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David Lee King’s first presentation

September 16, 2008

Digital vs real libraries:

Both have:

  • building
  • staff
  • community
  • collection

Website vs. digital branch

Website is:

  • older model
  • about the library, history
  • no collection
  • no staff except web developer
  • no interaction, no meetings
  • it’s ABOUT the library, not THE library

Digital branch

  • real live staff (IM and e-mail reference, blog w/comments)
  • real collection –reading and viewing, ebooks, audiobooks, librarian-created content, podcasts, patron-created content from programs or other
  • real building –clearly laid-out places to do stuff, RSS, commenting, multimedia
  • real community — place to connect (commenting, bookclubs, social networking), meetings — two-way interaction
  • partnerships which reach beyond library, like with The Real Yellow Pages
  • outposts — remote location with your stuff outside your site — Flickr, MySpace, etc.

Roles in a digital branch

1. Digital branch manager

  • community manager
  • executive editor
  • long-range planner
  • evangelist
  • manager
  • answers tough questions

2. Web team

  • designer/developer
  • webmaster
  • PR/marketing staff
  • need dedicated staff (not part of their time)

3. Content creators

  • write content
  • video, photos
  • respond to comments
  • manage blogs & social networks
  • new content

4. Customers

  • creators
  • critics
  • collectors — use RSS & tag pages
  • joiners — use social networking sites
  • spectators — read but no commenting
  • inactives — nothing

Turning your website into a digital branch

  • buy-in and trust
  • admin has to let it go
  • 5-year plan
  • buy-in from staff
  • IT does not run the library!
  • get buy-in from admin, not IT
  • everyone must come together

3 steps to a digital branch

1. Planning

  • what do you want to do?
  • lots of meetings
  • plan the details
  • work in a different way

2. Communication

  • paint the picture for staff
  • give them the details
  • “translation work” — how would it work? just a new format

3. Training

  • how to post, how to write for participation, how to make videos, etc.
  • patron training — teach them how to use RSS, show them how to use your digital branch

Simple Goal:

  • what needs to be in place by opening day?
  • knows your patrons, see what they’re doing at the library
  • the ones in the library may not be your digital library’s primary customers
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