Librarian by Day Bobbi Newman | I'm not that kind of librarian

Using WordPress for Bibliographies or Readers Advisory Sites

09.08.2008 · Posted in MRRL, Patron Services, Web 2.0

Remember how last month I blogged about using a wiki for the library’s  Readers Advisory Site?  It looked like this.  Well we ran into some issues, the IT department was having some problems with the input form and the other Librarians didn’t like it (I’m not gonna list their complaints), so I started rethinking it.  Since I was going to be building a new one from scratch I knew I wanted patrons to be able to print out the lists as well as be able to use it to see the record in the catalog.  I also wanted something other staff were comfortable and familiar with.  I knew many of the staff set up a blog during our Library Learning 2.0 program.   I’m very familiar with blogging & WordPress, and I knew I could tweak the pages and post to make it function the way I wanted.  The library already uses WP for it’s main blog so it was a simple matter to have another blog set up.  I got to work and it worked out even better than I’d hoped!  See it here, read on for the how I made it happen.

Using WordPress for Readers Advisory

First I created 7 Pages,  including “About” & “Local Lists”, which has links to locally created lists for adults.  I set the Home page of the blog to “Local Lists”.

I then used Posts to create the individual local lists, each Post is a different list.  Once the Post is published to I grap the URL and add the link to the appropriate page.  Since the homepage is set to the Local Lists Page, the blog posts don’t show up.

For example when I was creating the “If you liked Harry Potter” list for children, I wrote a new post post, titled it, added the content (title, author and call number) in the body of the post, hyperlinked the title to the catalog, and added some tags.  When it was complete, I published it, grabbed the URL, went to the “Local Lists for Children” page edited it by adding the new list title and link.

Other staff can be given a their own user name and password and WordPress allows me to set their administration rights individually.  After they’ve created a list, then let me know it’s ready and I add it to the appropriate page.

Using WordPress for Readers AdvisoryA couple of very cool things that I hadn’t considered, happened once I started posting the lists.  First I realized I could assign tags to the lists, which make another way patrons can find them.

Secondly because it’s built on blogging platform people can leave comments, and they have! Patrons can leave feed back or suggestions or authors can plug their books, which is fine if teh ocmment matches the subject of the list.

Right now I’ve chosen a fun theme, the library is in the process of updating the website, so in the future I may change it to something that more closely matches the main site.

Pros:

  • Easy to add new pages as the site grows
  • Easy to Post new lists
  • tagging makes finding a list even easier
  • Patrons can leave comment
  • Lists can be used in the library & from home
  • Links to the catalog make is easy for patrons to check the status of an item or place a hold
  • Lists can be created using mostly copy & paste
  • I get good stats
  • Each staff member gets their own username and password and administration rights
  • Theme is easily to update

Cons:

  • Staff need to be comfortable with creating hyperlinks
  • There is no “undo” button is something gets accidentally deleted
  • WordPress needs to be updated pretty often
  • It does look like a blog, although I know it could be further tweaked so it doesn’t.

Similar Posts:

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

2 Responses to “Using WordPress for Bibliographies or Readers Advisory Sites”

  1. Nice idea. It would sure be cool to have some super-easy cover art importer. I know, once you get to the catalog you might see it, but still…. but then printing might be a pain for some.

  2. I presented the new RA site to the board last week and they loved it. They were especially interested in the tags cloud that allowed more detailed accesses to specific lists such as the Harry Potter ones.

    When I was making the presentation, my goal was not to mention the word “blog” once and I didn’t. I also referred to the tags as tags one time and saw only one board member nod so I referred to them as keywords or subjects.

Leave a Reply