UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Where are the Blogging UK Librarians?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 5 Dec 2006

I have given a number of Web 2.0 presentations to the library and information professional communities recently. It has been pleasing to note that responses to hearing about technologies such as Blogs and Wikis and Web 2.0 approaches such as trust and the importance of user-generated content has been very positive. The attitude seems to be “I can appreciate possible benefits, but I’m not sure what to do next”.

In terms of Blogging, a good approach would be to observe what one’s colleagues are doing, identify types of usage and examples of best practice and, if this fits in with local needs, to seek to emulate the best practices.

But where are the Blogging librarians in the UK? I recently heard about the Northampton University Library Blog (called Shush!), which is illustrated.

Northampton University Library Blog

This is based on a WordPress Blog, which seems to be hosted locally. There are several contributors to the Blog (including HeatherD, Miggie, Chris, Fionna and Phil). Some observations on this Blog:

  • Not many comments from the user community seem to have been posted yet, although there was clearly one satisfied user:

thanks for the support in using the harvard system it was useful and helpped me well i am beginning to understand it now and will put it into practices as much as i can

thanx alot

  • Only two categories for posts have been used: Current Assignments and General.
  • The WordPress widgets used in the sidebar are Archives (which date back to December 2005, although the Blog seems to have been actively used since September 2006); Categories; Events; Useful Links and Meta.

I am also aware of Univ of Bath Library Science News (which only covers the Faculty of Science). And quick Googling finds:

At this early stage in the development of library Blogs it does seem to be that it would be very timely to survey the approaches which are being taken to providing Blogs and to observe patterns of usage. A useful project for a Library and Information Science student perhaps?

If you provide a Library blog within the UK community, or are aware of links to such resources, perhaps you could provide details in a comment to this posting.

17 Responses to “Where are the Blogging UK Librarians?”

  1. Hi Brian. Well, there’s a reasonable number of us (150+) over at the British Librarian Bloggers Google Group at It’s a low volume group, but people do seem to like it, and members can post questions, answer them, share experiences and so on.

    It’s also not a complete listing, but there are RSS feeds for several of those across at which is available to anyone to view, together with search options.

    Hope that helps,


  2. Hi Brian. There are three of us blogging at Imperial College London Libraries – all subject based blogs – there’s one for Chemistry (which I started and have handed onto our new Chemistry Librarian), one for Civil Engineering/Earth Sciences and my Physics and Maths info blog.

    I am interested in surveying usage of the blog/s but haven’t had a chance to do much more so far.



  3. Hi Phil, Jenny
    Many thanks for the comments.
    It strikes me there’s a valuable opportunity to take a snapshot of the UK HE Library blogging community – possibly for a talk at the ILI 2007 conference.
    Are you – or other readers – game?

  4. Seems to make sense to me, yes. I think by the time we get there we should have a clear idea of where we are and what we’re about. I’d like to widen it slightly though to cover all British Blogging Librarians – if for no other reason than to put the HE work into an overall national context.


  5. Rod said

    There are several library blogs form the healthcare sector wich are often shared by HE & NHS so I don’t now if these would be of interest?
    Digital Libraries Network
    NeLH (Ben Toth)
    Talking Knowledge Management

    & from the US but with UK connections: Lorcan Dempsey’s weblog



  6. Tom Roper said

    There was also a current awareness service for medical educators I ran in my time at BSMS. No longer maintained, I think, but was one of the first in the field, started in December 2003. Not sure how far you’d call it a library blog, but it was run by a librarian, and did the sorts of things librarians used to do with dead trees and e-mail.

  7. Miggie said

    Thanks for featuring ‘Shush!’ on your blog. You correctly surmised that Shush! is hosted locally here at Northampton , and also that it is relatively new. We started Shush! back in September 2006 as an extra way of communicating with our users. Although there haven’t been a huge number of comments posted, anecdotal feedback has been positive. We know that people are reading it from observations made by staff and students.

    Before we started Shush! we had lots of discussions about categories and the like, eventually deciding to let the posts happen for a while and then review the situation. The first category we created became ‘Current assignments’ – initially arising out of our ‘Virtual Librarian’ service (, we felt these notes would be more accessible in Shush!

    So Shush! is still a work in progress – we welcome feedback from any quarter – find us at

  8. I’ve suggested this topic to our Masters students as a potential topic! I might also consider an IL/blogging project for my Info Literacy Research module next semester…


  9. Graham said


    Your excellent presentation to staff at Coventry University in the spring inspired me to start blogging. I work in the library sector, but chose to blog about horse racing.

  10. Hi Graham
    Many thanks for your kind comments related to the “Web 2.0: Implications For HE” seminar I gave at Coventry University in March 2006. One of the suggestions that I now make is to encourage people to develop their Blogging skills, even if this is within a social context. Being able to do this and to gain a better understanding of the Blogging culture and Blogging technologies can be benefical to staff in their professional activities too.
    PS Got any hop tips?

  11. Graham said

    Yes, Brian, although I’m blogging within a ‘social context’, the benefit in the professional context has been substantial. Whilst gaining valuable personal experience of Blogging culture and the associated technologies, I’ve also been able to use the blog as a tool for library staff development training. The subject matter generates reasonable interest and lends itself to a degree of humour. Any hot tips I come by I’ll put put up on the blog at – why not subscribe to the feed? :-)

  12. swashford said

    Hi Brian – I’ve just come across this post thanks to a handout at one of Karen Blakeman’s talks. I’ve posted a couple of times on the lack of UK library blogs, particularly in the public sector and I think it’s particularly noticeable now that so many US libraries are publishing blogs. I did find an almost UK blog from Galway Public Libraries which looks good – check out and I’m continuing to post on this on my Info Junkie blog at

  13. Hi – many thanks for your comments. One of the areas of work I’ve been engaging in in the past few months, and will continue this year, is engaging with the broad museums, libraries and archives communities in order to explore some of the barriers they may face in exploiting technologies such as blogs and ways of addressing such barriers.

    A recent posting, for exampl, on Further Blog Musings describes ways of overcoming concerns which organisations may have in using third party blogging services.

    Let’s continue this discussion!

  14. Graham said

    A former colleague of mine, Mark Hughes, highlighted Swansea public library blog at

  15. Ah-ha, having started the Swansea Libraries blog in December as an experiment in viral marketing, I was wondering where all the extra hits were coming from over the last few days!

    We’re early days yet, and hoping to build up the blog before starting to (gently) market it in late Spring, to tie in with the start of a marketing campaign for our new Central library, whihc opens in March 2008.

    All comments welcome

    “Paige” ;-)

  16. Funnily enough I noticed lots of visits yesterday, with 50 views of this posting. In addition there were also 30 views on MyBlogLog.

    You’re right to highlight the potential of viral marketing – it’s not you saying ‘here’s my new blog’ – it was a former colleague. And, in my case, it was Karen Blakman’s inclusion of my blog in her handout for her training course.

    Something I’ll be posting about shortly.

  17. […] by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on July 30th, 2007 Way back in December 2006 I asked Where Are The Blogging UK Librarians? There were a number of replies to the post and, since, then, I’ve touched on a number of […]

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