Blog categories

Should we change the blog categories in any way? Should “*The Essentials” remain the default?

Rational – it can be confusing to use the current categories. See what is categorized currently as essential and what is not.

Some suggestions:

1) *The Essentials is not needed. All readers should subscribe to the whole blog and pick what they’re interested in cp. reading sections of newspapers or subscribing to any other blog.

2) or should the default category just be changed to “Areas and Workgroups” i.e. LIS centric with action required to categorize as “*The Essentials”

3) and/or should “*The Essentials” be renamed “*The Essentials (all campus)”

10 thoughts on “Blog categories

  1. Terry Simpkins

    I find the term “The Essentials” somewhat confusing, although I think I understand the category to mean content that is useful/relevant to the public.

    My choice would be #3 – although I rename it something like “News and Announcements” or “Public Announcements” or “General Information” or something like that. I don’t agree with the premise of #1. This is already a large blog and being able to subscribe to portions of interest via RSS is useful. I could live with #2 as well, since my guess is the majority of readers will be LIS staff, although hopefully I’m wrong about that. But I like the idea of renaming the default category to something more meaningful better.

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  2. Elizabeth Whitaker-Freitas

    #1 should have read

    1) *The Essentials is not needed. All readers should subscribe to the whole blog or categories or tags that they’re interested in reading.

    I have a hard time envisioning a post that would only be categorized as “the Essentials”. If people are interested in a particular category or tag then they can subscribe just to those they are interested in. Otherwise if they want to see everything they can subscribe to the whole blog. This doesn’t mean that the subscriber will actually read everything in the feed. It just means they will see the list of posts and can decide for themselves if they want to read it or not.

    The Essentials seems to be an collection of what authors decide to be important to subscribers rather then letting the subscribers decide what is important to them.

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  3. Jess Isler

    We formally launched the one LIS blog 1 month ago (Happy Anniversary, LIS blog!) I just want the team to consider, before we make any changes: have we given our current category system enough of a chance to say it has failed and needs to be changed? If we do make any changes, I think we should keep in mind that it may take time for our system to be understood and used effectively. Yes, we created the categories hoping they would be intuitive and rapidly understood, but inevitably, reality bites! If we do make changes, we should set a date for evaluating them, but we should also give them enough time to take effect (possibly more than 1 month).

    That said, I agree with Liz. This blog is by no means prolific, averaging a few posts a day. The busiest day in our month of posting had 6 posts. Even if you read each post top to bottom, that’s hardly a reading overload, especially compared with some of the news blogs to which I subscribe. Even if the number of posts rises to a whopping 10 a day, I doubt readers will feel obliged to read every single one, and that they will simply read the posts that are of interest. If they don’t want to read a posting about, say, documentation of meeting minutes, they can “mark as read” and ignore it. At least that way they won’t miss anything of potential interest (like the posting on the campus wifi map!)

    I took the liberty of adapting S.R. Ranganathan’s 5 laws of library science for our purposes:
    1. Posts are for use.
    2. Every reader his [or her] post.
    3. Every post its reader.
    4. Save the time of the reader.
    5. The blog is a growing organism.

    Let the reader decide what is of interest and what isn’t. Change the default category to Areas and Workgroups, get rid of ★ The Essentials, and encourage external readers to subscribe to the whole blog.

    p.s. Team, where did the category “reports” come from and why isn’t it a tag? Do we anticipate lots of postings for a category called reports?

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  4. Ian McBride

    Jess, that’s a very well thought out viewpoint. I completely agree that we may need to give a bit more time to our efforts to see whether they can be successful in the long run, though I also think that if we have something that people don’t seem to “get”, like The Essentials, we should look into whether our basic assumptions are correct. I think your recommendations in the last paragraph are spot on.

    As for the “reports” category, we can’t prohibit new category creation, though we decided that we’d stick with the set of categories we originally defined. I’ve converted the “reports” category to a tag. This is one of the places where I think people will become more familiar with the difference between categories (structured/pre-defined) and tags (loose/open) as we continue to use this platform.

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  5. Carrie Macfarlane

    This is a tough one because I don’t want to bombard everyone with the minutiae of LIS work, and I think it’s possible that authors might make better use of the “Essentials” category if we waited a little longer. Still, if we might get rid of the category eventually then I think we should get rid of it now. I’d rather not announce it across campus and then get rid of it.

    As others have said, the truth is, LIS is not bombarding readers with posts. And “essential” is in the eye of the beholder. So, I’ll vote for discontinuing the category. Then, change the default category to “Areas and Workgroups.”

    ps-for the library page, I’m thinking of saving a spot to highlight items tagged “library recommended” or something like that. I’d make some posts myself, and I’d go in an add tags to other posts that we’d want to feature. For example, new e-resources, altered library services, underused print resources and collections…

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  6. Adam Franco

    I agree with Jess that the current categories (and the blog as a whole) are too new to draw firm conclusions about. Not that I have one, but if given the opportunity, I’d vote for keeping “★ The Essentials”. I feel much more comfortable posting team meeting minutes and other narrow-audience items if I know that those who are only interested in hearing the more ‘public-facing’ announcements have the ability to avoid the minutia. If “★ The Essentials” was to go away, how would you propose non-LIS readers of this blog avoid our meeting minutes while still getting the juicier stuff?

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  7. Jess Isler

    To address the specific example you give, one suggestion would be that you could post your meeting minutes to a wiki page, instead of the blog, like the LIS Website team does: https://mediawiki.middlebury.edu/wiki/LIS/LIS_Website#Meeting.C2.A0Notes
    We went with the wiki for meeting minutes specifically because we saw them as documentation (they’re not news announcements, and once posted, they’re unlikely to change, but anyone can edit them if needed). The wiki was a web-based alternative that helped our team keep “non-juicy” blog posts to a minimum.
    Even if we got rid of ★ The Essentials, I think we would still keep our “Subscribe” and “How do I” pages explaining how to subscribe to specific categories and tag feeds. So even if everyone started posting meeting minutes every day, that would help any non-LIS (and LIS) readers tailor their reading.

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  8. Ian McBride

    Eh, I wouldn’t want to see Adam’s meeting minutes go away. I read them! I would do the same for any other regularly convening group that posted here. But I’m an edge case as far as behaviors concerning this space go. My recommendation to ditch that category was an offhand comment at the meeting to tailor how this works closer to the way I enjoy consuming this media, which would be the wrong thing to do if it turned people off of using it. It seems appropriate to give our initial idea more time and perhaps tweak it to make it more understandable.

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  9. Jess Isler

    Fair enough. (But as you know, having meeting minutes or any other documentation in a wiki wouldn’t mean they would go away. You could still “watch” the page and receive emails about page updates.)

    Reply
  10. Adam Franco

    The problem with meeting minutes in the wiki is that others that aren’t involved directly in the meeting get yet another location where they have to search for content. For example, I just scanned the LIS Website Team’s recent blog post LIS Web Team – Meeting Agenda 11/4 and 11/5 and got a bit of an update on how your team was progressing. This probably isn’t interesting to anyone outside of LIS, but I personally found this to be a mildly useful post.

    In contrast, I didn’t even know that the LIS website team had its actual meeting minutes on a wiki page somewhere and wouldn’t have known to look for them if Jess hadn’t just mentioned it.

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