How to find out the best combination of web 2.0 tools and their suitable Library applications

How to find out the best combination of web 2.0 tools and their suitable Library applications:
“Provide the users what they want” seems to be the battle cry of Librarians influenced by “Customer Relationship Management”. It is true that Librarians want their customers to be visiting their libraries 24/7 at least virtually. Yes every access to the Libraries’ web site and digital resources is a visit to be counted.
However, the objective appears to be to “match the tools to the users”. I am of the opinion that it is not the correct approach. The correct approach should be to match the web 2.0 tools to Library applications and Information services offered by the Libraries which are matched to the users’ information needs.
Though libraries have served and serve as meeting places for various social purposes, the primary objective of libraries is to attend to intellectual weaknesses and gaps in the knowledge of the users. (We Librarians are “Knowledge Doctors” !).
In other words, providing free social networking facilities using web 2.0 tools to attract the younger generation of users should not be the primary focus, rather, they should be attracted by the wonderfully selected and organized presentation of all types of resources, matching their current and future information needs, made accessible using appropriate tools, allowing them to participate in the development process by feedback, giving suggestions and indicating their changing information needs.
This is not different from what we heard some time ago – “Content is King”. Getting feedback from users also is not new !
Libraries are exploring Web 2.0 technologies (wikis, blogs, Flickr, facebook, RSS feeds, Podcasting, web casting, Social Bookmarking, etc.) and are encouraging staff to create innovative applications that are related to library resources, services and functions or adapt existing library applications to make use of Web 2.0 tools.
To begin with, it would be better to allow the staff imagination to go wild, for a specific time period, say 3 months, and then fix a particular date and time for a seminar asking each one to make a 5 to 10, or at the most 15 minutes presentation.
To plan the program (agenda) I would ask each to send me a five to ten line description of the application perhaps a week earlier to the seminar date. I would ask them to prefix the description with Expressive Subject Headings denoting the Library Function or Information Resource or Information Service to which the application is directed to. I will not group the presentation on the basis of the Web 2.0 technology but rather on the basis of the Library Application.

For example Under the heading:

ACQUISITION > RESOURCE SELECTION (BOOK SELECTION) > SELECTION OF COSTLY
RESOURCE > OPINION FROM PATRONS > Using BLOG.

Description will be:

How to use Blog to seek opinion for Book selection / Resource selection, if the cost is more than 100 dollars, is the main theme of this presentation. ... We used the ... We set a period of two weeks to get
comments and close the blog for analysis / review ...

Each of the subject headings will start with the Name of the Department / Section / Unit of the Library
wherever possible and give the sub-ordinate headings.

REFERENCE AND INFORMATION SERVICES > ALERT SERVICES > GENERAL ALERT SERVICE >/ LATEST NEWS using RSS (automatic information feed)
…. …..

USER / PATRON EDUCATION > LIBRARY INSTRUCTION > LIBRARY TOUR > WEBCAST
…. ……

All the presentations would be grouped in such a way that all those that tackle the same problem / service / library technique, would be together and the seminar would be held with open discussion.
The presentations by staff at the seminar can include the Library applications not only developed by the staff but also those tried or most impressed with, but done in other Libraries.
The presented applications would be critically examined / analyzed and evaluated. The purpose of this analysis is to find out applications suitable to meet the information needs of users, and the most suitable web 2.0 technology for each of the suitable ones. The presentations would be evaluated not on the basis of the skill of the presenter, but on the suitability of the application. One or two of the "examiners" would be designated mainly to raise issues concerned with safety and security and bring to light all the negative points, upholding "Why we should not adopt this" as the Devil’s advocates. This is not to stop us from going forward rather it is to make us set in place in advance, the precautionary measures necessary to avoid any misuse by any one (moderated, avoid close-up view in graphics, do not give personal identification in photographs...). A five star rating (1 - 5 stars) could be assigned to each library application on the basis of suitability (appropriateness, perceived acceptance, usability and participation by users; ease of development, updating and maintenance; cost of resources including staff time; and safety, security and misuse avoidance measures). A Matrix / Table of web 2.0 techs VS Library Applications could be developed on the basis of the evaluation to find out which technology has more cluster of applications with high suitability star rating. That /those technology/ technologies and application (s) would be adopted and implemented with high priority and all interested staff would be trained with the under taking that they would be ready to take on the responsibility at the time of need.
I would appreciate your comments.

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This should be interesting...
I think the objective should be to look at what a library/information centre isn't doing very well, or things you want it to do better, and see if there is a tool that can assist in that process. Secondly, it's worth looking at the range of tools that are out there and seeing if any of them can make a difference or improvement in what you're currently offering. Forget the whole 'Web 2.0' debate and just look at the stuff that's there.

You say "the primary objective of libraries is to attend to intellectual weaknesses and gaps in the knowledge of the users." This sets off so many alarm bells in my head it's almost deafening. 'Intellectual weakness' sounds like a phrase that would have been trotted out in the 1930s to be honest. This makes it sound as though the users of the library are somehow enfeebled, with the librarians being the heroes of the hour and striding to the rescue. Actually not the case in all the libraries that I know. They're there to supplement and assist and blah blah.. this isn't the place for that particular discussion.

"Getting feedback from users is not new". No, it's not. However, getting feedback using IM, colloboration on and with resources is perhaps slightly new.

"It would be better to allow the staff imagination to go wild, for a specific time period," Dear God. Staff imagination should *always* be going wild - they should all, as part of their job, be looking at new resources and trying them out and exploring. I'm afraid to say that your vision sounds less like a library and more like a prison.

Your series of presentations idea just doesn't work for me. Surely, given the tools that are available, a much easier route is to 'just do it' and start using tools, put them into practice and continue to use the ones that work, and let the ones that don't fade away. By all means ensure that there isn't duplication of effort, and perhaps (and only perhaps) decide to try one particular type of tool (though I can see real benefits from comparing say, Netvibes to Pageflakes), and also look at what didn't work and why. However, what's the point of these artificial committees? These tools don't cost anything to use, they're not heavily time intensive with a high learning curve - what you suggest would be sensible when you're potentially spending thousands of pounds/dollars on something, but that's NOT what these tools are about. You don't need Devils Advocates because the tools will work or not because people like using them and find them helpful, though I'll grant you would need to consider if they have been publicised enough and enough time has been given to using them.

I honestly think you're vastly over engineering this. Encourage staff to explore, try stuff out, use what works, discard what doesn't and move on.
Phil,
You are talking about fun, Mr. Devadason is talking about work. Is there a library somewhere (over the rainbow?) where fun and work mashup?
No Gail, I am absolutely NOT talking about 'fun' rather than work in the way that you put it. I certainly believe that staff need to enjoy their jobs - don't you? I'm talking about exploring, finding out information, looking at resources and putting them into practice. I don't call that fun (in a trivial sense) I'm talking about professional updating, and keeping as on top of new developments as possible. I simply have a different idea of the best way to do this, which is by just putting it all in practice, trying things out and having less of a committee approach.
I don't think fun is trivial, it is a necessary part of every work day to relieve the stress of the overwork-staff shortages situation and to keep the imagination alive. Keeping those brain neurons firing is certainly my goal. All the staff I know would very much like to enjoy their jobs. But you know,sometimes when it comes to professional development there is a resistance to learning (learning new things=fun vs learning new things = work) at all staffing levels. Institutional preferences take a long time to change, the default to committee instead of putting into practice and seeing what happens can have a dampening effect on staff enthusiasm, whether it is admin's intent for not, chilly is how I feel.
Yikes! I have to agree with Mr. Bradley on this.

One of the great things about 2.0 technologies is their "perpetual beta" status. These apps can evolve with their users' needs, often with user input at the forefront of development. This isn't possible unless lots of people use the tool and give feedback. I think any such committee should have the freedom to be as dynamic as the tool they're investigating.

Also, to imply that work and fun are completely separate from each other is a chilling thought to me. I wouldn't want to work for a library that doesn't encourage professional enrichment through exploration and discovery.
I am sorry for the delay in replying. Here is what I wish to say:

I am really surprised to find some of the Librarians are being exhilarated on hearing the phrase “perpetual beta”. I am really saddened by it. Because “beta status” means that it is in “testing stage” and that it shall not be used for any operational purposes whatsoever. If you are using it then you are doing it at your own risk. In fact this can be equated with using drugs that are under testing before being fully approved by FDA for human usage. Such drugs are not normally taken with enthusiasm by any one, and if there is any such drug in such perpetual testing status, I do not think I will ever be enthused in any way about them!
So perpetual beta to me is a very stressful status and those who wish to enjoy it let them enjoy it. But I am not a techno-maniac to jump at software that is in perpetual beta status, grab the webpage screens of others who are testing them, and collate them to produce evidence of the use of the technology to make it look as panacea for all library operations.
If you have developed a Killer Application using any of these technologies, and can show how it has transformed a Library completely to a new version of the library, then I would be convinced. Scientific approach requires such public verifiability of any new application. In the absence of such thorough study and evaluation, if the new technology is blindly followed, it will result in exactly what happened to “Hammer and Champy’s Re-engineering (BPR)” philosophy. Without understanding the proper import of this philosophy by taking a cooler, measured approach and evaluating its application and delineating its applicability (it is good with Hi-tech Industries /hi-tech businesses and not others), it was applied blind fold to every industry and even institutions resulting in failure in a lot of cases. I understand that it is still being used as a costly camouflage when the management wants to relieve from employment a few staff of their choice.
I do not wish all of my staff to dance in the quick sand. As a manager I would allow a few to roll out of the quick sand and find out ways and means of thoroughly evaluating the technology. If the technology changes so fast then I will consider it as “ephemeral” and will not be bothered at all as all would eventually be replaced by stable technologies. At least in quick sand you will get drowned, but in perpetual quick sand, it would amount to perpetual water-boarding !!
This is also the scientific and economic approach. Instead of all interested staff experimenting with technology, I would allow a few who have an aptitude to such experimentation and innovation to delve deeply in and come out with their findings for an evaluation by discussion with demonstration of the technologies.
On the other hand if you propose “perpetual beta” to mean “perpetual change” in the user’s needs, then I would like to point out that this is a well known fact.
I also wish to clarify here that I mean by “user needs” “Users’ Information Needs” and not any other need.
I am not in a position to comprehend these applications evolve with user needs. Users have only one type of need which is Information Need. They do not need the same information they need different information. Their information need changes, which of course is to be monitored continuously . This is done mostly through feedback from the user, but several other methods are also used. If you can identify their information needs “pinpointedly”, and supply that information to them at the right time it is OK. You can use any means of dissemination the information to the user. But it should be precise and focused, neither more nor less.
Prof. T.D. Wilson has spent a lot of time in this area of “Information Needs”, “Information Seeking” and many papers have been written on this topic. To me web 2.0 technologies are just another enhancement to communication techniques. Whether you put your libraries photographs in Flickr or in the Library web page it serves the same purpose.
But if you send the wanted information (it may just be a single line) to the correct user and if it initiates action on his part and brings about change for the better then it is more than Library 2.0. It is immaterial what technology you use.
The staff development program and
Francis Devadason

PS: There is no implication that work and fun are completely separate from each other. It is you who enjoy the work and make it fun for you. There is no implication that staff development and professional enrichment programs will not be there. Every Library has its own policy and plans for such development which will not be curtailed.
I hope that you're not using Google Scholar, Google Video, Google Mail, Google Catalog Search or Froogle in that case. I trust that you also didn't use Google News for the 2 years that it was in beta. Flickr was fully working and being used during the 2 years plus that it was in beta. Google Groups was in beta for 5 years or more. I could go on, and cite many other popular applications, but I think these few should do as an example.

I'm sorry to say, but your definition of 'beta' is woefully out of date. True, up until the mid 1990s I think your definition would have been accurate. However, times move on, and so do definitions. 'Beta' is generally regarded now as being a situation in which a product is stable enough to let outsiders use the software, provide feedback and affect the overall development of a particular product. The culture of 'beta' has, like it not, spread thoughout the Internet and software is constantly being improved and upgraded. More 'traditional' products often require patches and updates and upgrades to meet new requirements - I have lost count of the number of times that my version of Windows XP has upgraded itself. Not being in beta does not give any particular indication of quality or trustworthiness. I hope that you don't use Hotmail by the way, which, although it's not in Beta any longer, has no guarantees of use, in exactly the same way that the Beta Gmail account doesn't either.

Moreover, cynical users know when something comes out of beta, because they're flooded with upgrades and patches. Other than that, in many instances, users won't notice that a product has moved from one stage to another. All that it means is that you use a product at your own risk. Yet you're doing that every time you use a computer, step onto an aircraft or drive a car. I can, to an extent, understand where you're coming from when you look to use a product that may cost thousands of dollars, require lots of training and so on, but most Web 2.0 applications are not like that - they are an entirely different animal. If you wait until something comes out of Beta then in many instances you will wait either years or will never install a product. At some point you have to take a leap; if you don't do that then you'll never buy a computer, because you know a better, faster more impressive spec. will be out next month.

I found the statement 'perpetual beta to me is a very stressful status' to be a very enlightening one. Why are you so concerned? If it goes wrong, it goes wrong - that's called life. If you're worried about doing something which is irrevocable, then make backups of your information, probably onto stone, since that's pretty reliable; anything else might fall to bits or the standards will change or the technology to read the stored data becomes unaccessible.

There IS no killer application. There are plenty of applications that will help make yours, your staff and your users time more effective, or will let you do things in new ways, but there's no single thing that will transform a library. Why should a library be 'transformed' in the manner you describe anyway? Libraries should (in my opinion) evolve naturally over time, and changing the software we use, changing our approaches, attitudes and opinions is simply a natural development. And it is for you as well, because if it wasn't, you'd be communicating with me via quill pen and paper!

I don't see anyone 'blindly following' anything either, and I really do wish that you'd stop dropping these straw men into the argument. Of course new products have to be tried and evaluated, but they can really only be tried and evaluated when they're being used in a real live situation. Some will then be blended into the library and others will not. I agree that not every member of staff will want to be involved with such exploration and development, although there comes a point at which, once something is deemed valuable, they're going to have to learn to use it - unless you're a library where you allow some staff never to touch a keyboard!

I think a library does need to look at the users needs and to amend, adapt and adjust to changes, and I agree that there is nothing intrinsically different in that approach. However, when the development and adoption of new technologies is taken up very quickly I think that the adjustment needs to be equally swift. You're right that, in many cases, Web 2.0 applications are just an enhancement to pre-existing methods of communication. However, to say that putting library photographs onto Flickr or onto your Library webpages 'serves the same purpose' is woefully inaccurate, and belies a total misunderstanding of what can be done with the one that cannot be done with the other. Adding photographs to Flickr means that other users can participate, tag, note, share, blog and incorporate said photographs in ways that are simply not possible with using a static medium. It also means that users can add their own photographs to a library group, which changes the level and type of communication, and allows users to collaborate in ways that are simply not possible by putting things onto a web site. Those are just a few of the reasons why the Library of Congress is experimenting with user tagging on Flickr at the moment!

You're quite correct to say that by sending a single line of information to a user it can bring change. However, what is now becoming more important is perhaps how that 'line of information' is constructed and how it is sent. Is it a line providing an RSS feed to a news feed, or to a weblog? Is it a podcast? Is it via Instant Messenger? What if the user requires it via SMS/Text/Cellphone? What if they need to get that information more quickly than traditional email will allow? What if the best type of information in actually not in a binary, linear form, but is a media file? What if it's too large for email? What if the user has specific requirements that the library has not yet explored? Your statement is, I'm afraid, rather simplistic and misses out almost all of the ramifications that are inherent in the use of new technologies.
Analytical Vs Chance Approach : Library 2.0 is a Hype?
============================================

I do not agree with your explanation that there are no betas after the 1990's and that my definition is awfully outdated .

I reproduce the article on beta and perpetual beta from wikipedia (constantly updated free encyclopedia) :

A beta version is the first version released outside the organization or community that develops the software, for the purpose of evaluation or real-world black/grey-box testing. The process of delivering a beta version to the users is called beta release. Beta level software generally includes all features, but may also include known issues and bugs of a less serious variety.The users of a beta version are called beta testers. They are usually customers or prospective customers of the organization that develops the software. They receive the software for free or for a reduced price, but act as free testers.

Beta versions test the supportability of the product, the go-to-market messaging (while recruiting Beta customers), the manufacturability of the product, and the overall channel flow or channel reach.

Beta version software is likely to be useful for internal demonstrations and previews to select customers, but unstable and not yet ready for release. Some developers refer to this stage as a preview, a prototype, a technical preview (TP) or as an early access. As the second major stage in the release lifecycle, following the alpha stage, it is named after the Greek letter beta, the second letter in the Greek alphabet

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle



Perpetual beta

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Perpetual beta is a term used to describe software or a system which never leaves the development stage of beta. It is often used by developers in order to allow them to constantly release new features that may not be fully tested. As a result perpetual beta software is not recommended for mission critical machines.

Perpetual beta has come to be associated with the development and release of a service in which constant updates are the foundation for the habitability/usability of a service. Tim O'Reilly discussed this concept in his Sept 30th, 2005 article:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpetual_beta

Audacity a popular software has recently released a beta version and NOT a perpetual beta version.

Download Audacity 1.2.6
for Microsoft Windows

Download Audacity 1.3.4 (Beta)
for Microsoft Windows

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/




The softwares you mention : Google Scholar, Google Video, Google Mail, Google Catalog Search, are not supposed to be perpetual beta ones. They do have come out of beta status.

Every software has to keep on upgrading if it has to survive. Virus checkers update their signature files frequently and they are not called perpetual beta softwares..

The social community networking softwares are purposely kept as PERPETUAL BETA SOFTWARE and songs of their praise sung loud because their saleable market value increases depending on the number of users and hence there is a concerted effort to boost up their usage even in areas where their usage is just that scratches the outer surface a little and does not address the core functions.

In the name of ever changing technologies these are elevated to the level of all pervasive saviours. I am of the opinion that these are just communication techniques and do not address core issues of Libraries and hence cannot transform Library into a new version of Library. It has no standing to be called Library 2.0. You may call it by any other name such as social networking perpetual beta techniques. These might have produced some minor benefits to library services, but hardly the radical change of model

If no killer application has ben developed over the past three years I have doubt whether any such significant Library application will ever be developed. And as per your statement these change so fast that they will be gone before anything tangible is achieved.

I do not want to try and try and look for a significant application to happen as chance coincidence. These techniques are NOT developed with Library and their functions in view. Their objectives are different. , I will try out for many months if it is a technology developed specifically for Libraries and not just social networking technology.

Library of Congress is trying the same thing that police try and ask the public to identify and give any information they might have on the person depicted in the photograph or picture. This does not make it Libray 2.0.

It is not whether the information is sent as SMS or through cellphone. Whether it is a photograph or a media file. If you have the right information and the user knows your ability from past experience, even if it is a scribbled paper and faxed, he will jump to it, the second he hears that a fax from you has been received, even if he is clinging on a cliff in his hiking expedition. There are places where SMS does not reach, fax messages do not reach. Sending text messages and SMS and using cellphone are not new technologies. These do not need months and months of experimentation to learn. To send SMS or a media file how long it takes to learn? Six months?.

In fact each of these techniques can be learnt in half an hour. Does it take more than 30 minutes to learn to create a podcast?


I am convinced that it is enough to spend three months to learn these social networking techniques and use them if they are handy in a situation that shows distinct advantage in using them..

I have every right to have an objective analysis of the outcome of the experiments and proceed if convinced. If I am not convinced I will not. This is fair.

The more you insist on all librarians to use these techniques perpetualy, I get more negative reaction to these techniques !

I think it is not correct to call these as Library 2.0, similar to calling Data web (database web actually) as semantic web. I am beginning to wonder whether Library 2.0 is a hype as these techniques are not developed with Library as the objective center, and do not address the core functions and operations of libraries..

I would like to close this enlightening discussion with thanks to all who contributed

THANK YOU.

F.J. Devadason
I would appreciate your current views after you review the recent replies and comments. Thank you very much. F.J. Devadason
It was in the context of a Library Director describing a situation given below that this posting was done. It was again posted here to have more input. The situation is given below:
“Like many libraries, we are exploring Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, Flickr, wikis, etc.). We want to encourage staff to think of innovative Web 2.0 applications, and to play with Web 2.0 tools to create some new online resources. But, at the same time, we worry about everyone charging off in a different direction, and a resulting disorganized array of fragmented resources.

It's a dilemma. We want to "unleash" our staff, but we also want to "control" the process. Do you have any practical suggestions for achieving both goals simultaneously? Or should we just relax, and acknowledge that the Web 2.0 way of doing things is inherently disorganized and messy? --Bruce”

It is true that staff should always be alert and have fired up imagination to innovation and look for new and promising technologies to enhance the library and information services offered. But having identified a set of technologies, experimenting with them endlessly would not be helpful. The technologies identified now are the web 2.0 technologies. Having identified the technologies, it is better to set time targets to develop applications, select and implement the suitable ones. Of course it does not end there. Technologies do fade away and one has to look for still newer technologies and the cycle repeats. Setting reasonable time for achieving concrete results / applications is a normal practice. Otherwise experimentation stage will go on and on until the next new technology arrives and the experiment stage continues with the new technology and so on. Setting a time for achievement (in this case application development and implementation using web 2.0 technologies, including perpectual bets ones – I may have to mention the date of the beta) does not mean that all staff should stop their imagination altogether once suitable applications are implemented. Also it should be borne in mind that not all staff have a flair for innovation and wild imagination. While some innovate even new technology, some have a liking for adapting and fine tuning a technology, while others have brute force for implementation and keeping it up and running. A manager should be able to identify these fine differences in the taste and talent of the staff to make the best use of their expertise and make then derive full satisfaction in their job activities.
Whether the term “intellectual weakness” is of 1930’s or of 1830’s, I am of the opinion that most of the users access the library only when they have either
1) a clearly identified, expressed or articulated information need; or,
2) an unexpressed information need which the user is aware of but does not like to express; or
3) a sort of vague, hazy idea of what information one really needs; or
4) a delitescent or dormant or hidden information need which the user is unaware of; or
5) .a latent information need which manifests through a passive reception of information to be stored as knowledge.

Accessing the internet for sending a message is not equal to accessing the physical or virtual library as one may access the internet as a post office or phone booth to send a message to a friend.

When the user has an information need, it means that the user is not in possession of the needed information, that there is a lack of information, that there is a lack of knowledge and that there is a lack of knowledge power (knowledge is power?), that lack of knowledge power is intellectual weakness. If any user accesses the library (including virtual library) without any information need as the primary reason (it may even for serendipity) then the user’s approach is not proper. (For some kids the Library corridor may be a better place for skate boarding, but I do not consider them as Library users).
I mentioned about the series of presentations in-house because the situation in which a particular library operates is better known to the staff working there rather than to the participants in this discussion list for example, which is definitely some sort of an artificial committee !
How are we to “(By all means…) ensure that there isn't duplication of effort” without knowing who is doing what? In fact committee is a time tested knowledge sharing – Knowledge Management technique, which has been enhanced using the modern communication and network, especially the intranet content management technology.

I have exactly proposed what you have mentioned at the end “Encourage staff to explore, try stuff out, use what works, discard what doesn't and move on.” Only thing is that I set time bound targets. I also try to point out a systematized approach as a guideline. Even an accepted standard is just a guideline to guide and allow for finer modification to suit the particular scenario. The systematic procedure I have mentioned for the forming of the agenda, the factors to be considered for assessing suitability all may be modified. I may be wrong and I wish to be better informed
Thank you
F.J. Devadason
I can see the concern about everyone running off in different directions. Perhaps a compromise would be a little like the situation Google apparently use, which is to allow staff a certain amount of time every week to explore, experiment and test out pretty much whatever they like. By utilising a particular piece of technology, such as an internal wiki, a shared start page (or even a bulletin board of the paper and cork variety!) staff could make their explorations more widely known and encourage others to spend time looking at what they've created. The value and use of applications could then rise and fall according to the interests of staff and users.

Controlling the process. Yes, I can see that as well. However, this depends very much on how you define 'controlling'. You could control a process by letting staff explore and experiment, trusting in their abilities to use their time wisely. Also, it's very hard to control something which is inherently unstable, and given the rise and fall and ebb and flow of a lot of Web 2 resources I think we need to be realistic about this - last year it was MySpace, this year it's Facebook, what will it be next year? Perhaps part of the controlling process is to say 'We're dancing on quicksand. Control is best exerted by knowing where we want to go, but letting people take different routes to get there.'

I'm not suggesting 'endless experimentation'. For example, someone may wish to explore the use of StartPages, so she/he starts to use them. As time goes on the use expands, as the flexibility expands, with more options being made available. However, at the same time, the start page can be made available for staff and clients to use. We're now moving into a situation where the production/software cycle is totally different, and you can't work within an old paradigm in order to understand it. These things are changing week by week; they don't stay static. So experimentation is part of the general use of a product.

I don't believe it is sensible to try and limit things to particular timescales, for the reasons just outlined - it doesn't work that way. There's no point in saying 'we'll explore Facebook for 2 months, decide how to use it, implement the strategy and move ahead'. By the time you've decided how to use it, the world has moved on, Facebook has moved on. It's simply not realistic to use time constraints in an environment which is moving so quickly.

I understand what you say about not wanting to duplicate effort. This is where a good communication structure comes into play, and the use of something like an internal wiki would help tremendously - people could add information as they go along and the whole thing could be so much more flexible than utilising a cttee and agendas and times for meetings and so on.

Web 2.0 isn't just about the resources. It's about changing the way in which we think, and look at problems.
Let me answer this as if I were on your staff. As my director I see your job as creating an environment where staff are exicted about their job. Feeling valued and acknowledged for contributions are important to me. A director's job is complicated, you have to control the chaos by imposing structure and organization with the intent of improving communication, services, and workflow while still allowing a certain amount of personal discretion for staff to structure their work day. I can see that it is your goal to establish a staff information database about 2.0 technologies and how to use them to improve library services. I would ask you to keep in mind that exploring, discovering and playing are activities wherein a certain amount of disorganization is the norm. Having conversations with your staff, let them talk while you listen, about workload priorities would, I t hink, encourage them to take the time to investigate tools, technologies and online resources.

As I'm sure you are aware, the recent OCLC survey found that only 1% used the library as a starting point to find information. And the Univ. of Michigan library survey where they were surprised to learn that student interest was low in having the library in Facebook or offering IM reference. What that tells me is that communities we serve have their own ideas about what the library needs to do for them. When I look web 2.0 technologies, I consider whether our intent is to advertise the library or to augment a service we already offer. That really helps how and what to pitch to the staff, and to the public.

I hope your staff appreciates having a director who is so enthusiastic about 2.0.

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