review of some of the literature within the subject. Here is some extracts:

“Students are far less concerned with privacy than many librarians assume they are”. Source: Daniel Mack et al., “Reaching Students with Facebook: Data and Best Practices,” Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship 8, 2 (Summer 2007),

“A big difference exists between being where our patrons are and being
useful to our patrons where they are. A profile should be designed to offer something
to patrons, so they will keep coming back to it.” Source: Meredith Farkas, Social Software in Libraries (Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc., 2007).

When reading this interesting article I thought of the very small survey we made the Umeå University Library in spring 2007, before the Facebook-fever outreach, asking library visting students randomly about their thoughts of the library website building their own web 2.0 services like recommendation tools, forums, private profiles etc. (like the pioneering web 2.0 library at the public library of Umeå).

Nearly every respondent, it was a VERY small survey though, didn’t see any meaning for the library to build their own web 2.0 applications, though some kind of personalization was appriciated like save my search history, my journals and databases.


Alexander Bard on talent-generated content

At last year conference SIME 2007 Alexander Bard was talking about talent-generated content. According to Fredrik Wass at Internetworld Bard said: ”Talent-generated content is the future”.

“According to Bard we won’t have effort to surf web sites like YouTube to find good content. Instead we will trust someone who will do it for us, for example media companies and bigger players at the market with financial support”.

At the Thomas Crampton blog I also found this transcription of the interview:

Alexander: It is the guy who finds the content that gets paid.
Esther: But your friends will do it for free.
Alexander: No, they won’t do it for free. In the music industry the idea that record companies is ridiculous because I don’t have the time to go through YouTube to find the talent. YouTube is for the underclass, this is not for the mass media. Somebody has to sort out who has talent and who does not”.

The guy who finds the content gets paid? Well, librarians get paid by taxes (in most cases) and even if there are guys working as librarians (I’m one of them) most of them are females. But Bard perhaps see a future for information searching and gathering entreprenuers.

More about Slideshare

Can’t stop getting excited of Today my slideshow about The perfect interface is the second most featured.

I’m also the most favorited slideshow today:

Well, enough boasting! ;-)

Eagerly I’m waiting for further developments like:

1. putting slideshows as private.
2. Exporting slideshows as ppt, pdf and other formats.
3. Online editing.

More suggestions?

The only content-related web service I ever payed for is Flickr, but I would definitely pay for this also if they do further developments.

Show your slides at

Thanks to Guus van den Brekel the other day I discovered another fantastic web 2.0-service called  As the name expresses it’s a service where you put up your power points to share with others. In your profile you also set up which creative commons license your prefer for your slides. You can embed your slideshow in another web page by copying some code from Slideshare, just as possible with YouTube, Flickr etc.

I put up two of my english talks from autumn 2006 and whoops a couple of people had saved my presentation about perfect interfaces as a favorite. Don’t think I’ve been that overwhelmed since I discovered Gmail or Librarything. I just wonder when Google will buy this service too and I just wonder why they haven’t bought Librarything yet.