Social searching takes many forms, ranging from the shared bookmarks we considered in our last lesson (eg. Del.icio.us and Digg) or tagging of content with descriptive labels (eg. Flickr), question and answer services, to more sophisticated approaches that combine human intelligence with computer algorithms.
An example would include the Taste website which allows readers to rank recipes and comment on them. Amazon also uses social searching features like “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” and “Customer Reviews”.
Online brains trusts
Have you ever considered that your library is part of the knowledge market? There are, of course, two aspects of the knowledge market: fee based and free. Both types can also be found online. This lesson focuses on free knowledge markets or web forums also known as answer boards.
Answer boards are websites where an individual can post a question and have it answered by anyone else who visits the forum. Most sites have ways of assessing the quality of the answers usually through a process of peer review or voting.
Some examples of answer boards include: Yahoo!7 Answers and WikiAnswers.
There is a movement of reference librarians who are “slamming the boards” once a month around the world. They aim to provide answers on popular "Answer Board" sites clearly identifying themselves as librarians in the process. This provides an opportunity to highlight the question-answering skills of librarians to the wider community.
Discover: visit the Answer Board Librarians wiki and view the “Exemplary Answers” section. Note how highly the librarians’ responses were rated by members of the community. Also look at the “Signatures and Tag Lines” the librarians use when replying on answer boards.
Explore: Consider is there a role for your library in “slamming the boards”? In what ways might your customers like to rate or review items in the collection or services you offer? Share your thoughts in your blog.
Adventure: Post or answer a question on Yahoo!7 Answers. Use your Yahoo ID from the Flickr activity to log in.