Web 2.0 -_hype_or_helpful


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Web 2.0 -_hype_or_helpful

  1. 1. Social networking: Citizen engagementWeb 2.0 – hype or helpful?NIGEL LANCASTER discusses how Web 2.0 (www.elftown.com), which focuses on fantasy and sci-fi and has an estimated 185,000 registered users. LibraryThing, a siteand social networking tools can promote for booklovers, boasts 400,000 users (www.librarything.com). Inlibraries and their resources to a wider an indication of the growth in popularity of such sites, Newsaudience. Corp paid $580m for the parent company of MySpace in 2005 when it was just taking off and had a mere 17m members.W eb 2.0 and social networking have been increasingly persistent buzzwords in the technology world since TimO’Reilly and Dale Dougherty coined the term in 2004 (O’Reilly, Just two years later in 2007, Facebook was valued at an estimated $15bn (Waters, 2008). It is the UK’s number one social network with over 8 million users (BBC, 2008).2005). IT industry analyst Forrester recently identified sevenWeb 2.0 categories (Shiels, 2008): blogs, mashups, How libraries use social networking sitespodcasting, RSS, social networking, widgets and wikis, all of A recent survey reviewed the use of mega-internet sites bywhich could be included in the arsenal of public library libraries in the US and other countries, including the UKcommunication. It predicted that social networking would (Primary Research Group, 2008). 23.9 per cent of the 120attract the greatest levels of investment. In the business libraries surveyed were from the public sector. Presence onenvironment it is predicted that ‘enterprise 2.0’ will spend social networks such as Facebook is growing. The surveyalmost $5bn on social networking tools by 2013 (Shiels, 2008). snapshot showed that 6.9 per cent of the public libraries and In the library field today there are myriad events on the Web 17.36 per cent of the survey population already had a presence2.0 theme. One of the key themes at the Public Library on Facebook, with a further 27.59 per cent of respondentsAuthorities Conference in October is connecting people planning a presence. Early in 2008 East Renfrewshire Councilthrough such digital technologies. Library usage is moving became the first public library service to use Facebook forfrom traditional face-to-face activity to new forms of electronic publicity purposes. Its page provides details of services, as wellinteraction, enabling libraries to build closer relationships with as a space for engaging in discussion or asking adviceexisting users and to forge new virtual relationships and (Bradley, 2008; Browne, 2008). Others such as Harrogatecommunities with those who do not currently use the library Library have followed suit (Harrogate Library Project, 2008).service. Libraries can improve communications with Public library presence was higher on MySpace with 31 percustomers by using Web 2.0 to foster and create new citizen cent of the survey already having taken this step and 27.5 perinterfaces, discussion groups and online activities, following cent planning coverage on that site. UK users includethe example of mainstream social networking sites. Newcastle City Library, whose site includes videos, music and Web 2.0 allows users to publish their own content on the blogs (Newcastle City Library Service, 2008). In addition, 24.14web and opens up a world of social networking facilities such as per cent of public libraries have one or more YouTube accounts,the ability to share text, video and audio outputs. The popularity with 17.24 per cent planning to have a presence in the nextof social networking sites has grown enormously over the past year. UK proponents include the National Library of Scotland,decade. The website www.whatissocialnetworking.com says: which uses it to help publicise the John Murray archive (The “Social networking websites function like an online Scottish Government, 2007), and Southwark Libraries, which community of internet users. Depending on the website in used it to promote the launch of its Latin American collection question, many of these online community members share (Imagen Latina Television, 2008). The survey also showed that a common interest such as hobbies, religion, or politics. library websites were becoming increasingly important, with Once you are granted access to a social networking 18.3 per cent having spent some time thinking about search website you can begin to socialise. This socialisation may engine optimisation for the library, 8.33 per cent having spent include reading the profile pages of other members and considerable time and 1.67 per cent having used a consultant possibly even contacting them… While there are a number or freelancer to help optimise their rankings. of social networking websites that focus on particular interests, there are others that do not. The websites without a main focus are often referred to as ‘traditional’ social How libraries can integrate Web 2.0 into networking websites and usually have open memberships. their own online presence This means that anyone can become a member, no matter Libraries are increasingly seeking to integrate social what their hobbies, beliefs, or views are. However, once interaction and networking into their services and to you are inside this online community, you can begin to encourage their users to form groups around topics, authors create your own network of friends and eliminate members or books of interest. With the development of Web 2.0 and that do not share common interests or goals.” (What is the growth of social networks, community-created data and Social Networking.com, 2006) many-to-many publishing, users and service providers are starting to believe that information provision works best as an Wikipedia lists 120 ‘major’ social networking sites, ranging interactive, two-way activity. Users expect to be able tofrom ‘traditional’ sites such as MySpace (www.myspace.com) with provide and receive feedback on data; this may take the forman estimated 110 million users (Swartz, 2008), to the of peer reviews, gaining insight from other experienced usersrelatively obscure and specialist such as Elftown in the community, or even updating incorrect or outdated6 PUBLIC LIBRARY JOURNAL Autumn 08
  2. 2. “Library chiefs need to focus on increasing their status within the local authority, as well as on embracing new ways of working and new technology, if they are to make the most of the opportunities offered by Web 2.0.” Nigel Lancasterinformation themselves. Such services will help to encourage plan aimed to “discover the newest technology – thatlibrary patrons to use library websites as one of their top extends, expands and enhances our services, while ensuringonline sources, rather than turning to large search engines as equitable access to information.” (St. Joseph County Publicthe answer to their prayers. Library, 2005). In the UK library world, a recent report for Public library authorities can use Web 2.0 software to offer CILIP implies that consideration should be given to newservice promotion via tools such as expert reviews, recent methods of service delivery (Conway, 2008).searches, library-generated ratings, recommendations and tag Such moves are already afoot in the UK academic library fieldclouds. Jerk Sintorn, CEO of IT systems and services where “library curators post their own blogs, libraries podcast,company Axiell Library Group, points out, “Google brings up a and learners are urged to post interpretative content aroundhuge number of hits and the number of hits is increasing library collections and catalogue entries.” In addition, “socialexponentially. What Google doesn’t do is to alert users to the bookmarking enables students to flag up online academicmost relevant or the highest quality hits. That’s where resources that they found especially useful. Comments can belibrarians can really add value.” Most would agree that added and shared with their peers – the equivalent of writinglibrarians should be promoting the use of the hand-picked and notes in the margins of a book.” (Midgley, 2008).often expensive quality information sources they offer, ratherthan offering instruction in use of the Google search engine, Libraries at the centre of local authorityas reported by 69 per cent of libraries in a 2008 survey information(Primary Research Group, 2008). The move towards integrated, personalised information Related resources could be integrated into the OPAC search operates at an organisational level, as well as at an individualor other library search engine, perhaps in the form of automatic level. Local authorities want a 360° view of citizens.searching of local authority and national websites and paid-for Integration of information through a CRM (Customerservices. Reader development services such as book reviews, Relationship Management) system will allow staff to betterdiscussion groups, ratings and suggestions could be included as serve their citizens by being able to see all relevant servicepart of the library’s online presence. Local information or and demographic information for each resident in a single‘community-owned information’, such as materials from place, with the ability to cross-reference. Cross-departmentarchives, clubs and societies, record offices and picture libraries, co-ordination of activities becomes possible: for example,could appear on the site in addition to provision in leaflet form. Libraries and Social Services directorates would be aware ofPersonalisation is a key part of the new online Web 2.0 an older person moving temporarily into a respite care home,‘revolution’ and users will expect the library site to offer features and would thus be able to reroute services accordingly. Asuch as user-generated ratings; peer reviews; tagging; debate single account and payment interface is also possible,and discussion fora, as found on traditional social networking making service payments more efficient for the citizen andsites; and ‘my library’ functions: the creation and publication of allowing the local authority to address social inclusion,personal libraries, which could be supplemented automatically poverty and debt collection in an holistic manner.by items borrowed or reserved from any library. As well as The benefit of this for users is that they will be able to find alloffering new facilities and improved ways of delivering services, local authority information in one place. In academic libraries,Web 2.0 tools will hopefully also attract new users. “today’s students are used to accessing simple, single and In the US libraries have started to introduce such services. intuitive interfaces such as Google, Yahoo and MSN, but are lessAnn Arbor District Library (www.aadl.org) introduced what it happy struggling with what can be harder-to-use and moretermed its ‘SOPAC’ or Social OPAC back in January 2007. ‘clunky’ multiple library interfaces.” (Midgley, 2008). The same canJohn Blyberg, Ann Arbor’s then systems administrator and be said of public library users, who generally are perhaps evenchief architect of the project, commented: less used to dealing with computer interfaces than students. “The SOPAC represents a slew of features that I’ve wanted The citizen-centric philosophy within local government to implement for quite some time now. I’m rather excited to means that, increasingly, citizens will be able to access both see if library users will respond to these tools in an OPAC service commissioning and personal information through a setting as much as Web 2.0 users have to commercial social single, person-centric local-authority web space. Users will be networking sites. I’m fairly confident they will… So what is the able to check information on any interaction with the SOPAC? It’s basically a set of social networking tools authority. They will be able to move easily from task to task, integrated into the AADL catalog. It gives users the ability to e.g. from library renewals to arranging a refuse collection, rate, review, comment-on, and tag items.” (Blyberg, 2007) without moving from bespoke system to bespoke system, and without needing to log in to each individual system. Local St Joseph County Public Library (www.libraryforlife.org/) is also a authorities are increasingly providing these services –pioneer of services delivered over the web. Its website has typically marketed as the ‘My Council’ function. However, theincluded a blog since 2003 (Anderson, 2005) and now vision is still lacking as regards information discovery andincludes features such as ‘IM a librarian’, ‘books on iPod’ and associated social networking for local people. There is a realthe facility to ‘check your email’ on accounts such as AOL andYahoo direct from the library site. Its 2005-2007 technology Continued on page 8 PUBLIC LIBRARY JOURNAL Autumn 08 7
  3. 3. “Google brings up a huge number of hits and the number of hits is increasing exponentially. What Google doesn’t do is to alert users to the most relevant or the highest quality hits. That’s where librarians can really add value.” Jerk Sintorn alternative or a complement. Certainly in the US, librariesContinued from page 7 such as Ann Arbor District Library have chosen this route,opportunity for library and information services to deliver preferring to offer users the traditional alongside the new.services in this space. Social networking initiatives in the library world are generally DS, a specialist management systems supplier for the public driven by library information professionals in conjunction withlibrary market, has recently launched its DSArena product, which the corporate IT team. It is likely that other departments withinwill provide these services and complement the OpenGalaxy local government will follow, as they see how the librarylibrary management system. David Fay, City Libraries’ Manager initiative can complement their offering. Patrick Conway, authorfor Newcastle Libraries, Information and Lifelong Learning, is of the recent Conway Report for CILIP (Conway, 2008), haslooking into the possibility of using DSArena: warned that “...some local authorities don’t fully recognise that “We already use MySpace to generate interest in the library the library service can contribute positively to their overall from the Generation Y digital natives. DSArena would strategic objectives and this may be because the Head of provide a natural extension of this to allow us to attract new Service responsible for public libraries does not have a seat on customers who are used to the high degree of the council’s top table” (CILIP, 2008). Library chiefs need to personalisation and interactivity offered by Web 2.0 sites. focus on increasing their status within the local authority, as We are also excited about the ability of our customers to well as on embracing new ways of working and new share information and experience online without needing to technology, if they are to make the most of the opportunities visit a library. We would also anticipate other user groups, offered by Web 2.0. such as our Silver Surfers, would be fast to adopt Arena.” Nigel Lancaster is Sales Director, DS. nigel.lancaster@ds.co.uk; 0115 900 8000 Libraries would probably want to keep a dedicated OPAC DS is the market leader in technology solutions for UK public libraries and archives and has over 30 years experience in developing generations of systems for its customers. DS isfor more traditional users, with Web 2.0 services offering an a member of the Axiell Library Group. www.ds.co.ukReferences =232900729 [Accessed July 2008]Anderson, J. (2005). St. Joseph County (IN) Public Library: O’Reilly, T. (2005). What is Web 2.0 [Online]. Sebastopol,how do you spell ‘blog’? [Online]. Dublin, Ohio: WebJunction. California: O’Reilly Media.www.webjunction.org/do/DisplayContent?id=9140 [Accessed 26 July 2008] www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.htmlBBC (2008). ‘Facebook ‘sees decline in users.’ BBC [Online]. [Accessed 26 July 2008]21 February 2008 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7257073.stm Primary Research Group (2008). Libraries and the Mega-[Accessed 26 July 2008] Internet Sites: a survey of how libraries use and relate toBlyberg, J. (2007). AADL.org goes social [Online]. Darien, Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Ebay, Amazon, Facebook, YouTubeConnecticut: John F. Blyberg. www.blyberg.net/category/library/aadlorg/ and other mega-internet sites. New York: Primary Research[Accessed 26 July 2008] Group.Bradley, P. (2008). East Renfrewshire Libraries on Facebook Shiels, M. (2008). ‘Web 2.0 is set for spending boom’. BBC[Online]. http://philbradley.typepad.com/phil_bradleys_weblog/2008/02/ [Online]. 22 April 2008 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7359927.stmeast-renfrewshi.html [Accessed 26 July 2008] [Accessed 26 July 2008]Browne, A. (2008). East Renfrewshire Council – Community St. Joseph County Public Library (2005). Technology PlanServices [Online]. Palo Alto, California: Facebook. 2005-2007 [Online]. South Bend, Indiana: St. Joseph Countywww.facebook.com/group.php?gid=18144605260 [Accessed 26 July 2008] Public Library.CILIP (2008). Public libraries are at risk, claims CILIP [Online]. www.libraryforlife.org/aboutsjcpl/policies/longrangeplan/LRP_2005/Tech_Plan_2005CILIP. www.cilip.org.uk/aboutcilip/newsandpressreleases/news080528.htm -2007.pdf [Accessed 26 July 2008][Accessed 26 July 2008] Swartz, J. (2008). ‘Social-networking sites going global’. USAConway, P. (2008). Professional Standards of Service [Online]. Today [Online]. 10 February 2008.CILIP. www.cilip.org.uk/conwayreport [Accessed 26 July 2008] www.usatoday.com/money/industries/technology/2008-02-10-social-Harrogate Library Project (2008). Harrogate Library [Online]. networking-global_N.htm [Accessed 26 July 2008]Palo Alto, California: Facebook. www.facebook.com/pages/ The Scottish Government (2007). John Murray Archive [Online].Harrogate-Library/21503867078 [Accessed 26 July 2008] San Bruno, California: YouTube.Imagen Latina Television (2008). The first Spanish public library www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BFIo9Kzw58 [Accessed 26 July 2008]in England [Online]. San Bruno, California: YouTube. Waters, R. (2008). ‘LinkedIn networking site joins $1bn club’.www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRMHos5C3dw [Accessed 26 July 2008] Financial Times [Online]. 18 June 2008.Midgley, S. (2008). ‘Quiet Revolution’. The Guardian [Online]. www.ft.com/cms/s/0/446fef0a-3ca0-11dd-b958-0000779fd2ac.htmlhttp://education.guardian.co.uk/librariesunleashed/story/0,,2274841,00.html [Accessed 26 July 2008][Accessed 26 July 2008] What Is Social Networking.com (2006). What Is SocialNewcastle City Library Service (2008). Newcastle City Library Networking? [Online]. Webster, Texas: What Is SocialService [Online]. Santa Monica, California: MySpace. Networking.com. www.whatissocialnetworking.com/http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID [Accessed 26 July 2008]8 PUBLIC LIBRARY JOURNAL Autumn 08