Blogs as Websites – Commercial Solution

Here’s another site that is a “blog as website”. In fact, this is a company called ContentRobot that is offering to design your blog powered website for you and their own site is, in fact, a blog. They claim to be WordPress experts.

Here’s a quote from their site about the benefits of a blog powered website:

http://www.contentrobot.com/Blog-Powered-Web-Sites

What the Blog Platforms Adds

  • A blog, of course, provides reader interactivity and updated content.
  • Authorized users can add, edit, and delete content on EVERY page with minimal HTML knowledge.
  • Enhanced web site elements, which often can be cost-prohibitive, are easily and inexpensively added, including:
    • Blog template designs can be easily modified and branded with CSS knowledge.
    • Developing an Internet-based taxonomy, which categorizes site information, helps readers and administrators to manage and find information.
    • Contact forms allow visitors to easily reach you.
    • Adding web site forums and/or comments allow readers to get involved in the site.
    • Allows multiple-user access, including defining different roles and touch points for each (including banning particular users as well).
    • E-commerce can be added just as with any web site.
    • It’s simple to add imagery and visual interest to every page with minor HTML knowledge.
    • Adding advertising and banners to pages is fairly straightforward and easily managed.
    • Pushing content to readers and subscribers via RSS feeds keeps them informed without them having to visit the site or get their inboxes filled with unwanted emails.
    • Adding news aggregators allows you to include industry news to your site, keeping it fresh and interesting.
    • Easy to establish and track web site statistics and success metrics.
    • Can add fun elements like contests and forms without design constraints.
    • Multiple writers can be responsible for developing and managing content.

They include links to other blog powered websites; however, they are all commercial sites and I had varying levels of success connecting to them. So I don’t have any other examples to point to. I’ll keep looking! Still, I think the points above are fairly compelling and I think using WordPress.com would be an easy and effective way for small libraries or other libraries with limited IT resources to put up an interactive library2.0 rich website.

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More About Scriblio and Casey Bisson

Ok, so everyone else already knows about WPopac (now called Scriblio) but me. Nevertheless, I am excited to have discovered it today. Here is what ALA Techsource says by way of explanation. Casey, you the man!

ALA TechSource | Unsucking the OPAC: One Man’s Noble Efforts
“WPOPAC doesn’t attempt to replace the integrated library system (ILS)—just complement and extend it. The WPOPAC goes over the ILS the way a tea cozy might slide over an ugly teapot. I’ve said for some time that a good interface to our richly structured bibliographic data is the “missing module” of the ILS; the front-end user interface ILS vendors provide—what we think of as the OPAC—doesn’t feel or function like a positive user experience. WPOPAC provides that missing module so that a search in WPOPAC feels, and is, satisfying.

Some of the satisfaction from using WPOPAC comes from the capabilities of WordPress, such as comments, feeds, and trackbacks. But the real significance of WPOPAC isn’t the functionality it displays. It’s that WPOPAC leverages “access to a [huge] community of knowledge, programmers, and designers outside libraries.” As Casey puts it, “it already has more users, designers, developers, and administrators than all the ILS vendors combined.”

Blogs as Websites

I have started a de.licio.us page where I’m bookmarking more innovative library sites that are using blogs (or mashups of blogs and other software applications) as the platform for their websites. I’ll bookmark them at http://del.icio.us/RhondaGonzales/blogsaswebsites if you want to check back for more examples.

One of the most impressive is Plymouth State University’s Lamson Library. Take a look at their beta site: http://lamson.wpopac.com/library. If you do a catalog search, the results are posted to the site like blog postings complete with comments. You can also browse the catalog or the whole site by drilling down through categories, etc. Here’s a screenshot.

Lamson Library Beta Catalog Record

This site is built on a product called Scriblio (formerly WPopac) which describes itself as “Scriblio (formerly WPopac) is an award winning, free, open source CMS and OPAC with faceted searching and browsing features based on WordPress“. Scriblio is not available for general use at the present, but learn more about it at About Scriblio.

More to come.

Library Uses Blog as Website

Here’s another example of a library that has made its blog its website. The only thing I don’t like about this site is that you really have to hunt to find the links to the card catalog. Then when you click on the link, you leave the blog. They might consider making the link to the catalog and databases each their own page so that they would have a prominent tab across the top. Then have the link open in a new window. My two cents. However, I am impressed with the rest of the site!

Stillwater Free Library » Welcome Home!

West Long Branch Public Library

I ran across this Web site today that is actually a blog. Do you think this would work for a college library? I think the advantages would include the dynamic nature of the site since you could easily update it. However, I don’t think it’s as intuitive for searching as a traditional Web site. Also, in order to customize the blog sufficiently, I think you’ld need the client version of the blogging software as opposed to the Web version.

West Long Branch Public Library

I think Wikis might have more potential in the long run than blogs for library Web sites.