[Web4lib] Academic libs - allowing anonymous comments on your site?

Mutch, Andrew AMutch at twp.waterford.mi.us
Tue Mar 9 08:10:48 EST 2010


Just out of curiosity, what's the argument that's been put forward to
allow comments on every page of the web site? I can see the potential
benefit of allowing comments on certain items like a posting about a
issue of current interest or a review of a book or a web site. But how
is allowing someone to comment on information pages like hours of
operations or a library staff directory or similar pages helpful? I
would find commentary on such pages to be distracting. 

Andrew Mutch
Library Systems Technician
Waterford Township Public Library
Waterford, MI

-----Original Message-----
From: web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org
[mailto:web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org] On Behalf Of Melissa Belvadi
Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2010 11:16 AM
To: web4lib at webjunction.org
Subject: [Web4lib] Academic libs - allowing anonymous comments on your

Hello. My library is about to engage in an internal debate regarding
whether we should enable the ability of anonymous users to post comments
to any of the pages of our web site. Our site is based on Drupal, so the
feature is very easy to enable. We are assuming that we will moderate
comments (they don't appear until approved), which is also easy with

I have some practical concerns about how much staff time the moderation
process (including the inevitable internal debates regarding what should
and shouldn't be allowed through) will take up, as well as philosophical
concerns about librarians getting in the business of censoring and what
damage there might be if someone whose post we disallow makes a public
ruckus about how the library is anti-free speech. 

But my concerns may be unfounded, so I'd like to hear any experiences,
positive or negative, that other academic libraries may have had doing
Do any of you have anything like this on your sites now? Did you try it
and later remove the feature? 

Also if you know of any studies, conference presentations, or the like,
on the subject, pointers would be most appreciated. 

Thanks for any help and advice you can provide! 

Melissa Belvadi
Emerging Technologies & Metadata Librarian University of Prince Edward
Island mbelvadi at upei.ca

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