Social Media in Libraries

Tracy Baker, Minnesota Historical Society

Tracy Baker, Minnesota Historical Society

This session showcased interesting uses of Web 2.0 technology by Minnesota libraries.  Tracy Baker described a new online commenting tool being used at the historical Society,  WOTR, for “write on the record.”wotr It has been added to many of their most popular databases, including the Death Certificates Database, the Birth Certificates Index, and the Photo & Art Database.  Sometimes the comments are requests for corrections; often they include added information about the subjects of the records.  Since adding the function a year ago there have been around 6000 comments.  Tracy showed one comment in the form of a sweet letter to a long dead grandfather.  The WOTR tool was written by MHS staff in open source code, so if there are other institutions interested in using it, Tracy could help.

The Historical Society hosts Placeography, a wiki-based collaborative site about places. There are pages for towns, neighborhoods, or buildings.  If you come to St. Paul, you could take the John Dillinger Slept Here Tour.

Dennis Skrade from the Minnesota State Law Library talked about starting a Twitter feed with the goal of making the Law Library and its services know to a larger audience.  Dennis follows a number of library and legal-related websites and blogs, and his tweets focus on libraries and the legal field.  He posts a link to a funny item each Friday.  (I think these West Publishing videos were intended to be one of those.)  He encouraged everyone to learn as much as possible about Web 2.0 technologies.  He is one of many Minnesota librarians who took advantage of the 23 Things on a Stick program – it’s closed now, but you can still see the suggested applications to learn.  After the course, Dennis used a wiki to consolidate the technical services manuals at the Law Library.

Aside:  The Minnesota LRL also posts on Twitter about new services and new items in the library.  We often cite new reports with a short note about what they say about MN – for example, “Rates of preterm birth by state, 1990 and 2006: MN preterm birth rate increased by 30%”  The librarians also use Twitter as a news feed by following several media outlets. especially during session.  We follow all legislators with feeds, and have found their postings during session especially interesting.  One member’s posts resulted in an ethics hearing.

Marian Rengel from the Minnesota Digital Library, a collaboration of Minnesota libraries and museums, spoke about the Minnesota Reflections database.  There are 45-50,000 items in the online collection so far, submitted by partner organizations (including the Minnesota LRL).  They use ContentDM.  They created a comment project based on PM wiki, and receive  about a dozen comments per month.  For example, see this comment on this charming photo of a “Motorette on duty.”  The Minnesota Legislative Reference Library has received grants from the Minnesota Digital Library to digitize photos of former legislators for inclusion in our Legislators Past & Presenta database.  (example of a legislator’s record)

Robbie LaFleur


One response to “Social Media in Libraries

  1. Super interesting. Thanks for all the links!

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