I was just scanning the directory of library blogs, most of them academic, over at the College and University Feed Directory, and the list is growing quickly. So lots of us are jumping on the library blog bandwagon. I have yet to see much in the way of research that informs us about the effectiveness of a library blog. Do our intended audiences read them? Do they motivate users to make greater use of library services? Do faculty integrate library resources into their courses as a result of reading library blogs? Most importantly, how do academic library blogs contribute to students achieving learning outcomes? Many questions and few, if any, answers. We’re spending valuable time on these library blogs, but what’s the return?
A library blog certainly has potential as a tool for promoting library resources and services. That’s assuming that the user community is reading the library blog. How they manage to do that, and what we can do to improve the likelihood they will is the subject of another discussion. In this post I would like to point those who already have developed a blog for their library, and those who are thinking about it, to a blog post by Stephen Downes that offers some of the best advice I’ve seen for developing and sustaining a blog, personal or library. In “How To Be Heard” Downes takes the reader through a well-laid out blueprint for constructing a blog and getting it out to its intended audience.
If you’ve yet to discover the blogs and publications of Stephen Downes this is a good starting point. When it comes to discovering news and information about educational technology, and helping us to understand its impact, Downes is one of the best.