Friday, 27 June 2008

Library 2 You? Mini-conference, mini-report!

Yesterday I attended the Library 2.0 You? mini-conference. There were five speakers and four topics:

  1. Blogs, Wikis and Podcasts
  2. Virtual Environments (e.g. Second Life)
  3. Facebook and the Library Catalogue
  4. Virtual Reference

The first session was the one I actually felt I needed to see (though the others were certainly interesting and useful in their own right). Two librarians from the University of Bath took us through the whole process of impementing a library blog, from focus groups who apparently welcomed the idea of cutting down on mass email alerts, to planning how many blogs to publish and what sort of areas to cover, to the benefits in terms of time-saving, feedback through statistics on blog views, and the problems of promoting blogs to new readers.

One of the speakers made a connection with SCONUL's "vision" for 2010, saying that blogging especially meets the criteria of Personalisation and Collaboration.

The virtual worlds talk was surprisingly interesting, given how little interest I'd taken in Second Life at the LILAC 2008 - and it was somewhat worrying to find out about the virtual worlds being marketed to teens and kids as young as 3...! Apparently Teen Second Life has more users in the USA than the adult version. There were a lot of mentions of cultural change and attention economy and so on... it made me feel a bit strange, having grown up in the 80s and early 90s and just sort of stumbled across all these frankly rather nerdy things which are now becoming big trends (for how long? Even blogging is sort of a has-been by mainstream media standards!) and finding them intersting but not fascinating. What do people see in them? Apparently there's a very recent report from EduServe (hat tip to lindsay55 on CILIP's Communities for that!) on this whole thing.

Facebook and the library catalogue - an interesting confluence from a programming point of view, and I learned a lot about how Facebook works (slightly alarmed by the mention of all the private data on my profile being dumped to the application server every time I access an application... I will be deleting some apps soon, I'm sure!). But is it much use for the library? It would be good to have more feedback on this. I can see the value of having a Facebook presence, certainly, and I love the new OCLC WorldCat citation app, for example. But how is this going to look in future? Will we achieve the "pervasive library" mentioned in this Talis paper? "Pervasive library" was one of the terms used yesterday, but so far it seems the worry is whether things like this will give us the image "invasive library" (I don't think we should worry!).

The final talk was on virtual reference, another application I'd had my doubts about, having seen it in "action" but getting very little use from library users... However, apparently it is in full swing at and we had a session of audience participative evaluation of some (anonymised!) samples of real chat (ah, the excitement!). It's not so trendy any more but I think it's still a good concept and if users like it, why not? Still I only just resisted the temptation to ask, "why not just get everyone on Meebo?"...

All in all, a good day, with fine speakers and good catering ;) - it was good to see such a good turn out from all over the country too. Useful for reminding me that Web 2.0 is not just about blogging.


Jennie said...

Good to see you've made use of my uklibraryblogs wiki Institutional / Professional library blogs section as a source :-)

And now there's lots more academic blogs for me to add to the wiki, thanks!

BiblioBlogResearcher said...

Thanks Jennie. Yes, it was very helpful as a jumping-off point.

I hope you're not too inundated with blogs now!

somaie said...

Good post


charles said...

Influence can be defined as the power exerted over the minds and behavior of others. A power that can affect, persuade and cause changes to someone or something. In order to influence people, you first need to discover what is already influencing them. What makes them tick? What do they care about? We need some leverage to work with when we’re trying to change how people think and behave.