Monday, March 30, 2009

It's a Facebook Kind of World

A recent study shows that Facebook is growing enormously and more so than myspace. Some of the reasons include the fact that Facebook has a nice design, is easy to use, has some nifty applications and the information is controlled by the user. One piece of information which surprised me was the growth of new Facebookers in the 35-49 age range! I had always assumed it was a college-aged social medium but now it seems that many more working adults are finding Facebook to be a useful tool. If you are a regular Facebook user, why? Are there special features that keep you?

I am hopeful that some of the reasons that keep Facebook growing from a website point of view are things we will be incorporating as we continue to build our new website. We will have a design which is centered around the collection (isn't that the main reason you visit us virtually?), we will introduce some interactive applications and we hope that it will be easy to use.

Work continues on back end work with our jobs area getting some attention as well as finishing up the functionality in our Locations & Hours pages.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Map of Knowledge

Greetings on this Monday after the start of spring!  I could tell it was spring before the calendar even notified me because my tulips and my hyacinth began blooming.  They reside in a south facing flower bed so benefit from more sun than less, thus blooming earlier than everything else.  Woe is me when they inevitably get covered in snow!

Website update:  we continue to work on the backend.  We look at the carousels and decide how to manage the items, adding and deleting.  We are almost finished with the Locations & Hours pages getting them in shape with all of the features needed.  Getting started with the Jobs function and getting that in shape.  Continue to move forward on the My Account feature - what all does this comprise when you click on it?

Today's post besides spring and website work provides a look into something nifty called the Map of Knowledge.  The Los Alamos National Lab scientists mapped how researchers moved from one journal to another in their electronic data searches, creating associations between them.  Adding color coding by topic, it shows the probability that the reader will click to another journal.  

I got to thinking about whether this kind of map would apply on our website.  Would there be some probability that I would go from historical fiction to fiction to mystery fiction?  Is there any benefit to anyone else knowing this thought pattern?  I'm not sure there is.....  When I look at my goodreads account it is starting to contain a wide range of titles, including picture books that I like.  Who ~ necessarily ~ wants to follow my reading patterns from fiction to picture books?   Maybe it would be really cool to follow some really good readers advisors as they move from author to author or topic to topic.  Any thoughts ?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Are You a Digital Mom?

I love catching up with my Google reader account. Granted, it usually takes a huge effort to carve out time to get there and spend time catching up but the guilt of having hundreds of posts there unread is enough motivation! It's kinda like take a professional development day except you're still in the office and haven't traveled anywhere and..... but I get the same feeling of being energized by new information and ideas. One thing that stuck was the Digital Mom study - how are they using the internet? I found it fascinating, maybe because I am one and could see where I fit.

The study identified 5 types of moms: the self expressor, the utility mom, the groupster, the infoseeker and the hyperconnector. We're all using the internet to some degree depending on the age of our children. Younger moms have a higher interest in parenting and shopping while older moms look to the internet to monitor our teens' activities.

I see our Parenting Blog appeaing to the self expressor moms (early 30 aged moms with young children) but our new website appealing more to the groupster moms (those in their early 30's who are active online). Take a look at the study and provide your comments here!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Steppin' in time with daylight savings

Website updates:

It's mostly back-end work that is going on so this front-end blog has been filling up with ancillary information that has been catching my eye. We've been working on creating forms, yes we do have lots of forms on the website! Also busily working on search results and how these present. Lastly, with some of the canned searches - experimenting with how to make them actually work! Questions regarding website updates? Ask here!

On on the non-website front, but related to the internet in general (am I taking liberties here?) I wanted to do a "brain dump" about my experience with goodreads. Finally pushed myself (actually I bribed myself into setting up an account, "do the setup, get chocolate") and set up a personal account. Later started adding books and friends. It actually was gratifying to be befriended (I know that sounds so middle school!) and it was nifty to add books to my account. Liked that I could create "shelves" to categorize titles the way I want to remember them.

Does this mean more to me than the previous online book holder storage site I used? If so, why? Here's my thought: I know all of the people on my friends' list - so their recommendations and comments mean a lot to me. So, does it mean less when I personally don't know the person? Hmmmm, I just blogged about how sticky Hennepin's site was and that I checked out a bunch of titles based on their recommendations. In this case, their annotations were the hook, regardless of the who. More to come in the following weeks as I become more adept at goodreads' features. It was interesting to note a news article talking about Facebook and how the online only doesn't work but only helps to facilitate the face-to-face interactions...... Meanwhile, check out ALD's goodreads account. Are you a goodreads fan?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sticky Factor

Today's post comes at the end of the start of the work week - one in which the weather here is mild and teases us that spring is not too far away while our friends and family who may live on the East Coast are probably muttering some not so nice words to Mother Nature!

I was perusing Hennepin's website today for a couple of reasons - website related reasons that I won't bore you with....but lo and behold .....I got sidetracked from my research into looking at the lists, reading the recommendations and before you could say "boo" I had placed at least six books on hold! What happened? I wasn't looking for books to read (see sentence 1 of this paragraph) but the covers and the descriptions were so engaging I could not help myself. Thinking about this provides the title of today's blog - Hennepin's site was sticky - I was an engaged browser who placed titles on hold based on recommendations.

Are there other websites which have a high sticky factor? Sites where you stay on pages to read them, engage with them, print or send onto others? What makes these sites sticky? One of my favorite recipe sites fits this description because it not only provide recipes but also star ratings and comments from intrepid bakers and cooks who have modified or substituted. I use this site regularly and trust the recipes' ratings. On the other hand, another recipe website I was cruising through last night provided the opposite experience. Trying to print the recipe was frustrating, saving the recipe and pulling it up later did not work. It asked me to set up an account without really explaining the benefit of doing so. Let me know what websites you consider sticky and why!