UH promotes digital library via Wikipedia

If your library has digital archives, you might want to copy the University of Houston’s methods in using Wikipedia to promote them. From Inside Higher Ed:

Reilly and her colleagues explained that libraries can also galvanize use of their collections of important paintings, photographs, and historical documents by uploading digital copies of those artifacts to Wikipedia’s media library. Known as the Wikimedia Commons, the site’s media library is the main source of the images embedded in Wikipedia articles. If libraries put their digital artifacts in the Commons, they are more likely to be used by people writing entries and approved by Wikipedia’s volunteer editors, who try to be vigilant about keeping copyrighted images off the site, said R. Niccole Westbrook, the digital photograph technician for the University of Houston libraries.

And since anyone can edit a Wikipedia page, libraries can themselves add different images to existing articles, exposing them to anybody who lands on those pages. For example, Elder added to Hakeem Olajuwon’s Wikipedia page a photo from its archive taken the day the basketball great signed with the hometown Houston Rockets in 1984. According to site records, that page has been viewed more than 50,000 times in the last 30 days.

Contributions need not be limited to photos of pop culture icons, either. Westbrook showed another image, taken in 1920s or ’30s Texas by the photographer Harry Walker, of a woman holding a baby. Elder had cropped the image to focus on the woman’s headgear, a phenomenon of early 20th-century haberdashery called the cloche hat. She then added the image to an existing page for the cloche hat — which, while less popular than Olajuwon, has been viewed more than 5,000 times in the last 30 days.


Libraries can also leverage Wikipedia’s massive audience by adding links to their online collections to the “external links” section of various pages, Westbrook said. This strategy might not expose library holdings to Wikipedia users upfront, but it can create thru-traffic to the libraries’ websites.



Webinar: Cracking QR Codes—What Are They and How Can They Help Your Library?

PLA is offering a Webinar tomorrow on QR Codes:

Join PLA and Carson Block, IT director of the Poudre River (Colo.) Public Library District, on April 20 for “Cracking QR Codes—What Are They and How Can They Help Your Library?” PLA’s latest webinar in the “Public Libraries at Work” series.

This one-hour webinar will provide a lively, uncomplicated introduction to QR Codes. Learn what they are and how to make them work for your library. QR Codes can help you communicate with your patrons about library services, programs, web content, and more!

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will:

  • Be able to recognize a QR Code.
  • Be aware of QR Code uses throughout popular media.
  • Understand how QR Codes can be applied at their libraries.
  • Know how to generate and publish QR Codes.

Date(s) & Time(s)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

  • 2:00–3:00 PM Eastern
  • 1:00–2:00 PM Central
  • 12:00–1:00 PM Mountain
  • 11:00 AM–12:00 PM Pacific



  • PLA Member: $28.00
  • ALA Member: $31.50
  • Nonmember: $35.00

    More info:


    Leveraging Social Media as a Communications Tool

    My presentation for the Texas Library Association 2011 Conference:


    New York Public Library to launch scavenger game

    What a great idea! “New York Public Library to launch scavenger game

    The New York Public Library launched a website Friday to introduce a massive, smartphone-based scavenger hunt that will officially kick off May 20 with an invitation-only, all-night lock-in in New York City.

    The game, which will continue through 2011, works by getting players to download an app for their iPhone or Android-based smartphones and then head to the library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman building, which celebrates its centennial this year, to play (folks not near New York can play a digital version on the Web).



    Geek Out @ your library

    From the American Library Association:

    Teens choose Geek Out @ your library® for 2012 Teen Tech Week™ theme

    CHICAGO — Hundreds of teens voted for the 2012 Teen Tech Week™ theme, selecting Geek Out @ your library® as their favorite with 62 percent of the vote. Using Geek Out @ your library, librarians will be able to build programs and events that highlight the expansive technology offerings available to teens, for free, at public and school libraries during next year’s celebration, March 4-10.

    More than 1,200 libraries across the United States celebrated Teen Tech Week™ 2011, March 6-12, an annual initiative that highlights the technology available in libraries and sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association.

    Teens who took the survey also answered questions about how they used technology both at home or in school and public libraries.

    Teen Tech Week is a national initiative aimed at teens, their parents, educators and other concerned adults with a general theme of Get Connected @ your library®. The initiative ensures that teens are competent and ethical users of technologies, especially those that are offered through libraries. Teen Tech Week encourages teens to use libraries’ many free nonprint resources for education and recreation and to recognize that librarians are qualified, trusted professionals in the field of information technology.

    The 2011 Teen Tech Week theme was Mix and Mash @ your library. Teen Tech Week 2011 Promotional Partners include ALA Graphics,, the Margaret A. Edwards Trust and Nonprofit supporters are and the Federal Trade Commission. To learn more about Teen Tech Week, visit

    For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos and audiobooks for teens.  For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail,

    To comment, share, or see related resources and images, go here.


    Meet Wikipedia director Sue Gardner

    Ever wonder who’s behind Wikipedia? I can honestly say that it never crossed my mind. I know that thousands of people across the world contribute to the content of the site, making sure it’s up to date and accurate, but I never wondered about the peple in the company itself.

    FastCompany took a look at Wikipedia’s direction, and at its director Sue Gardner. She’s very interesting… at least according to this article. A former journalist, she was brought in four years ago. According to the article, Gardner is one of two women heading a “top-10 website.”



    Netflix creates first “made-for-connected” series

    Hulu has done it, so it was only time before Netflix did it too — original programming is coming to your Netflix queue.

    Actor/producer Kevin Spacey (American Beauty) and director/producer David Fincher (The Social Network) have joined forces to produce the very first made-for-connected-television series — a political thriller called House of Cards — that will only be accessible via streaming from Netflix by its subscribers.

    There is a commitment for 26 episodes, two 13-episode seasons.

    So my question from libraries: are we going to see DVDs as part of this? If online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are now in the content creation business, how are we going to provide them to our customers?

    (Yes, I know it’s not a PR topic, but still relevant.)



    QR Codes in a Library

    Thinking of ways to use QR Codes in your library? Check out this post by David Lee King, where he suggests using QR codes to “give” free ebooks.



    10 Freebies Local Libraries Have to Offer

    I always love seeing posts where the benefits of a library are highlighted. Money Crashers encourages readers to use the library to save money by spotlighting 10 freebies offered there:

    1. Special Events For Kids
    2. Toddler and Preschool Story Time
    3. Museum Admission
    4. Audio Books
    5. Internet Access
    6. eBooks
    7. Local Artwork
    8. Performing Arts
    9. Personal Development Resources
    10. Movies

    I would have added “computer training.”


    How New York Public Library uses HootSuite

    The HootSuite blog has a great case study posted on how New York Public Library increased their Twitter followers from 7,000 to 90,000 in 2010. “The Library also increased the number of visits to coming from Twitter by 353.98% over the previous year (2009).”

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