Library 2.0 – the ‘Social Library’

“To continue to be vital to society, libraries must adopt new objectives.  In particular, they must strive to participate with individuals in their cultural activites; passive, depersonalised service is no longer enough.”  Frederick Kilgour, ‘Evolving, Computerising, Personalising,’  in American Libraries, Feb 1972.

What is Library 2.0?  The term Library 2.0 is generally attributed to Michael Casey who first sought to define the concept in his Library Crunch blog in 2005 – in reality it grew out of much discussion that was being held by librarians at the time around the Web 2.0 movement.  Simply put, Library 2.0 is the term used to describe how Web 2.0 technologies are applied to web-based library services and collections.

This interesting meme (rhymes with gene) created by Bonaria Biancu in 2006 gives us a visual representation of what the Library 2.0 concept is about:

Bonaria Biancu Library 2.0 meme map, 2006

As you can see, Library 2.0 is not just about using technologies but it also seeks to follow the underlying principles of Web 2.0 – or the 4Cs, which are collaboration, conversation, community and co-creation.  A fifth C has also recently emerged, ‘crowdsourcing’ – this broadly describes a process whereby an organisation calls for feedback from its users (the crowd) to gain insight and solve ‘problems’ – thereby creating a sense of ownership for its users through their contribution and collaboration.

Meredith Farkas, in her blog ‘Information wants to be free’ gives us the following key advice to get to the heart of what to be aware of when we seek to implement Library 2.0:

  1. Work to meet changing user needs – get to know your users and non-users by developing a culture of assessment to challenge your assumptions about how and what your services and systems should be.
  2. Believe in your users – trust what your users say and listen to what it is they want by giving them a role in helping to define your library services.
  3. Be willing to experiment – learn from what isn’t or doesn’t work to continuously improve your services based on the feedback that you receive.
  4. Be aware of emerging technologies and trends – look for partnerships in your community or with other libraries and give your staff time to try out new technologies and learn.
  5. Look outside the library world for applications, opportunities and inspiration – understand the culture of technologies, how they are used and implemented in other institutions.

Much like Farkas, I have never really liked the term Library 2.0 and prefer to use the term ‘Social Library’ which perhaps better describes the library from the patrons’ point of view and certainly is a reflection on where most libraries are heading in terms of their services.  

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RSS feeds

RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’ and, as the name suggests, they are really simple to set up.  As this is an assignment related post, I have a word limit so can’t go into how to get RSS feeds up and running, however, if you use Windows their Help and Support pages have some excellent advice on how to get started.

There are other methods of receiving updated information through media such as Facebook or Twitter, but for now I’ll just concentrate on RSS feeds and get to the point of this post which is how RSS can enhance a library or information service’s ability to meet the information needs of its users.

One of the best examples I’ve seen of a library using RSS feeds comes from the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) website.  Here you can see the diversity of information offered by the library from their latest news and events to presentations, collection highlights and related blog posts.  As someone who lives approximately 1,300 kms away from Brisbane, having the opportunity to subscribe to the library’s feeds gives me an insight into what this great library has to offer.  I often listen to the latest webcasts and like to stay informed on any travelling exhibitions that might be coming my way.  Having access to this type of information from SLQ keeps me connected and certainly provides me with an incentive to visit the library if I happen to be in Brisbane in future.

A second example, and one a little closer to home, can be found at the library I work in – I’m very proud to say that just in this last week, the library team have been creating links to RSS feeds as part of our LibGuides subject guides.  The feeds are set up so visitors to the site can have access to the latest news the library staff have subscribed to for the guide and the intention is to provide feeds from reputable websites in support of further information that might be of interest or helpful to our students.

Posted in BRIT Libraries, INF206 Social Networking OLJ, LibGuides, RSS feeds, Web 2.0 | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Information has a social life!

Just want to share with you some interesting bits and pieces I’ve been looking at whilst working my way through the INF206 Modules … it’s my duty to pass these things on, because ‘information has a social life’ and we don’t want interesting pieces of information to feel left out just because they’re a bit geeky …

I’m blown away by the statistics shown in this interesting  Socialnomics YouTube clip about social media use, especially the fact that if Facebook were a country it would be the 3rd largest behind China and India.

Another interesting YouTube clip made by Kevin Kelly on The Technium echoes my own thoughts on Web 2.0 technologies where he says, “we have to use things in order to find out about them … we actually have to engage with the technology.  The only way to determine whether something is good for us, bad for us, is through use …”

What distinguishes Web 2.0 technologies is the fact that they are easy to use; anyone can upload a video to YouTube or publish content on a weblog – effectively creating their own website, or share photos with others through flickr … there are any number of tools available in the social media landscape, as illustrated here by Fred Cavazza and the majority of them are freely available at no cost to the subscriber.

Charlene Li in a podcast at Talis brought up some interesting points about using social media in an organisation.  Li tells us that social media calls into question some of the traditional ways that things have been done and that it is about a new type of relationship, one that provides opportunities for dialogue with clients.  She comments that “the tools are easy to use, the hard part is defining the relationship you want, changing the way you do things …”  Social media is a culture of sharing and social media technologies allow for that sharing on a large scale.

Another statement that I’ve seen, but can’t place where right now, is that ‘social media is not a revolution it is an evolution’ and I wholeheartedly agree … for all the different types of social media tools available to us today, what is popular now may no longer be with us in five years time – possibly to have morphed into something completely different or perhaps fallen by the wayside as the crowds move onto newer methods of communicating and sharing.  Some interesting statistics on social media usage in Australia as at Oct 2011 and perhaps a way to keep on top of what’s new at Mashable: The social media guide.

Posted in INF206 Social Networking OLJ, social media, Web 2.0 | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Delicious

Delicious is a social bookmarking website where members are able to bookmark any web-based content and have it available online regardless of where they access the web.  Delicious allows you to manage and share your links with others if you choose to (or keep them private) and you can also ‘follow’ other users to keep updated on the links and stacks created by others.

Getting started is easy, once you have a Delicious account you can save links by simply copying and pasting a URL into ‘+ link’ or add a Delicious ‘bookmarklet’ to your browser toolbar to ‘instantly’ save any link.  Stacks are a new feature for Delicious where similar links can be grouped together to create some visually stunning displays with images brought over from your web-links by the Delicious ‘image fetcher’.

I enjoy using Delicious because I bookmark many websites on every PC that I use, and find it annoying when I’m unable to access my ‘work’ favourites at home or vice versa.  So, Delicious is great for me because I can have all those bookmarks set up in pretty visual stacks and they’re accessible no matter which PC I happen to be using at the time.

Initially, as a group of users new to Delicious, it appeared to the INF206 cohort that it was not very intuitive to use, and much discussion was held trying to troubleshoot Delicious.  My interest was piqued after some comments were made regarding the sale of Delicious and on further investigation into AVOS, the new owners, I found this link where they comment on Nov 9, 2011 that they are “focussed on making the bookmarking process more automated and supported by intuitive search” by using link saving service Trunk.ly. So it appears it is very much a work in progress at the present time and with luck should become easier to use.

I can see the benefit of using Delicious in many different types of organisations, from libraries of all description, through to business organisations and educational institutes, where user groups can easily create lists of web-links to save, store and share information online.

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INF206 Assignment 1

  • Define social networking

Social networking is the term used to describe the way digital spaces are used by people to form or join groups to communicate and share content with other users.  Generally a means of informal communication, some groups of users may know each other in the real world, for example, friends and family members who use social networks to stay in touch with each other to share news, photographs, videos and other media.  Many other online communities are built by like-minded people who may never have met in real life but share common interests and interact in the virtual world.  Users generally create an online profile and take the opportunity to widen their networks by inviting others to join and participate in their networks.

  • Social networking technologies used

I have participated in social networking for around eight years; initially joining two or three different Yahoo! Groups when I was a stay at home mum to learn more about the hobbies I was interested in. Through these groups I was able to interact with like-minded people from around Australia and the world and was able to obtain information from many people with the knowledge and expertise I would not have had access to otherwise.

Until very recently I have stubbornly held onto using a dial-up internet connection at home and only just upgraded my technological capabilities when I decided to take on the INF206 course.  So although I have had My Space and Facebook accounts for some time they have lain dormant because I haven’t had the technology to keep up with my friends.

We’ve had a blog at work for a couple of years now and I sincerely believe that for a blog to work and be interesting, it has to be updated regularly.  We have a roster and take turns at creating posts and aim to post mainly about library related news and events.  Comments and feedback from teaching staff and students who have visited our blog say they’ve found the posts to be informative, which is encouraging.  Being able to view ‘site stats’ is also helpful to us in the library as it gives us the opportunity to see which posts have been the most popular and also relate that back to how and where we have been promoting the blog.

We have not, to date, been able to set up a Facebook account at work due to the fact that our conduct and behaviour online are supposed to reflect the codes of practice and ethical standards that we are bound by as employees – so it has been a bit of a no-go area so far, however there has been talk recently that the Institute is about to launch a Facebook page, so we may be able to do the same for the library too.  Two years ago the Institute had firewalls in place so the students were unable to access their social networks online, however the policy has been revoked, due no doubt to an avalanche of requests, and now when looking up from my desk at work I often see every student in the library using a PC is ‘Facebooking’.

  • Expectations of INF206

I’m really looking forward to doing this course.  Not least, because I will have six weeks vacation over December and January which gives me the luxury of being able to immerse myself in learning about the technology and tools used for social networking.  Since starting my degree course three years ago I have been surprised to learn that I’m excited by Web 2.0 technologies, where technology is going and the fact that we are on the cutting edge of new technologies such as cloud computing and the semantic web.  Also, I like being part of a profession where people are implementing these technologies to keep our libraries current and relevant to our users.  So, although I haven’t been a huge user of social networks in the past, I’m looking forward to giving it all a go and then taking what I’ve learnt back into the workplace so I can share that knowledge with others.

Oh, and of course, if I make a few new friends along the way, that will be a bonus!

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INF206 Social Networking OLJ

Today marks the start of INF206 Social Networking for Information Professionals – my ‘summer school’ subject at Charles Sturt University.  There will be a couple of assessment items posted here as part of my formal course work, however I would also like to use this as a journal to post about the discoveries I make as I journey into the world of social networking tools.

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