Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Practical uses for Web 2.0 in a library environment – Phil Bradley, Information specialist and Internet consultant

Having attempted a definition of Web 2.0 (more of a concept than anything else) and describing it in relation to the existing Web, Phil took us on a canter through the different pieces of software/service that conform to this change. These bits of functionality are Web 2.0 because they sit within a platform that involves the consumer in a creator capacity as well and the output is not dependant on any particular machine and can be reused/relinked any number of times.

Phil spent a bit of time talking about blogs, recommending that every library have one, and that it ought to be treated as a website in its own right rather than a diary or journal. He also touched on RSS, Aggregators, Podcasts (great example of a library that has made its orientation downloadable as a podcast), bookmarks, communities, instant messaging, and mashups.

Phil was a very engaging speaker and the canter through Web 2.0 technology and options contained something for everyone. Of particular interest to me were the customised start pages (pageflakes - http://www.pageflakes.com/, netvibes - http://www.netvibes.com/) – probably more from a personal perspective, though I can see applications in more traditional library settings – and the tailored search functionality (Eurekester - http://www.eurekster.com/about, Rollyo - http://www.rollyo.com/) – from a personal perspective as I have dozens of careful organised bookmarks, as well as a professional one.

Unfortunately, he didn’t talk very much about the potential pitfalls of employing Web 2.0 in a library environment; there were three areas that I would like to have heard more about:
  • issues of ownership / copyright in an environment where the host of the site is not necessarily the sole creator of content,
  • related to that, the legal liability for content that is generated by a disparate group of creators, and
  • the pitfalls of collective intelligence. Phil touched on this last one in his introduction: if we adhered to collective intelligence, we’d all still believe the world to be flat – group think can be damaging in the long-run.
Phil’s session was an introduction to Web 2.0 technologies that are available rather than an overview of Web 2.0 as a concept. To be fair to him though, doing the latter any justice would probably require more time than the session allowed.

His presentation is available at http://www.slideshare.net/Philbradley/umbrella2007

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