Head of the IT Group
Head of the Subject Cataloging Group
Mannheim University Library is surveying how new means of communication in the context of Web 2.0 could help to optimize its own business processes towards a more customer-oriented development. Current concepts of customer relationship management and online marketing strategies are analyzed and adapted to the requirements of the public sector.
The first issue is to encourage the library’s patrons to participate in an active dialog and to evaluate patron-generated content. Weblog software enables patrons to publicly review and rate the library’s media in its online catalog. Additional information is thereby provided to other patrons on whether a library item is suitable for their purposes. For the library, this information offers the opportunity to survey the acceptance of its products and to identify the subject areas most heavily accessed. Another aspect is the ability to “tag” library items in a way comparable with Connotea or Bibsonomy. Why shouldn’t the library’s patrons participate in the librarians’ task of subject cataloging?
The amount of electronic information increases enormously every year and comprehensive subject indexing cannot be handled by the librarians alone. In addition, Mannheim University Library provides a Weblog to gather information about the patrons’ evaluation of the library’s services. Exploiting Weblog comments not only offers a new way to provide quick and helpful responses to the remarks entered by patrons, but also to efficiently adjust the library’s services to the patrons’ needs.