Sunday, February 26, 2012

Using Storify for libraries

Storify is a great tool to use for curation of online material.

Here's how they describe themselves

"Storify lets you curate social networks to build social stories, bringing together media scattered across the Web into a coherent narrative. We are building the story layer above social networks, to amplify the voices that matter and create a new media format that is interactive, dynamic and social."

Essentially what you can do is to easily pull in tweets, videos from Youtube, Facebook posting, blog posts from tumbler, pics from flickr & Instagram, entries from RSS feeds (not autoposting though), comments from Disqus and pretty much any online material into one page and in most cases it will  include a nice snipplet picture or video and usually the correct date it was posted .

You can also annotate with text to explain some of the entries. I won't go in depth into how it works, it's pretty intuitive, in particular the newly released iPad app is a joy to behold.

There are many ways you can use Storify of course. But the main purpose is always telling a story about your library . As libraries start using diverse social media channels it might be difficult to unify them all together. For example say your library holds an event say a talk by a big name author or some conference. Storify can be used to pull in tweets, videos, blog posts from all your differing library social media channels into one page with very little effort.

You are not limited to just posts or tweets from your accounts, you could also include public tweets by users for example at the event. And of course your story created by Storify can be embedded.

Storify editor

Some uses I found by libraries or librarians or just library related news. Selected based on interest (to me) and impact (no. of views)

Perhaps it is too early to tell as most accounts above are still experimenting, but a quick look shows that stories that have being embedded into popular blogs are getting the most views (1000+) , which makes sense I guess since you leverage on existing channels.

What I opted to do (see embedded below or the recommended full page) is slightly different. As you may know in my institution we do some amount of environment scanning of mentions of libraries online. In 2010, I blogged a little about some of what I found by creating screenshots and embedding some into the blog post, but it was frankly quite time consuming and difficult to maintain if I was using this method.

Storify could help make things a lot easier. Find a tweet, blog, facebook post complimenting the library , put it in  Storify ! Here's a tip, while  Storify  allows you to search twitter, public facebook pages etc for material, I have found it to be limited in terms of how far back it goes, particularly for Twitter. This can be a problem if you want to include older tweets you have stored elsewhere.

What I did was this.

1. Export tweets of interest into excel (depending on the method you use it would be say twitter favourites). Various tools like ,  BackupMyTweets  do this, you usually get an excel sheet with a URL to the tweet. If you don't have past tweets stored, you can use tools like Topsy  to search for tweets further back or use google by searching

2. In  Storify  use the "embed URL" option on the URL. The date caption in Storify should be correct at least for Twitter.

I have more problems embedding posting or photos from Facebook pages, the date Storify identified  tends to be wrong and there doesn't seem to be a way to edit that?

In any case, you can choose storify to store your final result in public or leave it unpublished for personal viewing only (think for example tracking negative feedback...). Personally I think for positive comments, this can be used to great marketing effect to show the impact libraries have on their users.

Embedded Storify , full story
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