Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Top 12 library blog posts I am proudest of

My blog has existed for almost 3 years, and I have blogged over 130 blog posts, some of them I look back and laugh at how naive I was (subject of a future post), others I was proven completely wrong by subsequent events and yet a few that seem to have stood the test of time and makes me proud to have blogged them.

These are my top 12 favorites.

1. What are mobile friendly library sites offering? A survey. (April 2010)

Popularity does not always correlate with usefulness or significance, I have a few posts relating to social media that were retweeted upwards of a 100 times but in my opinion probably don't deserve the attention, but this one is both useful and popular. It was at the time (there are now a few surveys in academic journals) one of the first fairly comprehensive survey of mobile library sites features at a time libraries were wondering how to do mobile sites and is one of my most tweeted and by far most cited blog post (e.g OCLC Abstracts, ALA OITP report, NFAIS etc). In fact it was even mentioned by my nominator on my Mover & Shaker citation!

Does it deserve all the recognition? At the risk of sounding too boastful, I think yes. It was not a comprehensive survey in terms of listings of numbers but I am proud of the way I organized each section and the 3 styles and compared like to like... I followed it up later with one on mobile native apps and more recently mobile databases.

2.  Twelve User points of need - where to place your services online (Oct 2010)

This is one blog post I still refer to sometimes. In many ways it's nothing special, I am hardly the first librarian to come across the concept of point of need, but in this post I systematically list possible points online and it seemed to be useful to other librarians. Whether it is a link to a faq or a chat point, it is a useful list of points you can consider placing your services.

I was amazed to see it was in the top 10 blog posts on the hugely popular iLibrarian blog!

3. Why libraries should proactively scan Twitter & the web for feedback - some examples (June 2010)

While I blogged about techniques to scan twitter before this, this was the first post, I actually shared the results and experiences (with kind permission from my superiors at my place of work). I have a lot more data now, see more recent presentation, but I can say very little to improve on what I wrote here. It was and still is I feel a powerful piece for advocating that libraries should use social media to connect with users.

4.  Eight Articles about the future of libraries that made me think (May 2010)

I have generally refrained from blogging about weighty issues like future of libraries up to recently, going so far to even blog my unofficial thoughts on a short-lived posterous blog. This blog post which summaries eight provocative blog posts on future of libraries was written more for myself as a reminder to think of the big issues and not get too caught up in the details and the short view.

More recently it inspired   Is librarianship in crisis and should we be talking about it? and
5 inspirational words of wisdom to librarians

5. Funniest library related movies made using Xtranormal (October 2010)

Library School: Hurts So Good

I can't remember what inspired me to do this, but I do remember spending hours searching Youtube with keywords Xtranormal and Youtube. I still find the 7 list of movies created using Xtranormal amusing, including a 8th one on FRBR & cataloguing that came out later.

6. Twelve good library videos that spoofs movies or tv (Aug 2010)

This is the predecessor of #5.  I knew about Librarians Go Gaga: 9 Of The Funniest Library Videos even then but I really loved the two KU Libraries spoof of  Lord of the Rings and Matrix which inspired me to go hunt down a list of other movies! To this day, I don't think any library video has topped those two.

7. Opensearch vs custom toolbar vs smart keyword vs bookmarklet (I) (April 2009)

 In many ways , this is the blog spot that started it all. I had other older blog posts on the older blog, but I remember really getting in the groove with this one. In fact, this blog post was bursting to get out of me, and I knocked out the next few in the series over the weekend. In the early days of blogging, I had dozens of such blog posts flowing , a lot were crazy ideas describing ideas that probably weren't practical or were mentioned simply because it sounds cool (back then I had a poorer sense of what users would adopt), as a result most of my purely tech based posts suffer with the test of time, hence you don't find that many in the list here.

This one actually stands up quite well, talking about how libraries can extend usage of services even if they don't visit the library site. It even caught the attention of a "Googler" who called me a "Library scientist"  :)

This was updated more recently for discovery tools in
6 ways to use Web Scale Discovery tools without visiting library sites

8. Official Library Twitter accounts- what factors are correlated with number of followers? (May 2009)

Back in 2009, libraries were then starting to go onto Twitter. I hadn't yet started ours, but I was starting research and I began a series of posts studying Libraries on Twitter. The "research" and "Analysis" here is laughable, but I think it does show that at that point in time there were and perhaps still are quite a few unanswered questions on library twitter policy, e.g. To follow or not to follow, expected response time etc.

 Earlier this year, I began thinking about discovery tools. I noticed quite a few articles and examples of libraries that questioned this trend and did "bento" or segmented style presentations and put them all in one post. The jury is still out on this, but I think this has potential to be really interesting.

10. Five library related tasks I hope Siri can do  (Oct 2011)

Steve Job had just passed away and I had just blogged one attempt to parody Steve Jobs keynote speech , and imaging what he would say if he reinvented the library catalogue. The next blog post was me imagining what Siri could do for libraries.

Back then,I was then thinking of getting a iPhone 4S or switching to Android. This blog post I believe was one of the reasons that led me to the former. Like many I wasn't too impressed with iPhone 4S but after this post, it was too hard to resist getting it just to try Siri! It's still too early to tell, but I suspect within 1-2 years some of the things I postulated here will be possible so you can do many library related tasks via voice input.

11. Subject guides on web 2.0 startup pages - 12 widgets (April 2009)

This was one of my first blog posts to achieve any level of popularity by being retweeted a few times. This was before I was using libguides but the widgets mentioned could be used on anything from netvibes to Libguides itself.

In later inspired a blog post on using dashboard for library service points.

12. Libraries and Google Calender (April 2010)

Back in 2009-2010, I was unwittingly doing my own Library 2.0, 23 things program by exploring free/cheap web 2.0 tools and considering library implications, for example I was studying users checkin of 4square library sites, playing with search widgets, studying RSS use for distributing library news, RSS for aggregating academic research, creating information dashboard for information desk duties, even experimenting with Bayesian filtering of rss feeds.

There were the "mobile experiments" after Dec 2009, from using cardstar to use a phone as a library card , checking library catalogue using mobile phone as barcoder scanner, posts on my workflow using iphone here and here

But I was proud to notice that my blog post exploring google calenders and Libraries was in fact a recommended post for a UK Library 23 things programme. Almost similar is Crowdsourcing and libraries which is recommended reading for a few library courses.


So these are blog posts that I am proudest of. For long time readers, which of the blog posts I have written since 2009 were among your favourites? Which ones influenced you, entertained you, or otherwise impacted you the most? We bloggers write mostly for ourselves, but knowing that our blog posts have some effect on the real world is very encouraging as well.


Top 15 viewed blogposts via googleanalytics (excluded those 12 selected)

Extracting metadata from pdfs - comparing EndNote,Mendeley,Zotero & WizFolioEndNote, Mendeley, Zotero, WizFolio - comparing import functions
Zooming into presentations - Zoomit, Prezi & pptPlex
4 Successful social media campaigns for and by libraries
Adding ezproxy to the url - 5 different methods
Customizable library portal pages
How to check your library catalogue by using your IPhone as a free barcode scanner - ZBar & RedLaser

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