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.
  • Reference at Newman Library Wordpress news and tips site by and for staff providing reference services at the Newman Library at Baruch College.
  • 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.

Specific Blog Posts, Articles, and Presentations on Collaborative Tools

Online Surveys

  • 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.