Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Blog Entries Provide Updates on Collection News; Profile of Media Finders Blog

Many of the Ball State University Libraries’ users have discovered our Media Finders, which are guided search pages focused on the University Libraries’ rich, broad collection of audiovisual and non-book materials. The Media Finders make it easier for library users to connect with these materials.

As another way of raising awareness among Ball State students, faculty, and staff about parts of our collections that might be useful to them, I have started the Media Finder Blog, The New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd edition, defines blog (or weblog or Web log) as a “Web site on which an individual or group of users produces an ongoing narrative.”

The University Libraries already have a number of blogs, available at Blogs are being popularly used for many purposes, including personal diaries, news, professional and scholarly communication, and marketing tools. The goal of this new blog is to highlight new and featured materials from the Media Finders and to provide search tips and tricks to help users get more out of the Media Finders.

The first entry provided an overview of the existing Media Finders and the materials they search. The second entry discussed how to find both the newest theatrical releases and examples of very early film from the Movies & TV Programs (Fiction Video) Media Finder. Further entries featured materials related to Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, Presidents’ Day, Black History Month, and the weather (particularly the snowy, wintry weather of mid-February). These entries are all available at

In addition to providing timely updates on materials, the blog entries remain on the Web for future reference and the blog as a whole is searchable from a search box in the top left corner. Labels are used to help viewers find all of the posts of a certain type, such as all the “holiday” posts. I hope that the Ball State community will discover many interesting materials through the Media Finder Blog.

Use of the Media Finders continues to rise steadily. Comparing usage statistics for the Media Finders from September-December 2005 with the same period in 2006 shows a 55% increase in the total number of hits on the search pages. More searches were probably conducted as users often conduct more than one search from a given instance of the search page. However, it is impossible to say how many searches may have been conducted.

Of particular interest is the fact that the average monthly number of hits on the fiction video and “all video” search pages approximately doubled (2,044 to 4,034 and 493 to 1,006 respectively). The non-classical music search page showed a small monthly increase to 1,264 hits. The other finders continue to have a smaller number of hits as they cover more niche materials and thus have more limited target audiences.

For more information or to share ideas for future blog posts, contact Kelley C. McGrath, Cataloging and Metadata Services Librarian (Audio/Visual), Ball State University Libraries’ Collections Resources Management,, (765) 285-3350.

This newsletter article first appeared in The Library Insider 5(3): 11; March 2007.

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