Tag Archives: tumblr

Searching Tags in Tumblr

In reviewing Tumblr once again, I realized how limited their search capabilities are when looking for something specific.  When reviewing the site previously, I explored whatever was presented to me on the home page and was satisfied with that.  For current purposes, I wanted to find examples of information organizations using the site and it was not easy to do.  First, I learned you could only search tags.  Lame! 

I began my searches under a great deal of distress after reading in Write here, right now – how Tumblr changed blogging by Belam and Myddelton (2011) that “metadata the bane of our work lives, has no place here – Tumblr happily lets you ignore tags, URLs and even post titles if you want to.”  After retrieving the information organizations that I found using the site and reviewing a number of irrelevant, retrieved results, I was glad to see the implementation of metadata even if it was simply with the use of tags and titles.  It seems logical that the information organizations I examined provided the most thorough metadata.   Metadata is good!!

My first search attempt was for “public library” in which many interesting sites were retrieved but none that I selected were products of an information organization.  I do not like that you are not able to determine the creators of the results until you click on the images retrieved.  I noticed a lot of the results retrieved with this search were images of a library’s architecture or collection display.  It is nice to see that libraries are being recognized in this way.  I did not find an information organization with this search but I did find a fun site that highlights librarians and their outfits at http://librarianwardrobe.com/

I then had two search queries that retrieved zero results “library institution” and “San Jose Public Library.”  So, I searched for an example we had already seen “New York Public Library.”  From what I could tell before getting frustrated, the results did not include the actual New York Public Library Tumblr site.  However I did find the Tumblr site for the National Archives at http://todaysdocument.tumblr.com/  How awesome!  They upload multiple images and documents daily with themes including politics, everyday life, the environment, and events and holidays such as posts for the first day of spring.  The images include collection information and links if the images are published online.

After reviewing The National Archives Tumblr site, I got the idea to search for the term “archives” with which I found additional interesting sites including the JFK Library Tumblr site at http://jfklibrary.tumblr.com/  and the Oakland Tribune Archives at http://oaklandtribunearchives.tumblr.com/  The JFK Library site posts images, scanned documents, videos, and quotes frequently.  A link is provided if the images are published online.  Items are being reposted from other Tumblr sites.  Also, current news items and events are posted alongside the historical, JFK related items.

The Oakland Tribune Archives Tumblr site is interesting because its presentation is different than the other sites I have examined.  The archives presents mostly photographic images in a three column arrangement rather than one continuous column like I have seen with other sites.  I very much enjoyed the selection of images posted but It is difficult to determine in what order the images are posted, although this type of information may not be particularly important for other viewers.  Also, only when you click on an image are you presented with the metadata relevant to that image, including image titles.  If a viewer is not curious enough to click on images, they are missing vital contextual information about the images.   

Tumblr, like other Web 2.0 tools discussed, is a tool through which an information organization can share information about themselves and their collections. The sites I reviewed heavily used Tumblr to highlight their collections and were very visual.  Although the following on Tumblr is not as extensive as Facebook, there is a following nonetheless.  Therefore, if there are resources and interest available, Tumblr would be another beneficial tool to aide in connecting with an information organization’s patrons.


Fumbling with Tumblr

Two cats and a dryer

Where’s the Tumbl button? — photo credit Malingering @ Flickr

The class readings we had on Tumblr taught me a few things about Tumblr I didn’t know before, but only left me more confused about it!

* It’s like Twitter, in that you can share quick thoughts with the world and do so from your phone.
* It’s like Flickr, in that you can easily share your photos with the world.
* It’s like LiveJournal, in that your blog exists in a community of other blogs with a feed of blogs you’re following.
* It’s like Facebook, in that you can share thoughts/photos/videos/links in a space that encouraging sharing of what you shared.
* It’s like a blog, in that.. it’s a blog.
* It’s like a podcast hosting site, in that you can easily post a podcast even if you only have a phone and no recording equipment.
* It’s like Pinterest, in that you can curate a collection of photos and links.

(Random note: My spellcheck likes Twitter, Flickr, LiveJournal, and Facebook, but says I misspelled Tumblr and Pinterest. Hrrrm.)

* It’s not as good as Twitter, because you can’t quickly search a hashtag to follow a discussion in real time.
* It’s not as good as Flickr, because you can’t create photo albums and easily see all the metadata embedded in the photo.
* It’s not as good as LiveJournal, because… well, maybe it is. But it’s not as old as LiveJournal.
* It’s not as good as Facebook, because all your friends and family aren’t on it and you can’t play games.
* It’s not as good as a blog on another platform, because you don’t have as much control and variety of plugins.
* It’s not as good as a podcast hosting site, because it doesn’t help you get your podcast onto iTunes or make your podcast easily searchable amongst other podcasts.
* It’s not as good as Pinterest, because Pinterest lets you see a collection all at once and makes it very easy to pin.

(Random note the second: Spellcheck is fine with podcast, but make it plural and it just can’t cope. Podcasts, really?)

I’m left with the conclusion that Tumblr falls into some niche that I just can’t pinpoint. It does things other places do, and just.. does them a little differently. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, mostly just differently. It probably is one of the causes for LiveJournal declining in popularity, at least in the US. It seems to most closely match what LiveJournal does, only with making it easier to customize and to post a variety of content.

I’m still not quite convinced I need to have one.

A Dizzying Array of Choices

Am I the only one with my head spinning here?  While the world of social media is a wonder, to be sure, it’s also just a tad bit overwhelming.  What to choose, implement and manage not only for yourself, but for your institution?   Who’s to say what will be around next year or what will be the new “it” tool to add to the pile?

Even conservatively picking the “biggies” one could end up with personal accounts  on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google +.  Add to that professional  accounts for your library/institution and you’ve got another set of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.  I’m not even including Tumblr, Instagram, and many others and our tally is already at 9 accounts!  Who has time for that?!

I don’t know, but I’m thinking the best way to go here to maintain sanity (and some semblance of free time) is to employ the old, “pick one thing and do it well” approach.  Ok, maybe two or three things…but not nine!  Unless I had unlimited resources and a crack team of Web 2.0-ers…

If I was helping a library launch a Library 2.0 presence from scratch, I think I’d go with Facebook and Pinterest.  I think they’re both accessible, intuitive, and complement each other nicely.  Other pairings like say, Facebook and Twitter or Facebook and Google+ have a lot more overlap and the pressure to come up with original content for both at least some of the time might prove tricky.

For my personal use, I currently have only a Facebook page (and a couple of blogs), though I signed up for Pinterest today and plan to do a LinkedIn account when I get closer to graduation.  Baby steps…

Authors and Libraries on Tumblr

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Tumblr,as I’m sure many of its users do. As stated on the Tumblr community guidelines page, Tumblr “celebrates creativity. We want you to express yourself freely and use Tumblr to reflect who you are, and what you love, think, witness, and believe.”  The website was created in February 2007 and currently hosts an estimated 93.1 million blogs, including the blogs of celebrities such as Lady Gaga and President Barack Obama.

I have recently returned to using Tumblr after a year hiatus. The site can become overwhelming.  Your Dashboard shows every post that has been posted by you and the users that you follow since you last visited the site in an endless scroll.  This means that if you follow 20 people who post often and don’t visit the site for several hours, you likely have hundreds of new posts to view.  It doesn’t help that a lot of posts can be childish jokes or just a picture of that one actor in that one movie, and OMG isn’t he hot?

But the other side of Tumblr can actually be a great place for authors to connect with their fanbase.  For instance, I follow John Green, author of young adult novels and a youtube star, on Tumblr.  John Green is a master at using social media to connect with his fanbase.  On Tumblr, he answers fan questions, reblogs fantastic fanart based on his books, and post random things that he finds funny with added commentary written by him.  All of these actions serve to help his fans feel like they are important and that he appreciate them.

I feel that this is a model that more authors, especially young adult and children’s authors, should follow.  While most authors have their own website, it is more welcoming to young fans to be able to get to know their favorite authors via a social forum they already use, such as Tumblr, which is much more interactive than the usual author website.

Libraries can also reach out to the younger generation this way, by posting book recommendations and trivia.  It would also be a good forum for the library to get ideas on what programs and events people want to see at their local library.  It would be good to see the slower world of books and libraries get caught up in the faster pop-culture world of Tumblr.



(Here’s a link in which John green talks about how Tumblr connected him to fans on 2 different continents to collaborate on making a poster based on of his books a reality: http://youtu.be/tHp3c9ziIq0)

Tumblr for Libraries

I am very familiar with a lot of the major social networking sites and tools.  I have taught classes at my public library on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to both staff and patrons.  For my first blog post I wanted to focus on a social networking tool I’ve never used, tumblr.  I started my own account and started following other accounts, focusing on art, comedy and libraries, as those are things I really enjoy.  The thing I really like about tumblr is that it seems to be a middle-ground between twitter and regular blogs.  You can blog content on your own tumblr and followers can read that, it will show up in their feeds, and you can follow other tumblr accounts and their content shows up in your feed.  I really like this idea and am excited to keep exploring it!   I read this article about tumblrs for libraries and librarians:http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2012/08/social-media/tumblrarian-101-tumblr-for-libraries-and-librarians/ which gave me some great background information on tumblr.  The article also has some good tips for libraries that want to get in on the tumblr action, especially the emphasis on tagging.  I saw how important tagging is when I tried to search for “libraries” on the tumblr search function.  The result is a tumblr feed full of posts tagged with “libraries.”  http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/libraries  This includes posts by tumblr accounts of actual libraries (like the NYPL) and any other posts which have been tagged with that word.  It is interesting to see the results.

I’m always interested in ways that libraries can become more interesting to the communities they serve.  I want people to view the library as relevant to society and a fun place to learn, create and grow.  I see tumblr as a site that can help connect people in a community.  There are so many possibilities but one I am thinking of is if the library posts things relevant to the history and current events of the community it serves.  With the functionality of tumblr being a micro-blog where you can easily repost what others post, it would be great if the owner of the library tumblr followed local tumblrs and reposted the things they posted as well.  This would be less time consuming for the library itself to have to create content, instead passing on the valuable content that others have created.  It would be a way for the library to network and interact (virtually) with it’s community.  I’m planning to spend more time with tumblr in the near future and will look to find more ideas of how it can be used by libraries.