One of the most popular features for academic users of the ACI Scholarly Blog Index is the ACI list tool. While bookmarks are ideal for stand-alone posts that you don’t necessarily intend to organize as a collection, the list tool allows you to create and organize collections of articles in ACI based on topical interests or for shared resources or activities. When you create a new list in ACI, you’ll set a list name, tags, a description, and privacy settings for your list. Tags help you to organize your list, allowing you to attach keywords or concepts relevant to you and your list (for example, Biology, Mitosis, BIOL5020, or Dr. Sam Jones), while the list description describes the topical focus or intended use for that particular list.

After establishing your list name, tag, and description, you’ll then set your privacy settings. However, the benefits and implications of the privacy setting you select may not be immediately apparent. For example, did you know that you can still share a list marked as private? In this post, we’ll present a few tips and reminders on selecting the optimal privacy setting so that you can make the most of the goals you envisioned for a particular list.

List Privacy Setting: Public

Privacy - publicResearchers in ACI can search or browse public lists created and curated by others using the Search Lists feature on the ACI Lists page. (Tech tip: you can also do this on your tablet or phone using ACI’s new mobile app.) By entering a keyword or phrase in the Public Lists search field in the upper-right corner of that page, you can search for public lists that contain that keyword or phrase. You can also choose to browse all public lists simply by clicking the browse button without a search string entered into that box. Once you find a public list of interest to you, you can follow that ACI list by clicking on the star-shaped “follow” icon. After following a list, you’ll then receive auto-notification emails anytime a new post has been added to that public list. In addition, you can also subscribe to that list’s RSS feed by clicking on the Subscribe button in the upper-right corner of a list page.

So how did those “searchable” lists get there in the first place? Because the users creating those lists chose the Public privacy setting. Setting your list to Public simply means that your list will be searchable by others when they browse or search available public lists.  If the ultimate goals for your list involve public activities or collaborative efforts, the Public setting will be ideal for your list. You could use your list as a resource-sharing platform that others with that topical interest can find and follow.  For example, a PhD candidate in Biology might create a list of posts helpful to other PhD candidates in that discipline – current topics or discussions in the field, dissertation or lab tips, or posts related to the post-dissertation job hunt. A librarian who creates a list of Zika virus posts for a LibGuide on health or public policy might choose to make that list public so that other students, faculty, and librarians interested in those posts can find – and follow – the list she’s created.

Once you’ve created a list, you can easily share that list with others using a variety of sharing, communication, and notation platforms, including email, Twitter, Evernote, Mendeley, and many others. You can even print or save a handy PDF handout that provides list access instructions and snippets of post content for students, professors, colleagues, discussion groups, or others with whom you would like to share the list contents. The PDF also includes a QR code for those that might be accessing your handout on a mobile device.

List Privacy Setting: Private

Privacy - privateSetting your list as private simply means that your list won’t be searchable within ACI’s public lists collection. There are many reasons why you might want to set your list to private. If you’re a student curating lists of content that you might use in an ongoing solo project or for an upcoming course assignment, then you might just want to keep those posts in a private list.

However, as a list owner, you can still choose to share your private list with others. For example, if you’re a faculty member who has created a list of assigned readings for your students, you can keep your list private (non-searchable within the public lists field) but still share that list with your students using the same sharing options described above. Just remember that although recipients can’t alter your list’s privacy setting, once you share your list with others, the ACI users you’ve shared it with could then choose to share the list URL or other details of its contents.

List Privacy Setting: Within Institution

Privacy - institution onlyWhile individual ACI subscribers will just have the Private and Public privacy settings, a third privacy setting exists for institutional ACI users – for example, students and faculty whose university library subscribes to ACI and provides it as an electronic resource to their constituents.

This option allows users in those institutions to make the list searchable only to other users within that same institution. A faculty member at a university that subscribes to ACI, for example, can make his or her list searchable only to those at that same university. University staff members might create lists aimed at institutional research, public relations, or professional development goals, and then choose the institutional-only privacy setting so that the lists are searchable just by those in that university. Again, like with public lists, while others can’t modify your list’s privacy setting, the institutional users accessing your lists could then choose to share the list URL or content details using the list sharing and collaboration tools.

There are many advantages to creating, curating, searching, and following Lists in the ACI Scholarly Blog Index. By keeping in mind the benefits and potential uses and outcomes of the various privacy settings, you’ll stay closer to meeting the educational, project-oriented, or other curation goals for each of your ACI lists.