Blogging at Jenkins

I have finally gotten around to reading the latest Library Technology Report by Michael Stephens – Web 2.0 & Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software. I’m in the chapter on blogging and Michael is talking about blogging internally for communication within libraries. I’m thinking – “Boy its shame that I didn’t get to talk to Michael about our Intranet before this was published” – and then I hit page 21 – and there I am talking about our Intranet blog! I swear I do not remember talking to Michael – but apparently I did!

He writes:

Nicole C. Engard, Web Manager at Jenkins Law Library, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and author of “What I Learned Today…” (http://web2learning.net), told me an interim internal blog is in place at her library “to keep staff up to date for a few months now as a primer to the release of our new Intranet, which will include an internal news blog and an infinite number of project-specific blogs.”

Since he brought it up I thought I should give you all an update (9 months later) on how blogging is working internally at Jenkins.

Most importantly – I think – emailing is declining! Emails sent out to the entire staff are limited to emergencies (missing books, server outages, etc) only. Our news blog includes several categories to help the staff organize their posts – they are:

  • Accolades
  • Events
  • From the Community
  • HR News
  • In House News
  • In the News
  • IT News
  • Just for Fun
  • New Books
  • Outreach News
  • Research News
  • Tech Services News
  • Tips & Tricks
  • Volunteers Needed
  • Web Updates

The most frequently used is In House News (which you could probably guess). Most of the staff has posted at least once either in a comment or as a new post – some of our staff is happy to just sit back and read what we have to tell them. I have found that the blog (if nothing else) makes it much easier to find information down the road, it’s a must more powerful archival tool than email.

The most productive addition to our intranet would have to be the project-specific blogs. These are blogs that anyone can start – one for each ongoing (and completed) project within the library. These blogs are very active! And once again they are an amazing archival tool – I am working on a project now with our ILL and Reference departments and it is HUGE! This project itself has hundred and hundreds of comments and posts on it – all searchable by our intranet search engine and organized by topics (of our choosing). This makes it very easy for the web team to go through and make sure that we have completed everything that was asked of us. It also ensures that everyone who wants to know about the project does – if this were email it’s likely that conversations would go on between me and one person in ILL and then again between my assistant and someone else in ILL – which is not very productive.

A lot of people ask me what software we’re using – and the answer is “We’re not”. We are using a package developed by my team specifically to meet the needs of our librarians. We wanted features that we couldn’t find in free packages including a very robust WYSIWYG editor (we chose WYSIWYG Pro). This has allowed us to add features that you normally only find on forums – such as watching a thread to see if it has been replied to, seeing all of your comments and posts on one page, editing of your own posts at any time, and so on.

Overall I have to say that our staff is very pleased with this new way of working – and I’m ecstatic that everyone is collaborating with ease!!

If you want to learn more about our Intranet read my article from ONLINE Magazine – or come talk to me at Internet Librarian (my schedule is listed on the wiki).

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