a delicious new world

del.icio.us is one of those sites that I have used extensively over the past few years. I used it as a recommendations list; it’s a wonderfully efficient way of going about that without too much unnecessary formatting trouble. In the end my reviews/comments wound up as simple keywords (moving forward, amazing, happy endings, etc.) separated by commas, but even that gives enough information for other readers to judge whether or not the link is worth their time, I think.

As a research tool, it must also be very effective. We’ve been learning how to use Dialog in the Principles of Searching class, and I’ve been tearing my hair out over some of the assignments; how useful it must be to have access to past searches and have something similar to the ‘Users who liked this book also liked…’ function in Amazon! The great thing about Web 2.0 is the breadth and the scope of it; there are so many different communities that are using tools like del.icio.us for so many different things — research, entertainment, even social purposes — and it serves all those needs equally well. One of the things the Internet has done is to make it easy for those with like interests to find each other and to share information that might be useless to most of the world, but completely relevant to these niche groups, and the 2.0 tools have been wonderful at facilitating the process.

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I’m fairly sure that WordPress does not require me to include the manual code to append a Technorati tag, but I will do so anyhow instead of using the usual tagging system and see how it works. *g*

Not sure what to say about Technorati, aside from that fact that it’s great for vanity searches. :p In any case, Technorati makes it easy to keep up with what’s going on in the blogosphere without tripping through 928374928374 different blogging sites. Everything is connected; everything is intertwined.

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Library 2.0. It’s a good concept, something solid to grasp onto in this current stage where the identities of libraries and librarians are constantly in flux — and yet it is itself built on the never-ending shift of the world’s collective consciousness. I think one of the problems libraries face at the moment is the push and pull between what people believe libraries are, and what people want libraries to be. The concept of a library is still for the most part bound to a stolid, respectable-looking building, shelves of dog-eared books, a librarian in glasses behind the desk and a hush throughout the premises. It may feel old-fashioned, outdated, even though at times it is still desirable as an oasis in a sea of bustle. But for information-seeking purposes, it is no longer what the younger generations are accustomed to turning to.

How to change that? In theory, Library 2.0 molds itself to the desires of its users, the same way Youtube and del.icio.us and Twitter have been shaped into what they are today. I am curious as to what form it will eventually take. One of the qualities of the aforementioned 2.0 tools is that the actual content is generated almost solely by the userbase. Yet a library is not merely a single vast repository of unfiltered information — for that, you have Google, you have dozens of different search engines. From what I understand, what makes libraries different is the human filter for that information; it is the librarians themselves. But I honestly don’t know how well introducing a human moderating factor that is integral to a 2.0 tool would go over. Internet denizens are generally an opinionated bunch, and wary of ‘the Man’. Of course librarians do not seek to direct or oppress, but if Library 2.0 is going to be a popular thing, a tool everyone and their pet dog uses, I can already foresee the flame wars and kerfuffles that will break out over perceived prejudices and slights.

The concept is fascinating, and I would love to be able to help the ‘latest model’ of libraries grow and become established in the minds of the public, but I really can’t imagine how it’s going to turn out. It will be interesting to see. 🙂

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