Tuesday, April 17, 2007

#19 Web 2.0

The open library comes into its own. Sometimes we're so focused on the trees as we place holds for patrons, help them download audio books, renew materials, research phone numbers that we forget to step back and view the whole picture. And "the forest" is changing dynamically. A good friend called to discuss how many gigabites she needed on her new iPod since she expected to download podcasts of her favorite radio and news programs. Another calls me "rampant digerati" as I demo some new graphical toy on KCLS Learning 2.0. And each of them is a regular reader of print books, too, although I must admit they get their newspapers online, a morning routine I am reluctant to abandon. And abandoning old tools is part of this surge forward. Our resources at Answer Line have changed dramatically in recent years as book use declines and we use the Web for the vast majority of our responses. I don't think KCLS circ has declined like Rick Anderson's 55% but change is the key and we already are aboard as far as Questionpoint, Chat and Live Homework Help tools to connect with patrons. The Chicago map mash up mentioned by Michael Stephens was nice although not that far superior to ours. Dr. Wendy Schultz' vision was my favorite (probably the single malt!) but her idea of the library as a mind gym and her definition of a library: "Libraries are not just collections of documents and books, they are conversations, they are convocations of people, ideas, and artifacts in dynamic exchange. Libraries are not merely in communities, they are communities: they preserve and promote community memories; they provide mentors not only for the exploration of stored memory, but also for the creation of new artifacts of memory." This entire exercise has helped stress these convocational attributes as we learn so many hip, new ways of connecting, not simply through writing and talking but through photos, videos and websites. Public response from friends and family has been awed and impressed by the breadth of the KCLS learning exercise and particularly that it is coming from the LIBRARY!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Library Thing

Cookbooks on Ice
Originally uploaded by featherlearning.

No introduction needed to Library Thing for me. Search my library to the left. I'm already a big fan with many books entered and I am fascinated by the social aspects of seeing who has my books, what they have in their own libraries, how they review them and the conversations generated in the groups including Librarians Who Library Thing. While Gurulib has the same listing capabilities, it lacks the social aspects and group functions that I enjoy in Library Thing. Shelfari is more interesting because it offers Reading Lists and Wish Lists but they do not have the extensive bibliographic resources for downloading older or more obscure titles (i.e. libraries all over the world.) Library Thing is just bigger which is another plus if the social links draw you in. Any of these would serve library patrons in keeping lists of what they want to read or have read, plus Library Thing now has a feature directed at libraries where patrons can register at a cost of a nickel per patron. And they will be previewing even more and better things for libraries this weekend in Washington DC:

"LibraryThing for Libraries is composed of a series of widgets, designed to enhancing library catalogs with LibraryThing data and functionality. The achievement is that the widgets require NO back-end integration.

We're serious. Just add a single Javascript tag, and one
tag for every widget you want to display and we do the rest. To make sure the widgets use your library's version of a title and that some widgets only refer to books you have, you also need to upload a file with ISBNs in it—just ISBNs or all mixed together in MARC records or whatever. The whole thing should work with any catalog."