Thank you for being willing and enthusiastic about contributing to the Sheridan Libraries and Museums blog! This guide is to help get you up and running in creating content for the blog.
The blog aims to provide a low-barrier, inclusive forum for the Sheridan Libraries’ and University Museums’ staff to easily post informal user-focused content. The purpose is to harness the collective expertise of the library and museum staff as well as exhibit our resources for a diverse audience, including students, staff, faculty, alumni, our neighbors in the community, and the interested public.
- Audience - This is a user-focused blog, emphasizing content to help, inform, guide, or amuse our research community.
Our primary audience is not other library specialists.
Sharing our personalities, our interests, and our expertise with the blog’s readers is a great form of outreach to encourage patrons to engage with the library and its staff.
- Subject - Pick a relevant topic with an explicit connection to the library and related resources. Pique their curiosity. Help them spark new research. Show them the entertaining side of our resources. Dry, dull entries waste everyone's time. Grab readers with a good headline. Then keep them glued to their seat with personable tone or humor and an eye-catching graphic.
- Images - Images should exhibit a meaningful tie-in with text and be properly cited. Annotated screenshots or archival images are appreciated, wherever appropriate.
- Length - Posts should be concise without sacrificing clarity of the information provided. In most cases 3-5 paragraphs will suffice.
- Resource Integration - Add links to library resources and related examples around the web.
- Multimedia - Links aren't just about quantity. There should also be a good mix. What's available on YouTube, Flickr, etc.?
- Interactivity - Solicit feedback by including a poll or asking for comments.
- Time - If your post is time sensitive (perhaps it addresses a holiday, a current event, or something happening on campus), make sure you reach out to one of the blog team (email address in the sidebar menu to your left) to let them know so that your post can be scheduled at the appropriate time.
- Expertise - Focus on what you know. If you want to explore a new area, collaborate with a colleague from that department.
Sheridan Libraries Social Media Policy
The Library's various social media outlets are used to promote services, provide timely updates and foster community engagement. Talking to people (over the internet or otherwise) comprises a significant portion of the librarian's day, making these platforms a natural extension of reference consultation. While Academic Liaison staff is responsible for maintaining the sites, we welcome contributions from across the library.
Our basic motto is "one message, many platforms." Content should be tailored to the known audience while matching the strengths of the given outlet. That being said, we've developed certain strategies that work across all mediums.
- Frequency. Post often and on a regular schedule.
- Responsiveness. Reply to messages in a timely manner---if not immediately, within 24 hours.
- Educational. Highlight our resources on a particular topic and share professional insight.
- Entertaining. Don't be afraid to show humor and personality.
- Relevant. What information is our audience interested in? Play to their passions.
- Cyclical. Show an awareness of the academic calendar.
- Accessible. Be sure to proxify all necessary links.
- Neighborly. Forge relationships with the University, other libraries, Baltimore and beyond.
- Human. Avoid automated updates.
- Integrity. Respect copyrights and fair use.
All contributors are responsible for what they write, so exercise good judgment and common sense. University policies on anti-harassment and discrimination extend to all forms of communication, including social media, both inside and outside the workplace. Transparency is encouraged, but staff should continue to protect confidential and proprietary information.
While contributors must be mindful that they are speaking on behalf of the Library, and by extension, the University, they should feel comfortable communicating in an authentic manner. We are proud to share the breadth of expertise and personality of the Sheridan Libraries staff.
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To date, library staff maintains accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr (both the Library and Rare Books & Manuscripts), YouTube and WordPress. Thorough training is provided to all contributors, and site-specific guidelines are posted for reference in the Wiki. All questions should be directed to the library's social media coordinator or communications and marketing manager.