Update from Phoenix Public about some possible projects in the wind

There are several projects that the PPL Web Team is exploring right now that involve Library 2.0 technologies and social networking. For those that might not be
familiar with those terms, I think of them as just a way to describe letting lots of people work together to create or collaborate on something. For us that means allowing staff and patrons to have input on our catalog in a variety of ways.

Here is a quick summary of what we are thinking about right now and a little bit about how it works:

1. Staff Picks: We hope to have a way for every staff member to share their picks for good reads, great music and wonderful videos from the library’s collection. We want to have a simple way for any staff member to submit a “Staff Pick” and have that item be  ecommended when a customer searches for that topic. For example, you can search now for “business”, then click on “Staff Picks” on the left under “Recommended” and see the 124 great books that Peggy Pedigo, our business librarian, has been submitting as great business booklists for the last 5 years.  But when you click on the Movies Tab and click on “Staff Picks” you’ll see there are only 4 movies indexed as Staff Picks. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a ton of great videos that we’d recommend to patrons — just that we haven’t had an easy way to do it before. This will really be a great way to bring the unique aspect of the reader’s advisory function of library staff to our web patrons.

 2. Reader-created lists:  Amazon’s “Listmania” does a great job of allowing customers to create lists of good books or great music they like, then showing those lists to other customers who have searched on a similar item. For example when I search for any parenting book on Amazon, I’ll likely be presented with several lists of other books that readers have suggested for this topic. Why does Amazon allow their customers to recommend items? So that other customers will buy more of course. That’s pretty much what we want to do with our catalog — expose the richness of all the wonderful things we have so that our customers will check them out (but for free of course!). You can also see this working well on a website called www.bookspace.org from Hennepin County Library. We could do this same thing here since we already have the great My Account feature called “My Bookshelf”. We could offer My Account holders a choice to make their My Bookshelf list public, and then encourage staff to create lists of their choices to get things started, for example “Great Chick Lit” or “Classic Reggae” or even “Books that have changed my life”. Who wouldn’t want to take a peek at those titles?

 3. Tagging: In the non-library world the website Librarything.com has about 13 million tags created by book lovers around the world. I had never heard of tagging until a few months ago but now I know that tags are simply reader selected subject headings. That’s right, you select how you think your book should be cataloged. You no longer have to rely on the Library of Congress for your subject headings. For instance if you read the last Harry Potter book and you wanted to catalog it under the tag of “Dumbledore” you could. Then you could search for other books that other people had cataloged under Dumbledore if you wanted to. The Web Team is exploring the idea of partnering with librarything.com to offer our patrons this unique tagging service. Please take a quick look at www.librarything.com, register and tag your own library of good reads to get familiar with the world of tagging. Then let me know what you think.

The Web Team has many other goals and objectives right now but these are the ones that relate most to Library 2.0 technologies and social networking.

Thanks for all your enthusiasm and support for new technologies in libraries!

~ by Mary (from Phoenix Public) on March 23, 2007.