Web 2.0 and Its Technologies for Collaborative Library Communication
First–I must apologize for being away from “the Garden” for so long, at least from the posting aspect, as I have been following it when I could. So many personal and professional wildfire this fine fall semester, some of my own doing–some definitely not–but I guess that’s life. Thanks to all who have checked in on me from time to time, by the way.
Well, before I went missing, I was talking about social networking sites and Web 2.0–I know…those phrases again, especially Web 2.0. It is called by many other names, too: “social, participatory Web,” “user-initiated Web,” even “live Web.” In my very recent short introductory article in MultiMedia & Internet at Schools magazine, sent off before I went missing and published a few weeks ago, I mentioned how Web 2.0 is so widely interpreted.
As I mention in my article, the “definitions are many, and this can be distracting. But if, instead, you look at all of this as a new opportunity, a possible way to better communicate, interact, share, create, and publish information online–to connect with those we are already serving and to those we wish to serve in the near future–then it gets exciting! Librarians and other educators everywhere are now using these Web 2.0 technologies in practical and worthwhile applications. Don’t you want to as well?”
I must say that I find it a bit humorous when I conduct or attend workshops or seminars on some of these technologies that some people start tearing them down before they have even seen what others are doing with them, much less even tried them. A lot of people did not like email when it first emerged either. In my article conclusion, I mention that “nobody is saying that you have to change everything you do, or jump into every technology or public relations idea that comes your way. However, we all know that we need to continue to reach out to our students and patrons and get them interested in what amazing things we can do for them.” I, then, one last time, ask the readers to “browse the listed references and recommended readings. Try setting up a library blog with Blogger, or start receiving library- or special topic-related RSS feeds via Bloglines. Build a subject-guide wiki with PBwiki, or start bookmarking, tagging, and sharing with del.icio.us.”
Stephen Abram just wrote a short post yesterday entitled “Bloglines” at his Stephen’s Lighthouse blog. He states that “Many are unaware of the role that RSS aggregators play in making it MUCH easier to keep track of your favourite blogs.” And he further encourages us in “library land” to not worry if “this seems common knowledge” because there are more “folks heading up these learning curves every day. Those who’ve trod the path before need to share the tricks and tips.” I agree wholeheartedly!
I truly do believe that if librarians and other educators would learn and play with some of these technologies and tools that they would get excited as well. It was from talking with and watching three people in particular in our Garden State work with these social Web tools that really got me interested, and I mention them in the article: Pete Bromberg, Janie Hermann, and Sophie Brookover. They are amazing librarians, making amazing connections for those they serve–these are my “local” librarians that I talk about in my seminars, and I am proud to know them and happy to have them challenge me to make better connections myself. I am glad that they continue to “trod the path” and so willingly share their “tricks and tips.”
Anyway, enjoy the article, and feel free to share it if you find it useful for someone thinking about entering into the Web 2.0 domain. The full text of the article is available via EBSCO Academic Search Premier (although many of the links need to be fixed here!) and other library databases, via the MultiMedia & Internet at Schools magazine site (with free registration), and weeks ago in a RedOrbit NEWS Technology blog!
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