Institutional blogging for campus users isn’t new (although it would be new for us) , but this is the first WordPress/Gallery/Open Source initiative that I’ve heard of. I’m rather in awe of the fact that they provide photo gallery services — what many IT administrators would quickly shrug off as fluff, non-educational and not something to be considered. Just the fact that they’re talking about integration with Flickr and del.icio.us shows that they’ve got their eyes wide open to the world around them.
Perhaps their people “get it” — that users will likely gravitate towards functional, useful spaces and that to compete with Blogger or Yahoo!360, bundled service offerings (under what looks to be a single sign-on!), rather than silo approaches to service, need to be experimented with and evaluated for their merits and shortcomings.
After two weeks, reports they’ve cracked the 500 user sign-up mark, enough early adopters to show that there may be some merit in the project. I’ve said it before, but I think other campuses should be a little more daring in their planning, and look at piloting services such as this one.
I had the chance to talk to another group of SLIS students today, this time on “Mobile Reference Trends.” Only 6 people were in the class, but they were sharp, bright, and had some good insights into how they’ve experienced reference services for themselves, what they’ve been reading and studying, and where they thought the future might take us.
We spent a bit of time talking about Karen’s “the user isn’t broken” observation (love it!), and that innovative service often means taking some risk and accepting the fact that its OK if things don’t work out, as long as you learn something new. Why am I telling you this? I’m not sure, other than the fact that it seemed a really interesting discussion, and that a lot of librarians are likely re-thinking their reference service models.