Linking Blogging and Digital Reference

We’re busy working with WordPress to link it to QABuilder, our digital reference research package we developed for the NSF’s National Science Digital Library. It is looking quite promising. In particular we’re looking at using WordPress plugins. I also think XML-RPC has some promise to do this as well.

What I have in mind is a series of “Story Starters” for registered expert bloggers. An expert logs into his or her blog and can add an entry. Not sure what to write about? When they login they see a list of questions waiting in their expert area. Also, they see a list of resources that someone (NSDL in our case) has put up for comment (kind of like Slashdot).

Here’s a snapshot of a basic plugin I’ve written (look in the upper right corner):

Picture 1

They pick a question and it gets put into a blog entry for them to write about. When they publish it, it stays in their blog, but also gets added to the QABuilder system. QABuilder sends the answer to the user and puts it into the knowledge base.

WordPress is pretty easy to modify with plugins. The real tricky part is getting things in and out of QABuilder.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m not the only one looking at joining blogs and digital reference. I’m looking forward to getting more input.

Here’s a list of “Story Starters” or items a blogger can automatically choose to blog about, I’m working on now:

  • Digital reference questions in their area
  • Digital reference answers in their area (using trackback URLs to link these together)
  • Resources in their area, including
  • a general discussion
  • an application to a given area (like how to use it in a classroom)
  • a form to rate and then discuss the resource in terms of its credibility and accuracy

All of this is building off my original presentation on this to the NSDL folks. It is also, obviously, tying into my current work on credibility of Internet information.

3 Replies to “Linking Blogging and Digital Reference”

  1. This is incredibly interesting stuff you’re doing. I’m a new reference librarian with a background in blogs/wikis, and I’ve been very interested in exploring ways to use collaborative tools in the traditional academic reference schema. I’m not familiar with QA Builder, but I’ll definitely keep an eye on the blog for more stuff.

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