A year ago University College Dublin (UCD) opened a sixth library but this new building was purely virtual and existed only in the online 3D world of Second Life.
This was the first Irish library to do so and yet again UCD is the first to have its own Facebook profile, but don’t expect it to host vampire-zombie widgets or throw sheep at you.
In existence since early July, the UCD library profile on Facebook is a way for social networking loving students to connect with their college library and interact with it in some useful ways.
Students can check to see if the textbook they want is available by searching through the online catalogue directly from Facebook, as well as grabbing a widget that keeps them up to date on library news alerts. This widget can be embedded in their own Facebook profile, as well as on MySpace, LiveJournal and personal blogs.
I was present at the first-ever lecture held by UCD in Second Life and while the move to Facebook may not be anywhere near as innovative as this, it certainly does have the capacity to reach many more students and make them feel more part of a college network.
There are other standard additions like the discussion board, which doesn’t seem to have been used yet, and a Flickr widget showing some snaps in and around the main library on UCD’s Belfield campus.
Plus, if you feel like asking the librarian any questions, there is always the chat application available during regular office hours.
Looking about on Facebook there are several US universities, including Harvard of course (Facebook founder Zuckerberg founded the site while he was a student there), and one thing I am looking forward to seeing from a UCD Facebook presence is a video section like Harvard’s one, because some great speakers have passed through its gates.
By Marie Boran