I think Library 2.0 is used to describe two concepts. One is applying Web2.0 at your library. The other is the flexible, nimble, evolving, user-centred library, kickstarted by Web2.0 concepts and attitudes. One day the second will have its own name.
Laura Cohen has been thinking about whether Library2.0 is just a derivative of Web2.0 and that’s all there is to it, The best part of Library 2.0. She disagrees, but believes that many people see it as no more than this. She would like to extend it further and add “timeless adaptability” into the mix. Within her definition
libraries evolve wisely and nimbly to meet users’ evolving needs as their information culture shapes these needs.
To me, there are two concepts called “Library 2.0” – at the moment more or less covering the same libraries doing the same thing, but which will diverge at some point. The second concept will one day need its own name. I have buzzword fatigue and I’m happy to call it Library2.0 for now, but only for now. To differentiate it here, I’m calling it Library2.0+, but I think it deserves something that will date it less and is friendlier.
CONCEPT 1 – Library2.0 – Web2.0 in your Library
The first concept Library 2.0 definitely involves the elements taken from Web 2.0 and the attitudes and expectations it brings – but not all of the time and not in every institution if it doesn’t fit their community.
- 24/7 access
- Social networking
- Read/write web
- The ‘net not a single PC as a workspace
- User controlled tagging
- Collaborative creation
- “Humanized” institution where you can hear the voices of real people inside it
- Focussing on the needs of the user, not what suits the organisation best
- Mashing up and value adding on top of available software
- Focuses on open source, not propietary software
- Profiles, ratings, reviews, chat, “friending”
- Perpetual beta
- Tools like RSS, wikis, blogs, forums, photo sharing, SMS
- Access via many devices – mobile, handheld,desktop,telephony
So, one version of Library 2.0 is “Web2.0 in a library”.
CONCEPT 2 – Library2.0+ – Flexible, nimble, evolving, user-centred libraries
The second concept involves some of what we have always done, and some rethinking. Web2.0 is a catalyst, but not the only element of this.
For years, libraries have worked in a collaborative, user focussed way, implementing high usability standards – we are already Library2.0+ in some ways.
Some of Library2.0+ is tossing out a few of our traditional core functions because they have been replaced (eg. google and reference work..not quite!!) or sharing our core functions (eg. google scholar). We are putting centre stage previously unnoticed functions. The academic library as study hall and social space is an example of this. This fits in with Laura’s idea of “timeless adaptability”.
Ideas like “going where your users are” have been sparked by Web2.0 which created forums and spaces where it’s possible to interact online instead of waiting for our users to come to us. Library 2.0+ extends “going where the users are” beyond our PCs – like Ryan’s suggestion in his Top Ten Zero-tech Library 2.0 “no brainers” for Public Libraries that we volunteer in the community.
Web 2.0 brings us the informal voice of blogs and web site architecture focusing on the users’ needs. Library2.0+, sparked by this change, is applying it elsewhere and takes it further. We are changing signage, re-writing paper forms, rearranging our collections, reconsidering our overdue policies and even how we talk to our users.