Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

What does the library of the near future look like?

I have been guilty of thinking about librarians as the people who just love reading - the book worms. The protector of books and paper based technology. I am wrong. Librarians are the information gurus. They are lovers of information and their skill lies in being able to access information from visual, audio and text media. Much of this material is now best available via electronic means. This is the first implication for libraries and librarians and the immediate challenge for them.

Just as many libraries and librarians are starting to come to terms with this comes the next issue. We are on the verge of the next internet revolution. The reincarnation of the web into what people are calling Web 2.0.

The web, as people currently see it, can be termed as Web 1.0 This involves the use of email, search engines, instant messaging and relatively static web sites.

Web 2.0 involves a range of new technologies that is very much evolving as we speak. A list of some of these technologies is below (from http://www.imakenews.com/sirsi/e_article000505688.cfm?x=b6ySQnR,b2rpmkgK)

  • RSS (really simple syndication)
  • Wikis
  • New and revised programming methods like AJAX and APIs
  • Blogs and blogging
  • Commentary and comments functionality
  • Personalization and “My Profile” features
  • Personal media such as Podcasting and MP3 files
  • Streaming media audio and video formats
  • Reviews and user driven ratings
  • Personalized Alerts
  • Web Services
  • Instant messaging and virtual reference including co-browsing
  • Folksonomies, Tagging, and tag clouds
  • Photos (e.g. Flickr, Picasa)
  • Social networking software
  • Open Access, Open Source, Open Content
  • Socially driven content
  • Social bookmarking (such as Delic.io.us)

Web 2.0 is very social and is focussed on delivering higher levels of interactivity. It fits more perfectly with constructivist learning than Web 1.0 and Web 1.0 has been pretty cool for this. The challenge for libraries will be to assist people with accessing and creating information in these social and collaborative environments. It will involves becoming expert in the use of a whole plethora of tools.

I concur with South Oz E-learning in recommending a read of http://www.imakenews.com/sirsi/e_article000505688.cfm?x=b6ySQnR,b2rpmkgK . It is written by Stephen Abram of SirsiDynix. He writes about the need for Librarians to start getting ready for Web 2.0.

Think about these issues as we consider the deployment, training and recruiting of library staff – our information gurus.

Think about this as we restructure the physical resources within our libraries. Why will people need to go to a physical place called a library?

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