OLJ Activity : Building the Academic Library 2.0

The keynote presentation by Meredith Farkas (2007), ‘Building Academic Library 2.0‘ to Librarians Association Symposium at University of California, Berkeley Division captures the essence of Library 2.0 ethos and resonates a number of key points that I have read in the modules so far. She addresses Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Library 2.0. Building Library 2.0 and Organisation 2.0 and tries to define Library 2.0. For her in a Library 2.0 the focus is not on tools but services and patron needs.

There are many pieces of advise in the keynote and I have used five key advice to consider here:

  1. The world of Web 2.0 is wired, connected, interactive and evolutionary. Our users are no longer information consumers but they are contributors and co-creators of information. With available technologies anyone can contribute information so building trust and partnerships with our users is important. We are participants in information creation.
  2. Know your users – It is important to get to know your users and non users and examine any assumptions you may have. This is very important to work to meet changing user needs. In the connected world of Web 2.0 your users are the active participants and co-creators of your library service. Trust them as partners in your service. Their feedback and comments from your social media tools for example library blogs, provides a rich source of information to access your services. Give them a role to help define library services of the future.
  3. Go where you users are. Survey your users and find out what their research needs are and what they value. If your users are frequent users of social sites try embedding your library services in places where your users are such as creating portals or links from Institute Facebook page to the specific areas of your library website/catalogue so users can find the information they are looking for research. Users start their search on Google or Wikipedia and not the library catalogue so find ways of pushing your content out to your users in places they do their research.
  4. Build participation – get over the idea of being experts in your fields. Harness the collective intelligence of your users by sharing knowledge and resources through social bookmarking tools. Social book marking is a method of capitalizing on the collective intelligence of your users in projects or research work. The tags and annotated lists can be stored on permanent location such as a wiki and can be linked to catalogues or learning management systems. Here is an example of content collaboration – University of Pennsylvania’s Pentags. Use wikis and blogs to collect information from the diverse staff in your organisation so you can tap into them at the point of need. Create subject specific blogs or wiki but find out if that is what you or your users need. You cannot know everything so network and share knowledge.
  5. Build a learning culture in your organization by starting in-house programs on different aspects of Web 2.0 technologies that will help your library to enhance services. Work time must be devoted to this type of professional development where one has to work with new technology. Immersing oneself with others is the way to learn but do understand staff members’ needs and limitations as everyone learns differently. For library management is important to understand the learning styles of your staff and offer appropriate training experience. Learning emerging technologies should be part of people’s job descriptions and be valued by the organisation.