Tag Archives: library

MnKnows – and you will too if you learn to use the tool

In an earlier era, when time and finances were in greater supply, Minitex, a multi-state network with national and global links, put on a great show at the Minnesota State Fair – a well-staffed welcome to Minnesota’s libraries of every sort.  Today, as information and communications technology redefine the profile of libraries in general and of every library as a local portal to ever-expanding resources in myriad formats.  Today, Minitex shares its tools, strategies and expertise in new-fashioned ways.

For starts, Minitex is promoting a “dig deeper @ your library” tool  that starts with MnKnows.  Tackle your information excavation by digging with this indispensable tool tidily encapsulated on a handy bookmark.  The mine opens to reveal these treasures:

The MnLINK Gateway where you can  place requests for materials – books and a whole lot more delivered to your local library and access to electronic books and journals online.

ELMS, the Electronic Library for Minnesota, an essential guide to online articles and electronic books – try it before you get lost in the everyday search engines.

Minnesota Reflections, a treasure trove of photos, documents and maps related to Minnesota history

AskMN where you’ll find  real-time answers from a real live librarian available 24/7..

Research Project Calculator – a planned approach and a persistent reminder that, whatever the task, there is an approach that involves planning, persistence and an occasional prod from the deadline watcher.

MnKnows – Dig Deeper@Your Library

A sign that says library.

MnKnows is provided by Minitex, an information and resource sharing program of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the University of Minnesota Libraries

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Patch on the Move

Sooner rather than later AOL’s Patch is making mighty leaps in this direction.  Just as the company is launching its 100th site, Patch, the hyper-local web-based news machine, will start showing up in an additional 500 communities this year.  AOL’s strategy is to restructure as a destination for a range of hyper-local content.

Reuters reports that Jon Brod, executive VP for AOL Local and a Patch founder, anticipates that, as legacy media falters there is chasm of quality information at the community level.  According to ReutersPatch is just one part of AOL’s content offering, which also includes Seed, a platform that relies on user-generated material on popular topics, and several popular topic-specific sites like Engadget, which is dedicated to consumer electronics and tech gadgets.”

As noted in a previous blog, keep an eye on Patch – and its siblings — no doubt coming soon to your community, especially if you live in an upper-income burb.

My earlier Patch post

PatchWatch

This post picks up about where the post re. content mills left off.  Though content production and manipulation is a fast-moving field in which I would not pretend to keep up I do like to drop in at times to see what’s happening and what’s about to happen in this community.  For that reason I’ve been tracking insofar as possible the inexorable march of AOL’s Patch.  As Patch marches from East to West and West to East I’m pretty sure the Twin Cities area, particularly the affluent suburbs, is on their pin map.

Librarian that I am in my DNA I’m done some research and will send readers to the primary sources.  Still, there are some universal basics I can synthesize from a number of references. To wit:

  • The current category under which Patch more or less fits is “hyperlocal”.  The target is a community under 50,000.  More specifically the prime target is a wealthy suburban community that has a lot of interest in knowing more about what’s happening in their hometown, i.e. the center of the known world.   ( AOL hits the big cities with Going.com.)
  • Patch is extraordinarily aggressive in its hiring, marketing, advertising, and promotion.
  • AOL is pouring buckets of money into Patch ($50 million through the end of 2010).
  • Much of that lucre goes to snatching up local journalists, including the employed and the unemployed, who work long hours multitasking, managing responsibilities traditionally the province of a large and diverse staff.
  • Patch employees including local editors, salespeople, advertising directors and reporters work in the trenches, i.e. from home.
  • Reporters view themselves as more – or other – than reporters, more as community organizers.
  • Social media are used rather sparingly in Patch’s strategies.
  • Feedback on hyperlocal initiatives and the advance of Patch is at a premium since neither revenue nor traffic data are provided.
  • The battle between hyperlocal Patch and the foray of legacy media into local reporting is inevitable and proximate.

As far as I can see it’s the folks in media/journalism who are sharing their thoughts about Patch and other hyperlocal initiatives at this point.  Many describe their local experiences and their expectations re. the future of Patch.  Still, the impact of initiatives such as Patch reaches far beyond the work of a small cadre of energetic journalists in any one community.  The time for a community to think about the implications is before the advance team comes to town.

Some links to others’ observations about hyperlocal media in general, Patch in particular:

Andria Krewson, AOL Patch and MainStreetConnect Expand Hyper-Local News, July 2010.

Sarah Studley, One Patch at a Time:  How AOL Plans to Rescue Local News, March 2010

Hard Times Working the Patch, August 2010, posted by Dan Kennedy
I added more content on this subject here on 8-19-2010.