2005 Annual Meeting Highlights

COMMITTEE = Hot Topics in Frontline Referece Discussion Group


CHAIRPERSON = Cheryl Smith

DATES = July 25, 2005

EMAIL = csmith@nd.edu

MEMBERS_PRESENT = Members present: NA

MEMBERS_ABSENT = Members absent: NA

VISITORS = Visitors: 25 participants in discussion

OBJECTIVES = Discuss the use of Weblogs in reference departements.

Discussion Group Chair Cheri Smith of the University of Notre Dame introduced Karen Munro, Literature Librarian in the Reference and Research Services Department of the University of Oregon Library.  Karen gave an online demonstration of the blog that she created in 2003 (URL: http://bibliopagus.blogspot.com/).  She began her blog by posting the reference questions that she received at the reference desk; in the beginning she had no specific purpose in mind.  Karen has found that blogging has enabled her to keep track of the questions that she has received for both her self-evaluation and for departmental records, providing anecdotal evidence of reference desk activities for library administration and the library’s PR/communications officer.  She also considers such blogs to be Internet-based publicity for the profession and what it can do.  Karen also provided a handout with a sampling of the questions that she has posted on her blog and mentioned the article “Silence in the Stacks” (by Scott McLemee) on the dearth of blogs for academic librarianship (Inside Higher Ed, June 9, 2005, URL: http://

After Karen’s presentation, the audience of approximately 25 responded with their experiences in using departmental blogs to update staff members of recent changes in services, etc., thus eliminating the need for paper logs at the reference desk.  Searchability in blogs, issues about privacy and confidentiality in posting reference questions, and using classroom software (e.g., WebCT) instead of blogging software was also discussed.

EVALUATION = I feel that many issues that might concern librarians considering using a 'blog were fleshed out.

PROBLEMS = The room was not set up the way we had requested, and it made discussion a bit awkward.  It also made it a bit uncomfortable for the presenter.