Webware 100 and Inspiration

23 05 2007

Webware just posted the nominations in each category for the top 100 Web 2.0 gadgets out there. It’s fascinating seeing all the offerings. Most of the nominees are folks we’ve heard of before (Twitter, Squidoo), but some are completely new to me, like Cha Cha (a search engine that enhances searches through the use of “skilled search experts”…gee, where have I heard of that before?), Tangler (Community conversations…kind of like discussion boards/message boards, but better), and Midomi (hum that song you heard while waiting in line and Midomi will tell you the title, artist, and where you can buy it… but not only that, you can buy the recordings of other Midomi users who sang the song on the site… there’s even a recording studio).

Some of my other favorite finds from the list:

  • Basecamp – I’d like to try this one out for my next group project. It’s an online communication, collaboration and milestone-tracking tool. Way easier than trying to figure out who’s got the latest version of the Gantt Chart.
  • ConceptShare – Same type of thing but for the visuals… it’s so hard to talk about what needs fixing with a visual design via email. This lets you mark up/comment on images… draw all over it!
  • Instructables – Create something (knit it, paint it, cook it, whatever-it), then show others how they can do it, too.

So…what does all this have to do with libraries and marketing? Well, Cha Cha has a pretty direct correlation:

ChaCha’s goal is to provide a better search experience by combining results that are hand-picked by our knowledgeable human guides with the best computer-generated search results. In those cases where you can’t find what you need with our instant results, ChaCha will connect you with a live human guide who will find the information for you through an instant messaging-style search session.

Hmm…

And the others, well, I’m not sure yet. Instructables is fascinating… so is Midomi… harvesting all that creativity and capturing it… making it searchable. It warms my heart…

Now as for Basecamp, ConceptShare and Tangler… well, I think those are tools I want us to use. Us being the library advocates. I want us to have a community… something it kind of feels like we’re lacking. A place to share our ideas, successes, to comment on the work of others. I can say “what do you think” here on my own little blog with no readership…but the conversation is then somewhat limited to my small sphere. I want us to go bigger…much bigger.

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A preview of Library Nation articles to come

19 05 2007

I’m still working to find my voice on this blog. I’m trying to remind myself that every post here should not necessarily be a 2000 word argument. Blogging, as has been said before*, is about providing a small insight – one piece of a larger puzzle. It’s not necessary to put together the whole puzzle by yourself.

With that in mind, I’m going to just do a list here of some of the topics I’ve got scribblings on that I hope to turn into posts.

  1. The Library of the Future (specifically, a reaction to the video on Denmark’s Aarhus Public Library and their Transformation Lab)
  2. Using Feature versus Benefit columns (as adapted from Grasshopper Communication’s exercise) and how this list can be translated into new services for patrons, as well as increasing the effectiveness of library marketing
  3. Taking the Feature v. Benefit columns one step further, and creating a “Patron Problem” v. “Library Solution” table – can be used to provide better services because it allows us to try and directly match our solutions to whatever life problems our patrons may be having
  4. I’m already feeling overloaded with information, and I wish there was a library marketing news-wire/blog/aggregator/whatever that I could trust to read all the dozens of blogs and news articles I read a day and give me a concise summary. This way, I wouldn’t miss out on anything, and could be more selective in the articles I read fully and carefully. Something like Treehugger, but for library marketing. I’ve been wanting to start something like this for a while… perhaps this is what Library Nation will turn into one day?
  5. Who are our users? We can divide them by age, ethnicity, income, gender, political leanings… but are we better served by treating these groups as a unit, or by creating one sample member of this group – fleshing them out with a life, real problems, a story?
  6. Of course, responses to other blogs, books, and articles are why I started this blog, so those will be coming along directly.

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*I’m trying desperately to remember what marketing blog I read the “puzzle” comparison from but I can’t find it. Anyone remember where this came from?