Results tagged “community” from WorldCat Blog

What's your story, Montana?

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Jennie Stapp, who is the digital library director of the Montana State Library, posted a comment on my previous blog entry. I thought it would be better to respond to her comment in another post because I wanted to link to a number of Web pages.

Jennie connected my blog post to her state library's marketing campaign: What's Your Story. The Web site for the campaign sounds interesting. I'd love to hear some of the stories they get.

While reading her comment, I thought about where all of these stories come from and where we find them. I assume Montana's What's Your Story campaign will collect the stories on their site, but I also wonder about aggregating stories from other sites.

Without rereading David Lanke's writing on libraries as community conversations, I'm in danger of "steeling" his ideas. That is not my intent, but I will blunder on.... I'm wondering how many stories are taking place on Flickr or YouTube or some blog somewhere. These stories too are interesting to our neighbors, which is to say library patrons.

So I dug a little into library content and into the Web's social content. Using WorldCat I unearthed photos of the interior of the First National Bank of Glasgow, Montana circa 1910. Then I did a quick search on Flickr for Glasgow images. And I found this great video on YouTube: glasgow high school cell phone survey. There's a lot of stories on the Related Videos section of of that page too.

I think it would be fascinating to see these types of stories on the Leisure and Recreation section of the What's Your Story site.

My local library is more than a gallery, where I go to look at stuff; it is a museum where I go to make sense of stuff. Just as an archived photo collection or a family's personal papers can help me learn about life in Glasgow, MT; so can that YouTube video.

I know I am touching on issues of collection maintenance (how libraries decide what they are going to buy and keep) and staff time. Should the limited resources of our neighborhood libraries be spent making sense of what's on YouTube and Flickr as well as what is on their shelves and in their article and journal databases?

Libraries and the Social Web?

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A recent feedback message questioned whether libraries have a place on the social Web. If ease of use, community, experience and knowledge are valued; then libraries and librarians are perfectly suited for this new online environment. Many, many other bloggers have posted on this topic, including all of the bloggers ranked by OEDb and several books and articles have been published on the topic lately. This is just my take from the WorldCat.org side of things.

Why Social Networking

Social networking and Web 2.0 in general have come to mean many different things. I can understand why the terms--and even some of the tools we associate with the terms--are misunderstood. We at WorldCat.org are not thinking so much about social networking, rather we are building a space where information seekers, library patrons and librarians can come together and collaborate.

We are thinking well beyond the me-tooism of chasing 'friends' on MySpace or 'fans' on Facebook, even as we exploit those environments to bring library resources closer to Web users. If WorldCat.org was just a list of 'friends' and the books they have read, it would be nothing more than all the other book related sites.

It's All About Easy

Librarians and professional researchers have had access to OCLC's WorldCat database for decades. But we made the public face of that database easy to use so everyone can benefit from the knowledge accumulated in libraries and from the experience of librarians.

Think libraries don't have a place among Web 2.0 rock-star sites? Think again. Ease of use is a hallmark of Web 2.0. Consider Google Maps, YouTube or Flickr.

The first generation of Web-based tools provided services similar to what these sites offer, but the tools of yesterday required patience, arcane knowledge and often browser plugins and high-speed Internet access. We were able to share photos in the 1990's and even earlier, but those tools were so complicated or expensive that most people never bothered. In fact most people didn't even know the opportunity to learn from and share with each other existed online. IMHO we all lost out.

We are making WorldCat.org as easy to use as possible and building tools to help Web users everywhere to discover the wealth of information libraries, experts and librarians can bring to bare on common questions. By brining library resources to the Web user, we will increase the reach and impact that a 'serious researcher' or librarian can have within their area of expertise.

So thank a librarian, a teacher, a student, a professor and a sergeant. Thank a stay-at-home mom, a pastor, a rabbi. Thank a business analyst, an entrepreneur and a delivery driver. Thank your neighbors for helping to create this great learning environment of Web 2.0. And I thank the collective You for so many years of sharing and teaching.

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