RSS feed

The Law Library is using an RSS feed to distribute library announcements (e.g. classes, weekly accessions lists, new databases, library news headlines). The feed displays in a box on our Library home page (http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/law), in the side bar of our blog (http://lawbod.wordpress.com) and users can subscribe to it in their feed reader.

We used Oxitems to create the feed. Oxitems is free and is developed by OUCS which has meant that we have not had to worry about using third party software. It is also extremely easy to use and staff posting announcements can login using their SSO credentials.

We have found that using Oxitems is a very easy way to populate the announcements box on our homepage and in our blog. We are not sure how many readers have subscribed to the feed in a feed reader yet but this is something we intend to promote in the future.

Blog (http://lawbod.wordpress.com)

We launched the Law Bod Blog in March 2008 to distribute library news such as new databases and useful web sites, library services news, new acquisitions, and research, database and technology tips. The postings are more substantial than those in our announcements RSS feed and the two can work together with for example a brief headline in the annoucements feed linking to a longer post in the blog.

Like VHL, we use widgets in the side bar of our blog to bring content from other web2.0 applications into our blog including del.icio.us links, new acquisitions on Librarything and our RSS announcements feed.

We decided to use Wordpress for our blog. This decisions was taken largely partly because two members of staff attended a web2.0 course at which Wordpress was recommended. Also several staff had personal blogs on Wordpress. The Wordpress blog was easy to set up and we were able to use our own picture in the banner (even with a free wordpress account). However, ideally we would like to change the CSS so that we have more control over fonts and colours. This is not possible with a free account and so we have decided to move over to a pay for account.

The only problem we have encountered with Wordpress so far is that it is not possible to display Librarything book jackets in our blog as the Librarything widget can not be embedded in Wordpress because it uses Javascript. We are able to see our Librarything accessions in our blog using a regular RSS feed but unfortunately this does not include the book jackets. :-(

All staff can contribute to our blog and generally staff have found it easy to make posts.

Our blog is relatively new. However, so far we have had no shortage of posts. It is difficult to tell how many readers are visiting it or subscribing to it although we have received a number of complimentary comments. We are mainly promoting the blog through the Law Faculty's e-mail lists. Coincidentally, the Law Faculty has recently overhauled its procedures for posting to it lists and as a result we now only sending one e-mail a week to the lists in the form of a library newsletter. This has given us an opportunity to promote our blog as we have brief items in the e-mail newsletter with links to more information on the blog.

Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/lawbod)

Del.icio.us (http://del.icio.us/lawbod)

We are using a Library del.icio.us account to recommend useful web sites to our readers.

So far we have only used our del.icio.us account to publicise links in the side bar of our blog. However, in future we hope to feed our del.icio.us links on to our web site and to encourage our users to visit or subscribe to our del.icio.us account.

Librarything (http://www.librarything.com/catalog/lawbod)

The Law Library has been adding its new acquisitions to Librarything since April 2008.

Wikis

Following earlier unsuccessful attempts to use a wiki for our Library web team using Netcipia, we are now using a Wetpaint wiki. This has been more successful. We mainly use the wiki to manage our group "to do list" and to schedule tasks.

We are also using a Wiki to gather together information about our reclassification project, as it's an easily accessible central point for everyone to use.

Pageflakes

The Library has created a series of Pageflakes pagescasts on International Human Rights Law. These are mainly aimed at the distance education students studying for an Mst in International Human Rights Law (Continuing Education). However, there has also been interest from the Law Faculty.

The pages include:

  • Text boxes including notes on key tools and databases
  • Powerpoint slides (via Slideshare) demonstrating how to use particular resources
  • Links to key web sites
  • RSS feeds from key journals and organisations

Pageflakes has recently been unreliable and so we are currently moving the content to Netvibes. Netvibes will also allow us more flexibility in terms of layout.

Feedback on the Pageflakes pages has been mixed. The initial response was very positive. However, some students find the pages very busy and difficult to navigate. This should improve on Netvibes.

Instant Messaging

The Law Library has been offering an IM service via Meebo since January 2009. Meebo's allow us to receive messages sent to our AIM, MSN, Yahoo and Google Talk addresses on the Meebo web site. We simply log in with our Meebo ID to receive messages from all four accounts, plus any messages which have been sent using the Meebo chat box embedded in our contacts page.

We staff the IM service from the enquiry desk from 9am-7pm.

Use of the IM service has been very low so far (really just a handful of messages). However, we are hoping to promote it more during Hilary Term.

Twitter Account

We have just opened a Twitter account (April 2009) with the username thelawbod. We intend to use this for current awareness information (new web sites etc for lawyers), to promote our classes and other services and to make news type annoucements.