Friday, March 7, 2008

Take Me To Your Portal (s544#8)

In the readings for this week, it was stated that the patrons who interface with their libraries through the internet are expecting to customize their experience more and more. Similar to the practice of "Pimping" your myspace or facebook page, personalizing an online experience is becoming de riguer these days. My question is, does it enhance the patron's interaction or is just a way to build "Brand Loyalty" to a library.

If both are true, who loses? The more you can get people to identify with an institution, the more they will support and protect it when times get tough. If the changes made by a patron to her page make it functionally easier for her to do tasks such as renewal, holds and fine payment, great! But does it encourage association? MyACPL, for example would allow people to receive direct RSS feeds from the library's calendaring software that have been screened to reflect that person's interests. "Cooking with Librarian Louise" would show up in a section set aside for upcoming events of interest. The site would recognize returning users and greet them by name, pop ups would announce when holds have arrived. Creepy or seamless? you decide.

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