Category Archives: Library 2.0
Collaborative tools for libraries are quite trendy right now. I recently read two books from the Tech Set Series: Wikis for libraries by Lauren Pressley and Effective blogging for libraries by Connie Crosby.
These books help librarians understand and implement “essential technologies and tools” to reach patrons and the general public.
Blogging initiates a conversation with the public. For example, a library could use a blog to stream upcoming programs. It could announce book releases. A readers’ advisory blog could critique popular books or DVDs to stimulate interest in the library’s collection. The patron is free to “pull” whatever information he desires, either by reading the blog directly, or receiving it via an RSS feed. This is different from, for example, mass emailing. Email is an example of information push and the patron has no choice but to receive it (whether he reads it or not is another story).
The most obvious example of a Wiki is something like Wikipedia. However, that is only one specific use of this technology. Wiki software, such as the Semantic Wiki, can be used to create web sites. A library or other organization can create a professional web presence knowing minimal HTML. Staff can easily collaborate on content; for example the YA librarians can create their own content, while the childrens’ staff can do the same. This would not eliminate the need for a professional webmaster; but she could focus on the technical issues and not have to be concerned with content.
Using software such as Drupal, both can be accomplished simultaneously. For example, I used the Drupal software to create the South Bay Bible Fellowship web site. The blogging aspect of this software is used to add Pastor Tim’s Bible study content to the web site. I used the wiki features to create the static web pages.
A comparison between discovery services, such as Summon, and Google:
… similarities include the holy grail of “the one search box” that searches “everything” (or close enough) and heavy focus on relevancy ranking to surface desired results.
As a sidenote, relevancy ranking isn’t really new to library catalogues by now (for example our “next generation catalogue” Encore, has relevancy ranking and ……
What Google cofounder Sergey Brin calls “the ultimate personalized search engine: the librarian.”
Amazon.com: Search Patterns: Design for Discovery (9780596802271):… Amazon.com: Search Patterns: Design for Discovery (9780596802271): Peter Morville, Jeffery Callender:…
On Roy Tennant’s Digital Libraries blog at LibraryJournal.com, his recent posting entitled “The Desire for Digital Obsolescence” gives food for thought. He is discussing how often when searching for information, some of what you find is completely obsolete. Often some of what you find is “just plain outdated information, such as how to fix a software problem for a version of an application or operating system that is no longer used by anyone on this planet.” Also, with websites like the Internet Archive out there, nothing is ever deleted. I recently found the same thing while researching a Christmas gift for my youngest son.
He is a junior in high school, will be 17-years-old in January and is interested in chemical engineering. A couple years ago I purchased Lego Mindstorms (a combination of legos, programming, and robotics – very cool!). He is ready for the next level, but I didn’t even know where to go or start (feel free to send me links of ideas!).
So I began searching for chemistry software, engineering software, etc. I found, for example, Nanoengineer-1. It looked very cool on the website. But at the bottom of the page is the sentence “NanoEngineer-1 is currently under development and is scheduled for release in the spring of 2008.” This page is almost 2 years old. A search on Sourceforge.net found a listing for Nanoengineer-1… with no files uploaded. This was a dead end. I found software for the Windows 98 OS, and even DOS! And honestly, I would prefer to purchase a commercial product in this case instead of utilizing open source. This is a Christmas gift, for crying out loud!
He has been using my very old version of Matlab95 (mostly command line), so at this point I am leaning towards purchasing the current version of Matlab and Simulink – Student edition. The amount of useless data I had to wade through to make that decision was very frustrating.