We are thinking of creating a repository of reference questions (and answers) in some sort of online system. Like those notebooks that many Reference Desks used to have, we'd enter in popular questions, like assignments, or problems that we are getting over and over. At the beginning of a shift, we can scan any new entries to see what's been popular recently.

While a wiki would probably be better long term, I'm leaning towards a blog for ease of use. It would be need to be private (password for viewing as well as posting), and searchable. It also has to be *easy*, or we won't get buy-in.

Has anyone else done anything like this, and what did you use?

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I set up a WP reference blog for my library a few weeks ago (for questions, answers, sources of answers, etc), and I added a few extra elements: counter numbers in the archive list and the categories' list as well, and a counter for items found when a search result page is displayed. So if I'd like to know how many times we used EBSCO as the source of answer, on the result page there are not only the post titles and permalinks, but also the line "X items found" is displayed... This is cool, because statistics can be made with a single query and click.
So the point: I pefer blogs, but, to tell the trut I haven't seen any reference wikis yet :) Now's the time that I should Google them... :P
One of my colleagues has used pbwiki (http://www.pbwiki.com) for commonly asked questions that require a little legwork. I've been wanting to do the same for my staff, but haven't gotten beyond the basic structure in pbwiki.
I started a Commonly Asked Questions, but the formatting is a little time consuming if you want to keep it neat and tidy and organized. Since is very beta, I'll email you the url. --Chris
Thanks, folks! We decided to go with a Blogger blog (simple and easy), limited to just reference staff, and set up with an email address for those who don't want to use the Blogger interface (I have to test that part out.) Right now, it's just set up for a few of us, and we are going to populate it with the most recent slew of questions, then let everyone else view it. It turns out a lot of us have Gmail accounts, so that makes it just that much easier to use Blogger.

If anyone else has some experience, I'd still love to hear it.
I've been thinking about starting one of these for my library, but I've actually been leaning towards building it myself using ColdFusion and an Oracle database. We already have the beginnings of a nice little Intranet that I've been building module by module in ColdFusion, so the Librarians are already used to logging into it to do things like report computer problems and manage internal routing lists.

The repository that I'm envisioning could be used both internally (after logging in, librarians could add/edit/delete reference notes and decide whether to make them viewable just by staff or by the public as well) and externally (we could maintain our public FAQs list in here as well, with a simple public/private switch on the page to determine whether the reference note should be made public or not). I've looked at a number of different (free) blogs & wikis and I'm not really satisfied with the amount of control they allow you over the user interface and functionality and I really don't like the way any of the ones that I've looked at allow you to backup the content. I'd really rather have the content stored in a well-organized database (or XML) that I can access & utilize in multiple ways rather than through the single blog or wiki interface.
That sounds like a great solution. Unfortunately, I don't think it would work for us. Our Intranet is not currently robust enough to use this way. (I think it is robust technologically, but we don't have the expertise to try something like this in our relatively new system--we are all still learning our way around it, including IT.)

I really like the idea of a public/private switch for individual pages. And, of course, having ultimate control over your data is ideal--no worries about outside companies disappearing, or doing updates that make your data disappear, become public or private unexpected, etc.

Good luck!



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