How to Use Web 2.0 in Your Library

Brenda Chawner (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 6 June 2008




Chawner, B. (2008), "How to Use Web 2.0 in Your Library", The Electronic Library, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 427-428.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

If there is a library geek in your life, then this might be just the book they need. Bradley starts by identifying four key characteristics of Web 2.0 applications:

  1. 1.

    They use the Web as a platform.

  2. 2.

    They reflect “collective intelligence” by allowing community members to create and/or modify content.

  3. 3.

    They are undergoing continuous improvement (also known as “always beta”).

  4. 4.

    They take advantage of new programming platforms such as Ajax, or publish their APIs so that other people can access and re‐use their data.

Subsequent chapters discuss specific Web 2.0 applications and their potential uses in libraries and information centres; these include RSS, weblogs (Bradley uses this term rather than the more familiar “blogs”), podcasts, social bookmarking, start pages, instant messaging, and photo sharing. The final chapter discusses issues associated with implementing these tools in a library. Each chapter includes a number of screenshots to illustrate the applications discussed, and some also include short interviews with librarians who are already using these technologies, presented in a case study format. One of the things I found most interesting about this book is its unpredictability – Bradley takes a very broad view of which Web 2.0 applications librarians could be interested in, and covers topics I have not found in other books on the subject, such as Casey and Savastinuk's (2007) Library 2.0: A Guide to Participatory Library Service or Library 2.0 and Beyond: Innovative Technologies and Tomorrow's User (Courtney, 2007). The chapters on creating customized search engines (such as Rollyo or Yahoo Search Builder) and start pages (e.g. PageFlakes or NetVibes) are two examples of this. Because Bradley uses many of these tools himself, his writing style is direct and personal, and his discussion of issues associated with their use in libraries is practical. This is more of a “how‐to” book than an academic one, perhaps best illustrated in the references,which are all to web sites rather than further reading. There is an index which is largely a list of Web 2.0 applications and services. I am pleased to see that he has put his ideas to work in the book's companion web site,; Zimbio allows people to create a portal, and Bradley has set this up so that the book's readers can update content. However, as with many library‐related Web 2.0 sites, this has had little uptake so far. In contrast with Farkas's (2007) book Social Software in Libraries, which gives a more general overview of a range of applications, Bradley has a stronger focus on specific applications and sites. My only quibble with this book is with its price: £39.95 is rather steep for a relatively slim paperback volume that may date quickly. It is recommended for professional collections, and for librarians and information managers who want to explore a range of Web 2.0 applications and services.


Casey, M. and Savastinuk, L. (2007), Library 2.0: A Guide to Participatory Library Service, Information Today, Medford, NJ.

Courtney, N. (Ed.) (2007), Library 2.0 and Beyond: Innovative Technologies and Tomorrow's User, Libraries Unlimited, Englewood, CO.

Farkas, M.G. (2007), Social Software in Libraries, Information Today, Medford, NJ.

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