University of Waterloo & Musagetes Library

Waterloo Library contact page

University of Waterloo Library contact page

In many academic institutions, there are several different branches of library, offering different kinds of services. The University of Waterloo Library’s website is one example: the main library site is distinct from the Musagetes’ Library site (which is the library branch that serves the School of Architecture). We’ll take a look at each of these branches, and the different kinds of Library 2.0 services they offer.

The main library’s 2.0 services revolve around providing a variety of ways to communicate with a librarian. Their Ask a Librarian page features a useful list of usernames that their on duty librarian, on MSN, Google Talk, Yahoo and AIM. There is also an embedded chat box on the right side, which can connect users with the librarian when there is one on duty. One interesting addition to the contact options is that of Skype, which not only provides another avenue for textual communication, but also voice calls.

Musagetes Library, on the other hand, offers a wider range of Library 2.0 services. Their main page takes the form of a blog, with updates on news and events happening at the library. If one thing could be improved, it would be the frequency of posts; while posting one a month is certainly enough to populate the blog’s archives, having even more might increase the blog’s traffic and user base. The site also offers an option to subscribe to the blog feed via email, and a list of the Library’s Twitter feed updates. And Musagetes advertises its other social networking presence on Facebook and Flickr. Using Twitter and Facebook to update library users on news (such as changes in hours of operation, interesting events happening in the building) is an especially effective way to communicate information, because of the real-time, informal nature of these platforms. As a student, Twitter and Facebook would provide me with instantaneous updates from the library, and because I’ve already chosen to either follow or accept the library as a friend, I would not be bothered (and might even welcome) the frequent update messages. Another interesting feature of the blog page is the inclusion of the same IM chat box that is part of the main library page; while the Musagetes Library page seems to be a separate space from the main library, the IM box does create a sense of some continuity.

Musagetes library blog

Overall, the websites of the University of Waterloo Library and the Musagetes Library represent two different, but effective, ways to utilize 2.0 services. The main library keeps it simple: offering an interesting variety of ways to communicate with librarians. Musagetes, on the other hand, has a much larger 2.0 presence, including social networking and RSS feeds.

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