Syracuse University Library

The Syracuse University Library offers a variety of services that fall in line with Library 2.0 concepts. These include the ability to contact Library Help staff from a variety of devices and the use of a blog for announcements. There is also a service called “Mybrary”, provided for students at Syracuse that provides customizable RSS feeds, home pages, and widgets. Since I am not currently a Syracuse student, I won’t be able to take a look at that particular feature, but it seems like a promising execution of some 2.0 ideas.

Syracuse University Library

Syracuse University Library's homepage

On their contact page, the Syracuse Library lists the many different ways users can contact them for help, including text messaging, email and an IM chat box. Similar to some other library websites (such as Tisch Library at Tufts University), this box is embedded within contact page and doesn’t seem to appear anywhere else on the library website. It does, however, also offer the option to open the chat in a new, separate window, thereby allowing users to have a chat window open while working with an internet browser. This offers the user some additional flexibility in how they use their own computer’s workspace. The fact that this chat option is only accessible from one page may be problematic for the library, however. Providing more access points from different pages might help in seeing IM’s usage increase.

There is also an area for News & Events, and it is set up in the style of a blog. Most of the things we have come to expect from blogs (older stories archived and organized by date and categories, a link to the RSS feed) are present, and are useful in helping the user in browsing and finding information.

Syracuse University Library News

Syracuse University Library News

Interestingly, there are no mentions of the library having a presence on popular social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. While these pages do exist, the webpage does not link to them. This is not necessarily a negative thing; while I have not been able to access the Mybrary feature, I would venture to guess that this customizable user experience may offer library users many of the things that a Facebook page might have, and may even be preferable to a social networking profile. By allowing the student to decide what information they receive from the library and centralizing it with a personalized home page, Syracuse can allow users to access this information on their own terms, without intruding on what may be perceived as personal or private digital space.

Overall, the library’s website is well designed and has a more subtle and understated approach to its 2.0 services than others. Having a few more links (especially on the homepage) to services such as the IM chat option or the News & Events blog might be helpful, but overall I found the lack of social networking presence to be refreshing.

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