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New Librarian Q&A Site

Sep - 2 - 2010
Nicole C. Engard

I received an email the other day about a proposal for a new Q&A site for librarians to communicate with each other. The explanation I got was:

Stack Exchange was previously a paid service that was changed to free, and this Libraries proposal is based on an existing site operating on the old platform called Unshelved Answers. (It was created by the people behind the Unshelved library comic strip.) The existing site has a whole range of questions about things like policies, programming, software and other tools. There are a bunch of interesting questions trying to figure out book titles from snippets of plots and other book details. All of the user content on the site is licensed under a Creative Commons license and will probably be imported into the new site if it succeeds in getting enough people to sign up.

It took me a little while to understand the point of the site, but I think I finally get it! Basically librarians would sign up and post questions and answers to their colleagues on topics such as policies, technologies, or general fun things like ‘what are you reading?’ I see a great potential to build a knowledge base using this tool and it seems like something you’d all be interested in maybe signing up for.

Right now the site is in the vote gathering phase. This means that we need the commitment of 100% (but I can’t find how many votes will equal that percentage). If you’d like to see the proposal and possibly commit to it, you can do so at this site.

3 Responses so far.

  1. Joe Kraus says:

    Seems like this might be very similar to the Library Society of the World room in Friendfeed? http://friendfeed.com/lsw

  2. BDP says:

    Thanks for publicizing this on your website.

    The reason it is difficult to determine the total number of commitments required is because it isn’t a fixed number. It’s calculated from a combination of total number of people committed and the “reputation” score of those people.

    Users of Stack Exchange sites each have a reputation score that is earned from people voting up their questions and answers. In the commitment phase on Area 51 the “total reputation” is determined by adding up each users reputation on all of the sites in the network. (This is the number displayed in bold below each persons name on the proposal page.)

    The Libraries proposal has mostly people who are new to the system joining in, that means the total reputation score of everyone will be lower than some of the other proposals. And, that means the Libraries proposal will likely need a larger group of people to commit in order for it to succeed.

    The entire network of sites (not including sites like Unshelved Answers which us running an older version of the platform) can be seen here: http://stackexchange.com/

  3. Nicole says:

    Thanks BDP that makes sense, and kind of makes it hard for us to get the site approved since as you said it’s new to most librarians so our reps are all going to be pretty low overall … but I’ll keep trying! :)


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