Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Technology Trends for a 2.0 World

Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Technology Trends for a 2.0 World

Article excerpt

Trends in social software and customized, participatory technologies are changing user expectations. Libraries must, in turn, adjust to meet those needs. To enable libraries to adjust, I advocate for librarians to be trendspotters.

Each year, I write a blog post that looks at "Ten Techie Things for Librarians." This chapter looks at the list for 2007. (You'll find the entries from 2006 and 2005 listed in the Resources box at the end of the chapter.) It is updated and expanded from the original blog post, and it also expands on ideas from chapter 1. Thanks to my blog readers for the feedback and comments that shaped this published version.

Looking at trends will better prepare us for the next wave of societal and technological change. In my teaching and work with library groups, my message for new professionals, as well as for all librarians, has been:

* Learn to learn.

* Adapt to change.

* Scan the horizon.

These are the traits and broad skills of what we could call Librarian 2.0. I've written about Librarian 2.0, as have many others. (See the sidebar on page 30 for a reprint of my "Into a New World of Librarianship" from OCLC NextSpace.) To build a future of thriving libraries--physical and virtual--and thriving library professionals who are recognized as leaders in the information world, we need to:

* implement user-centered planning and services

* control technolust on the institutional level

* become trendspotters

The third item in each of these lists is critical to preparing for the future. As we carry out our essential mission of service, stewardship, and access, I really want folks in libraries to be able to watch the horizon for trends. We can all be trendspotters. We can all watch for trends that impact not only the profession but also our specific communities and user groups.


The tools of Web 2.0 create and encourage conversations that are playing out every day in every way about all manner of things. People want to talk to each other, and the Web has enabled conversations like never before. Remember your first e-mail discussion list? Your first post and subsequent discussion at an online forum? I certainly remember mine. In 1994 I discovered a thriving online community focused on Twin Peaks and a newly forming Stevie Nicks fandom community. Who knew that now we'd find a community and an ongoing conversation for practically every subject under the sun, as well as more ways to have those conversations in virtual spaces?

A recent personal experience shows that today's online conversations do not need to be organized or planned. Losing my 13-year-old yellow Labrador Jake on June 18, 2007, was a notably sad occasion that fell within a day of defending my dissertation. In dealing with situation, I took much solace from sharing Jake's story via Flickr. I honored Jake's passing in a post called "A Pink Blanket" (see figure 10), and the comments and "favoriting" that occurred on that post speak volumes about the power of conversation in the new Web.


Karen Schneider found the words I couldn't find that day to express what was happening. Her post on her blog, Free Range Librarian, was called "Pets, Social Software, and Unconditional Love":

   Pets bring out the best in us: in exchange for unconditional love,
   they tease out our deep capacity to care for others and our
   abilities to parent. The tragedy of pets is that if we are lucky we
   outlive them, but the triumph is that pets teach us again and again
   the sweet brevity of life. Michael has documented all of this on
   Flickr--the love and the grief and the brevity--and he and I, and
   all of us, are closer for it. (1)

A new level of discourse is taking place online, and it will take place with or without you. Find ways to participate. Give folks a place to "talk" in your online realm. …

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