This blog was created by an MLIS student at UBC (Vancouver, Canada) as an assignment for LIBR500: Foundations of Information Technology.

In an effort to explore the ways in which libraries are (trying?) to keep up with the ever-increasing popularity and pervasiveness of Web 2.0 tools, this blog will be used to look at specific libraries and how they are using these tools. Examples of libraries using things like Facebook, Flickr, Youtube, etc will be discussed to see how libraries are carving out their own niches in the virtual spaces that have practically exploded over the last decade, and how they are creating a whole new phenomenon of their own to add to the 2.0-mania: Libraries Two-Point-Whoa!

There are about as many definitions of Web 2.0 out there as there are ways of using it. For some of the many views on just what Library 2.0 means, you might want to read through this, this, and this.

But for the purposes of this blog, I’m going to take a very narrow view of Library 2.0. In keeping with the criteria of this assignment, I’m going to concentrate on examining specific Web 2.0 tools and how they’re used in specific libraries. In particular, I will be looking at their use in public library systems, both in Canada and in the U.S. In order to evaluate how successfully they’re being used, it will be helpful to set up some standards. Just what does it take to be a “Library-Two-Point-Whoa?”

These are some of the factors I will be considering throughout the blog, although this list is by no means exhaustive, and I will no doubt come across many more as I go along:

  • Accessibility: Are users able to find these services without too much difficulty? Do they exclude some users groups?
  • Usability: Are the tools difficult to use or navigate?
  • Communication: How effective are they at communicating what the library is, what its values are, related news, etc?
  • Relevance: How relevant is the tool to the library’s mission statement and to the needs of the community it serves?
  • Currency*: Is the service maintained and kept up-to-date?
  • Appropriateness: Does it reflect the mission and mandate of the library? Does it live up to the image of neutrality and professionalism that is expected from a public and pedagogical institution?
  • Public Relations: Does the tool work to promote the library as a valuable service and community resource? Does it work to deconstruct negative, harmful stereotypes of the library and of librarians?
  • Sociability: Does it allow users to feel connected to their library in an interactive, social way?

* I’m going to use “currency” over the course of this blog to describe how current and up-to-date a library’s use of Web 2.0 tools is, rather than to discuss money, as the term is more commonly used.

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