In 2007, there are over 164 universities/colleges and 364 public libraries in Taiwan. But only a few LIS bloggers writing the LIS related topics in their blogs, and most of them do not recognize each other, no online library community as well.
In March 29, 2008, XXC (screen name on the internet) invited Debra , Ted and Evan to meet in Tam-Sui, afterward, they decided to hold a informal seminar (called “2008 summer meet up”) in Tai-chung in July 2008, and tried to invite more bloggers, finally, there were about 20 people attended this seminar.
After the “2008 summer meet up”, XXC, Debra, Ted and Evan and some bloggers discussed to build a forum or a website to communicate. Then the process began, they chose Ning as the platform to form a online library communities-LIS ShareLand beta.
2. The benefit of building an online library community
The advantage of building an online library community is not obvious in the initial stage, but as the time passed by and the quantity members increased, the online library community will have many possibilities.
(1) Information exchange
Online library community can gather information form bloggers, teachers, LIS students, librarians, and they can communicate online. There are many seminars in the LIS filed, the seminar participators can also share in this community.
(2) Knowledge Share
The online library community can also hold activities, like knowledge share, visiting libraries.
(3) Flat the library hierarchical
In the LIS field, there are professors, students, chief librarian, librarians, but in a online library community, there are only screen names, people do not know each other, people are equal here.
3. How to build an online library community?
(1) Find the team partner
People are the most important and valuable resource in a community, therefore, one single person is hard to build and maintain a community, team work is necessary, therefore, a team with similar thought have to be built before the community.
(2) Choose a online platform.
To choose a platform for the online library community is important.
Secker & Price mentioned some social networking sites: MySpace, Facebook, Elgg, LinkedIn, Ning (Secker & Price, 2007 ). One of the famous social networking site regarding library in Ning is “Library 2.0” (see: http://library20.ning.com/), which had 3,578 members (accessed on Dec. 4 2008). The founders of the LIS ShareLand beta chosen Ning as their platform, Ning provides many customized functions, and most of them are free, some of the free functions are as below.
Brand & Visual Design.
Real-time Activity Stream.
Custom Text & Widgets.
RSS Feeds In and RSS Out.
Photos Feature & Branded Photo Slideshows.
Single or multi-threaded discussion forum with categories, photos and attachments.
Video Feature & Branded Video Players.
Enable your members to see who's online and chat in real-time.
One-Click Facebook Integration from Your Network.
Enable groups on your social network with images, membership, comments and a discussion forum.
Every member of your social network has both a profile and a blog on Ning.
(3) Set up the platform
The team have to choose the administer to register in Ning to build the community, then basic function have to set up, such as the name of this community, logo, RSS and so on.
Propaganda can start from the email list of the team member, and the contact in the instant messenger.
4. How to run an online library community?
Like the news headline, a proper topic will attract people’s eyesight and join discussion.
Different group can gather different members, the group name could be University Libraries, Public Libraries, Reference Librarians and so on.
Activity is important in an online community, activity can be hold in a physical place like coffee shop.
5. Prospect of this online library community?
(1) Link up with traditional library community
An online library community can take missions from library associations, for instance, National Library in Taiwan assigned LIS ShareLand to broadcast and gather the issues recently, in order to prepare the LIS Youth Forum.
(2) International online library community communication
Link up with other library community as sister community.
In the Web 2.0 age, the demand of communication is not only between libraries and readers but also between librarians and librarians.
1.Ministry of Education(2007)。大專校院校數統計，(Accessed on Jan 18, 2009)
2.Secker, Jane and Price, Gwyneth (2007) Libraries as a social space: enhancing the experience of distance learners using social networking tools. In: Libraries Without Walls 7: Exploring 'anytime, anywhere' delivery of library services, 14th-18th September 2007, Molyvos, Lesbos, Greece. (In Press)