November 4, 2007

Social Catalogs

Posted in il2007, presentations tagged at 5:13 pm by Robin

This session began with two of the people responsible for Hennepin County library system’s awesome site (Glenn Peterson, Web Administrator, & Marilyn Turner, Manager, Web Services & Training). Marilyn started it off with an overview of the goals for their reader’s advisory website (the site). She wanted to bring together all the resources for readers that they had scattered throughout the site into one place and allow both librarians and patrons to contribute even more content to the site than they already had. They did this by assigning a “bookspace coordinator” position that had a bookspace workgroup (of about 5 people) and bookspace contributors (about 30 people) helping to create the content of the site. The one thing I found really interesting was that these 35 folks were not volunteers – they were required to post to the genre blog that they managed at least once a month as well as create and maintain book lists in their genre and part of their performance evaluation included this work. Even so, the participants generally found that they only spent 1 to 2 hours a month working on their part of the site.

Glen then got up and discussed the underpinnings of the site. It is very social, it allows patrons to contribute and share their knowledge on the site. Some of the coolest features it offers are blog comments and book lists (created by users, staff and auto-generated from the catalog). It also lets people know that others are contributing to the site – showing that the site is alive – by featuring the “current activity”, what’s going on right now, and by highlighting the most active contributors/commenters. The site is based on a database-driven model, with RSS everywhere and it uses ColdFusion as it’s scripting language. The “takeaways” from this presentation (Glen wanted to be sure to include these, because each speaker with takeaways got to run their hands through Michael Stephens’ hair…) were:

  • Draw on library staff
  • Empower your users
  • Create opportunities for serendipity
  • Let users interact

The slides will be up at (they say they are there now, but the link is bad) with lots more information than what I was able to write down!



  1. […] did a write up of this from her IT point of view and you can see the whole presentation here (scroll […]

  2. Glenn said,

    The link has been corrected! Sorry!

  3. […] to the Missouri River Regional Library’s conference blog, which gives some background information about the service, Bookspace was created to “bring […]

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