I don't usually go this far, but this time I overachieved. I've struggled for years to find out what's going on in this town, and still am. And here's why.
I looked at Patch, Outside.in, Placeblogger, and a site I found myself.
Patch is adding the country, one state at a time, and acting like the local paper. In that capacity, it will, eventually be a good substitute. But it will take a looong time, I think most of the states shown only have half the state actually set up. Weather, news, crime, sports, classifieds, businesses, ads, a map ( I mean, a map--boon to newcomers and locals alike in the larger towns like Lincoln!) And adjustable and addable. Just slow moving. And getting around in it is easy, so very familiar. I looked at St. Charles MO, and at DesPlaines, IL. DesPlaines even has a Q&A section, with answers to "best hamburger in town", "best pizza in town", etc., and with comments already. But I found it a little harder to get out of each town and back to Patch. But it it doable.
Outside.in was much more disappointing, at least the day I looked at it. It does aggregate newspaper articles, but how up to date is it, and who's keeping it updated? Under the headings to the left, we have no: High Schools, Libraries, Colleges or Universities. Unless you look under the general heading of "Get News About Schools & Libraries", and this gives you: Nebraska Association of School Boards, Union College, Counseling & School Psychology Clinic, Bryan LGH East College of Health Sciences, Southeast Community College Professional Development & Customized Training...., Trinity Lutheran Church and School. Under businesses, there are 62, with several Medical services and hospitals there, not to mention out of business companies. And I thought it wasn't the Westfield Shopping Center anymore? I definitely found an about of business shop under Jewelers--please hold nasty catcalls, it's where I had my watch batteries put in and jewelry repaired. We won't even mention the bookstores--Lee's was still there, of course, and when you clicked on it, no new stories on this business. But when I searched Barnes & Noble, Lincoln, Nebraska, in the blank, the Lee's going out of business story came up. Plus stories about the other B&N. And Indigo Bridge Books wasn't listed, ether.
Placeblogger has some possibilities. The search engine is terrible, unless there's a secret that I didn't figure out. I did use the hot buttons in our text, but after looking at these, I tried to find a few other cities in contiguous states--apparently there's no one blogging about Ames, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; or Iowa City, Iowa; or Colorado Springs, Colorado. But, oh, my! are they blogging about Denver. And this is where I ran into my complaint about the search engine. I put it in with the city, and country capped, and found Denver mid way down the page! But this is definitely what the site should be about! The Lincoln and Omaha sites aren't much, Chicago, pretty good. But you really should hunt up Denver. Maybe it's just that bit larger, or something.
Patch, I think, is the best of this lot, and I think a spot on it would be good for a library, just as one would in a local newspaper--new books, book reviews--preferable by locals, story times, program announcements and times, hours, any weather closings, etc.
Outside.in really needs some marketing and someone local to keep it up, in the manner of Patch. It's news aggregator engine needs fine tuning, too, but the links on the side need to be linked to the searching, somehow. I don't remember getting a story off a left hand link. If I did, it wasn't recent. And the links need updating badly.
Placeblogger need marketing too--aggressively. I feel there are a lot of blogs that could go on here that aren't--Lincoln Chief of Police, jumps to mind, for one. And, it too, could be monitored for age of submissions. But this is a place libraries could easily link their blogs too. All of these sites are wonderful ideas for the new, and non native residents of cities, large and small.
I think as libraries we need to monitor, and then participate in the Hyper local service that our patrons are using. Or possible lead them to it. Placeblogger could benefit from LCLs making a few email requests of fellow blogger, like the Lincoln Chief of Police to join and provide more local information.
To be perfectly honest, some libraries already provide some local information on their web sites--but they could benefit from a service like Patch. Especially if their local newspaper has closed. I mean--maps! Businesses! Current events! Best Hamburgers!;-)
I did find a site for Lincoln, Nebraska, not quite so social, but enough so, URL HelloLincoln.com, businesses, maps, opinions both pro and con under"Hyper local & Reviews of Businesses". And events, and yes, there was something going on at Barnes & Noble, and at Bennett Martin, and a Power Farming at the Lincoln Lancaster Event Center...I do have to report that the security on my computer did eventually freeze this site, so there could be a problem with it. On the other hand, I may finally find out what's going on in town before it happens.
- ▼ 2010 (9)