In a job where people are clocking on/off it is important for the person leaving for the day to inform the person about to start, of the days proceedings (things done, things need doing, etc…)
Usually if this isn’t done face to face, you can use a notebook, to leave notes or instructions for the next person taking over the shift…in a library setting this type of communication is paramount for the circulation or reference desk.
Instead of using a notebook, how about using a blog, a simple blog will do (don’t really need categories).
When you start your shift just check the blog for instructions of what’s needs to be done.
When you complete a task, just edit the post by using the strikethrough font feature to cross it as done, just like you do on paper when a task is done.
Usually when the notebook is finished you throw it away (some pages are probably torn out, anyway)…but with a blog the content is archived by date and can be searched.
Also you don’t have to go to the blog to read content, you can read it in your RSS Reader
…this is handy if your blog is behind a firewall as you could read the authenticated (private) feed version, otherwise you could log-in to your work remotely and view the blog.
Either way it is great that you can read from home what’s to be done before you go to work (time to prepare yourself for your work shift).
Are people using this type of Internal blog?
Is it an effective way of communicating and preserving past tasks?
Reference Archive blog (knowledge base) and the Reference Query blog
This brings me to another thought…using a blog for reference questions.
There would be various ways reference desks collect reference questions to store in a knowledge base
…that way, if the reference librarian is asked a question, they can check in their knowledge base first to see if the question, or a similar question, has been asked previously. (This is one of the purposes of codifying information, to avoid wasting time with duplicate/repetitive situations…then there is the issue of making this information intuitively retrievable).
Now I’m not sure if the blog format is suited to this, as all you are really doing is archiving/indexing reference questions/answers (it’s not date pertinent).
The blog format may be more suited to the reference librarian posting a request to see if anyone can help answer a hard question…subscribers (other librarians from your extended team/branch) could be notified of the post in their RSS reader and respond in the comments of that post (this would be the Reference Query blog).
Then once the request has been fulfilled, that question/answer can be added to the knowledge base (this would be the Reference Archive blog).
NOTE: There could also be a blog for patrons/clients to submit a reference query, they fill out a form and the question is duplicated into a blog.
What type of system would the knowledge base be, I’m sure there are heaps, and MS Access is probably popular for this type of thing…I was thinking maybe a localised folksonomy.
Although, the user space wouldn’t matter as much, as everyone could login as the same person…ie, it wouldn’t be used so much as a space to share ideas but more for just recording information…used more for the fact that you can write a brief post, include a link, give it a title and apply a user-defined subject tag
…this is a very simple and informal process (people are more inclined to participate as it is more like blogging, which is fun, and not just data entry).
Then when querying the folksonomy (knowledge base) just browse the tag cloud or search full-text.
A wiki wouldn’t really suit this type of information, as it needs to be searched/browsed like a database, I think a wiki is more appropriate for published list, or documentation (and of course the collaboration activity in the development of these pages).
At the same time, a folksonomy really doesn’t have to be used, you can record this same information in a blog, and incorporate a tag cloud, instead of using the default categories…this is probably much simpler and a more suited tool for the job.
This adds value, as besides just a tag or a category, you could also search by other fields.
General Internal Blog
There is also the use of a blog for general internal communication and current awareness; maybe a communal blog, or a multi-user blog system (everyone has a system blog, where the content is aggregated [re-syndicated] into a master blog), or if people use their own blogs these can be aggregated into a Public RSS Aggregator)…also a note folksonomy mentioned above would also suit this type of communication much more.
General External Blog
Lastly there are library blogs that communicate with students, staff, or the community…these blogs are used as current awareness, what’s new, current status of library operations, PR, training, communication/sharing, etc…
Lets not forget librarians that blog, that’s me!
(Blogging about LIS, or whatever else)
Some related content:
Ten Guidelines for Developing Your Internal Blog
Blogs for Internal Communication
internal library communication
Blogging and Internal Communications
Lyceum: A Blogsphere for Library Reference
Creating an Internal Content Management System
Open Source Software and Libraries Bibliography