Friday, October 26, 2007

MLA Friday morning - Library 2.0

This morning, I went to the session, "Library 2.0: Connecting with Your Patrons on a New Level," presented by Carla Steinberg Pfahl. The idea behind Library 2.0 is developing library websites and services that involve more interactive resources and tools. Some of these tools involve "social networking," but not always social, per se. Clearly, these tools are being used for non-social purposes as well (which, as an aside, makes me raise my eyebrows - when Microsoft buys Facebook for $15 BILLION dollars, they aren't doing it to make "friends.").

Pfahl discussed using her MySpace account to connect to other libraries, essentially using this network as a web-based set of bookmarks, based on being "friends" with other libraries and their MySpace accounts. She related an anecdote of planning a trip to Denver, and using her link on MySpace to the Denver library to find out what was happening there. My thought - she could have done the same thing through a web browser bookmark or by a simple Google search for that library; MySpace was just a convenient way for her to do it, that fit with her model of doing "business." So, food for thought - how many of your library's patrons are in those spaces and do you want to connect to them there?

She went on to discuss blogs and their applications in libraries. This is one Web 2.0 concept that I'm much more agreeable to. I do think that blogs add real value and provide a nice communication tool for a library. Pfahl talked about adding widgets to Flickr, LibraryThing, Shelfari, Twitter, Amazon, MeeboMe Chat Window...

Wikis were discussed as a tool for groupwork, which I believe can be very helpful, particularly for policies, procedures, etc. However, using externally hosted wikis (and other content) can be of some concern, particularly regarding intellecutal property rights. Be sure to read the terms of service so that you are making an informed decision on how those impact what you're doing.

Pfahl introduced the idea of going to the Learning 2.0 Project at:

which is a site that encourages the exploration of Web 2.0 and new technologies. Patricia Post of CMLE mentioned that in their multitype region, they'll be rolling out one of these types of projects, and will be offering some incentives. If you're interested in being involved in this, watch for more information at CMLE's web site at:

Glenn Peterson of Hennepin County Library developed

This pulls together the programming tools to create and add many of these kinds of tools for public libraries to use. It is free to public libraries with budgets of under $1 million dollars, and prorated for larger libraries.

Pfahl started talking about podcasting, and presented the example of, a Minnesota-focued blog with video aand audio:

Pfahl demonstrated use of a portable recording device to record content for a podcast, and discussed the process of actually creating the podcast. She talked about some of the ways libraries were creating podcasts: storytimes, speeches, music, discussions, lectures, reviews, tours, services for visually impaired users... Clearly the list can go on, limited only by your imagination. (Dating myself, "back in the day...," podcasts were just called "audio files.") She completed her demonstration of recording a podcast by uploading the audio file to the MINITEX reference blog.

FYI, all MINITEX blogs can be found at:

The last technology tool Pfahl described was using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) as a way to find out about new content from other sources, and using it on your library web site to easily show users what's new on yours.