Beyond the Browser: Web 2.0 and Librarianship

Beyond the Browser: Web 2.0 and Librarianship

Beyond the Browser: Web 2.0 and Librarianship

Beyond the Browser: Web 2.0 and Librarianship


Most librarians are infinitely familiar with the Internet due to their daily use of this essential resource. However, having practical expertise with today's digital resources does not guarantee the ability to speak intelligently and convincingly about their less-obvious benefits to funding authorities--an important skill to have.

" Beyond the Browser: Web 2.0 and Librarianship" overviews the history of libraries and the Internet to provide necessary perspective and then examines current and future trends in libraries. In Part I, the author traces the notion of connectivity from its roots in the 19th century through the rise of digital technology in the second half of the 20th, concluding with a discussion of its influence on the role expectations and performance of today's information professional. Part II investigates the evolutionary impact of open access, scholarly inquiry, and second-generation web technologies on library organization and services. A bibliography of helpful resources is also included.


The genesis of this book came years ago when I was talking with a university administrator who told me he had just authorized $1 million worth of technology purchases—and this was not at my present institution, mind you. “On what?” I asked. and he replied: “I have no idea. the technology people just showed up and told me if I didn’t agree to it the university would collapse.” This was, I would note, neither a stupid nor foolish administrator, but, rather, one known for his steely-eyed consideration of the budget.

Unfortunately, based on my 20 years of experience in academia, I suspect that the situation confronting that administrator was probably more the norm than most people would like to admit. the reality is that we have been overwhelmed by technology. the changes have been so rapid and so complete that it has become beyond the ability of any individual to understand—we are now dependent on experts to tell us what we need.

Many people tend to see the Internet as overwhelmingly positive. It provides better everything—connectivity, communication, and life experience. To some extent this is true; to be able to talk to and see my best friend and my relatives on Skype or Facebook is a wonderful thing. What is good for the individual does not always extend to the institution. From the standpoint of libraries, the advent of the Internet has meant an endless and seemingly unsolvable series of challenges.

The fundamental problem is that, almost overnight—and for institutions like libraries that measure their existence in centuries, 20 or . . .

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