Program: electronic library and information systems

ISSN: 0033-0337

Article publication date: 25 July 2008



Tedd, L.A. (2008), "Editorial", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 42 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/prog.2008.28042caa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: Program: electronic library and information systems, Volume 42, Issue 3

At the time of writing, April 2008, there is much talk in the library and information “world” about Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and social networking. Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, spoke on Web 2.0 in action at the opening keynote presentation at the Online Information international conference in London in December 2007. The following session continued this theme with papers from Euan Semple, an independent advisor on social computing for business, and on real Web 2.0 benefits from Richard Wallis of Talis, who, as a technology evangelist, is an active blogger on Talis’s Panlibus (http://blogs.talis.com/panlibus/) and a contributor to the Talking with Talis podcasts. Talis was one of the LMS suppliers included in a “horizon scan” of the LMS market prepared for the Joint Information Systems Committee (Adamson et al., 2008), which reported that “Web 2.0, and its corollary Library 2.0, represent a new way of thinking and working that has profound implications, not least in terms of questioning traditional concepts of authority and value, but also in the opportunities presented for networking, developing and sustaining communities of practice, user-generated content and aggregation of resources”. One of the key findings from the Adamson et al. report related to the systems approach with the “development of open interfaces within a Service Oriented Architecture and developing Web 2.0 models”.

Many other scans have also highlighted social networking and Web 2.0 as important developments, particularly in higher education. For instance, a report by the New Media Commission and the EduCause Learning Initiative identified the following technologies that are likely to impact on teaching and learning in higher education: user-created content; social networking; mobile phones; as well as virtual worlds and multi-player educational gaming (The Horizon Report, 2007). The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), also in the USA, carried out an environmental scan in 2007 which aimed to “identify major assumptions shaping the practice of academic librarianship as well as to identify emergent issues of concern to the profession” (ACRL Research Committee, 2008). A specific finding related to Web 2.0 and social networking was that: “the tools and techniques of social computing will provide new opportunities for the design and delivery of library resources and services but will also make increasing demands on library staff and systems”. OCLC is another organisation that regularly carries out scans. Its 2007 scan, based on responses from 6,545 users in Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the USA found that “more than a quarter of the online population surveyed (28 per cent) are active users of social sites – sites defined especially to provide exchange and content sharing”, with YouTube and MySpace being the most popular (De Rosa et al., 2007). In a paper for the American Chemical Society Spring Conference in April 2008 on the use of social networking for engaged library instruction, Gerry McKiernan of Iowa State University Library states that there are now 68 million users around the world of the social networking site, FaceBook (launched at Harvard University in 2004), with approximately one million new users per week (McKiernan, 2008). Web 2.0 and open source software was also one of the themes explored during a conference on Building knowledge repositories: cross-cultural collaboration organised by the National Institute for Fashion Technology in India which I was privileged to speak at in February 2008 (www.niftindia.com/conference2008/REPORT-WEB/Programme%20Schedule.htm).

The developments related to social networking and education were debated online at The Economist web site in January 2008 with the motion “The house believes that social networking technologies will bring large [positive] changes to educational methods, in and out of the classroom”. The result showed that 63 per cent believed in the motion and 37 per cent did not (www.economist.com/debate/). Although this did not specifically mention libraries, the fact is that many libraries are involved in the education process and so, what is likely to affect education will also affect libraries.

Those working in library and information units around the world need therefore to find out more about all these developments and to apply them, as appropriate, in their workplace. In a book on how to use Web 2.0 in a library, Bradley (2007) notes that: “Libraries can now easily collaborate and create online communities, as well as explore new ways in which to communicate with, educate and attract new users – and also to market themselves”. The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) runs two courses in this area: Web 2.0: nuts and bolts, and Web 2.0: building on the basics. The promotional material for the latter states: “This course will examine many of these tools in a practical manner, allowing participants to explore ways in which shared search techniques, social bookmarking, saved data, wikis and other applications not only promote the information centre, but provide a richness and depth of information to their users that has not been possible until now.” (www.cilip.org.uk/training/training/2008/AZindex2008.htm). The Annual Seminar of the UK eInformation Group, to be held in June 2008, is on Web 2.0 in action: practical implementation in the workplace (www.ukeig.org.uk/training/2008/June/AnnualSeminar2008.html). The UKeIG also maintains an active blog of support materials for its Web 2.0 workshops - http://ukeig.wordpress.com/

I hope that the papers in this special issue help in learning more about these technologies. Happy reading!

Lucy A. Tedd


ACRL Research Committee (2008), Environmental Scan 2007, American Library Association, Chicago, available at: www.acrl.org/ala/acrl/acrlpubs/whitepapers/Environmental_Scan_2.pdf

Adamson, V., Bacsisch, P., Chad, K., Kay, D. and Plenderleith, J. (2008), An Evaluation and Horizon Scan of Current Library Management Systems and Related Systems Landscape for UK Higher Education, Sero Consulting Ltd., GlenAffric Ltd, Ken Chad Consulting Ltd, Sheffield, available at: www.kenchadconsulting.co.uk/images/stories/lmsstudy.pdf

Bradley, P. (2007), How to Use Web 2.0 in your Library, Facet, London

De Rosa, C. (2007), Sharing, Privacy and Trust in our Networked World, OCLC, Dublin, OH, available at: www.oclc.org/reports/sharing/default.htm

(The) Horizon Report (2007), The Horizon Report, New Media Commission and Educause Learning Initiative, Boulder, CO, available at: www.nmc.org/pdf/2007_Horizon_;Report.pdf

McKiernan, G. (2008), “Being there: using social networking services for engaged library instruction”, paper presented at the American Chemical Society Spring Conference, New Orleans, LA, available at: http://onlinesocialnetworks.blogspot.com/2008/03/social-networking-services-for-engaged.html

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