Facebook: how does it fit in your professional life?

As a hospital librarian, I work in an environment where Facebook and other social media tools are blocked by an Internet filter. I have a personal account, but I’ve never considered it as an outreach tool, though my parent organization (a health system) has a corporate Facebook presence.

So I found Hilary Davis’ article reflecting on the pros and cons of a professional Facebook presence very thought-provoking.  Reconsidering Facebook (at In the Library with a Lead Pipe) discusses the issues of the personal-professional separation, privacy and data ownership concerns, the need to offer access and services where the patrons are, and the increasing business and corporate use of Facebook to reach out to customers.

Facebook is becoming “mainstream,”  a trend we’ll need to keep in view.


But is it legal?

The buzz in the library world involves a guest blog post in Tame the Web: Using Netflix at an Academic Library.  The gist is, when a patron (student or faculty) requests a video the library doesn’t own, the library borrows the item through its Netflix account for the patron to use.

This violates the Netflix Terms of Service agreement; see the LibraryLawBlog post Using Netflix in a Library for an outline of the terms violated by the library’s practices.  However, as one can see from comments posted to the original article, Netflix’s failure to pursue legal remedies against violating libraries is taken by some to be tacit approval of the practice.

In a Chronicle of Higher Education article, though, Netflix VP Steve Swaney says the company “frowns upon” such use and expects libraries to follow the terms of the agreement. Comments from librarians who have consulted their legal departments indicate that they’ve been advised against using Netflix accounts; there are no “institutional accounts,” and the uses described would violate contractual agreements.

Snow day – catching up on library blogs

Glad to be in here, not out there, as the snow continues to fall…

I don’t offer “virtual reference” as such, as a solo librarian, but I found David Lee King’s post, Ask-a-librarian services need a reboot, thought-provoking.  How do we prioritize service requests? And how do we advise our patrons of likely wait times without seeming to put them off? 

John Mark Ockerbloom at Everybody’s Libraries reminds us that January 1 is Public Domain Day in  Public Domain Day 2009: Freeing the Libraries. The post reviews public domain rules under U.S. Copyright law and the Berne Convention, celebrating the additional works that came into public domain the first of the year. Ockerbloom calls on libraries to track when works they hold come under public domain, to digitize them and make them publicly available.

Baby Boomer Librarian Bill Drew points us to a new MaintainIT Cookbook from WebJunction.  This toolkit, part of TechSoup’s Planning for Success series for library management, includes downloadable chapters to assist in developing technology plans, guidelines for collaborating with stakeholders, daily management of public computers, etc.

And from Michelle Kraft’s The Krafty Librarian, Using Delicious for Subject Guides refers us to an article by Edward Corrado of Birmingham University detailing a project using the Del.icio.us social bookmarking site to create online subject guides.  Kraft’s post and its comments link to a couple of medical libraries with similar project.  This kind of project is on my very long to-do list…

ALA2008: Top Technology Trends

LITA Blog has posted summaries of ALA 2008’s Top Technology Trends presentations. Interesting reading, for those of us treading water to keep up…

Sarah Houghton-Jan‘s trends:

  1. Bandwidth
  2. Sustainability
  3. Looking away from the bright shiny things and at ourselves instead
  4. Catalogs
  5. Open access content

Virtual Karen’s Top Tech Trends

  1. APIs
  2. Virtual participation in classes & conferences
  3. Mobile devices & technologies

Eric Lease Morgan’s trends

  1. Bling in your website
  2. Data sets
  3. Institutional repositories
  4. Mobile devices
  5. Net neutrality
  6. Next generation library catalogs
  7. Open access publishing
  8. Social networking
  9. Web-services based APIs

Flood recovery resources

Hardin Library at University of Iowa has posted a guide to online flood recovery information sources: http://guides.lib.uiowa.edu/floodrecovery. Many of the resources focus on health aspects of flooding.

Evidence Based Library and Information Practice

“EBLIP is an open access, peer reviewed journal published quarterly by the University of Alberta Learning Services and supported by an international team of editorial advisors. The purpose of the journal is to provide a forum for librarians and other information professionals to discover research that may contribute to decision making in professional practice. EBLIP publishes original research and commentary on the topic of evidence based library and information practice, as well as reviews of previously published research (evidence summaries) on a wide number of topics.” — from the EBLIP website —

Volume 3(1), just published, includes the articles “Developing a comprehensive search strategy for evidence based systematic reviews” ( DeLuca et al.) and “Improving Customer Satisfaction: Changes as a Result of Customer Value Discovery” (McKnight & Berrington) as well as evidence summaries, news and announcements. One announcement of interest describes a series of online tutorials for “librarians interested in undertaking systematic reviews.”

Find the table of contents and links to the articles at Evidence Based Library and Information Practice: http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP