Engage your Community with a Commenting Platform
Many organizations have a mandate to engage with their community and provide a forum for dialogue about their collections and their role in their community. Others simply value the information their community has about their collections and welcome feedback and information. For example, in a special library, senior staff may be able to recommend particular works as key texts in their field. In an archives or museum, community members may be able to help identify places and people in photographs, or add information about the history of a place or document.
Our Andornot Discovery Interface offers both simple and more sophisticated methods to assist with “crowdsourcing” campaigns such as these.
1. Every AnDI site can include a button labeled Feedback or Comments with a simple email link, allowing users to send you direct feedback on specific records. While simple, it relies on users having an email client available to send from.
2. AnDI’s selection list (cart) can also be used to solicit feedback from users on many records at once. Users may add records to their cart, then comment on them in a form, with the information sent to you via email directly from AnDI.
3. The more sophisticated approach is to add a more dynamic commenting system to your AnDI site via the third-party Disqus service. Disqus is one the most popular commenting services on the web today, and can be found embedded in a wide variety of websites. It is supported by ad-revenue, but non-profits have the option to opt-out of ad display, and there are no fees for using the service. Each record in AnDI would have its own comment channel / discussion, so that users can comment on or discuss books, photographs, artifacts, archival records, and other information in your site. Disqus offers a robust back-end, so you can choose to have all comments moderated before they appear, and otherwise manage the activity.
The Centre du patrimoine (Heritage Centre) of the Société historique de Saint-Boniface is an archive and research facility dedicated to the preservation, study, dissemination and development of Francophone and Metis history in Manitoba and Western Canada. The Heritage Centre holds more than 500 archival fonds documenting every facet of life from culture to commerce, education to politics and religion to the economy.
The Centre added Disqus commenting to their AnDI site (https://archivesshsb.mb.ca) a few years ago and has seen regular and meaningful discussions taking place online. In 2019 we adjusted the site to promote records with discussion activity on the home page, and to show a count of comments in search results.
All of the above options will have the greatest success if paired with a campaign to raise awareness of the features and need for assistance. Social media, print media, contests and all the other promotional tools of the trade may be employed.