Basic Competencies of a 2.0 Librarian, take 2

From the comments on my Basic Competencies of a 2.0 Librarian, I have a few more competencies to add to the list (thank you commenters!):

  • Create, edit, and upload screencasts
  • Ability to do basic HTML editing – an understanding of (X)HTML and CSS. Here, I’m not wanting “web developer” skills – but someone who has enough of an understanding of HTML to be able to do basic edits, like add in the code to a Flickr image in a blog past, and then be able to edit that code enough to align the image properly. Etc…
  • know how to pick up a new device (mp3 player, mobile phone, etc) and figure out how to use it

So – adding these to my big list (and changing the wording on my list a bit), we have:

Specific 2.0 Skills:

  • write and post to a blog
  • add photos and videos to a blog post
  • embed a widget into blogs and social networking accounts (like Myspace)
  • social network knowledge – basic understanding of Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc and the ability to explain them to others
  • create, upload and edit photos, short videos, podcasts, and screencasts
  • use IM in different forms
  • use and explain rss and rss readers to others
  • send and read sms text messages
  • edit an avatar’s appearance
  • basic console gaming skills (multiple formats preferred)
  • Ability to do basic HTML editing – an understanding of (X)HTML and CSS. Here, I’m not wanting “web developer” skills – but someone who has enough of an understanding of HTML to be able to do basic edits, like add in the code to a Flickr image in a blog past, and then be able to edit that code enough to align the image properly. Etc…
  • know how to pick up a new device (mp3 player, mobile phone, etc) and figure out how to use it
  • the ability to learn the basics of a new digital service or tool within 15 minutes of fiddling around with it and be able to assess them

“Big Picture” 2.0 skills:

  • understand how everything above works in a library setting
  • understand how everything above compliments a physical, traditional library
  • And most importantly – the ability to tell the library’s story, through various media – writing, photography, audio, and video.

One commenter suggested an understanding of creative commons licensing be added to this list. I’m not adding it to my 2.0 Librarian list. Instead, i think EVERY librarian, 2.0 or not, should understand Creative Commons, just like every librarian should understand the basics of Copyright.

,

Nielsen Doesn’t Get 2.0

At least, as far as i can tell. His latest Alertbox article is a good example. The article discusses why one should “write articles, not blog postings.” His summary states: “To demonstrate world-class expertise, avoid quickly written, shallow postings. Instead, invest your time in thorough, value-added content that attracts paying customers.”

Then he goes into his usual charts and graphs that show that well-written, thorough content is much better than shallow, quickly-written content.

I have a question: how come a blog posting can’t be “thorough, value-added content?”

Neilsen seems to be confusing the content with the container. A blog is nothing more than an easy-to-use CMS (content management system) – the content can be shallow or thorough. It depends on the individual author.

For example, Neilsen’s Alertbox articles, which I usually find to be “thorough, value-added content” could easily be blog postings… all he has to do is offer an RSS feed and allow comments, really (yes, I know, he’d need to use some type of blogging software for it too be a REAL blog…). If he did that – added a way to subscribe to his articles via an RSS feed – would that suddenly turn his well-thought-out articles into “quickly written, shallow postings”?

I don’t think so. Do you?

Basic Competencies of a 2.0 Librarian

Update: see my Basic Competencies of a 2.0 Librarian, Take 2 – it’s an expanded list.

Emily, at the Library Revolution blog, posted about minimum tech competencies she thinks librarians should have. Her list is certainly fine – but I share her frustrations when glancing at that list! Those are all very basic skills that some librarians still don’t have, unfortunately.

And so I started to think: what are some competencies a 2.0 librarian should have? I’m refraining from calling them tech competencies, even though they all reside on the computer – I think we need to get away from calling something a tech competency just because it’s done on the computer. Most of these skills are similar to word processing – the skill of writing isn’t a tech competency, even though you most likely use MS Word to do it these days, for example.

So – here’s David’s off-the-cuff Library 2.0 Competencies:

  • write and post to a blog
  • add photos and videos to a blog post
  • embed a widget into blogs and social networking accounts (like Myspace)
  • social network knowledge – basic understanding of Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc
  • shoot, upload and edit photos
  • shoot, upload and edit short videos
  • record, edit and upload a podcast
  • use IM in different forms
  • use and explain rss and rss readers to others
  • send and read sms text messages
  • edit an avatar’s appearance
  • basic console gaming skills (multiple formats preferred)

And then, a few bonus skills that go beyond the basics (but are still essential in this new era):

  • understand how everything above can cohesively fit together
  • understand how everything above compliments a physical, traditional library
  • the ability to learn the basics of a new digital service or tool within 15 minutes of fiddling around with it
  • And most importantly – the ability to tell the library’s story, through various media – writing, photography, audio, and video.

What do you think? Would you add or remove anything from this list? I know I’m forgetting some of the non-web library 2.0 things… Let me know!

,

Thoughts on Everything is Miscellaneous, Part 2

A few days ago, I shared some thoughts about David Weinberger’s book Everything is Miscellaneous (and Weinberger actually left a great comment, too – how cool is that?). This post is the second part of that series. It covers three random thoughts that didn’t really fit into the first post (and weren’t big enough for their own posts, either… except maybe on Twitter… :-)

Thought #1: Weinberger makes some very valid points about current search systems and how newer ideas, like tagging, provide better findability. His discussion of this was fascinating – but I would have liked to see him resolve the dissonance that went off in my head when he explained how tagging and better search capabilities allow multiple subject headings and tags without having one be a dominant tag or subject heading. That certainly works great in the digital world… but how does that work in, say a library with physical bookshelves? The book can only be put on one shelf at a time, which means you need a dominant subject (unless there’s a better way for us to store and track material). How do allow for both randomness and back-end order at the same time?

My guess? We’re in transition, folks. Transition from a purely physical information world to a purely digital information world, and this type of problem appears when mixing physical items with useful digital search capabilities.

Thought #2: Weinberger says, “Put each leaf on as many branches as possible… In the real world, a leaf can hang from only one branch” (pg 103). And “Hanging a leaf on multiple branches makes it more findable by customers” (pg. 104). This really relates to my Thought #1 above. Weinberger is pointing out that in our new digital world, we don’t have to be chained to the same old organizational systems we relied on in the physical world (ie., subject headings and ILS systems, for example). We can see what del.icio.us and flickr are doing with tagging and searchable customer descriptions, and figure out how to incorporate those newer ideas into our search systems. What a great idea!

Thought #3: On page 105, Weinberger writes: “Give up control.” Ouch! Librarians don’t like to do that! He continues: “That’s why it’s so powerful to let users mix it up for themselves… [online], on the other hand, we just naturally expect to organize information our way, through tags, bookmarks, playlists, and weblogs.”

Are you hearing that? Our customers want to tag, bookmark, set up playlists, and participate via blogs, comments, etc… are you allowing them to do that?

Weinberger says: “Users are now in charge of the organization of the information they browse. Of course, the owners of that information may still want to offer a prebuilt categorization, but that is no longer the only – or best – one available. Put simply, the owners of information no longer own the organization of that information.” (pages 105-106). That is HUGE. We – librarians, libraries, information professionals… are NO LONGER IN CONTROL OF ORGANIZING INFORMATION. Our customers do that now.

So why are we here again? We can still do some great things. We can, as Stephen Abram says, “improve the question.” Customers don’t know how to ask the correct questions to find the most appropriate material. This doesn’t change in the digital world. Right now, there’s still a learning curve on advanced search functionality. That might certainly change, but our expertise doesn’t change.

To put it another way – sure, I can replace the brake pads on my car… if I have a weekend to kill, money to buy tools I’ll never use again, and a copy of the instructions handy. Or I can take my car to an auto mechanic who (hopefully) has changed hundreds of brakes, has the expertise in place, and knows what to do when something strange pops up (like, say, what he’d see if I brought my car in after attempting to change the brake pads… :-).

We are the information experts – that never changes.