My director has tasked me (and I'm very willing to take it on) with doing brief, hit-and-run, emails to all the library staff to explain Library 2.0 concepts and tools to our staff, most of whom have no desire to move forward (there are some and I'm thrilled to have them on board). This is a copy of the email I sent out today. I'd be curious to what y'all think. The next one will be on del.icio.us because it's probably the most relevant to them.
Subject: What's this I hear about Library2.0?
You may have heard the terms "web 2.0" and "library 2.0" buzzing about the library world. Or maybe you haven't, and that's ok. But what I'd like to do is take a second and explain what both of those things mean, and some of the "2.0 tools" that you might continue to hear about, and that we here at CPLS might be looking at to better serve our patrons. I'll try to keep the editorial comments out of it (like what parts of it I love and what I can't stand), but I make no guarantees.
This is the first in a series of emails that I ' ll be sending out regarding Library 2.0, to explain some of the sites and concepts I've given a brief introduction to below. So if not all of it makes sense, or you need more details, or you have something to add, please feel free to email me, or better yet, the group. That's how this works.
So what exactly are Web 2.0 and Library 2.0?
Well, honestly, it depends who you ask. Web 2.0 is touted as the next generation web, with more interaction and interactive sites as opposed to just static information. Web 2.0 is everything from blogs, RSS feeds, wikis and IM/chat to things like Second Life (www.secondlife.com
) myspace (www.myspace.com
) (note, this will be blocked by the City IT dept), facebook (www.facebook.com
) (this one will be blocked too), flickr (www.flickr.com
), del.icio.us (http://del.icio.us
), technorati (www.technorati.com
) and dig (www.digg.com
). What it really means is that the web sites that require you to do something with them (share information, play, create content) are becoming more popular. Terms like "social networking sites" are being buzzed about because of the ability to create neighborhoods and "friends" lists and to interact with others through the Internet in a way other than email or the more common chat programs such as AIM or Yahoo Instant Messenger.
It also is about creating the metadata (information about your Information) and sharing it with others. Things like sharing bookmarks and seeing how many have also bookmarked something (del.icio.us) or blogged about it (technorati) as well as tagging - what they've called it when people have applied their own labels to things like their photos (flickr), their blog entries (Livejournal, vox (www.vox.com
)), their bookmarks (have you bookmarked sptimes.com? what did you label it? News? Local? Drek?) and who looks at what at any given moment (digg). The concept of tagging is the part that the libraries and librarians have kind of grasped onto, mostly because it's familiar to us - we like to organize. (Course, have you seen my desk lately?)
Library 2.0 is actually the application of the concepts of Web 2.0 to the library world. Things like del.icio.us which allow people to share what they ' ve bookmarked with anyone and technorati that allow people to see what others are blogging about and linking to in real time were things that libraries found useful. More recently, it's been about how real language tagging can be beneficial to library catalogs, and what catalogs can learn from sites such as del.icio.us and technorati.
The other buzz in the Library 2.0 community are the "social networking” side. Libraries and librarians with professional myspace accounts are popping up all over the place (Hennepin County (MN), Denver Public, Topeka (KS) just to name a few). It's not just for kids and teens anymore. In fact, facebook is in the process of overtaking myspace as the favored destination for teens and college students. A big buzz is being made over Second Life (www.secondlife.com
), which we've had at least one information session on here at CPLS. And many, many libraries (including us) have photos of the libraries and library staff up on flickr.
What does it mean for us as a library?
Well, honestly, at this point, no one really knows how it will impact libraries in the long term. There’s a wiki called Library 2.0 (http://library20.ning.com
) where Just that is being discussed. Things like tagging and sharing bookmarks will most likely have the greatest long term impact (imagine patrons being able to create tags for items in our catalog!!!), but the sexy aspects of 2.0 like Second Life and Twitter and Tumblr (www.tumblr.com
) are what people seem to be talking about more. So I'll be, in this series of emails, talking about these various tools and sites in more detail as time goes on.
In my opinion (and you know what that's worth, and whoops, here I go slipping into judgment), it doesn't change libraries as much as we think it does. We're still places people can come for information, be it educational, recreational or social. We still need a sense of place, both physical and online, to allow them to do this. What it will require is a shift in attitude from "we have all the information" to "we need to have input from those around us on and in what we offer." And that could be tough for libraries and librarians to get.
Like I said above, feel free to email me (or the group!) with questions, comments or additional information about anything. We all learn from each other and no one knows it all.