Posted by: Steven Harris | November 11, 2010

Social Selection

At my library we are really talking up the notion of user-driven collection development. The problem is we don’t have real good mechanisms for gathering user input. The idea of collaborating and communicating with faculty always brings to my mind social media. Here is the thought that occurred to me about combining social media and selection of library materials, sent out to subject librarians at my library:

Original message:
Idea for gathering faculty requests:
  • Ask if your faculty use Zotero to manage citations, especially the 2.0 version that allows synchronizing different computers. They can then share their “library” on (like: They have to set up a profile. If they make the profile public, and you know their user name, you can go to their library and see their citations. You can even follow their Zotero library (right down to particular collections or folders) with an RSS feed reader. So you don’t even have to remember to go to their URL.
  • Thus, the punchline: If they create a collection named “library requests” or some such, you can see their requests and submit them to CAS. This way, they can use Zotero in whatever is their normal way. When they find citations to books that they want the library to own, they can just save it in Zotero. You will then see it in their “library requests” collection and order it. Voila!
  • Similar approaches are possible with, Evernote, Springpad, Connotea, and even WorldCat local.

The benefit I think this approach has is that they don’t have to operate outside of their normal procedures. If they have to stop what they are doing to send an email, make a phone call, or fill out a request form, that breaks their process and train of thought. Whereas, if we can capture what they are doing or what they want without breaking that process, we will have greater success.



  1. No chance this works with RefWorks? Because we are hopelessly tied to that program. There is, I’ve been told, no chance of us going to Zotero.

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