Web 2.0 for Librarians

By Michael Stephens | Michael Stephens Head ShotI mentioned in my introductory post last week that I would be writing about Web 2.0. A good starting point, then, would be some definition. The cool thing is, many librarians are already actively using the tools of Web 2.0!

Wikipedia defines Web 2.0 as “Web 2.0 is a term often applied to a perceived ongoing transition of the World Wide Web from a collection of Web sites to a full-fledged computing platform serving Web applications, like Gmail, to end users. The proponents of this thinking expect that ultimately Web 2.0 services will replace desktop computing applications for many purposes."

The definition I might give goes something like this: Web 2.0 is the next incarnation of the WWW, where digital tools allow users to create, change, and publish dynamic content of all kinds. Other Web 2.0 tools syndicate and aggregate this content. We will all be publishers and creators of our own information and entertainment channels with these applications.

Some of these Web applications include RSS, blogs, wikis, tagging, bookmarking, etc. I’m quick to add IM to this list because of the collaboration it fosters when using these tools. We might also call it the “Read/Write Web," a term I picked up from Will Richardson’s blog, which clues me in constantly to what’s happening with this stuff in schools.

What does this mean for librarians? It means we must be aware of these tools, learn to use them, and seriously examine how they might improve or change services we provide. For more this is a good starting point: the Social Software blog.

As a start: seek out library conference programs, workshops, and the like on social tools. Read about them here and in the Biblioblogosphere. Get on IM. Start a blog. Create! Publish! Rock on!