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!

Wikipedia Wins in PEW Report

On his blog, Tame the Web, Michael Stephens pointed towards the following new report from the PEW Internet and American Life Project: http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Wikipedia07.pdf

In this report, “Pew reports that 36% of online American adults consult Wikipedia. A table included in the report details top sites used for reference and education. Wikipedia has 24% use in a table provided by Hitwise of those types of sites.” (from Tame The Web: Libraries and Technology: Pew Report on Wikipedia and Reference Sites).

Another interesting fact in this report is that usage of Wikipedia increases in correlation to income. More respondents at higher income levels reported using Wikipedia. Also, not surprisingly, younger researchers were more likely to use Wikipedia than older ones. I was actually surprised that the disparity was not greater. Even 31% of those respondents aged 50-64 reported using Wikipedia.The report mentioned that over 70% of Wikipedia users connect to the site via search engines. Since Wikipedia includes a high number of internal links from article to article, it may generate artificially high results rankings for itself in search engines such as Google.

www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/212/source/rss/report_display.asp

So what’s a library to do? Most likely, embrace Wikipedia. Michael suggests taking ownership of the resource by creating entries. We are certainly actively teaching students and faculty about its strengths and weaknesses. If you’re a librarian reading this, how is your library responding to the rise in popularity and use of Wikipedia?

McLib TV

I just ran across this video on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RozYn3Ezbs

This video details how a library in Kentucky has opened a TV branch. They actually create and host library programming on a local cable TV channel several days a week. Wow!!

New Book on Social Software in Libraries Almost Here!

Meredith Farkas’ new book called Social Software in Libraries will soon be published.
According to the forward by Roy Tennant, posted on her blog, “This nuts-and-bolts guide provides librarians with the information and skills necessary to implement the most popular and effective social software technologies: blogs, RSS, wikis, social networking software, screencasting, photo-sharing, podcasting, instant messaging, gaming, and more.”

I was interested in her definition of “social software”. She says it must meet two of the following three criteria.

1. It allows people to communicate, collaborate, and build community
online.
2. It can be syndicated, shared, reused, or remixed, or it facilitates
syndication.
3. It lets people learn easily from and capitalize on the behavior or
knowledge of others.

Using these definitions, it is easy to make a strong argument for the role of social software in supporting instructional technology in today’s colleges and universities. It provides a very flexible platform for promoting dialogue between students and faculty, for supporting student research and writing, and for enhancing group interaction. At our campus, we use Blackboard. This system has some nice features, but if it doesn’t incorporate more social networking tools such as blogging, personal pages, and RSS among others, I think it is in danger of being replaced by a suite of freely accessibly open source products.

My 2 cents for the day. 🙂

Rhonda