Sunday, May 31, 2009

Are Listservs Still A Valid Communications Tool?

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries still uses a listserv as a communications tool between members.

So, a recent article in the AALL Spectrum, a monthly publication of the American Association of Law Libraries, caught my attention.

It is entitled Where Do Listservs Fit in a Social Media World? by Greg Lambert (library and records manager for King & Spalding LLP in Houston).

Lambert provides a brief summary of what librarians he consulted like and dislike about the e-mail-based listserv technology and then looks at possible social networking alternatives such as Ning and Twitter.

He sums up:
"Although I maintain that listservs are inefficient, they are also extremely easy, convenient, and pretty useful, despite the downsides listed above. As long as we have e-mail, we’ll have listservs. That said, their heyday has come and gone. Social media tools and Web 2.0 resources are becoming the communication tools of choice and will eventually push listservs to the background (...)"

"So, is it time to retire listservs? Have they gone the way of Gopher and Wide Area Information Server (WAIS)? Perhaps not that far underground, but they have become more cumbersome, especially as our lives become burdened with productivity. After all, it’s not a bad idea to streamline and organize our contacts, peers, and fellow professionals—a functionality that listservs lack. The new social media forums, on the other hand, can help us do just that while still allowing us to benefit from the information our community has to offer."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:27 pm


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