Collaborative Tools in Libraries

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Major Collaborative Tools

  • Peer-to-Peer Networks

Success Stories

  • Jumpstarting a Project Through Internal Collaboration: Improving Access to Library Collections Presentation by Holly Mercer and Sarah Goodwin Thiel about their experience with successful internal collaboration between disparate departments at the University of Kansas. By assembling a team whose members effectively worked together, the Digital Initiatives program successfully completed a project, integrated it into the existing organizational structure, and helped create an ongoing program. Presented at EDUCAUSE Southwest Regional 2007 Conference in Austin, TX.
  • Change at the University of Kansas: Process, Experimentation, and Collaboration (PDF) Research bulletin by Marilu Goodyear, Keith Russell and Kathleen Ames-Oliver. It discusses how leaders at the University of Kansas merged the Libraries and Information Technology into an Information Services department using well-documented strategies for enabling collaboration, group decision making, and mentoring of new leaders. It describes the challenges—and successes—related to making rapid changes in organizational structure, staffing, and services while remaining engaged with users and delivering technology services that were not necessarily tied to organizational boundaries.

Examples and Information

  • Bardnard Ref Desk Blogspot blog by and for Barnard Library staff to post about reference desk goings on.
  • Memphis Public Library Business and Science Rolodex Wordpress site created for use by the staff of the Business & Sciences Department of the Memphis Public Library & Information Center.
  • Reference at Newman Library Wordpress news and tips site by and for staff providing reference services at the Newman Library at Baruch College.
  • General Discussion of Internal Communications Wikis/Blogs on the Library 2.0 Ning network
  • Another Blog Beast By Kathryn Greenhill at Librarians Matter blog, Nov 2006. Greenhill blogs about why, how and what tools she uses to start an internal library blog.
  • Wikis, Blogs and Other Collaborative Tools in Library Services: A Workbook and Reference. Provides information on and examples of collaborative tools
  • Corporate Culture, Not Technology, Drives Online Collaboration by Will Kelly GigaOM blog post October 2009
  • Study Quantifying Improved Performance From Advanced Collaboration sponsored by Verizon and Cisco

Specific Blog Posts, Articles, and Presentations on Collaborative Tools

  • Social Machines by Wade Roush in Technology Review August 2005
  • 5 More Notable Social Networking Sites by Robert J. Lackie at the Library Garden blog September 2006
  • Wiking the Blog and Walking the Dog: Social Software, Virtual Reality, and Authority Everywhere
  • Intranets, Wikis, Blikis, and Collaborative Working
  • Collaborative Librarianship blog Web 2.0 category Blog contains posts relating to collaborative tools
  • Web 2.0 Collaboration Tools and Libraries Presentation by Lori Reed and Brenda Hough
  • Collaborative Tools for Libraries Presentation by Meredith Farkas

Online Surveys

  • Creating online surveys: Tips and general how-to information for creating an online survey.
  • Step by step guide to making your first online survey using SurveyMonkey (PDF version) or (PPT Version) by Cindy Boeke
  • FLICC-FEDLINK Surveys: Analysis and documentation of an online user feedback survey for the Library of Congress's FLICC-FEDLINK division, containing 484 responses. The wiki includes findings, documentation, survey data, and other information, including a 50-page report (PDF) and "Collaborative Surveys - Using Feedback from Stakeholders to Build New Services"(PPT) by Cindy Boeke and others.
  • Cii Wiki: An online wiki directory of survey software and survey hosting services
  • Instant Instruction Feedback Forms: Instant Instruction Feedback Forms are web-based surveys that are designed to offer librarians a simple way to evaluate their information literacy/bibliographic instruction sessions. These forms are open source software and are available for free download under the GNU General Public License.

Specific Projects using Collaborative Tools

  • ANTS: ANimated Tutorial Sharing project by COPPUL This project was designed to enable librarians to share in the development of point-of-need animated tutorials for a multitude of e-products. The project makes use of new Collaborative Information Technology (CIT) via an Open Source Institutional Repository (DSpace), a Wiki, RSS Feeds and Web Pages. This enables participants to (1) identify tutorials for development and (2) keep others up to date on their work. Initially only COPPUL librarians could add content to the Repository; but as of October 2006, any librarian can add content as well as download open source tutorials. It should also be noted that as its list of e-resources for tutorial development is on a Wiki, the list is considered to be a starting point for development. Anyone can add new e-products to the list of tutorials for development. Similarly, other types of library tutorials are welcome. One need only indicate that it exsists on the wiki and ensure that the source code for the tutorial is uploaded into DSpace.
  • FOREASt: The Internet East Asian Library This project aims at facilitating the discovery and use of free and open access resources in the field of East Asian studies with web 2.0 technologies. The main site is built on, which includes a blog, static web pages, and RSS feeds, while all the relevant resources are also bookmarked and shared on The user comments feature in WordPress is facilitating the participation of East Asian studies librarians across North America, especially in terms of suggesting new resources and identifying issues with existing resources. Because FOREASt is hosted and branded in an independent and neutral fashion, librarians have showed more willingness to advertise it on their own institutions' web pages, which is another level of collaboration that helps FOREASt to reach end users.