Library looks to become social-media friendly

At the “I’ve Got a Hunch” meeting last month in Washington, D.C., members of the Association of Research Libraries came together to pitch ideas about the future of research libraries in North America.

At the meeting, faculty from about 160 academic research libraries across the U.S. and Canada come together and brainstorm ideas they deem as valuable for the library community.

Temple’s Dean of Libraries Joseph Lucia said he sees a valuable connection between social media and research libraries in the future.

“I just described the concept for an aggregated social media scraping system that would combine that [social media platforms] and put it into an environment where those were interested could watch and there was a live continuous feed,” Lucia said.

Lucia said many research libraries across the continent run Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and Instagram accounts to help spread their information and happenings.

“[The feed] would allow all of us in the community to have an understanding of what’s going on elsewhere,” Lucia said.

He added connecting all the social media outlets with the different libraries in a database or network would be beneficial for the research community.

“That would allow us, in real time, to get a sense what the issues are, what the accomplishments are and what the events are throughout the whole North American research library community,” Lucia said.

Lucia added the idea still needs work, but will not be complicated to figure out.

Once the libraries are connected, the system would be just for faculty members, but if the network succeeds, Lucia hopes to open the site to anyone.

“It would be a system built for members of this community but once we shook it down and felt that it was actually working, it could be exposed to anyone who is interested in things in libraries across North America,” Lucia said.

He added people involved in research libraries need to get the project started.

“There’s enough people and enough interest that now we need to get together and talk about what sort of environment we put together,” Lucia said.

He hopes to have a rough prototype of the idea further along before the next meeting of the Association of Research Libraries in April 2016.

Lucia said the main problem behind the project will be funding and resources to properly build the project.

“It’s probably not going to be funded as a commercial enterprise,” he said.

The project potentially hinges on partners committing to building it from the ground up. Lucia said it is imperative the Association of Research Libraries uses its connections to begin to build and fund the project.

Lucia added this project is key to the future, so different libraries have the ability to see what is happening throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“[There’s] potential value to me and others in a research library to see everything that is going on in social media,” he said.

Jonathan Gilbert can be reached at jonathan.irwin.gilbert@temple.edu or on Twitter @jonnygilbs96.

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