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Blogs and the UO Libraries

Members of the library profession have been creating blogs for years; LISnews, librarian.net, Rogue Librarian and Library Stuff are among the longer-lived ones and serve to keep readers up to date on a wide variety of issues, from technology to censorship to legislation to the just plain bizarre.

Here in the UO Libraries, weíve been using blogs for teaching, planning and communication, and to keep our friends, families and colleagues up to date on our lives.

Teaching

I first used a blog for teaching in Spring 2002. I was teaching one of our regular courses, "Internet Information and Culture," online. Because I was using the Internet as the medium of instruction and the course was about the Internet, it seemed logical to have students share their daily encounters with the Internet, so I wrote a simple blog program and made it a required activity. Because of student privacy issues, I canít share the blog URL, but hereís a sample (copied verbatim):

The Internet...The New Medium
http://www.ruthvilmi.net/hut/Spring97/automatic/internet/1.html
I just read this article written by Amy Ramstack 'Internet: A Blessing or a Curse' I found it to be very interesting as I was able to relate to what she was saying about our new medium, the Internet. There are negative and positive aspects about everything that exists in our world. The Internet is no exception. Who know what the future holds blessings or curses...time will tell.

One of our librarians used a blog to keep track of potential readings and assignment ideas when he was getting ready to teach the same course. It seemed to work very well as a planning tool, and we now have a record of ideas for future iterations of the course.

Iím hoping that by the time I teach this course next year, weíll have an add-on to Blackboard that provides blogging tools, among others.

Planning

As I write this, the UO Libraries are using a blog (for the second year) to gather ideas from the library staff for our annual plan. All staff members are invited to submit ideas for projects or initiatives they feel the library should undertake over the next planning cycle, and are also invited to comment on ideas submitted. Ideas will be compiled and discussed later this month by the library administration and department heads at a planning retreat.

Communication

Recently, the reference librarians in Knight Library initiated a blog to share reference questions they had received, as well as resources used to answer them. The types of postings vary, from single, complex reference questions, to diaries of an entire shift at the desk. But itís garnered enough interest from other UO reference librarians that the library is developing a blog to which everyone in library public services can contribute.

Personal Blogs

Finally, there are several people working in the UO Libraries who have personal blogs. Many started them as they were heading off to travel in exotic lands, or to keep friends and family up to date on their lives, or just to have a place to share their thoughts on library issues, current events, and readings they come across. If youíre interested in learning more about blogs and associated services, including how you can easily get a blog, and tools for keeping up with your favorite blogs, Iíve developed a guide online, called "Blogs, Wikis, and Other Animals." Youíll find it on the UO Libraries web site.

Happy blogging!

Published in the University of Oregon's staff newsletter, Inside Oregon, March 14, 2005 -
<http://duckhenge.uoregon.edu/io/popup.php?id=33>

© 2005, colleen bell about
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