When I first started Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki in July 2005, I didn’t know how people would respond to it. Would they use it? Would they ignore it? I figured that if the worst thing that would happen is that they would ignore it, then it was worth doing.
So I added content and some other people contributed to it, but it wasn’t like the ALA Chicago Wiki where people were adding dozens of things every day. That’s because there really wasn’t a pressing need (like an upcoming conference) to motivate people to add stuff immediately. I really saw it as a long-term project. I wanted to create a space where people could feel comfortable posting their success stories and other content that would be useful to librarians. I wanted people to make it their own. I guess you could say I was like a gardener, keeping the soil fertile and free of weeds (spam) so that good ideas could grow. It’s a funny analogy since I am a notorious killer of all things green. 😉
For nearly 9 months I have watched the Library Success Wiki grow with very little intervention on my part other than protecting it from spam. Some weeks the wiki would see little activity and other times people would suddenly descend on a particular topic and make it their own. Some topics have not been added to at all, while others probably should be broken up into sub-pages since they’re so long. The list of wiki community members really blows my mind! I can’t believe how many people have used the wiki!
Here are some of the pages that have seen the most impressive development:
- Online Reference – with the famous list of libraries that are providing IM Reference. If your library is providing IM Reference and isn’t on the list, what are you waiting for? 🙂
- Gaming – which seems to have been made the official gaming knowledge repository of Jenny Levine and her merry band of gamers.
- Web Browser Extensions – the work of Gianluca Drago and Richard Akerman, this may just be the best collection of links to toolbars, bookmarklets, user scripts, search plugins, coding info and reference works (on browser extensions) out there.
- Website Design – This page is good, but with so many tech savvy librarians out there, I know it could be a lot better. The wiki will soon be home to the web4lib Manager’s Reference Center an excellent collection of links for library Web managers.
- Online Communities – this was originally created to collect success stories for WebJunction’s Focus on Online Community for Public Libraries, but people have continued to add some terrific stories about libraries building community online.
- The Podcasting page offers links to great library and library-related podcasts. Know of others? Go ahead and add them!
Just one week ago, in response to a suggestion Michael Stephens made at CIL, I created the Librarians Who IM page, which is designed to encourage communication, collaboration and community. And as of Thursday night at 9:30 pm, 64 people have added themselves to the list! Incredible!
What I love about this wiki is that it really isn’t my wiki. It belongs to all of the people who’ve added to it. All of you have worked to create a resource that reflects your unique knowledge and interests. And it will continue to grow beyond what I ever could have hoped for the wiki to be. It’s becomming a really amazing resource.
Thanks to everyone who has added to the wiki and I encourage everyone reading this post to visit the wiki and add some of your own unique knowledge.
I’ve had a couple of area libraries contact me with questions about providing IM service through Trillian after seeing us on the wiki. So it really does work as an idea/ collaboration tool!
Do have any any further details about the web4lib Manager’s Center that will in be in the wiki soon? As I mentioned on my blog recently I’d love to see something like the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library that focusses just on library web site design issues. Will the web4lib Manager’s Center be anything like that?
I look at the wiki regularly, and I almost always find something useful, and I invariably see a section and think, “Hey, if that shin-dig I’m planning works out, I should write it up for the wiki!” I’ll have to start doing more of that. 🙂
It’s a great resource, though, and I’m sure it will continue to grow. Thanks for getting us started and keeping the weeds at bay!
hi Stephen. I think the Web4Lib resource it is like that, though I haven’t actually seen it. Either way, you can certainly start adding info to the wiki about Library Web design (there’s already a space for it) and encourage others to do so. 🙂
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