Digital Long-term Archiving: Discovering Networks With the nestor Community Survey

Guest article by Svenia Pohlkamp, Stefan Strathmann and Monika Zarnitz

The idea of the nestor community survey

Digital preservation is a task that is complicated and resource-intensive. Cooperation, communication and mutual support is necessary to cope with the different challenges of this matter. nestor is active in all these areas.

That`s why the idea emerged to start a survey among the national and international communities that cope with digital preservation. nestor installed a small working group that developed the questionnaire and analysed the result of the community survey. The aim of this survey is to create transparency about the international landscape of communities in this field and to collect information for all those who wish to collaborate.

The questionnaire for the survey, which was conducted online, consisted of 40 questions. We gathered 54 valid answers as basis for our analysis.

The nestor community survey

The survey distributed through multiple channels, such as mailing lists, direct contact to colleagues and so on from autumn 2019 until May 2020. The results of the survey were evaluated, edited and published in 2022 in the series of nestor materials.

Besides this publication, another result of the survey was the development of so-called community profiles, which you can find on nestor’s website. These profiles are self-descriptions of the involved communities and may serve as a sort of registry of national and international communities. They provide the first ever overview of the various facets, resources and focal areas of long-term archiving networks worldwide. The aim is to improve transparency and facilitate cooperation of the different communities worldwide.

Of the 54 participants who completed the questionnaire in full, 32 have so far allowed us to publish their community profile. We hope that more will give their consent. The communities had the opportunity to update and/or correct their data while reviewing their profiles.

What is a community?

One basic decision during the project was how to define and circumscribe the term “community” in the context of the survey, since there are manifold possibilities to define a community and it should be fitting to our object of investigation. Following intensive discussion, the working group agreed on the following definition:

  • An open community of persons and/or institutions that engages with the subject of long-term archiving. Digital long-term archiving can be one of several topics, which the community deals with.
  • A community whose members are committed to digital long-term archiving in a manner that goes beyond pure self-interest. Its central or sole purpose is not to supply a product or provide a commercial service.
  • A platform for discussing the topic of digital long-term archiving and its advancement, including the development of tools and/or the provision of services.
  • It can be local, regional or international.
  • It does not matter how big the community is. It can be large or small.
  • Whether the community is product-related or not is also irrelevant.
  • In the following paragraphs, we present some selected results of the survey.

Digital preservation communities: Where are they situated?

In question 6 we asked in which country or part of the world the community is located. Several communities mentioned more than one country in the text entry field. We chose either the country where they are based or the first country they mentioned.

Digital preservation communities: Where are they situated?

Interpretation: Almost all communities represented in this survey are situated in industrial countries. Either we couldn’t reach out to the communities in other countries or there are very few digital preservation communities in the developing and less-developed countries. This may be due to the lack of resources, and shows that in the most countries there is either few digital preservation activity or the actors in this field do not have the resources to join a community and benefit from the exchange with colleagues in other countries. The latter aspect may be not so important because communities increasingly communicate digitally and there is abundant literature and software freely accessible in the web.

Digital preservation communities: Are they silos or do they cooperate with each other?

In question 25, we asked how many cooperations with other communities the participating communities currently have. Four check boxes were provided. Only one answer could be given.

Percentage of cooperations

Interpretation: Our data shows clearly, that communities are no silos and that they interact with other communities intensively. Only 17 % of the communities do not have a cooperation with another community, while 19 % of them cooperate with more than ten other communities. Institutions and persons who engage in digital preservation are often members of several communities, so there is a broad exchange of ideas, tools, publications and other results of community work. Digital preservation is a task too complicated to tackle on one’s own and this not only on the individual level but at the level of communities as well. This may be the reason for the intensive exchange between the communities.

Digital preservation communities: What kind of organisation are they and what kind of finance do they use?

In question 11, we enquired how the communities are organised. The majority of 93 % stated to be non-profit organisations. In question 14, we asked how the communities finance themselves and their work. Six check boxes were provided. Multiple answers were possible. The sixth check box was “Other” with a text entry field.

The entries for “Other” have been re-categorised and are shown in the table below alongside the five given response options. The entries re-categorised and reassigned in “Other” are displayed in italics.

Digital preservation communities: What kind of organisation are they and what kind of finance do they use?

Interpretation: This table shows that the main sources of finance are membership fees, revenues from services, sponsoring, third party fund / grants and in kind contributions. None of the other sources has a comparable importance for financing. This, together with the fact that communities are mainly non-profit organisations (see above), shows that digital preservation has no commercial aims and that the self-conception of these organisations is comparable to the self-conception of libraries, archives and museums as heritage organisations. Indeed, the persons active in the communities originate from organisations such as these and carry the same mentality into the communities.

Digital preservation communities: What makes a community successful?

In question 40 we asked about the most important success factors of the community. Participants often entered several options into the text fields. This means, there were many different answers to this question. For this reason, we assigned the answers given in the text entry fields to different categories (where possible) and displayed them in a word cloud. It contains all the categorised answers as well as those for which no category was found.

This word cloud contains all the categorised answers as well as those for which no category was found.

Interpretation: This word cloud shows the most important aspects for the success of a digital preservation community. Three aspects are particularly significant:

  1. Critical success factors are the engagement, the collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and resources.
  2. Communities support the creation of knowledge and technologies for digital preservation.
  3. The broadness of a community is important since there are so many details in digital preservation that the manifoldness of competencies and perspectives is necessary..

Conclusion on digital preservation communities

The nestor community survey offers a rich source of data that explains the behaviour of digital preservation communities. The cases we picked up in this blog post show that the communities cluster in industrial countries and that they are in close contact and interaction with each other on several levels (the communities themselves, individual members, institutions, persons). The institutions that are parts of the communities are mainly non-profit organisations with the typical sources of finance and the typical mentality of heritage organisations.

Repetition in 2023

We would like to repeat the survey in 2023 and hope to improve it with our experiences from the first run. We aim at reducing the time between the beginning of the next survey and the date of publication of the results and we will reformulate some questions so that they are clearer and the evaluation is easier. We hope that with the publication of the first survey there may be more awareness for the second round and that then more communities participate.

We invite all communities that are active in the field of digital preservation to suggest improvements of the survey and to take part in its upcoming repetition. If you are interested in participating, please contact us:

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About the authors:

Svenia Pohlkampworks at the German National Library (DNB) and manages the nestor office there. She is responsible for the coordination between nestor’s partners and organisational matters of the network. She also takes part in two of nestor’s working groups, Community Survey and Certification.

Stefan Strathmann works at the Göttingen State and University Library (SUB) in the Digital Library Department. He is responsible for SUB’s activities in the area of digital preservation. In particular, he represents the SUB at nestor, the German national network of excellence in digital preservation.

Dr Monika Zarnitz is an economist and Head of the Programme Area User Services & Collection Care at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. She is head of the nestor working group „Community Survey“.

Portrait Monika Zarnitz: Fotograf: Sven Wied, ZBW©

The post Digital Long-term Archiving: Discovering Networks With the nestor Community Survey first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Social Media in Libraries: Best Practice From the Austrian National Library

An interview with Marlene Lettner, Claudia Stegmüller and Anika Suck, part of the social media team in the Communication and Marketing Department of the Austrian National Library.

The reach of the Austrian National Library is one of the widest on the social web among libraries in German-speaking countries. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or LinkedIn – the institution keeps its public up to speed through text, photo and video, and it does it successfully! We asked Marlene Lettner, Claudia Stegmüller and Anika Suck, who are in charge of the channels, what the National Library’s social media goals are, which formats generate followers and what the workflow behind the scenes looks like.

Hello! In your opinion, why is it important for libraries and digital infrastructure institutions to be active on social media?

Firstly, to increase our visibility and secondly, because we want to reach our target groups where they like to hang out. Beyond this, as the Austrian National Library, we have a legal mandate to make our collections accessible to a wide public, and social media is perfect for this.

The Austrian National Library runs its own channels on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Why did you decide to use these specific networks and who are your target audiences there?

We cater to our target audiences on all of the channels they use. This means that on Facebook, we communicate with our older target groups who mainly visit our museums. Facebook still offers the best option when it comes to telling our visitors about events too. Instagram is most popular with the target group of 25- to 45-year-olds and it offers some playful features. We mostly use YouTube as a home base for our videos, which we then share on our website or via other social media channels.

What kind of topics do you feature on your social media channels?

We’re not just a library – we’re also home to six museum areas and eight collections – so we need to cover a wide range of topics.

From special exhibitions to events and current blog posts, offers for guided tours and seminars, follower reposts and bizarre discoveries in the archive – we do it all.

To create good content for an institution’s social media channels, you need people who remember the social media team and pass on information, insights and stories. How do you manage to motivate other employees to give you ideas for content?

We are a relatively large institution with almost 400 employees. Luckily, colleagues from the most varied of departments provide us with content on a regular basis. This includes special discoveries from the photo archives, from ANNO (Austrian Newspapers Online) and finds from the hashtag #AriadneFrauDesMonats (“#AriadneWomanOfTheMonth”).

What topics or posting formats work particularly well for you?

Our users like photos of our magnificent ceremonial hall the most, as well as old cityscapes of Vienna.

Antique bookshelves with ladders ladders always work well, as does anything ‘behind-the-scenes’ in addition to unusual, particularly beautiful perspectives. Unusual finds from our collections are also popular.

Has a content idea ever backfired?

Fortunately, we haven’t had a shitstorm yet. And we’ve never had a real fail either. There are, however, some sensitive topics we deal with that might cause a stir. That’s why we try to stick to the facts, stay neutral and not get political. But sometimes people react to something when you’re not expecting it: we recently advertised an event that is taking place throughout Austria that focuses on climate protection this year. Some people misunderstood and reported the post.

In your opinion, what is a good tip that libraries should bear in mind if they want to get started on social media?

As it’s difficult to influence the algorithms, it’s important to experiment and find out what your target audience actually likes. In terms of content, you should aim for quality and stay true to your principles. So don’t share daily politics, polemical content and so on.

And finally, please tell us which formats go down particularly well – both with the public and with the editors.

Stories with GIFs, reels or short videos and anything that gets users interacting with you like exclusive Instawalks, reposts and quizzes. Recurring content like #staircasefriday is also good because the editing is faster, but it still keeps things interesting for users.

Thank you for the interview!
This text has been translated from German.

The Austrian National Library

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About the authors:

Marlene Lettner (LinkedIn), Claudia Stegmüller (LinkedIn und Xing) and Anika Suck (LinkedIn) are part of the social media team in the Austrian National Library’s Communication and Marketing department.

Portraits:
Anika Suck: private©, Claudia Stegmüller: FOTObyHOFER©

All other pictures: Austrian National Library©

The post Social Media in Libraries: Best Practice From the Austrian National Library first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Social Media in Libraries: Best Practice and Tips for Successful Profiles From the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

Especially when looking at the Facebook (around 11,000 followers) and Instagram channels (3,700 followers) of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB), it quickly becomes clear that they are doing something pretty right on social media. In addition, the BSB is active on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr in various ways. We asked two members of staff about their target groups, recipes for success and topics that are doing particularly well.

An interview with Peter Schnitzlein and Sabine Gottstein from the press and public relations division of the Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek in Munich.

Why do you think it is important for libraries and digital infrastructure institutions to be active on social media?

Here we can only refer to the interview published on ZBW MediaTalk on the seven “glorious” reasons: Why libraries have to be permanently active on social media!

Today, certain target groups can simply no longer be reached with “classic” communication channels such as press relations or a library magazine – regardless of whether they are published in analogue or digital form. These target groups are more likely to be reached – differentiated according to age and content – via the appropriate and corresponding social media channels. This does not mean that classic communication work will disappear in the foreseeable future – on the contrary. However, it can be stated that social media engagement is taking up an increasingly larger share of a library’s overall communication. We have to take this into account.

You are very active on social media at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. What are your goals with and target groups on the different channels? Why did you choose these of all channels?

The aim of the engagement in social media is primarily to inform about the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, its services, holdings and information and usage offers, to interest people in the library or to positively influence the perception of the library and, if necessary, to strengthen the bond with the library through entertaining elements. The activities serve to make the library visible to the digital or virtual public as an internationally important general and research library as well as an important cultural institution on a local, regional and national level. The social media ideally support the strategic goal of the BSB to be perceived as Germany’s leading digital library with extensive, innovative digital usage offers and as a treasure house of written and visual cultural heritage. We attach great importance to participation and networking with specialist communities and stakeholders in our communication.

As extensive and wide-ranging as the fields of action of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek are, as diverse and varied are the target groups that need to be considered and served. We operate our own channels on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr. With these five social media channels selected by the library, we hope to be able to address the majority of the target groups in an appropriate manner. Roughly formulated and certainly strongly generalised, we can state the following:

  1. Twitter primarily serves professional communities, thematically related institutions or multiplier groups such as press and media representatives.
  2. Instagram is intended to reach a younger target group (20-35 years of age),
  3. Whereas Facebook is aimed more at the 30 to 55 age group. The two channels should appeal to users as well as to a broad audience with an affinity for culture and libraries.
  4. With YouTube, we want to address not exclusively, but primarily everyone over 16, actually everyone who is at home in the digital world. Explanatory videos on webinars, on how to use the library or a new app are just as much in demand here as the presentation of special library treasures. Video content is currently the measure of all things and we will pay special attention to this channel in the future.
  5. We use the photo portal Flickr less as a social media channel than as a documentation site, to offer important pictures of the building or of exhibition posters in one central place, and for external requests for pictures of the BSB.

In addition to the corporate channels, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek also operates numerous specialist channels for individual departments, projects or specialist information services. The reason for this is the fact that certain (specialist) target groups cannot be successfully addressed through corporate channels. In view of the immense range of subject areas covered by the BSB, the central social media editorial team cannot have the professional expertise needed to cover all these topics in detail. Coordination processes would be too time-consuming and lengthy to successfully create content and to be able to act quickly and efficiently – a very important aspect in social media communication.

How long have you been present in social media?

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek dedicated itself to this field of communication relatively early on. We have been active on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube since 2009, on Flickr since 2007 and on Instagram since 2016. At present, we have no plans for further expansion of activities. In view of the short-lived nature and speed of innovation in this area, however, this may change in the short term. In this respect, only a daily status report is possible here.

What topics take place on your social media channels?

The content that the BSB posts can be summarised well, as mentioned above, under “inform, interest, entertain”. The same content is often published on Facebook and Twitter, although more specialist topics that are primarily intended to interest the specialist community and multipliers tend to be published on Twitter. On Instagram, the decisive criterion is always the appealing picture, and recently video. In general, a certain entertainment factor plays just as much a role on Instagram as on Facebook as the primary approach of informing.

In order to “feed” the social media channels well for an institution like yours, you need people who think of the social media team and pass on information and stories, who are perhaps also willing to make an appearance themselves. How do you get other staff to provide you with information, stories and ideas for your channels?

The topics are recruited in close cooperation and constant exchange with our internal specialist departments. There are social media contacts there who report relevant content from their own department to the central social media editorial team. The latter, in turn, also inquires specifically in the departments if necessary. Our directorate expressly supports and welcomes the active participation of the departments, project groups and working groups in the social media work of the house.

The social media team also actively establishes references to other cultural and academic institutions, picks up on library-relevant topics and comments on them. The creation of a thematic and editorial calendar with anniversaries, jubilees, events, etc. also facilitates the identification of suitable content for the social media channels.

In the press and public relations division, something like a central “newsroom” is currently being set up. This is also, where information for press topics or content for library magazines should come in. The social media editorial team will automatically learn about topics, which are primarily intended for other communication channels. The team can then decide to what extent they should be included in the social media work.

Which topics or posting formats work particularly well for you and why?

In general, we can see that postings related to current events work well:

Tweet of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek regarding the participation in the SUCHO (Search for Ukrainian Cultural Heritage) project (German)

For example, our tweets condemning the invasion of Ukraine (German) or our participation in the SUCHO project (Search for Ukrainian Cultural Heritage, German) achieved a wide reach, as did a humorous tip to cool off in the hot summer month of July. The start of a library exchange with colleagues from the German National Library (DNB) and the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (Berlin State Library; SBB), which just started in Munich, triggered many interactions on Twitter.

On Facebook, the World Book Day post (German) on 22 April referring to the Ottheinrich Bible, one of our magnificent manuscripts, together with a series of archive photos of archive photos of Queen Elisabeth II (German) ) on the occasion of her death were very successful.

Appealing images on Twitter and Facebook – especially posts with three- or four-image compositions – are still crucial for success. Embedding videos on these two social networks, on the other hand, surprisingly does not achieve the desired result on our channels. On the contrary. These posts and tweets achieve low reach and popularity.

On Instagram, on the other hand, short videos in the form of reels are becoming more and more important alongside good picture posts in the feed (German), accompanied by casual, often humorous descriptions. We used this format successfully, especially for our exhibition #olympia72inbildern (#olympia72inpictures, German). Both formats also benefit from being referred to via stories.

Sometimes things go wrong in social media. What was your best fail?

Fortunately, nothing has ever really gone wrong – with one exception (see below). However, every now and then we are (justifiably) reminded that we should not forget to gender in our tweets.

Have you ever had a shitstorm? What have you learned from it?

Yes, we had, at least to some extent – and we don’t like to think back on it. However, we have learned a lot from the incident in dealing with social media. The basic mistake at the time was not to have taken into account the specific requirements of each channel with regard to the wording, the approach to followers and fans and the willingness to explain.

Tips & tricks: What are your tips for libraries that would like to get started with social media?

First of all, it is important to do an honest and thorough analysis. Social media ties up resources, and quite a lot of them. Just doing it “on the side” will not lead to the desired result and harbours dangers. If you want to be active, you must have affine personnel with the appropriate know-how and sufficient time resources. It is indispensable to define the target groups and to identify a permanently sufficient number of topics.

While social media was text-based in the early days, today there is no post or tweet without a picture. On some channels, video content is now the measure of all things, just think of the reels on Instagram, video platforms like YouTube or the omnipresent TikTok. They are currently becoming more and more popular and setting trends. These developments must be taken into account in all considerations of online communication.

If you want to use social media as a means of library communication, you have to check whether you can actually afford to operate all the channels that are currently important and which target groups you actually want to serve with which channels. Creating a written concept – even a short one if necessary – helps to answer these questions precisely. For example, concentrating on one channel, true to the motto “less is more”, may be an effective means of operating successfully with limited resources.

Finally, a little peek into the magic box: What are your favourite tools for social media?

With “Creator Studio”, feed posts for Instagram can also be posted conveniently from the computer and not only from the mobile phone, which makes work considerably easier. Then, of course, there is the editorial and topic plan mentioned above. It is the central working tool for keeping track of and working through topics and content across all channels. In addition to news from the management and the departments, it contains as many events, occasions, relevant (birth or death) anniversaries, etc. as possible. Finally, the apps “Mojo” and “Canva” should be mentioned. With their help, we create and edit Instagram stories, reels, social media posts and visual content. This even goes as far as adding royalty-free music to clips.

This text has been translated from German and is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND.

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek on the net

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This blog article is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND.

We were talking to:
Peter Schnitzlein passed the final examination for graduate librarian (upper level- graduate of a specialized higher education institution (research libraries)), in 1993 and the modular qualification for the highest career bracket for civil servants in Germany (QE4) in 2018. He has been head of press and public relations and spokesman of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek since 2007.
Portait: BSB©, photographer: H.-R. Schulz

Sabine Gottstein studied language, economic and cultural area studies, worked in the field of communications in Germany and abroad and has been working for the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek since 2015. She is the head of the social media team in the press and public relations division.
Portait: BSB©, photographer: H.-R. Schulz

The post Social Media in Libraries: Best Practice and Tips for Successful Profiles From the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Why Libraries Have to be Permanently Active on Social Media: 7 “Glorious” Reasons – 2021 Update

Guest post by Karoline Kahmann and Stephan Schwering

This article is an update of a blog article published in 2018. As this article was met with great interest and a lot has happened in the field of social media and libraries since 2018, the authors have taken another look at the topic and added some current aspects.

1. Increase the level of awareness and visibility of the library.

Time and again it is astonishing how little libraries are perceived by many parts of the population. With social media, libraries have the opportunity to achieve reach in the digital world very easily – even outside the usual library clientele. The usage figures for social media in Germany alone show how big the potential is for libraries. The only thing that is needed is appropriately trained staff and human resources. Smaller libraries in particular have very great opportunities here. And for the larger libraries, presence is now obligatory. Especially during the Corona crisis and the temporary closure of libraries, social media was almost the only way to stay in touch and in active communication with users. Here, a strong social media presence proved to be a resilience factor for library work in the lockdown.

As libraries are usually part of the public administration or other patronage additional coordination efforts are necessary. This is because public relations, press work and also social media are often subject to municipal business or service directives. Municipalities, for example, often have strict guidelines regarding the use of social media. The library is sometimes a bit of an exotic in this respect and absolutely needs the possibility to act freely. Press offices sometimes find this difficult. The only thing that helps here is transparency and close communication, for instance with the press department. And technically, sometimes not all platforms are allowed in the municipal network, so it takes some convincing. In Düsseldorf, this works quite well through close communication.

2. Present the library as a modern, open and future-oriented institution.

Libraries can present themselves as a sympathetic and modern organisation in the social networks. They don’t just want to be perceived as a book rental point, but to be visible as a place with the full range of services they offer. Just posting pictures of book tables and book recommendations is not enough. Although this is also good if it is cleverly done. These posts are sure to reach a desired target group, book and literature lovers, who are very present on Twitter in particular. In social media, a library can let people see everyday library life through a keyhole. It can present itself in a witty and emotional way.

3. Enable direct communication with library users.

It has never been easier to communicate directly with library users outside of the library building. Many library staff still shy away from social media, but it is basically the same communication as in the library itself and beyond. Getting direct feedback in particular offers great opportunities.

4. Be credible as a provider of digital services.

Libraries are offering more and more digital services. Whether loan of digital media, PressReader, databases, streaming services and much more. Nothing makes a library that offers digital services itself more unattractive and untrustworthy than if it struggles with the communicative heart of the digital world, social media, and yet wants to use it to communicate digital services. It is important that libraries are familiar with social media if they want to communicate digital services to interested parties. Professionalism is needed here. For this, you also have to technically master the social media channels.

Ultimately, know-how is decisive for the success of social media: effective staff development in the fast-moving social media sector is therefore particularly important. The (content-related) concepts of the individual networks have changed again and again, and they will continue to change. In addition, new platforms are being added. The constant change and the constant changes of the platforms place high demands on the flexibility and expertise of the social media team, which must always be up to date. At the Düsseldorf Public Libraries, the social media team is trained in regular individual training sessions and through annual coaching of the entire team with external support in order to constantly reflect on and improve their own actions.

5. Attract future specialist staff, trigger positive image transfer.

Imagine you are young, enthusiastic, you live on social media, but at the same time you have a certain professional distance, and you want to apply for an interesting job offer in a library. You search the web und you find the library website and a few of its news items via Google News. Social media platforms? Moderate, not up-to-date or non-existent. One inevitably asks oneself: “The library wants to offer, convey and bring digital content to the users and it is not present at the centrepiece of digital life?”

Everyone talks about the image transformation of libraries. If a library wants to recruit the information specialists of tomorrow, it has to be present there today. At the same time, applicants must be aware that the requirements of modern library work include a lot of digital competence.

6. Networking with communities in their own city and building their own community.

Libraries bring people together, build networks with citizens and provide the platform for this. They are increasingly becoming places of knowledge transfer and informal learning among users. Library labs and makerspaces are springing up in many libraries. If you want to reach out to the digital community and build your own community, a professional presence in social media is essential. Here are the players and here are the multipliers for the library.

The activities of libraries in social media achieve great added value when they are linked to the analogue “third place” of the library (German). Basically, only then do they unfold their full effectiveness and the so-called Return of Investment (ROI) is particularly high.

One can accompany digital communication and the community with new formats of events in the library. This not only increases virtual visibility in this target group, but also sustainable networking. At the Düsseldorf Public Libraries, the #blogsofa (German) has been an example of this since 2016. The event format regularly opens up an analogue stage for Düsseldorf bloggers and creates an interface between social media and face-to-face experiences with fellow citizens. Bloggers are invited to be interviewed about a topic (for instance travel blogs or food blogs) on the sofa by social web ranger Wibke Ladwig. Thus, the bloggers get to know their readers and can network with other bloggers from the region. Since the beginning of the event series, it has been streamed live and thereby brought directly to the digital community. The reaction between digital and analogue produces interesting effects: For example, a do-it-yourself blogger came back to the LibraryLab (German) of the Central Library and offered a workshop for the users. In the digital community, the #blogsofa has become a term, as the audience tweets on site during the event, making the #blogsofa a digital experience for non-participants.

All spatial offers in the library that address the digital community in any way need to be embedded in digital communication. An offer like the LibraryLab in the Central Library of the Düsseldorf Public Libraries can therefore also appear credibly outside the library and serve to network with the local community because the communication is flanked by social media.

7. Being a trustworthy partner on the web – a new challenge and a huge chance.

There are many rumours and hoaxes circulating on the web. This has always been the case, but the whole fake news debate has added a new dimension. Many need guidance, especially in social media. Libraries are present, but they could be much more present and much more active in providing sound information and research. Libraries can be the trusted anchor points on the web.

With the claim to act close to the realities of people’s lives, there is not only a need for public libraries to be present in social media and to strategically design digital communication for the library. Recent developments have also created a mandate to defend our free basic order on the web and to stand up for mutual respect, freedom of opinion and a pluralistic society – to counter the “loud opinion makers” and “hate speech”. At the beginning of the 20s of the 21st century, this results in a challenging field of tension for libraries in relation to social media.

Background: Social Media of the Düsseldorf Public Libraries

For several years now, the Düsseldorf Public Libraries have been very successfully present in the social networks. You can find the public libraries on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and soon for the new youth library of the Central Library on TikTok. The own blog is called “Alphabet Soup” (German). The YouTube-Kanal is currently mainly used as a “container” for video productions for linking, but has seen a significant upgrade during the Corona period.

Stephan Schwering and Karoline Kahmann. Copyright: Andreas Bretz©

This post is an update of the blog article published in 2018 “Why modern libraries need to be active in social media: seven ‘glorious’ reasons’”.

This text has been translated into English.

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The post Why Libraries Have to be Permanently Active on Social Media: 7 “Glorious” Reasons – 2021 Update first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Open Science: Grassroots Initiative from Students for Students at the University of Amsterdam

The Student Initiative for Open Science (SIOS) at the University of Amsterdam was initiated and is still run by students. The grassroots movement wants to introduce students as early as possible, voluntarily and sometimes playfully, to the sometimes quite abstract subject area of open practices and thus make university life easier for students. Good academic practice should be learned and internalised as early as possible, is the motto.

Marla Dressel and Franziska Nippold from SIOS presented the project at the Open Science Conference this year. Now we have spoken with them and asked them about their motivation, because there are no credit points for the commitment. In the interview, they also tell us how their university environment reacted to the grassroots initiative and how academic libraries can support them. At the end, there are starting points and links for anyone who would like to establish a similar movement at her/his university.

An Interview with Marla Dressel and Franziska Nippold

Your grassroots initiative is very interesting as it targets Open Science education for students at the University of Amsterdam. What was your motivation?

A course called “Good research practices” at our Psychology master’s programme was an important motivating factor. The course teaches students how to conduct reliable science and discusses current research practices. Fellow students of ours found it quite disappointing that they learned Open Science only during their master’s degree and many programmes do not offer such courses at all. Besides, most Open Science initiatives mainly target PhDs, post-docs, and professors while not adapting resources and materials to students’ needs.

They felt that students were being overlooked in the Open Science movement.

We think that this could be fatal because students are the researchers of tomorrow.
This is why SIOS ( Student Initiative for Open Science) was born. We wanted to involve students in the movement and to provide them with open education on Open Science. 

We are Data Sharing. We are Open Access.
We are Reproducibility.
We are Open Science, from students for students.

What are your activities?

Our event team organises a broad range of activities. We host lectures on Open Science topics (e.g., the difference between exploratory vs confirmatory research, Bayesian statistics, pre-registered reports), workshops to provide students with practical tools (e.g., how to pre-register your thesis, version control with GitHub, power analysis, JASP), and more fun activities to get students together, such as Open Science movie nights, pub quizzes, or discussion panels. We also have a communication team at SIOS that is pretty active on social media, especially on Twitter, but also on Instagram and on Facebook. Here, we spread our events and resources with other students, scholars, universities and everyone else, who is interested. At the same time, we attend conferences and write grant applications. We also provide materials and resources to students on our website and our Slack Channel. Here, students can also ask questions and debate current issues. Besides the purely educational part, we are currently running a study on research practices among students.

How did your environment (e.g. profs, lecturers …) react to it?

We have received immense support from our study coordinators, profs and lecturers. Many of them have offered to give lectures themselves and help us share our endeavours. For us, it is extremely rewarding to see the resonance in the community but at the same time we also know that we are lucky that our university is very method-conscious and that it may be different at universities outside the Netherlands. More importantly, students find our events helpful, and we receive a lot of positive feedback from them. 

Are any of your activities part of the university curriculum, so that students get credits for them? Would that even be a goal for you?

Besides the course we talked about before (Good research practices), students can get credit points for visiting our lectures. That is at least a start and so our goals are more focused on spreading our message and helping to set up other SIOS’s at different universities. However, we just heard from a newly founded SIOS that they will definitely focus on integrating Open Science in their curriculum because they do not even have a course on good research practices there. We hope that someday every research student can have access to Open Science materials if he:she wish to. 

How do you ensure that your efforts and projects are sustainable and long-lasting?

An easy answer would be that we currently digitise all our projects (thanks, COVID!). That means, we record all our lectures and we provide our whole range of resources for free on our website and social media. We also created a step-by-step guide to create an own initiative for Open Science and we pitch this guide at other universities. At the same time, we really think about what students need. That is why, most of our lectures are very introductory.

We think that this is a general problem in the Open Science movement – that everyone who does not know so much about it yet will have problems organising all the information and debates that are currently going on.

That is why often PhD students and other-level researchers are visiting our lectures – we offer comprehensive bunches of information. 

We also believe that it is best to start as early as possible to teach students Open Science practices. Take pre-registrations, for example: If you already do this for your very first research project, the bachelor thesis in most cases, it will become normal for students to follow these practices. In this way, you are teaching students and building awareness as early as possible to integrate Open Science practices in the long run. 

How can academic libraries support initiatives like yours?

We think that there is a lot that can be done. The most important step is to help us share our endeavours. That can be on social media and on your website. Libraries could also always ask us for collaboration and especially now it is easier to just organise workshops together online. Libraries can also ask their students to create their own SIOS. And more generally, they can provide all kinds of resources themselves and participate in our Slack Channel.

Do you have any tips for other students who want to start such an initiative? (How) Can they get any support from you?

We have actually created a step-by-step guide to create your own SIOS. These are just guidelines of course, not necessarily a rulebook. We think that creating a SIOS is not super easy but that you can get a lot of support if you ask for it. That can be asking us at SIOS Amsterdam (we will always find time for you to have a meeting with us and give you some recommendations) but also lecturers and other people from university. Also, creating such an initiative has many incentives. From learning a lot about Open Science and current debates, over networking, to doing something worthwhile next to your study – creating such an initiative is inherently very rewarding.

We were talking to Franziska Nippold and Marla Dressel

SIOS link list

Links to the course “Good Research Practices”

Further readings

The post Open Science: Grassroots Initiative from Students for Students at the University of Amsterdam first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.