Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ALA Connect: Phase One

ALA Connect: Not Just Another Social Network

“It’s like Facebook–but for librarians,” we’ve said, all-too-simply (and inaccurately) in categorizing ALA Connect, ALA’s new centralized virtual space.

That’s a facile comparison to make, but really Connect is more than that. Not just another social network, ALA Connect will help members engage in ALA business and network with others. It’s a single virtual location in which ALA members can collaborate and work on division, round table, and committee projects with an impressive spread of tools: blog-like posts, online documents, group calendars, surveys and polls, chat rooms, discussion forums, and RSS/email alerts to track progress.

[snip] But ALA Connect effectively reins in all the would-be unofficial online channels and tools and puts them under one roof, officiating them under the ALA brand. [snip]

In typical Web 2.0, perpetual-beta style, Connect is being released in what ALA is calling “phase one” and will never be a finished product. Monitoring the site to track how well it meets members’ needs will help inform designers about the potential for new tools, resources, and tweaks. New features and enhancements will be released on a regular basis.



ALA Connect FAQ

ALA Connect replaces the existing Online Communities service that ALA currently offers as a virtual, collaborative, workspace online. [snip]


Every active ALA group already has a space in Connect automatically, because we've pre-populated it with data from our membership database (iMIS), and we synchronize member data nightly, so we'll always know which committees you're on and which other official ALA groups you're part of.

Both ALA groups and communities use the same types of tools. By default, each one has blog posts, online documents (like wiki pages), a calendar, polls, a chat room, a discussion board, and images (logos, pictures, etc.). The group can use whichever of the tools it finds valuable.

Non-members will be able to register in Connect to create a free account, but they will only be able to view and add to public content. [snip]


You can read more about the history (and future) of ALA Connect on the ITTS Update blog, particularly in the Roadmap that we posted there.


Learn more about ALA Connect in general

Learn more about what you can do on ALA Connect



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