As a librarian, do you look for online commentaries on software when you’re considering implementing a piece of software? And do you find a lot of information out there? I’m an advocate for more online commentary on software. Here are some reasons why librarians should blog and micro-blog (tweet) about their experiences with software products:
Filling the void. There is an astounding lack of librarian commentary on software on the web.
Librarians are not all the same. Different librarians use software in different ways. Show readers how you’re using it.
Trust. Librarians will trust other librarians more than sales folks.
Broken functionality. All library software has bugs, but are the defects a light breeze or a hurricane? My new favorite graphic for broken functionality:
Stability. Many of today’s products are up for less than 99% of the time. There just aren’t a lot of ways to find out about product stability, and a blog/micro-blog seems like a good start for informing colleagues.
Lack of a watchdog. Articles on software in the library trade journals are often word-for-word repeats of press releases.
Buyer’s remorse. Reading a blog is a good way to find out about unexpected experiences or a bad implementation.
Justification of pricing. Online reviews help justify (or un-justify) the price of the product. It can help justify the reader in asking for a discount.
Increased duties. Readers can find out how library software impacts librarians’ job duties. Ideally, software takes pressure off librarians and increases automation. What are some of the new duties that you’ve experienced with the software you’re now using? Are any of the new job duties a surprise?
Scalability. You can find out how scalable a library technology is. Can a large library system handle the product? If a system larger than the reader is doing well, then it’s a good sign for the reader who is considering the product.
Collaboration. Maybe a reader from another library will want to collaborate with you. You both use Product X, so maybe you can share some of the costs by forming some sort of alliance.
Career advancement. Having blogged thoughtfully about software may make you a better candidate for a technical position.
You can read about the things that librarians care about at Library Science Daily. I publish it every morning.
Do you have a blog or Twitter handle that you’d like my readers to know about? Leave a comment!