The previous post focused on Internal Library blogs…a section on Reference Archive blogs and Reference Query blogs seems to be covered by an excellent article I referenced in the last post (this article makes more sense to me than it did a couple of years ago)
Lyceum: A Blogsphere for Library Reference illustrates how a localised blogosphere can be a great tool in library reference services…from the reference transaction, seeking an answer, referrals, to creating a reference knowledge base.
Automated Classification Indexing
Firstly all blog posts within this localised blogosphere are parsed and automatically classified.
This is the future of relieving RSS overload and at the same time subscribing to only the content you want to read, these types of automatic indexing are popular in enterprise EDMS’s and are increasingly becoming useful in organising content in the blogosphere (an alternative is human indexing, but how many blog posts can you classify in a day, and that old taxonomy vs. folksonomy issue arises)…so a fair deal is getting a computer to do the work.
For other purposes you can splice and filter any RSS feed you like with a number of tools on the market.
From the article:
“Lyceum’s architecture allows blogosphere actors to subscribe to a large number of streams, receiving posts that fit only their relevance criteria”
Some examples of this are K-Collector, which transports topics along with the content in the RSS feed, but if there is no topic (category) assigned to the blog post, it will create one on the fly.
Then there is TagCloud which is similar; it doesn’t exactly generate automatic classification of blog posts but what it does is generate computer generated hot key words, kind of like evolving/changing topics based on current content.
So the topics may be there one day, but gone the next…so this is similar but each post isn’t annotated and filed within a topic from a topic set, also this is just for browsing, you can’t subscribe to the RSS of a hot keyword as there aren’t any, and if there were, you may not get regular content as the keyword may disappear, then reappear in the future (volatile nature of the hot keywords).
Another really clever piece of process Newsmastering I have seen is Edu_RSS…check out the Topics page for RSS aggregation and filtering.
It gathers close to a hundred feeds and then classifies each post into a topic, this way you are reading an RSS Topic Stream (reading only the stuff you are interested in according to the automated indexing system).
What I want to know is how does this automated indexing of posts into topics work?
Is it accurate?
How is it different than splicing all these feeds into one feed and filtering by a keyword (topic)?
Reference Query blog
If the patron uses a blog to post a question, all reference librarians can read that question in their RSS reader, and help with an answer, as they call it a “reference sphere”…discussion can take part in the comments.
Not only is this discussion preserved, but it provides more than the question and answer, it includes the whole trail, each step taken to get to that answer (mistakes included).
Reference Archive blog
The reference question/answer is archived and organised in a category; it can act as an annotation for a resource or be an information resource itself…in any means it helps repetitive tasks, as this type of question or similar may of been asked before, if a quicker answer is possible all the better, and a few added tips may be suggested.
Since the information is in a database many measures can be queried, such as:
“…not only frequently-asked questions, but frequent topics, frequent links, and frequent views, and all of this can be further organised by time or any number of other criteria.”
Since questions can be posted by the patron and viewed by all reference librarians who subscribe to the blog, referrals have the chance of being kept to a minimum as the question has a better of chance of being answered as it is exposed to more people, and the patron won’t need to be directed to another service (customer service is being served, we don’t won’t to discourage the patron, and let them go empty handed to start the whole process again somewhere else).
This type of system is great in the academic sector, where each subject librarian, or even lecturers can offer reference assistance (in a asynchronous way) from behind the scenes at their desk, or even from home.
The important measure is to remember who is supplying the answers, if non-library staff are subscribed to the Reference Query blog, are their answers of the benchmarked quality.
So if a patron posts a question, whoever is first can answer the question, hopefully there would be someone on duty anyway, but if others are online they could add their expertise, why not?
What if the librarian is asked a reference question face to face with a patron and the reference librarian needs others to help with an answer…there needs to be a blog in Lyceum where the reference librarian themselves can post a query, maybe this can be on the same blog the patron posts questions.
It seems that the Lyceum is an enhanced multi-user blog system such as Community Server, where the content of each blog is re-syndicated onto a master blog, subscribing to this RSS feed, acts like a spliced feeds of all the blogs in the system.
If staff already have their own blogs using various software, it’s not too late, you don’t need to start again with a multi-user blog system, you can just present the contents from various blogs into a Public RSS Aggregator, and subscribe to that mega-feed.
The difference with Lyceum is that it is not only built for timely posts, but it archives all content so it is a type of CMS, and it organises posts into intelligent topic streams.
Some related posts: