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Feb 07

VALA 2008 Conference – Day 3 – Stuart Weibel – Plenary

Next Space (OCLC) magazine includes a social networking article featuring Stuart Weibel.

Where is the Library as a brand?
Perceptions of libraries and information resources – OCLC report (available online)
3300 respondents to questions on library use, awareness and use of library electronic resources, internet search engine the library and the librarian, free vs for-fee information, the brand itself.
Libraries are trusted sources of information, search engines are trusted about the same, people care about quality and quantity of info they find, but speed is less important (not believable). However, convenience is very important.
Do not view paid infomration as more accurate than free info.
The overwhelming brand image of libraries is BOOKS!

Library Brand Equity – we need a strong visible brand on the web.  Libraries currently are a black and white presence in a colorful, flashy web world.
How do we build the brand?  Build on the trust of our patrons. Build on our business model – making info look free to our end-users.  Build on the scale that libraries represent – presence in every community, global scope and reach.  Improve awareness of library resources.  Make libraires a part of the new electronic environments that dominate social, educational and work environments.  We need to be there!

Social netowrking software!  Its not new, just the technical manifestation is. Deliver library services into the emerging social networks. Motivate people to participate: tagging, book reviews, emergent relationships that are evident from data about what people borrow, like and dislike, link to the people as well.  Need to build our own systems into the social structures that are so quickly developing.

Numbers of content creators and contributors are changing – increasing.  More people are wanting to get their content out on the web.  Their are great innovative approaches to attract that content to the library community.

Social Networking is not just for games: Facebook, MySpace, Second Life and Twitter.  All are flawed as service delivery models – business models are closed or obscure, features are rudimentary or overbearing. But they foretell a digital future in both their virtues and faults. Stuart Weibel has both Twitter and Facebook accounts and will be your friend.  They teach us about what people are doing out there – think of it as a professional investment.  They are all goofy because they are all new.  They will develop and some of that development will be interesting.

Libraries must compare favourably with experiences that our patrons expect: discovery and recommender services, web 2.0 social network capabilities, experiences of comparable commerical services, last-mile delivery capability, bookstore social experiences.  We are offering an experience as well as a service.  Save the user time.

Can Libraries compete in this space?  Should they?
Social software movement is fueled by (dollar denominated) entrepreneurial fervor.  Rate of innovation (and failure) is rapid. Distinguish between trends and the trendy and don’t get wrapped on the latter, especially when they fail.

Future of library catalogues?
Evolving towards network level. Collections linked to people, organisations, global location, concepts, context, metadata and social networking benefits.  Fit into the workflow and social lives of patrons. Help create a scaffolding for past knowledge and future productivity.

Web or Scaffolding?  We want more conherence and context, durable environments that help us preserve and fix resources in the context of culture, librarianship embedded in the emerging technologies of a social web.

Our catalogues need to be wholistic, treating not only works, but also people, concepts, works and objects (FRBR).  In addition we need book reviews, lists, services, commentary, other?  Book reviews are part of social bibliography, user created content.  All these things should be First Class Objects which have to ahve a persistent identity on the web, accessible by anyone or any applicaation, stand alone (attribution, clear IP rights), curated (not left alone). Allow the user to enter and tranverse the catalogue from any point.

WorldCat Identities – Beta product from OCLC – Another piece of the puzzle?
Tag cloud shows the top 100 identities.  Uses bibliographic data and mining it from other sources at OCLC.

Complicated puzzle – where ya gonna turn?
People, information, resources, places, terminologies, user generated content, FRBR (explain it to your patrons).  We need to better mine and utilise the data that we have.  Hook everything together with the right sort of identifiers.  A coherent identifier infrastructure is essential. Broad dissemination of identifiers serves the library collaborative and is the single most compelling means of making library assets persistent and visible on the web.

Persistence: not technological but rather a function of the commitment of organisations.  Libraries and other cultural memory organisations do this well.  Harder to do in the digital era, but the community is up to the task.
Universal access and global scoping: open to all, public identifiers in a public Web. Should work everywhere. WorldCat is the first globally-scoped identifier architecture for library assets in which the global surrogate is mapped to locality.  But we’re not quite done yet.
SEO and canonical identifiers – visibility of assets in the global library is diluted by the multiplicity of identifiers, agreement is needed on a canonical identifier.  Lack of it is a dilution of our brand and a lack of visibility on the web.
Branding is an important component of URIs – every URI is a micro-billboard branding library content in a crowded and largely commercial Web landscape. URIs need to be designed for people as well as machines, should be speakable, should be as short can be as managed, should have a predictable pattern that makes them hackable and truncatable.

FRBR is an important ocintrubtion to resource organisation on the web, but it is a challenge to explain to users.

World Cat – Mid 2006. Globally unique, freely available, citable and resolvable, independent of location, but not quite canonical.  Falls short because of duplicates, either mistaken or functional, not always resolvable to content and only sort of canonical.

NEWS!!!   Pilot project by OCLC – GLIMIR – Global Library Manifestation Identifier which is global in scope, canonical, business neutral, provides the URL equity necessary to support the library brand, fits comfortably with the FRBR model.  If its going to work, it can’t be an OCLC product, but it will be managed by them. It will require participation, buy in and support, all of which will be very tricky to achieve.  Can a global community agree and adopt this when there are already so many identifiers – eg. ISBN.  OCLC is launching this pilot to identify functional requirements and practicalities solicited review from technical specialists,moving forward will require a careful balance of use cases, business issue and more.

Identifiers are key to fulfilling the mission of libraries in a digital future, to compete ont he open web for recognition of our brand, to integrate our traditional bibliographic values with social networking content, to provides services and access to the digital tribe – our future constituency.

weibel-lines.typepad.com.
twitter – stuartweibel
flickr – weibel-lines

1 comment

1 ping

  1. fran

    thanks tango for publishing your notes, much appreciated.

  1. Librarians Matter » Blog Archive » VALA session summaries

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