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

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