Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Welsh Libraries and Web 2.0

Welsh Libraries and Web 2.0: a survey of access and views in 2010

This fascinating report from the MLA includes several thought-provoking differences between Higher Education, Further Education and Public libraries; bizarre practices (blocking staff from access to sites that the public can use - which almost ensures that staff do not learn how they work, and then cannot assist public with use of those tools); odd resistance to allowing people to use available options; curious paranoia, etc.IMHO.

Anyway - this remains an unofficial blog for at least one other reason (apart from expressing contentious ideas) - that it does not appear bi-lingually. Cardiff Libraries seem to be an exception in that they manage to run their Facebook Pages in two versions.

Some excerpts to tease you into reading the full document here (Welsh version available here):

1. Executive Summary (excerpt)

This report into access to and use of various Web 2.0 applications in libraries in Wales has found some commonalities across the library sectors, as well as differences. Staff in many library institutions are prevented from accessing interactive websites such as blogs, and users (students and the public) may also be blocked from accessing them as well, for various reasons. University libraries appear to be the exception to both these instances and are able to experiment with and use these technologies more freely.

2.3 Definition
It is helpful at this point to include our interpretation of Web 2.0. Although it is a commonly used term it is not always explained. Web 2.0 represents the ‘second version’ of the Internet. The ‘first version’ featured static pages that provided information. The Internet then evolved to become interactive, featuring two-way communication and platforms that allow content to be easily created and uploaded. For many people, they will be using Web 2.0 tools every day e.g. Facebook or Twitter. These are social networking examples. There are thousands of examples and usages for Web 2.0 and this report focuses on the main ones that are currently used by libraries, or are popular with users.

4.1 Is access to Web 2.0 technologies blocked in Welsh libraries?
Librarians were asked if access was blocked to:
• Social networking sites e.g. Facebook, MySpace
• Blogs and/or twitter
• Multimedia file sharing sites e.g. YouTube, Flickr
• RSS feed aggregators e.g. Netvibes, Pageflakes
• Tagging and social bookmarking sites e.g. Delicious, Digg
• Instant messaging sites e.g. meebo
• Collaboration sites e.g. wikis

Friday, October 22, 2010

ebooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point

If Libraries are Screwed, so are the Rest of Us - a blog entry at Digital Book World about ebooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point a virtual conference which included presentations from Ray Kurzweil and Kevin Kelly, for instance…

Archive viewing of the content is available for $19.95.

Friday, October 15, 2010

An open source library

Widnes Library
It was interesting to hear that one library in the UK has fully embraced the online nature of much information, education and entertainment these days.

Halton libraries use Facebook and Twitter, and they have a blog for current news.

The Koha Library Management System comes from PTFS Europe

From the Press Release:

Koha Library Management System

With Koha, library staff access is completely web-based; acquisitions, circulation, cataloguing, serials and reports are all done through a web browser. As well as an excellent search engine the OPAC offers a range of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 facilities such as tagging, reviewing, public and private lists as well as integrating with services such as RSS, Twitter and Facebook.

Working with PTFS Europe provides the freedom and functionality of open source software together with the benefits of receiving high quality customer support.

Paula Reilly-Cooper, Library Services Manager at Halton said "This open source solution is the natural choice for Halton Libraries at a time of public service cuts and the need to justify our presence. The innate flexibility of the software and service from PTFS Europe will allow us to do so much more for less, enabling us to provide an enhanced, adaptable library and information service that meets changing customer expectation."

Nick Dimant, Managing Director at PTFS Europe said "We would like to thank the team at Halton for showing the vision and initiative to make this decision. The challenging economic climate is proving to be a catalyst. It is encouraging libraries to realise that by moving to Koha they can benefit from this combination of good functionality and modern technologies at a reduced cost."
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