Co-writing a book chapter: A blog post co-written by Chris and Jo

The book  that our chapter appears in will be published in September 2017

The book that our chapter appears in will be published in September 2017

Text by: Chris and Jo

Recently Chris and Jo contributed a chapter to the forthcoming title Using Social Media to Build Library Communities: A LITA Guide, edited by Scott W. H. Young and Doralyn Rossman. In this post they reflect on the process of collaboratively working on producing the manuscript.

What is the chapter about?

The book as a whole is intended as an action manual to help library professionals use social media as a community building tool. Our chapter appears in the first part of the book, which consists of case studies proving examples of real-world practice in a variety of different library settings. We look at how libraries can use paid promotions to magnify the impact of their social media efforts. In addition, we examine the attitudes of students towards the library's use of such advertising.

How did this opportunity arise?

Chris had written previously about the library use of paid social media promotions, with a specific focus on Facebook advertising. Based on these earlier articles, the editors contacted Chris to see if he would be interested in contributing a chapter to their book. At the time, Chris was aware that Jo was looking into experimenting with Facebook advertising with her own institutional page, and so got in touch with her about collaborating together on a chapter. 

What were the major challenges in getting the chapter done?

It is never easy to commit to a significant project like this when you are working full time. Although advertising on our library Facebook pages was obviously work-related, the bulk of writing the manuscript had to be done on our own time.

Also, the Facebook platform changes so often and so quickly that even in the short time we were writing the chapter, it was hard to keep up with updates to their Adverts Manager! 

What tools did you use while working on the project?

For the student survey, we made use of the access to Qualtrics provided by both of our institutions. This is a powerful online survey platform that made data collection much easier. We also made use of Mendeley Data as a place to permanently host our raw survey data and make it available. This is an increasingly important trend in both the physical and social sciences, as it allows other researchers to make use of these data and perhaps analyze it in different ways than we did. You can find our data here:

When writing up the manuscript, we made good use of the collaborative features of Google Drive. This reduced the need for us to meet face-to-face.

How long did the whole process take?

The editors got in touch with Chris in July 2016, and the deadline for final submission was set for January 2017. That may sound like a long time, but as mentioned above it was quite challenging to fit this around our full-time jobs. In the end this was extended to February, but it was still an intensive process. On the other hand, having the deadline was a great incentive to keep moving forward with the data collection and writing, which might otherwise have stalled.

Using Social Media to Build Library Communities: A LITA Guide will be published by Rowman & Littlefield, and is due out in September 2017.