Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Making Web 2.0 Work-From 'Librarian Habilis' to 'Librarian Sapiens': Is Now the Time for Web 3.0 to Be Born? despite the Fact That I Strongly Believe in the Coming of Web 3.0, I Am Afraid That the Time Is Not Yet Right for This Transition

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Making Web 2.0 Work-From 'Librarian Habilis' to 'Librarian Sapiens': Is Now the Time for Web 3.0 to Be Born? despite the Fact That I Strongly Believe in the Coming of Web 3.0, I Am Afraid That the Time Is Not Yet Right for This Transition

Article excerpt

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As we look back at the World Wide Web of 1996, there can be no doubt that today's web is better and more useful.

Hyperlinking webpages and bookmarking were two of the most important aspects of the Web 1.0 world. Soon, though, usability and sharing became very high priorities, and Web 2.0 evolved. Information published in the Web 2.0 world traveled like wildfire, and Web 2.0 became a synonym for cutting edge.

Now things are again evolving dramatically. At the DEMO 2009 conference, the Web 2.0 buzz had almost disappeared. Over the past few months a new term--Web 3.0--has been slowly catching people's attention. We are not there yet, but Web 3.0 is being discussed quite often in the blogosphere and on technology sites.

Is now the time for Web 3.0 to be born? Despite the fact that I strongly believe in the coming of Web 3.0, I am afraid that the time is not yet right for this transition.

Web 2.0 Challenges

The key here is that the true problems of Web 2.0 are not well-understood by the majority of the public yet. So we still need to think about the opportunities presented by Web 2.0 and Library 2.0, as well as the challenges they present and how to confront them. These are topics of great importance at Matica Srpska Library, where I am a librarian in the cataloging and bibliography department.

Setting goals--Why do Library

2.0 services so often fail to have the expected impact? In my opinion, the most important reason is that the services have not been tied to the library's strategic goals. Web 2.0 technologies should be planned with these strategic goals in mind, and this has not happened at a lot of libraries. Before you even begin engaging with a Web 2.0 project, whether you are an application creator or user, clearly conceive and state your goals. You can (and probably will) add more later, but put first things first. Build a feature at a time. Complete a step at a time. Having clear goals from the outset will allow you to assess the technology's success at a later date.

An example of a lack of strategic planning can frequently be seen in blogs. Some libraries created blogs just because they thought that every library must have one. Other libraries created blogs just because the staff--or even just one staff member--was really excited about the idea of having a blog. Neither is a good reason to implement a new technology.

We first need to understand the needs of our patrons and then implement whatever technology will best meet those needs.

The time issue--The fact that a lot of library staff members simply aren't given time to work on their Web 2.0 projects certainly doesn't help the introduction and effective use of Web 2.0 technologies. Duties that are fixed in our job--duties such as cataloging, collection development, computer support, coordination, appointments, and a number of noncataloging duties--keep us busy, and blogs, wikis, etc., are often seen as "unessential." This is complaint I've heard from a number of colleagues.

The ease-of-use issue--Finally, one of the major reasons so many libraries are using Web 2.0 technologies is that the technologies are just so easy to get started with--which is, at the same time, one of the biggest problems in implementing those technologies. It takes just a few minutes to start a blog, a wiki, or a MySpace page. But keeping all those technologies going takes significantly more time and effort: Blogs need posts, wikis need content, and MySpace pages need updates.

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A Web 2.0 Checklist Before you abandon a project, try to figure out why your Web 2.0 technology isn't having the impact you'd hoped for.

1. Maybe it's something your patrons aren't using. Are you sure they are aware that it exists? If the answer is no, then you should definitely try doing more marketing. Many of us associate marketing with for-profit institutions, but you needn't feel any ethical qualms. …

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