Saturday, August 26, 2006

Library "Talk"

I think I am going to pull the Library Talk forum. In spite of my best efforts, no one uses it - ever. Oh, yeah, except spammers.

So, does anyone out there have a Library 2.0 alternative to a bulletin board, and especially to listservs? Because, I'm sorry, no offense librarian pals, but listservs are so NOT 2.0. They are more like .5...

I really wanted to create a slightly more social place to have a "conversation" with other librarians about the professional and the not-so-professional stuff we are interested in. My board was a bust. And while listservs are useful for question and answer stuff, I find the conversational element of them completely lacking.

Am I missing something? Anyone have a better idea? I have bandwidth to burn, so if you would like to see something else, please let me know.


joshua m. neff said...

I really did intend on registering for and posting on your Library Talk forum. I very much like bulletin boards, and I've moaned before about the lack of a library-(especially a Library 2.0)-oriented one. I'm sorry I haven't done that.

I agree that email lists are lame. I will think about some alternatives.

Jessica said...

Thanks for your comment, Joshua.
I know there is an active board on Web Junction, but I wanted to do something with a less formal (or something) feel. If you know of other librarians who would like an alternative (or addition) to lists, please feel free to pass a link to this post around - maybe we can come up with something else!

waltc said...

Consider how inactive most of the topics at WebJunction are, even with a huge, involved group and some excellent moderators. (Not all of those topics are formal--consider St. Jerry's Virtual Scriptorium!)

There's the 1:9:90 observation (1% initiate, 9% respond, 90% read), and given that 1% are already doing blogs (not that far off in the library field!), and that getting involved with a forum has more of an "initiate" feel to it, this may not be surprising.

Given that email lists continue to work very well, if more "2.0ish" systems don't work, then maybe "lame" isn't an issue to most participants--they/we use what they/we are comfortable with and that fits well within our current environments.

The new needs to be substantially better and with relatively few obstacles (e.g., having to "go somewhere" for a forum as opposed to a list just being part of everyday email...) if it's going to attract people on an ongoing basis. I think. Lists may be lame and may not be cool. What they are: well-established and easy.

Jessica said...

For me, this isn't about what is "lame" or "cool" (and I don't think I said either in relation to lists), but about what works for a specific purpose. Lists are easy, getting them via e-mail is very convenient, and I think they are very effective for posting questions and getting responses. But, in my humble opinion, they kinda suck for fostering online conversation among a group of people. I'm not saying that we should not use lists - I'm saying that I would love to see an additional source for a more conversational approach to library topics.

And yes, you may have to "go somewhere" for a forum, and you may have to "initiate" on a forum more often, but, you have to do both of those things with other kinds of social software, and librarians are well represented at places like Flickr and Library Thing, for example.

All I'm saying is that I am a little surprised that the more tech among us don't seem remotely interested in boards or something similar. Your points are well-taken for why lists are popular, but wouldn't soem people like to at least try a more conversational mode of communication? And, hey, if not, that's fine - I'll see you all on IM - one conversation at a time.

joshua m. neff said...

I described email lists as "lame," Jessica. But I didn't mean "lame" as in "un-cool," I mean "lame" as in "crippled"--they're not fully functional in a way that works for me. They work in the ways you said, but they also fall short in the ways you said.

Now, admittedly, I've been participating in bulleting board forums for years, so I'm comfortable with them and find them to be much better in facilitating conversations among multiple people. But I did Usenet before that, which is more similar to email lists. And I think Usenet is similarly lame.