Letters and Fetters

Letters and Fetters

Thursday, December 11, 2008

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I finally understand the functionality of wikis. I never quite got it before. I used to think it was just a group web site without many layout and design possibilities. I now see that layout and design are of secondary importance. With the Stephens County site, people interested in promoting the Stephens County region can add their bit to the page. Business owners, school principals, librarians -- anyone who has a reason to promote their site or business can get on.

I noticed in the guidelines a warning that anyone can contribute, so your competitor may be right next to you on the site. Guidelines seem like a good idea to keep it from becoming spammed by one industry or business and to keep profanity and junk away.

I enjoyed the Loudoun County wiki link off the Bull Run library wiki. It was aesthetically very nice. It was clear and clean, and I loved the expanding drop-down menus.

One thing I discovered on this site was a service called "library elf" http://www.libraryelf.com/Libraries.aspx
that allows patrons to receive notices, even text messages on their cell phones, when their library materials are about due. I noticed one SD library on the list of participating libraries, the Siouxland Library in Sioux Falls.

I can see that a library could use such a wiki. Students (we are a college library) could add hints for other students: Use the copier by the reference desk instead of the one by the tech room because it's easier to use; the P section has been moved downstairs; there are flash drives for checkout at the reference desk.

Librarians could use it too, like the librarian in Stephens County who featured certain books that month or quarter and linked each title of a featured book to a catalog entry. Kind of the equivalent of a display, only it's interactive.

I also noticed the page of what each of the library staff is currently reading. That would be fun to make up and change as you read new books.

You could feature your archive displays, your kids' displays, community issues. You could have a library troubleshooting page and suggestions of helps by librarians.

You could have a page with common patron complaints or questions.

Lots of possibilities.

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