Friday, July 06, 2007

Web 2.0

EKU is doing a "class" of sorts for its staff, helping us all learn more about new technologies that feed into the Web 2.0 concept--things like RSS feeds, blogs, wikis, folksonomies, etc. The idea being that having staff in tune with the times will be especially beneficial since the people we are serving are so tech-savvy (college students, young people, young-er people (than me)). I am borderline Millenial/Gen I, or whatever that generation is, which means I should be tech savvy... yet reading a book still wins the day.

Anyways, they had us watch a very intriguing, inspiring video that really communicates what Web 2.0 is all about. ( have no idea how to make the video show up in this blog.)

Web 2.0 is increasingly about collaboration, about people reaching out to each other, sharing information, learning from each other, learning from the process. It also makes me think of Vannevar Bush's memex machine--a sort of intuitive machine that would work like the human brain does, forging connections between all sorts of things (like the way we associate memories with specific physical items, for instance--whenever I smell woodsmoke, I think of Grandpa N.; whenever I see Mr. Darcy's name in print, I immediately think of Colin Firth, etc.), allowing us to manipulate it in an intuitive way, following connections here and there.

What does this mean for libraries? I have no idea--who knows how the internet works? No one is quite sure where it will go next. I never thought about blogs until I read a friend's blog--now I can't live without it. I never thought about RSS feeds, but now I see they are a neat way to keep up with the news, with new posts to blogs. This is all quite new and still changing (a process that will never end)--something that libraries are not used to. They are used to remaining still, to gathering information and cataloging it and putting it on the shelf and having it remain in one spot on that shelf so that when someone comes in asking for it, they can be taken to that one spot. The internet is quite different. You can't be sure that information will still be there in that one spot--which makes it a challenge to provide access to it (cataloging/tagging) and find it (reference).

Which means we are either in for a fight, or in for an exciting time. Which will it be?

No comments: