Monday, September 22, 2008

Thing 1: What's the Big Deal About 2.0, Anyway?

Blogs, wikis, Flickr, MySpace. By now, I'm sure you've heard of most of the web sites and services we'll be encountering in this course. You might have used many of the tools we're about to work through, possibly without even knowing it.

But why are libraries joining the push to provide social technologies through their library websites and catalogs, and to offer training to patrons in everything from finding an apartment on Craigslist to promoting their small business using Flickr? Why are library staffs being offered courses in social technologies to get them up to speed?

Go back to the sentence that starts: "You might have used many of the tools..." The majority of our patrons no longer think of these things as 'interesting new technologies' -- they are now a seamless part of how the web works. YouTube is how you watch videos online. Comments on newspaper articles might be how you write a Letter to the Editor. Picasa is where your wedding photos or your vacation slides are viewed by eager family and friends. Wikipedia is how you do your homework. (Just kidding...)

As library staff, we need to be prepared to answer our patrons' questions about what they're doing and finding on the web, and possibly use some of these services on our own sites to provide that same seamless interaction. To do both of these things well, it helps to understand more about how the social web works and what it's capable of. To begin, let's look at what 2.0 can do.

Note: Throughout this course, I'll be using the terms "Web 2.0" and "the social web" interchangeably. Both of them refer to the use of interactive tools and technologies to allow a continuous conversation and flow of information across the World Wide Web.

Discovery Activity
For this first Thing, please choose a few of the links below and read through the articles or watch the videos. Then, share your thoughts about what you've seen in a comment on this post. You could also talk about what experience you've had with the social web so far, or anything you're particularly interested in.

If you'd like some background information on what the social web is, you could start with "What Is Library 2.0?", a post from my blog. Most important are the links to further articles at the end of the piece.

"The Machine is Us/ing Us" is a video by Michael Wesch at the Digital Ethnography project at Kansas State Universty. Hosted on YouTube, it offers a fantastic explanation of Web 2.0 in five minutes.

The Blogging Libraries Wiki is a clearinghouse of links to the blogs of libraries around the world that shows the diverse range of uses you can put this tool to.

The Lansing (IL) Public Library website is full of 2.0 in action. From their library podcast page (under User Tools) to their multiple blogs to the ability to chat with a librarian through the site, Lansing PL has given their users a variety of ways to interact with the library before they've even stepped in the door.

The book website for "No One Belongs Here More Than You," by Miranda July. It's not precisely 2.0, but it shows what can happen when you do things just a bit differently.


To submit your Thing results, click on "Post a Comment" below. Write your comment in the space provided, and then fill out the Word Verification field if it's there. Please include your first name and last initial in your comment, so we know who's who.

Once you've shared your thoughts here, head on over to Thing #2: Great Google-y Moogly!


Whitman-Hanson High School Library said...

Regarding the Blog Wiki
I am a high school librarian grades 9-12. I found the Blog Wiki interesting and have asked our administrator of technology how I can go about starting a blog for our library in an area that I know the students will have access in school and out. They do not have access to the one that you posted. Being a school there are certain places that are blocked. I have been interested in blogging and now that I see what other schools have done I want to try out a few things that come to mind.

Dr. Myron Schirer-Suter said...

I am the Director of Library Services at Gordon College in Wenham. I am fascinated with Web 2.0 and how to us it in the library.

I enjoy the Cranky Geeks and have used their discussion of business use of social networking to start conversation:

(To go directly to the social networking discussion, click the "R U LinkedIN?" icon.)

The Wesch video is excellent and the website is brillant. Why can't I be that clever?

Joanne Szelag, Reference Librarian said...

I am a reference librarian in a public library. I was amazed to see the number of public library blogs in the blog wiki. I'm glad to be taking this course to catch up with the times. Our website situation is unique. We have a monthly newsletter, and RSS feeds for upcoming events that would go into a blog. I've been trying to think of a way to add a blog to our website. I've gotten some good ideas from some of the public library websites such as staff and patron reviews of books. That might work here. I was very impressed with Lansing's website, podcasts of their library programs. I also got a contact at the Lansing Library to find out how to set up chat with a librarian on their website. The book website was fun and unique. Overall, I am impressed by the creativity of other libraries, and hope our library can find its own niche in the 2.0 technologies.

Amanda said...

Hello! I am the Collection Development Librarian at Emmanuel College. I use a number of Web 2.0 tools in my personal life (Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), and I am beginning to implement (some) of these tools into my professional life. Recently I implemented a Flickr page to highlight my Library’s new acquisitions ( I got this idea from an FLC staff development day; Emerson College also uses a Flickr to promote new titles, among other things ( We are also starting discussions about a blog and a staff wiki.

I found the last few seconds of the "The Machine is Us/ing Us" video to be the most powerful point of the video. I think many people are somewhat scared of Web 2.0 technology, because the regulation of it is so difficult (for better or for worse!). I think the trickiest part for libraries is how and what to implement, because it has to be meaningful to the library’s patrons. Implementing Web 2.0 requires a lot of planning and patience for libraries, but I think the end product(s) are worth the work.

PS. I really enjoy the “No One Belongs Here More Than You” website. One of the most original websites I have seen in a long time!

Millie Gonzalez said...

Hi everyone!
My name is Millie Gonzalez and I am Reference and Electronic Resources Librarian at Framingham State College.

I have embraced professionally and personally some web2.0 technologies because I believe that these technologies are easy to use, free, engaging, involve the user and perhaps bridge the digital/technical divide.

I enjoy discovering how others incorporate these technology into their websites (like the public library) or offer a new way of presenting material (love that stove!)

The challenge for me is to discover - does this really work and have a positive effect on our users? I am interested in research studies, articles, evidence to support the Web2.0 approach.

Anonymous said...

I work at a public library and am currently serving on a committee that selects musical cds. I've been wanting to blog about some of my selections for quite some time, so I'm glad to see that many other librarians are into using this technology to connect with their patrons. Since we do not currently have a blog on our library web site, I will be doing this project on my own in hopes that I can get some of our circulation figures up as a result of informing the public about some of what our recorded music collection has to offer. After browsing through the articles, I am now more encouraged than ever to solicit patron feed- back as a part of my project in any way that I can.

I'm excited about the many possibilities which are now open to libraries and the patrons they serve as the incorporaton of Web 2.0 technologies becomes more and more of a trend on our web sites, and we become a much more integral part of the communities we serve.

Nancy V.

Anonymous said...

Hi folks. My PC was having technological difficulties during my last post. So, I just wanted to make sure that I could actually send a comment that was officially from Nancy V., rather than anonymous, this time!

Karrie said...

Love the Wesch video! I'm a librarian in higher ed, and feel keenly aware that we continue to cling to "sage on stage" when we've long known we need to be more participatory. I think web 2.0 will help be the "tipping point" in that regard.

I'm very interested in ways that users can collaborate online. I feel that one of the strongest "value adds" that we librarians can provide is to help inform our users of the pros and cons of these tools. Users don't know (nor do I for the most part) what the back end of these tools do, so it's hard to make truly informed decisions about using them. One example is peer sharing software - I recently heard a story about a young student fined a huge amount by the RIAA because of her peer sharing software -- she didn't realize she didn't have to be illegally downloading music herself to get in trouble. Or a new pilot at my school to provide fancy graphic emails via a web-hosted service that allows the sender to see who each receiver may have forwarded their email to!

One of my favorite 2.0 data sharing tools is via Netflicks -- when we order movies now, we can get recommendations (viewers who watched X also watched Y)produced automatically by other users whose tastes (as revealed by the way they rate movies they have viewed) pretty closely match our own. This is remarkable!

beatrice said...

Wow again! I’ll need to watch "The Machine is Us/ing Us" several more times. I love the self-referential. And feel I must really belong in this course, given that I found an audio book of “No one belongs hear more than you.” Sitting on my desk last month. Had no idea where it came from, so I cataloged it, and took it for a ride. Miranda July is wicked funny. Cecily

Joanne Szelag, Reference Librarian said...

I finally had a chance watch the Wesch video. It gave me a good understanding in the change of shift in the web. Instead of linking information, we are connecting people together, and collaboratin with other people. It's easier to do with the new 2.0 technologies. It's a great responsibility we all have (not just librarians to all of this. He gave us a lot to think about at the end in terms how it will affect society in all aspects.

Sam Pharo said...

I too am interested in library wikis. I'm actually puzzled that many major academic libraries (including Rutgers) don't have a wiki to speak of, which prompts some questions.

When are library wikis necessary? Does a clearly-planned library website eliminate the need for additional sites? There's also the issue of accessibility, as K mentioned, and firewalled communities, such as high school students.

On the other hand, I think that the informal nature of wikis, and the chance they offer students in particular to participate in the function of an institution, or at least some part of it, is a powerful thing, and more libraries (and by that, I mean librarians) should maintain them.

I also get such a great feeling from watching Michael Wesch's The Machine is Us/ing Us. Partly it's a music, but mostly it's being immersed in this feeling of optimism, this enormous swirl of social information that exists and is changing every millisecond.

I fear becoming overwhelmed, but that goes away when patron questions arrive. Then, I'm simply grateful that Web 2.0 exists.

Saraphine said...

Hi everyone,
I am really new to all this technology, but really excited. I am the Circulation Supervisor at an academic library and would really like to see how I could incorporate more of the Web 2.0 into our services. Our web committee recently did a survey of our users and found that everyone is so familiar with Google, that they want our library web pages to be more similar to that format.

Regarding the "The Machine is Us/ing Us" video, it is a little scary -- it seems that we're creating an A.I., but where does the "human" end, and the "machine" take over. (Maybe I've just watched "Terminator" too many times).

Dave G. said...

I am also an academic librarian and, like many of you, I am both excited and more than a little overwhelmed by the possibilities. We will soon open a new, more capable web-site at my library, so this course and all of the comments you are making will be quite helpful.

Regarding the first assignment, the end of the video reminded me of Teilhard de Chardin's concept of the Noosphere - I did not know that some consider him the "patron saint of the internet" until I read the article I reference here. Very interesting the way that the Michigan Library uses their patrons' blog posts to essentially populate their site for free - we could do this. Finally, I now know that I can read the UN's Dag Hammerskjold Library Weblog - how cool is that!

Mary Cabral, Librarian said...

Hi, I'm Mary and I'm an adult services librarian w/ bpl. There is so, so much to read and explore about 2.0....I feel like I could spend the 10 weeks doing just that...but part of why I'm taking this course is to become less lurker/spectator in the 2.0 arena and more participant/creator/educator. My experience includes reading library blogs regularly, connecting on linked-in, tagging my web bookmarks on delicious, reading book group wikis and use of some of the usual like youtube, picasa, etc. I'm drawn to the idea of utilizing 2.0 tools on a professional level and am looking forward to a time when this feels more natural and effortless to me (I hope!). I'm along for the ride on 2.0 as yet another format in the information universe (see LJ article by Mike Eisenberg, how it expands our reach as librarians, and I like how he, and Michael Stephens (on his blog) talk about the 'climate of collaboration' - between collleagues but also 'customers as collaborators' - I learn a lot from patrons - what they're reading, the questions asked. I'm looking forward to learning from Jennifer and from each other over the next few months.

Daren P. said...
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Daren P. said...
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Daren P. said...

Hello, my name is Daren Payne and I am a Library Assistant for Boston Public Schools. My boss brought the class to my attention and urged me to take part. The BPS server did not allow me to view the machines using us link but I will explore it on my personal computer. I enjoyed viewing the various links that I was able to open. The reviews posted about various books made me very interested in reading a few of the titles and made me excited about reading.

Cheryl said...

Hello: My name is Cheryl and I have heard people referring to blogs and have a curiosity about them and other new and exciting developments on the web. I think I just might be one of the few people who have been to UTube or myspace or any of those places. I look forward to the exploration. Thank you so much for this opportunity.....

Cheryl said...
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Pia said...

Hello all! I am a Reference/Instruction Librarian at Wentworth Institute of Technology. I looked at the links. I really like the Wiki of all the blogs. The Lansing Public Library site is impressive. We are trying to improve the library web site so it becomes the starting point for our students to do their research. I look forward to our tasks, so I can become more familiar with Library 2.0

stayingwithit said...

Jean B.
I'm a h.s.librarian in a small independent school in Boston. I went to the Boston Region introduction to Web 2 a couple of springs ago, but never [in my one person library] quite made the time to follow up on a lot of it [beyond setting up my accounts...]. I'm intrigued by it all and hopefully will make better progress this time around.
One issue that concerns me is if we are losing out on the side of 'meaningful' content as we spend so much time 'playing' with all of these gadgets and sharing so much casual chit-chat that is enormously time-consuming [recent experience with Twitter].
Our freshmen did a large cooperative research project last spring, centering their communication and research results within a wiki.
I'm hoping to have some of our students build a wiki link for our library pages.
Have been intrigued by the reading and viewing selections you offered.

Olga said...

I am an archivist of a small psychoanalytic and historical society with very valuable but somewhat buried treasures. I am looking for ways to make our web site more interactive and attractive. I sense that podcasting and blogging could really make a difference. The Blogging Libraries Wiki pointed me to great special library resources like and Environmental News Bits - many ideas how special interest communities (like our psychoanalytic one)could be reached out here. The Wesch video is a great overview of what's out there. I worked with XML and metadata before, but now need to learn to take it to the next level of RSS and Web 2.0 enabled web. Miranda July's book presentation is very impressive: what a great way to take a handwritten image to the web - archival web sites could really learn a lot here!

Judy said...
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Judy said...

I've just looked at "The Machine is Us/ing Us--a GREAT beginning explanation. Makes me want to continue, but time's up for now!

I have a vague notion of blogging, Web 2.0, etc. and I can already see that this course is going to be a real eye-opener! Thank you!

My main experience is as a medical librarian, and I am currently working part-time in a medical library and part-time in a public library reference position. I LOVE the diversity of this arrangement.

I'm posting this without really knowing what I'm doing, so I hope it works!

Tried, but couldn't get tag right

Judy said...
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Clayton said...

Hi classmates,
Sorry to be late in joining, but I think with this blog comment I'll be entirely caught up and ready to participate in full for the remainder of the class.

For the "first thing" I checked out Lansing's website. I quickly went to their page that described which pages I could get via RSS and saw that they're using delicious as a reference tool. I first saw a library doing this at least 3.5 years ago and thought it was cool then - and I still think its cool and need to take some more steps to get more people to start doing it. If you're not familiar, check out their page.

I also enjoyed the creative energy behind the "No one belongs here more than you" site, although I don't think its something I'd return to very often.... unless I knew the author - and still, it seems like a good site for an rss feed....

thunder and consolation said...

I was just looking over my blog posts to make sure I haven't missed anything and it turns out I did!
I apparently didn't add a hello here. So sorry, would have been a good start to the class.
I work at the BPL and have had very little 2.0 experience. Well, now I can't officially say that since it's almost the end of this class now can I?!

judylibrarian said...


I don't know if this is OK, but I'm beginning again. I began in September , but I never had time. Now I hope that I will be able to use this vacation to finish by 1/31. I am a part-time reference librarian at Falmouth Public Library in Falmouth, MA. To begin with, I will be very interested to see if there is something we can do to draw attention to the blog on our library's website ( The only replies we seem to get are from other memebers of the library staff. So, here goes!AND, I'd love to know how to use the HTML tags, mentioned below this box! Judy D.