Have you been following conversations about Web 2.0 and Library 2.0? While I donâ€™t think they will change your world, the papers and subsequent discussions are of interest and make for some worthwhile reading. As I read the materials my main impression is, â€œHmm, this sounds vaguely familiar, sort of like the things academic librarians have been doing for some time now.â€ But thatâ€™s not to say we couldnâ€™t use a good reminder that there are new tools and technologies out there, and that we need to remain innovative in how we apply them to the work of connecting our user populations to the information they need – and to us and our library resources â€“ and perhaps giving them a larger role in participating in the process of building and guiding our enterprises.
Thereâ€™s a fair amount of literature on Web 2.0. While most of the library-related discussions have pointed to an article that appeared in Ariadne titled â€œWeb 2.0: Building the New Libraryâ€ I actually prefer an article from BusinessWeek that gives a â€œpeopleâ€ rather than â€œtechâ€ perspective on how Web 2.0 will manifest itself in our interaction with the Web. Put simply, Web 2.0 is â€œa whole new web that will be built by and around you.â€ In other words, collaboration and participation by individuals in web spaces will build and give context to Web 2.0. A brief and slightly more techy perspective, but not unreadable, can be found in this article in PC World.
Paul Miller, the author of the Ariadne article, takes his discussion of Web 2.0 and libraries a step further and develops a set of principles for something called Library 2.0. In a piece called “Do Libraries Matter?” Miller and a colleague from Talis further elaborate on how libraries can incorporate Web 2.0 principles to “operate according to the expectations of today’s users” and “make information available wherever and whenever the user requires it.” Does that strike you as a radically innovative proposal? Next, take a look at Michael Stephens’ interpretation of Library 2.0 over at the ALA TechSource blog. Always sensible and upbeat, Stephens’ puts his unique spin on Library 2.0, and although his own vision may be a bit too tech fad-oriented for some us it adds a good perspective to the conversation – as do the comments to his piece.
Make your final stop Bill Drew’s post about Library 2.0 where he reflects on those ways in which his own academic library is already accomplishing or moving in the direction of acheiving some Library 2.0 services – even if they aren’t calling it that. I think he makes a good point that academic libraries ought to examine the Library 2.0 propositions, which even if they are a bit of “old wine in a new bottle” (e.g., suggesting that libraries should integrate into courseware – that’s so academic library 1.0), are well worth considering. The nature of the web is going to change, the new role people and communities play in developing and structuring web services is already happening, and academic librarians need to be thinking about their place in this changing environment.
What would I add to Library 2.o? Well, I think the authors missed something important that is essential to any library’s core value system – user education. So I propose two additional Library 2.0 principles:
* The Library Facilitates the User’s Discovery of Their Many Information Options and How to Choose Wisely From Among Them.
* The Library Integrates Itself Into Those Places, Physical and Virtual, Where Learning Takes Place.
If the point of Library 2.0 is, as Miller says, to reinforce that libraries really do matter, then the path to accomplishing that leads to those places, physical and virtual, where learning happens. We need to figure out how to exploit Web 2.0 and the many new social collaboration and networking resources that will take us there. These recent publications and posts provide some ideas worth digesting.