Thursday, March 11, 2010

University Libraries Utilize Facebook

The University Libraries have recently revised their strategy for utilizing Facebook. Previously, Libraries staff updated the account periodically with photos and selected articles from the Library Insider, which were posted as photos. Beginning in December 2009, the Libraries began to keep the account more current and stepped up active promotion of the account in order to reach students, faculty, and other University Libraries fans.

The Ball State University Libraries’ Facebook account is ballstatelibraries. Anyone interested in following the Libraries can go to www.facebook.com/ballstatelibraries instead of having to search within Facebook. Katie M. Bohnert, Marketing and Communications Manager, took on the task of regularly posting fresh and timely content to the Libraries’ Facebook account. New items and services, current and upcoming exhibits, workshops and instructional sessions have all been highlighted on the Libraries’ Facebook account. There are also reminders and links to timely services, such as reserving study rooms, checking print balances online, and employing wireless printing services.

Katie also began posting selected Library Insider newsletter articles as notes instead of images, which makes the text searchable and more likely to be indexed by search engines such as Google. Facebook also proved to be a valuable tool for communicating with students and faculty in December 2009, when the University’s Web site experienced a brief campus-wide interruption. The Libraries were able to share with our Facebook fans the direct links to unaffected resources, such as CardCat, Articles and Databases, E-Journals, and the Digital Media Repository. When service was restored, another posting alerted fans that the problem had been resolved and thanked them for their patience.

Future possibilities for the ballstatelibraries Facebook account include promotion of musical and theatrical previews in Bracken Library, taking advantage of the photo and video sharing capabilities native to Facebook, and using the Facebook Markup Language (FBML) to provide a way to search the online catalog, CardCat, as well as Articles and Databases from within Facebook, which would be especially helpful for those using mobile devices. If you are a Facebook user and would like to be a fan of the University Libraries, join us at www.facebook.com/ballstatelibraries.

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