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Developing a Web 2.0 service model

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By Margaret Adolphus

Introduction

Library 2.0 is about attitude, not technology. It is about reaching users wherever they are, and recognizing that their expectations may be conditioned by related services such as Google, or Amazon, which will be preferred if these expectations are not met.

It is about moving far away from hard-to-use catalogues, an inaccessible reference desk, an atmosphere of forbidding awe, and restrictive borrowing. It is also about participation, and allowing your users to collaborate with you, whether it is reviewing books or publicizing events.

The concept of Web 2.0 has been around since October 2004, and has affected almost every area of life, giving its name to Business 2.0, Education 2.0, eLearning 2.0 – and Library 2.0.

Web 2.0 is a collective name given to a number of newly emerging applications – for example, blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, RSS feeds, podcasts and vodcasts – which change our relationship to the Internet in a number of ways:

  • It is much easier to create content: the Web is no longer a group of sites constructed by specialists who need to have access to programming skills to publish their pages. All sorts of people can publish, and for that reason, Web 2.0 is often called the "read-write web".
  • It is much easier for people to collaborate: content can be shared through blogs and wikis, photos through Flickr, videos through YouTube, and so on. One application, Twitter, even enables you to share the minutiae of your life in texting style.
  • The technologies are no longer hardware dependent: much Web 2.0 software is stored in the Internet, and it is even possible to access cloud versions of the commoner applications of e-mail (Google mail) and word processing (Google docs).

All this has dramatically changed the world of information: it is no longer static, as under Web 1.0, but democratic and collaborative, as the barriers to publishing have diminished and as people can converse and share resources and ideas.

So, what does this all mean for library service provision?