Traditional reference service is dead--- or dying. This blog will focus on new approaches toward providing library assistance to patrons... or whatever else I feel like rambling on about.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Intuitive Revelations: The Ubiquitous Reference Model

I’ve been trying to merge “the library” with student blogs for nearly two years now. It’s been a long evolution, but I think I found the most efficient manner given the current technologies available.

A sneak-peak is available here:
Intuitive Revelations: The Ubiquitous Reference Model

Essentially, the paper describes a proactive approach toward interacting with college students. While the library world has just discovered blogs, these students have been keeping online journals for years. They use services like LiveJournal and Xanga, and even MySpace and Facebook to interact—often providing insight and commentary on their hectic lives. My interest was mining this data for educational opportunities.


The Major Theme: We need to get out from behind the desk and help students when and where they need it.

38 Comments:

Anonymous bridgetm said...

Interesting paper! Using blogs from that angle had never occurred to me before... something to ponder over...

9:04 PM

 
Anonymous Kristen said...

I really like your ideas, but it seems a bit time-intensive to monitor and respond to individual blogs, even using bloglines. How do you imagine this would this scale to more than 20 students?

11:31 AM

 
Blogger Brian Mathews said...

Scalability has been the common question. I’m actually up to nearly 100 journals now. Essentially, I rely upon the keywords. Typically when I come in each morning there is an average of 30-40 new posts and about 7-8 that match my keywords. Of those, about 2 are “reference/research” related topics. This is small and you could question the value of the effort, but it seems to make a positive impact with the students I help. Plus it lets me keep up with who’s dating who—just kidding. I’d say I spend 10- 20 minutes a day on this, the hardest part has been setting it all up; answering questions is easy. Then once a week, typically Friday, I’ll speed read the entirety of that week’s posts in case I missed anything- which takes about 30 - 45 minutes. Thanks for your interest.

I’d be curious to see how this method works at other schools—especially those with a larger population of business, humanities, and social science disciplines.

2:54 PM

 
Anonymous eric f said...

he, brian -- i read this a few weeks back and shared this with some of my colleagues here at UMich. many of us were concerned witht he intrusive feel of the idea, and with some reason. so many articles have come out about police, potential employers, professional contacts, etc, using blogs / MySpace / Facebook accounts to learn more about the people they are dealing with on a professional level. however, many students 'assume' that their profiles are spaces for them to post about how much booze they downed the other night and how funny it was that they barfed on their girlfriend. though blogs, facebook, and myspace are all publicly available, many students consider them their own private friends-only areas. i would think a librarian that catches a post on "library" or "assignment" and contacts that patron runs the risk of making students feel that thier so-called "privacy" was violated.

i am much more in favor of creating MySpace or Facebook accounts for librarians and using the "join classes" feature that makes the librarian a "student" in the classes. When students log on to their facebook and browse the people in their classes, boom, there's a librarian. it's proactive enough to get to where the students are (facebook), but passive enough not to invade privacy.

i haven't been doing the kinds of things mentioned in this article, so I have no real basis on if students actually consider it a violation of privacy, but as a student, it would seem awkward to me.

5:52 PM

 
Blogger Brian Mathews said...

I can appreciate the concerns you brought up. I have found that if I stay on topic, that is, commenting only on academic/research related postings, that the students don’t seem to mind my ‘intrusive’ behavior. I think this whole point of social software is to interact and communicate. As long as I can add value they welcome the assistance.

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