Clearly, every one of the technologies listed in Web 2.0 above – RSS, Wikis, blogging, personalization, podcasting, streaming media, ratings, alerts, folksonomies, tagging, social networking software, and the rest – could be useful in an enterprise, institutional, or community environment and could be driven or introduced by the library. Yes, I know that many of these are already used individually in many of your environments. The beauty of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 is the level of integration and interoperability that is designed into the interface through your portal or intranet. That’s where the real power to enhance the user experience is. In order to take advantage of the concepts inherent in Library 2.0 is the imperative to not shy away from adding advanced functionality and features directly into the content. This would provide the context and workflow-oriented features that users will demand or are demanding already. Recently there has been a blog-based discussion about the need for renewed functionality in the ILS (integrated library system) and the OPAC.
John Blyberg, at Ann Arbor District Library, has promulgated an ILS Customer Bill of Rights, which asks for four things:
- Open, read-only, direct access to the database
- A full-blown, W3C standards-based API to all read-write functions
- The option to run the ILS on hardware of our choosing, on servers that we administer
- High security standards
Many of the requested aspects of Library 2.0 are already available in the SirsiDynix ILS interfaces for those who choose to update to current versions. SirsiDynix systems (Unicorn and Horizon) are well prepared to adapt to the 2.0 world. SirsiDynix has for many years offered open and allowed read-only, direct access to the database.
SirsiDynix systems (Unicorn and Horizon) have a library of APIs, and we have offered API training for years for any client to write anything they can imagine or for which they need customization for their particular environment. Loads of our clients do APIs, and they share APIs among themselves all the time and present them to each other at the user group meetings and big CODI and SuperConferences. It's not full blown W3C compliant yet, but we will be after the standard gets out there more fully.
SirsiDynix allows clients to use the hardware of their choosing, on servers that clients administer. Of course, there is no such thing as open hardware (yet?), but we try not to straightjacket our clients too much. We have always encouraged our customers to choose their own hardware within the specifications we have tested. We can't promise the software will work on everything – especially those platforms and hardware we haven't tested, but we're pretty flexible. We do offer hosted solutions especially for those smaller libraries that don't have the internal systems expertise. It’s a useful option.
Lastly, we have pretty high security standards, but we don't think they're high enough, especially in today’s challenging systems environments. Horizon 8.0 and Corinthian will be released in 2006 and have much higher security and two-way encryption standards. Unicorn 3.X has plans to implement higher security options as well.
While this list is largely focused on the systems librarian’s needs, it does provide a foundation for Library 2.0 for end-users as long as we have Librarian 2.0 in place.
SirsiDynix also has the 2.0 foundation being developed. Both the Enterprise Portal Solution™ (EPS) and the Horizon Information Portal (HIP) were developed to allow both specialized proprietary solutions and open source or free applications to be integrated into the interfaces, portals, and portlets. These are the beginnings of the next generation of interfaces to move beyond the OPAC and integrate our content and tools into the overall information ecologies of communities and learning.
On the content side of the house, SirsiDynix’s Rooms™ production and tools provide the opportunity to create and deliver content in context. You can also integrate many useful applications into the Room that empowers the user and places the librarian into the virtual learning and discovery space. The launch of School Rooms™ is a transformational approach to the world of schools, homework, and learning.
Librarian 2.0 is the guru of the information age. Librarian 2.0 strives to
· Understand the power of the Web 2.0 opportunities
· Learn the major tools of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0
· Combine e-resources and print formats and is container and format agnostic
· Is device independent and uses and delivers to everything from laptops to PDAs to iPods
· Develop targeted federated search and adopts the OpenURL standard
· Connect people and technology and information in context
· Doesn’t shy away from non-traditional cataloging and classification and chooses tagging, tag clouds, folksonomies, and user-driven content descriptions and classifications where appropriate
· Embrace non-textual information and the power of pictures, moving images, sight, and sound
· Understand the “long tail” and leverages the power of old and new content
· See the potential in using content sources like the Open Content Alliance, Google Print, and Open WorldCat
· Connect users to expert discussions, conversations, and communities of practice and participates there as well
· Use the latest tools of communication (such as Skype) to connect content, expertise, information coaching, and people
· Use and develops advanced social networks to enterprise advantage
· Connect with everyone using their communication mode of choice – telephone, Skype, IM, SMS, texting, email, virtual reference, etc.
· Encourage user driven metadata and user developed content and commentary
· Understand the wisdom of crowds and the emerging roles and impacts of the blogosphere, Web syndicasphere and wikisphere
First and foremost, Librarian 2.0 understands his or her users at a deep level – not just as pointers and clickers. Librarian 2.0 understands end users deeply in terms of their goals and aspirations, workflows, social and content needs, and more. Librarian 2.0 is where the user is, when the user is there. This is an immersion environment that librarians are eminently qualified to contribute to. Aspects of librarian influenced e-learning and distance education as implemented by our institutions and communities should allow us to contribute to the preparation of our users to acquire and improve their skills and competencies.
It is essential that we start preparing to become Librarian 2.0 now. The Web 2.0 movement is laying the groundwork for exponential business growth and another major shift in the way our users live, work, and play. We have the ability, insight, and knowledge to influence the creation of this new dynamic – and guarantee the future of our profession. Librarian 2.0 – now.
Stephen Abram, MLS is vice president, Innovation for SirsiDynix. He is an SLA Fellow and the past president of the Ontario Library Association and the immediate past president of the Canadian Library Association. In June 2003 he was awarded SLA’s John Cotton Dana Award. Stephen would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.