What Does Facebook Matter To Libraries?

Lichen pointed me to this Librarian’s Guide to Etiquette post about new technologies:

Keep up to date with new technologies that you can co-opt for library use. So what if no one will ever listen to the pod casts of your bibliographic instruction lectures, subscribe to the RSS feeds from your library’s blog, send your reference librarian instant messages, or view your library’s profile on facebook.com? At least you did your part to make all these cool technologies a little bit lamer.

Point taken, and it’s a reasonable caution. The same rush to embrace trends that has us putting coffee shops in our libraries might also push us into trying to setup shop in online forums like Facebook, but who’s to say we should go there? After all, people have been gathering in bars for years, but the we don’t see branches opening in Cheers or libraries offering Irish coffee in their new coffee shops.

But there is something to learn from these new technologies. I just saw numbers that suggested Facebook (an optional service) gets about the same usage by our students as our university portal (which students are required to use, even to check email). Match that with the growing number of stories I’ve been hearing of students using Facebook to collaborate on class projects, and we have to conclude that something interesting is happening.

I’m going to avoid the question of whether libraries should be trying to offer services inside Facebook, and instead ask the question of how well our existing services work for those using Facebook. If students are collaborating, they’re likely sharing URLs, but our OPACs and databases often aren’t bookmarkable, making it difficult to exchange links to those resources (and instructions like these don’t help either). And if somebody blogs about one of our items, our catalogs don’t support comments or trackbacks, making it a one-sided conversation. Facebook and other online services are important to our patrons, and we would do well to think about how information is exchanged using those technologies. We would do well to build services that interoperate with the internet that people are using.

social software, social internet, internet and society, internet and academia, facebook, myspace, library, libraries, future libraries, information behavior, durable links, academia

19 thoughts on “What Does Facebook Matter To Libraries?

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  4. FUCK MYSPACE IT CAN GET A FUCKING INSANE BITCH TO GO SANE!!!! AND I HAVE A MYSPACE AND I GOT RAPPED, AND ALMOST KILLED BY A MAN AND IM A MAN!!! AND I GOT FUCKED IN MY ASS AND IT FELT GOOD!!!!

  5. I LOVE MYSPACE I AM A 80 YEAR OLD WOMAN AND I HAVE PEOPLE WANTING TO GET IN MY PANTIES!! AND I LOVE IT!!!! I USE TO FINGER MY CAT AND LET MY PUSSY EAT MY PUSSY BUT NOW I FINGER TO THE COMPUTER!!! AND I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY SINCE MY HUSBAND DIED BECAUSE MY LOVER ON MY COMPUTER KILLED HIM!! YEAH YEAH YEAH!! I USE TO TAKE A HOTDOG AND JAM IT UP THERE NOW I USE MY COMPUTER MOUSE!! I LOVE IT!!! IT FELLS SOOOOOO GOOD!!

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  7. to the person earlier talking about their grandma loving myspace and getting raped… why are you posting fake messages on a random site… are you doing it becuase you can’t find a proxy to get into myspace/facebook so this is the best you can do with your time, becuase this is the best i can do with my time!
    cheers lovers!

  8. This is bullshit that the public libraries are saying that they can’t handle the bandwidth necessary and has now became a BANNED SITE! If there is a backdoor URL, hit me with an email that is legitimate(I.E., not a B.S. one). Thanks and keep blogging till they let us have http://www.myspace.com back.

  9. This is really gay, every day for the last week i have spent 2 hours a day looking for a proxy too use, BPTC has put up their own blocker, i can not get into anything, luckely, i was able to get into this one, any proxies with a fucked up name and weird almost unknown zone would be fine

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