≡ Menu
David Lee King

Question for you guys/gals about the newness of Library 2.0



OK – so every once in awhile, I see someone mention in a blog, in an article, or even in passing, that some of the concepts grouped under the moniker of Library 2.0 aren’t really all that new – even that it’s business as usual… just under a new name.

I’m thinking it might be fun to tackle that one head-on (cause I’m a glutton for punishment, if nothing else). But to do that, I need some examples. What should be covered here? For example, I’ve heard people say “we’ve always been about change” or “libraries have always had changes.” I have also heard some librarians state “we’ve always been user-focused – what’s different now?”

Those are they types of things I’m looking for… so. If you have some good examples of questions you’ve heard or posts/articles you’ve read that state that Library 2.0 is “same as it ever was” please leave them in the comments to this post!

Thanks!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.goblin-cartoons.com/ joshua m. neff

    Okay, I’ll start with “user-centered.” Libraries haven’t always been user-centered. One of the main reasons why Carnegie libraries exist was because libraries weren’t user-centered. You frequently had to pay to have access to a library’s collection, and even then the stacks were closed. (There are still libraries around the world that have closed stacks.) I think that libraries really began to be more user-centered with the establishment of Carnegie libraries at the end of the 19th century. So, for just over 100 years, libraries have become increasingly user-centered. But “user-centered” has been (and I suppose still is) up for debate in libraries–for example, the opposing ideas of “give ‘em what they want” and “give ‘em what’s important” in terms of collection development. So, “user-centered” isn’t what we’ve always done, but it also isn’t new. I do think that “radical trust” is new, though, and if you couple that with “user-centered,” you get an important component of Library 2.0.

  • http://www.goblin-cartoons.com joshua m. neff

    Okay, I’ll start with “user-centered.” Libraries haven’t always been user-centered. One of the main reasons why Carnegie libraries exist was because libraries weren’t user-centered. You frequently had to pay to have access to a library’s collection, and even then the stacks were closed. (There are still libraries around the world that have closed stacks.) I think that libraries really began to be more user-centered with the establishment of Carnegie libraries at the end of the 19th century. So, for just over 100 years, libraries have become increasingly user-centered. But “user-centered” has been (and I suppose still is) up for debate in libraries–for example, the opposing ideas of “give ‘em what they want” and “give ‘em what’s important” in terms of collection development. So, “user-centered” isn’t what we’ve always done, but it also isn’t new. I do think that “radical trust” is new, though, and if you couple that with “user-centered,” you get an important component of Library 2.0.

  • http://gathernodust.blogspot.com/ Jeff

    Joshua, the point about libraries not always being user centered by comparing them to pre-Carnegie days isn’t helpful in this context. Let’s change the focus to be the last five to ten years. Web 2.0 as a concept that is only a few years old. Library 2.0 even younger than that.

    What is the difference between a library that looks at usage patterns, holds focus groups, provides suggestion cards, and develops strategic plans, then reacts and changes accordingly any different from the library 2.0 model?

  • http://gathernodust.blogspot.com Jeff

    Joshua, the point about libraries not always being user centered by comparing them to pre-Carnegie days isn’t helpful in this context. Let’s change the focus to be the last five to ten years. Web 2.0 as a concept that is only a few years old. Library 2.0 even younger than that.

    What is the difference between a library that looks at usage patterns, holds focus groups, provides suggestion cards, and develops strategic plans, then reacts and changes accordingly any different from the library 2.0 model?

  • http://www.goblin-cartoons.com/ joshua m. neff

    I think it is helpful, Jeff, or I wouldn’t have posted it. Let’s say that focus groups, suggestion cards, and strategic plans is “User-Centered 1.0.” The newer release, “User-Centered 2.0,” is tagging and folksonomy, library catalogs where patrons can create wishlists and post their own reviews–stuff like that, where “user-centered” doesn’t just mean asking patrons what they want and taking it into consideration, it means letting patrons directly change and add value to the library as they use it. The library of the 1970s and ’80s, when I was growing up, was remarkably different from the library of the 1870s. The library of today and tomorrow may not be monumentally different–although I’d say it’s probably too early to tell–but I do think it’s different from the libraries of the 1970s. Different enough to warrant a “2.0″ at the end? I think so, although I think ultimately it’s not really all that important to firmly establish that Library 2.0 exists and define exactly what it is. (It may be important to people like David and me, though.)

  • http://www.goblin-cartoons.com joshua m. neff

    I think it is helpful, Jeff, or I wouldn’t have posted it. Let’s say that focus groups, suggestion cards, and strategic plans is “User-Centered 1.0.” The newer release, “User-Centered 2.0,” is tagging and folksonomy, library catalogs where patrons can create wishlists and post their own reviews–stuff like that, where “user-centered” doesn’t just mean asking patrons what they want and taking it into consideration, it means letting patrons directly change and add value to the library as they use it. The library of the 1970s and ’80s, when I was growing up, was remarkably different from the library of the 1870s. The library of today and tomorrow may not be monumentally different–although I’d say it’s probably too early to tell–but I do think it’s different from the libraries of the 1970s. Different enough to warrant a “2.0″ at the end? I think so, although I think ultimately it’s not really all that important to firmly establish that Library 2.0 exists and define exactly what it is. (It may be important to people like David and me, though.)

  • Deborah Fitchett

    I’d say there’s a difference between, say, ‘user-oriented’ and ‘user-driven’: the first is us librarians looking at the user from the outside and making changes that we think will help them; the second is allowing the users to become an active part of the library themselves, and to make changes from within.

    This is essentially what Joshua’s saying, just with different words.

    And I think it is different enough to be called 2.0 – it’s so different that allowing patron tagging, reviews etc is really only the very beginning of it. –No, I don’t know how a truly user-driven library would work, but it’d be interesting to find out. :-)

  • Deborah Fitchett

    I’d say there’s a difference between, say, ‘user-oriented’ and ‘user-driven’: the first is us librarians looking at the user from the outside and making changes that we think will help them; the second is allowing the users to become an active part of the library themselves, and to make changes from within.

    This is essentially what Joshua’s saying, just with different words.

    And I think it is different enough to be called 2.0 – it’s so different that allowing patron tagging, reviews etc is really only the very beginning of it. –No, I don’t know how a truly user-driven library would work, but it’d be interesting to find out. :-)

  • http://librarybytes.com/ Helene

    Because I too love “dialogue”, I’ve joined conversation by posting my response here.

    http://www.librarybytes.com/2007/08/jumping-with-20-feet-first.html

  • http://librarybytes.com Helene

    Because I too love “dialogue”, I’ve joined conversation by posting my response here.

    http://www.librarybytes.com/2007/08/jumping-with-20-feet-first.html

  • http://libraryrevolution.com/ EmilyC

    I think that it’s really easy for folks to reduce the whole thing to dualistic comparisons, and it just isn’t as simple as that. It’s not so much a matter of whether, for instance, L1 was/wasn’t user centered vs. L2… to me, it’s more about being user-centered in a different way.

    Because users are different. Not just from “the way they were before,” but from one another, and from ourselves, even, over the course of time. In so many ways. They are different, their expectations are different, their needs, the way they express themselves. Information is different, too… these days, it’s created, disseminated, accessed, and interpreted in so many ways.

    I guess I feel like both models were/are “user-centered” in their own way, and you can’t just say L1 wasn’t, L2 was. Nor can you write off the whole thing by saying L2 doesn’t matter because L1 already had a goal of serving the needs of the users.

    I guess that doesn’t answer your question, though. :)

  • http://libraryrevolution.com EmilyC

    I think that it’s really easy for folks to reduce the whole thing to dualistic comparisons, and it just isn’t as simple as that. It’s not so much a matter of whether, for instance, L1 was/wasn’t user centered vs. L2… to me, it’s more about being user-centered in a different way.

    Because users are different. Not just from “the way they were before,” but from one another, and from ourselves, even, over the course of time. In so many ways. They are different, their expectations are different, their needs, the way they express themselves. Information is different, too… these days, it’s created, disseminated, accessed, and interpreted in so many ways.

    I guess I feel like both models were/are “user-centered” in their own way, and you can’t just say L1 wasn’t, L2 was. Nor can you write off the whole thing by saying L2 doesn’t matter because L1 already had a goal of serving the needs of the users.

    I guess that doesn’t answer your question, though. :)

  • http://gathernodust.blogspot.com/ Jeff

    I will vote for Helen’s definition :) I would say that making a statement like “this is 1.0 and that is 2.0″ isn’t helpful. By removing those defintions, everyone can agree that libraries are changing and we need to adapt to that change. I would also argue that we always have.

    What’s the vision of a library that becomes 2.0? What will that look like versus what they look like now? Anyone want to give their own personal vision? (Think in macro terms)

  • http://gathernodust.blogspot.com Jeff

    I will vote for Helen’s definition :) I would say that making a statement like “this is 1.0 and that is 2.0″ isn’t helpful. By removing those defintions, everyone can agree that libraries are changing and we need to adapt to that change. I would also argue that we always have.

    What’s the vision of a library that becomes 2.0? What will that look like versus what they look like now? Anyone want to give their own personal vision? (Think in macro terms)

  • http://otherlibrarian.wordpress.com/ Ryan Deschamps

    It’s a hard call. In one sense, I see Library 2.0 as a reversion to an earlier time, though the rhetoric is the same. For instance, the 90s in Canada were a time of focusing on the numbers to emphasize customer-orientation (user-centric? you say tomayto. . .). At that time, we seemed to have dropped alot of outreach programs etc. to focus in on the hard-number circs. At that time the threat was big-box bookstores.

    Now we are back to community outreach. A couple of examples: 1) we had an artist leave a suit and a cardboard box in the middle of our foyer for about a month. On it, people ended up writing their views about homelessness in society. I don’t recall anything like this in our library’s past. 2) perhaps inspired by the library 2.0 thing, a branch manager invited visitors to use their dots to show where they were visiting from. The result was quite amazing as we filled up the map with more dots than you would think.

    Anyway, if I could summarize the “true” difference of library 2.0 it would be.

    1) there is a broader global awareness about libraries. Saying “Flickr doesn’t bring people in the door” is a fairly false measurement these days because alot of library service happens beyond the confines of the library.

    2) I think being ok with the social aspects of learning is another big shift. 10 years ago, the idea of gaming as a learning tool in and of itself (ie. not an “educational” gaming tool, but just regular gaming) was still fairly foreign.

    3) Folksonomies are hitting at one of the library’s core historical strengths. Making room for and accepting an uncontrolled vocabulary is very, very different from days past and will require some cultural change.

    4) Oh yeah, and thinking about a very very diverse range of softwares that are focussing in on social connections rather than user-business transactions. That’s different too.

  • http://otherlibrarian.wordpress.com Ryan Deschamps

    It’s a hard call. In one sense, I see Library 2.0 as a reversion to an earlier time, though the rhetoric is the same. For instance, the 90s in Canada were a time of focusing on the numbers to emphasize customer-orientation (user-centric? you say tomayto. . .). At that time, we seemed to have dropped alot of outreach programs etc. to focus in on the hard-number circs. At that time the threat was big-box bookstores.

    Now we are back to community outreach. A couple of examples: 1) we had an artist leave a suit and a cardboard box in the middle of our foyer for about a month. On it, people ended up writing their views about homelessness in society. I don’t recall anything like this in our library’s past. 2) perhaps inspired by the library 2.0 thing, a branch manager invited visitors to use their dots to show where they were visiting from. The result was quite amazing as we filled up the map with more dots than you would think.

    Anyway, if I could summarize the “true” difference of library 2.0 it would be.

    1) there is a broader global awareness about libraries. Saying “Flickr doesn’t bring people in the door” is a fairly false measurement these days because alot of library service happens beyond the confines of the library.

    2) I think being ok with the social aspects of learning is another big shift. 10 years ago, the idea of gaming as a learning tool in and of itself (ie. not an “educational” gaming tool, but just regular gaming) was still fairly foreign.

    3) Folksonomies are hitting at one of the library’s core historical strengths. Making room for and accepting an uncontrolled vocabulary is very, very different from days past and will require some cultural change.

    4) Oh yeah, and thinking about a very very diverse range of softwares that are focussing in on social connections rather than user-business transactions. That’s different too.

  • Joyce

    Just catching up with blog reading after the weekend, and spied this post.

    What’s interesting to me, David, is that Library 2.0′s core belief about “user-centered” assumes that a user has become somewhat savvy about Web 2.0. I don’t think there are any meaningful metrics to back this up. Therefore, Library 2.0 is “user-centered” to the extent that the user is familiar with, can use, and, most importantly, is intersted in using, the particular 2.0 technology.

    For example, to take some of your set of 2.0 competencies for librarians, we have to apply some of these same principles to our users:

    “write and post to a blog”

    Or, at least, know how to post a comment on one.

    “add photos and videos to a blog post” and “embed a widget”

    Not required unless the user has their own blog (a big assumption even with the proliferation of blogs in the web world) and they wish to add a photo or video related to the library’s blog postm, or needs a widget to take advantage of a particular blog post.

    “social network knowledge – basic understanding of Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc and the ability to explain them to others”

    See above. Except that now you are requiring a Myspace or other type account to access the library in order to take advantage of the benefits of 2.0. Not all users can do this, will do this, or want to do this.

    What if someone only has access to a computer *at* the physical library? What if they have the economic means to a computer, but absolutely no interest in owning one, like many elderly people I know?
    What if they don’t have any interest in social networking applications? Or what if they don’t have the time to invest in learning about these systems to use them even occasionally?

    What if they just want to find something to read and have absolutely no interest in tagging?

    What about these users? Do they matter?

    I ask because it seems to me that we should be taking advantage of 2.0 whereever we can, BUT–all of this takes resources.

    The key question is balancing the resources to reach users at all levels of technical capability.

    Library 2.0 is user-centered to a subset of the overall user community. This may change in the future, but that is the way of the world today.

    Joyce

  • Joyce

    Just catching up with blog reading after the weekend, and spied this post.

    What’s interesting to me, David, is that Library 2.0′s core belief about “user-centered” assumes that a user has become somewhat savvy about Web 2.0. I don’t think there are any meaningful metrics to back this up. Therefore, Library 2.0 is “user-centered” to the extent that the user is familiar with, can use, and, most importantly, is intersted in using, the particular 2.0 technology.

    For example, to take some of your set of 2.0 competencies for librarians, we have to apply some of these same principles to our users:

    “write and post to a blog”

    Or, at least, know how to post a comment on one.

    “add photos and videos to a blog post” and “embed a widget”

    Not required unless the user has their own blog (a big assumption even with the proliferation of blogs in the web world) and they wish to add a photo or video related to the library’s blog postm, or needs a widget to take advantage of a particular blog post.

    “social network knowledge – basic understanding of Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc and the ability to explain them to others”

    See above. Except that now you are requiring a Myspace or other type account to access the library in order to take advantage of the benefits of 2.0. Not all users can do this, will do this, or want to do this.

    What if someone only has access to a computer *at* the physical library? What if they have the economic means to a computer, but absolutely no interest in owning one, like many elderly people I know?
    What if they don’t have any interest in social networking applications? Or what if they don’t have the time to invest in learning about these systems to use them even occasionally?

    What if they just want to find something to read and have absolutely no interest in tagging?

    What about these users? Do they matter?

    I ask because it seems to me that we should be taking advantage of 2.0 whereever we can, BUT–all of this takes resources.

    The key question is balancing the resources to reach users at all levels of technical capability.

    Library 2.0 is user-centered to a subset of the overall user community. This may change in the future, but that is the way of the world today.

    Joyce

  • Bo

    As long as libraries have existed they have had books and materials to assist people diagnosis various medical diseases, including psychological. Why not take this a step further (2.0) and begin to assist people in actually diagnosing and treating them? If our task is to provide information why should it stop at digital technology?

  • Bo

    As long as libraries have existed they have had books and materials to assist people diagnosis various medical diseases, including psychological. Why not take this a step further (2.0) and begin to assist people in actually diagnosing and treating them? If our task is to provide information why should it stop at digital technology?

  • davidleeking

    Bo is being somewhat of a troll (he’s sending other similar comments to other posts of mine), but still… I think the 2.0 things to do would be to show patrons asking about diseases where the best info can be found, where they can interact with others sharing the same disease, etc…

  • davidleeking

    Bo is being somewhat of a troll (he’s sending other similar comments to other posts of mine), but still… I think the 2.0 things to do would be to show patrons asking about diseases where the best info can be found, where they can interact with others sharing the same disease, etc…

  • Bo

    We have quickly gone from comments to be called names rather than having a discussion. Isn’t name calling the first means of distraction from having a point. In politics they call it mud slinging I believe.

  • Bo

    We have quickly gone from comments to be called names rather than having a discussion. Isn’t name calling the first means of distraction from having a point. In politics they call it mud slinging I believe.

  • Bo

    We have quickly gone from being able to leave comments to being called names. Isn’t calling names the first means of distraction when you do not have a point. In politics this is called mud slinging I believe.

  • Bo

    We have quickly gone from being able to leave comments to being called names. Isn’t calling names the first means of distraction when you do not have a point. In politics this is called mud slinging I believe.

  • davidleeking

    Bo – you have commented on a couple of my posts within minutes of each other, both with slightly out-there ideas (suggesting librarians should diagnose diseases is a 2.0 idea and comparing a book to a sword).

    I thought you were an autospammer at first… sorry about that! Were you serious about the diagnosing diseases thing? In the US at least, we generally need to get medical degrees before we start down that road.

  • davidleeking

    Bo – you have commented on a couple of my posts within minutes of each other, both with slightly out-there ideas (suggesting librarians should diagnose diseases is a 2.0 idea and comparing a book to a sword).

    I thought you were an autospammer at first… sorry about that! Were you serious about the diagnosing diseases thing? In the US at least, we generally need to get medical degrees before we start down that road.

  • Bo

    Wouldn’t multiple source be best

  • Bo

    Wouldn’t multiple source be best

  • Bo

    So lets discuss if able. Why should librarians stop at “simply” giving information…why not move to a 2.0 methodology that involves taking a book and actually doing more hands on with it so to speak. Showing people how to repair cars, etc.

  • Bo

    So lets discuss if able. Why should librarians stop at “simply” giving information…why not move to a 2.0 methodology that involves taking a book and actually doing more hands on with it so to speak. Showing people how to repair cars, etc.

  • Bo

    In a 2.O world where we have flickr, why not teach scrapbooking? Sir do you know what scrapbooking is? Some do not so I ask.

  • Bo

    In a 2.O world where we have flickr, why not teach scrapbooking? Sir do you know what scrapbooking is? Some do not so I ask.

  • Mel

    I think Bo has some really interesting points. He may be using extremes with the medical analogy to get our attention, but it’s still a valid point. Why is technology so important that we step out of our library roles and go from directing people to books and sources to actually teaching, showing, practicing, etc? His last example, Flikr, demonstrates this well. Is a 2.0 librarian expected to use Flikr, show people how to set up an account, and post on Flikr? On the other hand, scrapbooking is really popular now too, are librarians expected to be scrapbookers, show people how to use scrapbooking tools at the desk and get them started? (Bo, if I misinterpretted your statements feel free to correct me, but I find this a very intriguing question/point.) What is the difference?

  • Mel

    I think Bo has some really interesting points. He may be using extremes with the medical analogy to get our attention, but it’s still a valid point. Why is technology so important that we step out of our library roles and go from directing people to books and sources to actually teaching, showing, practicing, etc? His last example, Flikr, demonstrates this well. Is a 2.0 librarian expected to use Flikr, show people how to set up an account, and post on Flikr? On the other hand, scrapbooking is really popular now too, are librarians expected to be scrapbookers, show people how to use scrapbooking tools at the desk and get them started? (Bo, if I misinterpretted your statements feel free to correct me, but I find this a very intriguing question/point.) What is the difference?

  • davidleeking

    Mel – some public libraries probably DO teach scrapbooking. My library holds knitting classes, for example.

    Yes, I think a 2.0 librarian – if their community is interested – should teach customers how to use flickr. That’s really no different than teaching how to use Google or how to use an EBSCOHost database. Sometimes, you can point to content you already have that covers the topic adequately, sometimes you can’t. And sometimes your “content” CAN come in the form of a knowledgeable staff memeber (like our knitting example).

  • davidleeking

    Mel – some public libraries probably DO teach scrapbooking. My library holds knitting classes, for example.

    Yes, I think a 2.0 librarian – if their community is interested – should teach customers how to use flickr. That’s really no different than teaching how to use Google or how to use an EBSCOHost database. Sometimes, you can point to content you already have that covers the topic adequately, sometimes you can’t. And sometimes your “content” CAN come in the form of a knowledgeable staff memeber (like our knitting example).

  • Bo

    But who is teaching the scrapbooking and knitting and sword fighting and….? My point is, (no sword pun intended) as Mel mentioned, scrapbooking is popular, but why should it be the professional Librarian’s responsibility to learn and teach scrapbooking and knitting and digital photography and car repair and….There are books on knitting, electronic databases to find articles and information, periodicals, organizations and classes to refer people to enroll. Why in the days before computers Librarians were not expected to grab a book of the shelf on pottery and begin making vases?

  • Bo

    But who is teaching the scrapbooking and knitting and sword fighting and….? My point is, (no sword pun intended) as Mel mentioned, scrapbooking is popular, but why should it be the professional Librarian’s responsibility to learn and teach scrapbooking and knitting and digital photography and car repair and….There are books on knitting, electronic databases to find articles and information, periodicals, organizations and classes to refer people to enroll. Why in the days before computers Librarians were not expected to grab a book of the shelf on pottery and begin making vases?

  • davidleeking

    Why should it NOT be? Yes, there are books on knitting. But that only covers one type of learner. There are other types of learners that need hands-on, that need to see someone else doing it in order to learn the skill. And if your library has people who can do that skill, why not let them teach it? It only makes your library more valuable to the community.

    And – I’m not convinced that library staff didn’t do this type of thing before computers were in the library. I would surmise that some (not all) libraries, especially public libraries, DID teach some non-bookish things (of course, that’s me guessing – I have to evidence to back it up).

    And if they didn’t – why the heck not? You want to make knitting real to more people? Have them read the book AND then SEE what to do in person. That’s turning the info in the book – the content – into community.

  • davidleeking

    Why should it NOT be? Yes, there are books on knitting. But that only covers one type of learner. There are other types of learners that need hands-on, that need to see someone else doing it in order to learn the skill. And if your library has people who can do that skill, why not let them teach it? It only makes your library more valuable to the community.

    And – I’m not convinced that library staff didn’t do this type of thing before computers were in the library. I would surmise that some (not all) libraries, especially public libraries, DID teach some non-bookish things (of course, that’s me guessing – I have to evidence to back it up).

    And if they didn’t – why the heck not? You want to make knitting real to more people? Have them read the book AND then SEE what to do in person. That’s turning the info in the book – the content – into community.

  • Bo

    So, if we go with your logic, and a Librarian is an expert in Calculus, then the Librarian should sit down with the patron and teach Calculus and French and what else?

  • Bo

    So, if we go with your logic, and a Librarian is an expert in Calculus, then the Librarian should sit down with the patron and teach Calculus and French and what else?

  • davidleeking

    Well… what do you think we already do in our homework help center?

    Yes – to a point (no operations in the library, please!) – but yes. If the demand is there and the talent is there, most definitely yes.

  • davidleeking

    Well… what do you think we already do in our homework help center?

    Yes – to a point (no operations in the library, please!) – but yes. If the demand is there and the talent is there, most definitely yes.

  • Bo

    Yes, and Libraries have been doing that for years. You invite local entrepreneurs to teach (ie someone from a craft store, or money manager, or expert on gardening) to come in and give a program and in return they get to use your beautiful library (room, chairs, lighting, parking, etc.) Staff assist by arraning the program and promoting it and supplying books and other information as requested. So not only do you have the community involvement but you now have a business you promoted which helps pay for the library with its business tax.

  • Bo

    Yes, and Libraries have been doing that for years. You invite local entrepreneurs to teach (ie someone from a craft store, or money manager, or expert on gardening) to come in and give a program and in return they get to use your beautiful library (room, chairs, lighting, parking, etc.) Staff assist by arraning the program and promoting it and supplying books and other information as requested. So not only do you have the community involvement but you now have a business you promoted which helps pay for the library with its business tax.

  • Bo

    The librarian should manage these programs, at least if done right, not sit there and give them. (Get high school students to teach or those wanting to become teachers to teach for school credit). The Professional Librarians job should be to arrange it, coordinate it and provide a safe environment for it to happen. Not sit there and become tutors.

  • Bo

    The librarian should manage these programs, at least if done right, not sit there and give them. (Get high school students to teach or those wanting to become teachers to teach for school credit). The Professional Librarians job should be to arrange it, coordinate it and provide a safe environment for it to happen. Not sit there and become tutors.