Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thing 2 : What I think about Library 2.0

I've been trying to get time to watch the video that's part of this week's work for days now, and not managing it (a busy weekend followed by the day job and the last two nights at the temporary job didn't help). I'm going ahead and talking about the rest of it now, and will come back there.

Why participate?
Already answered this, really: I'm looking to improve my existing skills, build new ones, and not-so-incidentally build up professional online material that I can point at in job interviews.

How has the Internet affected my life?
I've met friends and romantic partners online. Every single major (or local) diaster since college, I heard about first online. (Single exception? The 35W bridge collapse: I was sitting in the computer lab at St. Kate's at the time, working on an assignment because I didn't have 'Net at home yet after moving.) It's also how I've known people were safe after disasters.

I'm capable of being offline for days at a time (distraction helps), but it's so much of how I keep up with the people I care about, and the topics and interests I care about, that I don't do it without good reason.

Not counting work, I'm usually online for about an hour in the morning before work, and for 2-3 hours any evening I'm home (which is anywhere from 3-5 of them.) Most of that is for personal interests, mind you, and includes some amount of electronic gaming, but a lot of it is conversation on various sites and through various formats.

Where am I in use of Web 2.0 tools?
I've been on LiveJournal (including volunteer support work) since 2001. I've got accounts on Facebook and LinkedIn, on various forums and boards. I've got an account on Flickr that I don't use much, and one on Ravelry. I read a number of email lists, and post to a few of them.

I find some of them unsatisfying: I prefer longer, more in-depth conversation, which leads me towards blogs and away from social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. I'm a recent convert to using an RSS reader outside of LiveJournal - I find it fantastic for blogs I want to keep up with, but can leave for a while if I'm (especially) busy.

What I'm most interested right now is learning ways libraries are using these tools, and how my existing knowledge fits into that. I have a number of ideas, but more are never bad.

How about my library?

Our website (K-12 private school) is currently fairly locked down: we can have static pages posted, but it goes through our webmistress. Our instructional technology specialist has brought in Moodle (educational course software) that we've used for a library resource area (booklists, links to local event listings, other fun ideas) and classes and some others use wikis, blogs, and podcasts.

We're doing a bit of education (to parents, but also students) about online safety and literacy issues, but not a lot of proactive education (how to have good experiences online, not just avoid bad ones) and not a lot of it is integrated into other activities yet.

What am I looking forward to with 23 things?
I'm looking forward to trying thing out with a fresh eye, and having a chance to explore how to use these in library settings, not a personal one or a school one.

Interactive Usage history:
One thing that occured to me while reading this Thing's articles - I remember (fondly) the days when you could find other books you liked by looking at the check-out cards, and seeing who had it, and looking for their name. I found great books that way.

This is something I miss - and something that Web 2.0 is managing, but that libraries might potentially harness. Obviously, there are sites like LibraryThing and GoodReads where people can share their reading lists are great, but one that lets you filter for both people in your geographical area and who like the same books (or a subset of the same books) would be fantastic. (GoodReads does have a "People near me", but it doesn't seem to have a "People near me who read a bunch of the same books" combination.)

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