Ubiquitous reference

Plucky! by Steampunk Family the von Hedwigs (2010) via Flickr CC-BY

I want another word for that… for the way this idea is like hunting people to serve.  I can see a comedic Monty Python skit with librarians in deerstalkers or pith helmets carrying tablets and nets, stalking tweeters in the wild to answer questions they didn’t even realise they had made 🙂

Target searching and responding to tweeters

For example, even though Andy Burkhardt’s suggestions preceded Twitter’s removal of RSS, [UPDATE: 10 July 2013 after twitter changed from APIv1.0 to 1.1 this hack no longer works] there are hacks described by Piers Dillon Scott at Sociable which boil down to:

  • start with http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=
  • add keyword
  • precede that with %23 after the = if you want a # tag
  • follow either with %20geocode:latitude%2Clongitude
    pick up a geocode from brenz.net: copy and paste the latitude and longitude and put %2C between them
  • and add a radius, say %2C25km

[UPDATE: Because keyword from twitter alerts are so interesting I will be looking into the strategies Aaron Tay blogged using IFTTT & Google script and/or Zapier & Mention.]

From that (with a keyword of book) I found in my local area:

Now if either was a student at UB I could link to the ebook in the catalogue;

or mention that the Ballarat Library (sorry Central Highlands library) could get a copy via SWIFT. (Unfortunately no permalink through SWIFT).

Dave the Plinth by Dave McGowan (2009) Flickr CC:BY-NC-ND/2.0

Similarly UB have books on the shelf that non-students may read which could help with:

But, if reference was my job in either place, would that be appropriate? I think it would be fantastic marketing, but if not, why not?

Target searching and responding to bloggers

A similar suggestion made back in 2006 has kept a part of my brain buzzed about ubiquitous reference ever since. Brian Mathews described [pdf] following 40 blogs of people who had identified themselves as students of his institution and searching them for specific keywords.

 article, assignment, book, group, help, journal, library, librarian, paper, project, professor, research, reserve, and test

Moyobamba butterfly hunters by Geoff Gallice (2012) on Flickr CC:BY

He gave examples of help he gave that students appreciated. An important discovery he made in the process that students objected to official “librarian” contact but welcomed responses under his name (he had librarian in his profile). Brian concluded that

such a service provides “timely, meaningful, and intuitive assistance … creates a personal connection … [and] allows them to see us as allies”.

Target searching

Now, just so that I can finally close the tab that has been open since I was researching RSS uses; a quick synopsis of what Elyssa Kroski had to say in April about monitoring social media.

  • She proposed and describes using the start page tool protopage.  (I am enjoying Google Reader, it lets stuff disappear when you’ve skimmed it).
  • She lists how to find search feeds on a variety of tools: blogging services Google, WordPress and IceRocket; the search tools naturally Bing and Google Alerts; a few aggregators and LinkedIn and Facebook – although I think that one is already out of date.

Leave the bubble

Monitoring for public comment is one reason to search for mentions of the library – but it detects only those who are already aware of the library and service.  Searching the wider community for the keyword book or article , read or reading, or someone suggested “?” allows you to pop the bubble, even if it does risk getting wet.

Wet by H Koppdelaney (2010) via Flickr CC:BY-ND/2.0

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