Facebook adds quasi-blog capabilities

I read over on TechCrunch this afternoon that Facebook has added "blog-like" functionality. I logged into my profile to check it out. Facebook is promoting it on the main page once you authenticate. The feature is called Notes. It allows you to create posts, make comments on other people's notes, link up a web feed to an external blog, and even post pictures in your notes. 

The official syndication description from Facebook…

You can import posts from one external blog so that they appear along with your notes. Facebook will automatically update your notes whenever you write in your blog. Imported blog posts cannot be edited.

I set up the syndication feed for my profile and for the library's profile. 

Podcasting: What, How, and Why?

Kate Wenger and I presented on podcasting at the Ohio Library Council's Children's and Young Adult Services Conference held on August 16-17 in Columbus. Our write up for the conference materials:

Many new and innovative technologies have been rapidly embraced by young patrons. One of these new tools that you can use to reach young adults and children is podcasting. Podcasting is the creation and publication of audio to the Web for automatic download via a subscription. You don't need an iPod or a lot of Web development skills to get started. Come to this interactive presentation to learn how you can use podcasting to meet your young patrons where they are! Find out how to create your own podcasts and discover some of the many different ways you can use podcasts to engage young patrons at your library.

We had a full room (forgot to take a picture).  Our hour and fifteen minute presentation covered:

  • an overview of podcasting and web feeds,
  • why podcast,  
  • brainstorming session (where the participants came up with ideas of what they could podcast),
  • how to create a podcast,
  • what we do at Muskingum,
  • listening to and finding podcasts,
  • marketing and evaluating your podcast,
  • challenges,
  • and beyond podcasting.

We created a short podcast during the presentation. A nice young woman volunteered to read a book review for a YA novel and be recorded. We edited the file and uploaded it to the Liberated Syndication account created for the presentation.

We also demonstrated how you don't need to have a computer to record a podcast. Odeo Studio (plus others) allow you to call a number and record your podcast on a voicemail like system. For that demo we had another young woman read a brief piece on the Ohio Web Library.

Once again, there doesn't seem to be a lot of academic libraries podcasting. I recorded the Author Talks held in the library last academic year. That's been the basis for our podcasts. Both Kate and I agree that we don't have the time to create content on a regular basis. We're hoping to leverage additional content opportunities this coming year. One idea is to work with the children's lit class to see if we can do something.

I created a companion wiki for the participants. The seemed to be very appreciative of the wiki when we showed it at the end of the session. A copy of the presentation (both PowerPoint and a PDF version) are available on the wiki. The password to make changes is also listed on the wiki if you are so inclined to add your knowledge.

IM…your students use it, so why don’t you?

Kate Wenger and I were part of the SpeedUPdating circuit at the OPAL Conference.  This was the second year to do SpeedUPdating and I think it's a great way to expose library staff to a number of new ideas in a short amount of time.

First Year Pen Our 12 minute presentation (done 5 times in a row) was about the use of instant messaging at the reference desk. We started with the basics of IM, talked about why to use it (your students live on IM already), how we implemented it at Muskingum, some ideas for marketing the service (pens to all incoming Freshman which received kudos from Steve Cohen on Library Stuff) and challenges to implementation in an academic library.

The topic is not a new one. It has been talked about at a number of library conferences I have attended over the past couple of years. However, there doesn't seem to be a large number of academic libraries using IM

I have had librarians from two liberal arts colleges of similar size to Muskingum (outside of Ohio) contact me this summer to ask about our experiences with IM. I'm hopeful that more smaller colleges will give it a try.

We view IM as an additional communication channel to reach our students using a tool that they are already using a majority of the time. We were not overwhelmed by questions during our trial semester. I don't think we'll be overwhelmed this Fall.  Only time will tell how much this services is used. I'll try to report on our progress going forward.

Feel free to check out our presentation (PowerPoint [2.7MB] or PDF [521KB]) and related handout (94KB PDF) and use them.