Wow, how thrilled was I to be offered a place at this Masterclass being held in Melbourne, with Helene Blowers flying in from the US to share her amazing experiences and expertise. Add to that the added bonus of Kathryn Greenhill coming over from Perth to attend as well and it was a perfect way to spend 2 days of library based learning.
So now that the gushing is out of the way, its down to what I got out of it. And although I am well up to my neck in all this stuff and have been for a few years, I still got plenty of it, with sincere thanks to Helene, Kathryn and the other wonderful participants in this Masterclass (a few of whom I am now in touch with on Facebook and Twitter – hi!)
Exploring the shift
The shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 has been about the shift from Find – seeking information, to Connect – community.
As this connection becomes more widespread and internet access becomes ubiquitous, libraries will no longer be needed for access – what will we be about then?
The first digital divide was about access, the 2nd digital divide is about:
- the ability to do smart searches
- the ability to validate soft information (eg. Wikipedia)
- the ability to find information via hot channels (eg. Digg, Twitter etc)
- the ability to understand the current culture of informal languages (ie. text messaging)
- the ability to get information to travel to you
- the ability to create and re-mix content
- the knowledge that learning is a continual process rather than an achievement
Interestingly I realised that I could not say with total confidence that I could do all these things, but I also know that the vast majority of my professional colleagues definitely couldn’t, so there’s a big challenge for the future.
Helene showed us the Library Meme map: which I will definitely be looking at more closely in the light of our library website redevelopment.
Patron 2.0 was discussed as enabling our users to contribute content to the library website – a situation that requires radical trust. We currently allow commenting on our blogs, after approval of course. Could we relax that further and how else could we and should we be opening our content to our users. Can we so easily let go of the reins, especially when we are only just now getting the hang of them?
Moving from 1.0 to 2.0
Personal movement is straightforward. Moving your organisation is more difficult. How do you do it?
- Learn to listen – show management what people are saying about the library and the technology eg. Google Alerts – find out what the conversation is and respond to it.Pay attention to user generated content and comments.
- Learn to spy on yourself – get RSS feeds of content you present.
- Join the conversation – respond to what’s out there.
- Manage your online reputation – there is a move from organisational to personal brand, with organisations have a personal front. The shift has to be to building the reputation of the individuals, which then reflects on the organisation.
- Create a home base – a place from which to build your online reputation. A website, blog, Facebook profile, etc. Build it on your own name, engage your passion, start commenting, link & trackback, join other communities, create connections with yourself (between your online presences), continually engage with others. Its not a one off process, so you need to have a strategy.
Does your library’s mission statement translate into the online environment? If not, what has to change?
On a different tangent, I had to agree with Helene that users see the library’s website, not so much as a distinct virtual branch, but as an extension of their local library. We experience this in our everyday virtual contact with ours users. Which places an interesting perspective on getting management support for the library website and how to present it to our users, when each of their perspectives can be very different.