Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I might just be putting off doing the dishes, but I've been thinking that I should be using this course as more than just an opportunity to find stuff that I think is fun. It's probably time to start applying some of these ideas to work stuff, too.

What I thought was, I could use the GROW method we got taught in the library leadership workshop a couple of weeks back, to determine an actual goal for the course, what I'd like to get out of this, in an overview sense. It's too easy to get caught up in the tools themselves, and the wonderful tangents they throw up, and forget part of what I'm here for.

The 'G' of GROW stands for Goal: what do I want to achieve? I want to identify how I can use these tools to serve our customers, to give them a better customer experience, to add value to what's on offer for them. I want to assess if there's something here we can use to enrich what we offer through the website.

Because I was thinking about RSS today, and putting together a couple of thoughts: 1) are databases and link lists our best and/or only way of offering people online information? At the moment, our online information falls into three categories, roughly; content we have written ourselves (with limited resourcing), content we buy from vendors, such as databases, and content we link to, mostly in the form of pages with lists of links (often left without being updated for some time).
2) RSS feed collections, such as with Bloglines or Netvibes, are free and simple to build up, given some canniness with selection principles and a good knowledge of our customers (both of which librarians have aplenty), and someone else in effect does ALL THE WORK of keeping them up-to-date. What about if we had something like a page on the website with feeds from all the NZ newspapers that offer such a service, for example? A page you could point people at that would be the online version of a nice newspaper reading room for local news? Once set up, it maintains itself!

I think we need to have a good look at how we can use that librarianly skill of selection to pick some useful stuff out of this mess of web content and offer a portal to it on our site. And I probably need to do some digging into how other libraries might be doing such a thing, and how it could work.

Another thing I was thinking today - as a library user myself, if I can put together a single webpage that delivers a selection of recipes from great sites to my desktop on a daily basis... I might not choose to travel to a library to borrow cookbooks.


Kelly said...

I like the way you're thinking with Netvibes etc. In fact netvibes have a new beta product called 'ginger' that I think could work perfectly for us in terms of offering something for our customers.

It allows you to create 'public' netvibe tag pages, so we could do something like you mention - create a newspaper feed page in ginger and link through to that.

I think it'd be great. Maybe I'm biased?

Danielle said...

The other thing I was thinking was, we could use our own html page, with the library banner and look'n'feel etc, and embed the feeds in that? I think that's possible, with some investigating?