Academia & Library 2.0

January 16, 2007

Laura Cohen from Library 2.0: An Academic’s Perspective had two great posts this week: Academic Libraries, Captive Audiences and Transformation and 2.0 Projects and Scalability. In the first post, the author discusses the fact that many academic libraries see themselves as a monopoly on campuses. Because of this, academic libraries are slow to see the need to transform. After all, they have a captive audience – and don’t tend to see the need to court their clientele. I think Laura Cohen has a real point about why academic libraries may be slow to adopt 2.0 technologies. From the post:

Do academic libraries have a captive audience? Yes, but this audience is being drawn away from us and the situation will probably get worse. If things keep on going as they are, in ten years’ time we’ll still have users, but the disjunction between our information culture and theirs will be vast. We’ll have a captive audience, all right, but one that will use us grudgingly, that will not enjoy dealing with our off-putting, complex, rigid information systems that are light years behind the interactive, participatory, open systems that define their information culture.

Honestly, I think that some of these predictions may actually already be the reality for many of our constituents.

In the second post, Laura Cohen pointed me to Karen A. Coomb’s January 2007 article from Computers in Libraries, Building a Library Web Site on the Pillars of Web 2.0. In the article, Karen Coombs describes the process of rebuilding her library’s web site based on web 2.0 technologies – which makes Laura Cohen think about ways that we can make this easier. She hopes that “we can develop a culture of sharing successful projects across libraries.” I agree. I doubt that we can succeed at transforming libraries without serious collaboration.