Posted by: Steven Harris | December 27, 2007

Manifesto 1.0

Is a Collections 2.0 manifesto in order? I posted this statement over on Library 2.0 on Ning and got some pushback, but I’m sticking with my guns. So, I am reproducing some of that statement here. I then said that 3 things were foundational for 2.0 collections:

  • digital collections (I originally called these “electronic collections”)
  • ubiquitous computing
  • user customization–customer choice

To that I would add a fourth concept:

Collections are necessary to all 2.0 activities: That without collections (whether they are purchased, licensed, curated, discovered, or even contributed by users) there is no library and therefore nothing for 2.0 services to interact with. It is also fundamental that the nature, structure, and organization of collections can enable and enhance user interaction and community formation, or they can thwart these.

Digital Collections: Collections will become more and more digital (see Janus Conference). This will enable many kinds of uses we never envisioned before (see below). I don’t think, in the short term, however, that digital collections will completely replace print collections. Many things that our users want will not become digital for many years (if ever).

Ubiquitous computing (UC): will exploit electronic collections to allow access from virtually any place in the world at any time during the day. People will be using all kinds of devices to access information: PDAs, phones, laptops, UMPC, ebook readers. Not every collection will be appropriate for all these devices, but we need to think about making information available to users on a multitude of platforms. UC also means that the library is everywhere and the librarians are too. Librarians will be at the reference desk, on the web, in social networks, and perhaps even inside databases and electronic texts, helping people navigate and responding to questions—in real time.

Customer choice–user customization: will allow patrons to do things with the collections that are important to them. They should be able to save information and manipulate it in many ways: annotation, tagging, mashups, sharing, citation management. We should offer collections that enable these kinds of choices. Of course, collection development will be based on user demand in ways that we haven’t yet thought of. One of the big barriers to this kind of user freedom will be vendors and their concerns about property and copyright.

This last item is the most important to 2.0 collections: enabling people to do things with library data.

There are a lot of problems to solve here, but I think these are concepts we should be working to apply to all library collections in the future.



  1. […] The Power To Enhance The User Experience,” which reinforces a couple of points I make in the manifesto. One of these is that digital collections enable certain kinds of user behavior that are more […]

  2. […] I’d like to expound on one point about my Collections 2.0 manifesto. Nothing like starting off the new year with a massively long […]

  3. Steve,

    As a member of COLDEV, I saw your post and (with alacrity) made my way to your blog. Thanks, this is wonderful! But I wonder if perhaps we are preaching to the choir? As a “special” lilbrarian-(I work at a non-profit, academic research institute), I noticed your point about customer choice. You write users/patrons will be able to do things with library data that are important to them. I’d venture to say that they don’t know exactly what is important to them in the electronic world and we’ve got a long row to hoe before most researchers move their paradigm from paper to the virtual world. To whit, we’ve had EBSCOhost for over a year now and despite my best efforts, users are unaware of its many features or how to use them. The comment I hear most is that they are too busy to learn anything new or imho, too stubborn. Of course, the crusade hasn’t been helped by the fact that there are some bugs in the product –but nonetheless, features such as RSS feeds, journal alerts and customized folders seem like very handy tools to a scholar who is looking into the question of say, teacher efficacy and online instruction. So it’s not just the vendors but the users themselves who represent a barrier. I’d welcome any dialog/insight you have about that.

  4. It is exciting to see your articulated marriage between collections and services because it is something I advocate as well. See Catalog Collectivism and “Next Generation” Library Catalogs in 15 Minutes.

    You need both collections and services to call yourself a library. It is a Yin and Yang sort of thing. Without services your collections are useless. Without collections your services are empty. Collections can be based on a myriad of things: subjects/topics, formats, authors, age, price, etc. This is manifested as forestry collections, manuscript collections, all the works of Herman Melville, Medieval items, rare items, etc. Services can be exemplified using action verbs such as: search, browse, borrow, renew, annotate, review, tag, edit, compare & contrast, extract images from, trace idea, create citation, find derivative work, summarize, share, create subset, purchase, suggest, etc.

    Libraries do both create collections and provide services. One does not come before the other. One is not above the other. They are things that go hand in hand. Collections are huge part of Web 2.0. Collections (and services) are marginalized if they are not accessible in our globally computer networked environment.

  5. ABorus. You make a good point about the technology uptake by library patrons. Some are just totally resistant and probably never will adapt. Two things that might make it happen: obsolescence, what they once used is no longer available, and, systems that are so obviously useful that they are eventually seduced. But it won’t be an easy road. I think, however, that some collection development people are not the choir. Some CD folks reject the 2.0 paradigm as much as anybody.

  6. Nice post. I’m glad you mentioned that digitial collections will not replace print collections. I have another viewpoint, other than availability. I worked at a career college right after getting my MLS. Contrary to what they teach in library school, not every student graduates from high school tech saavy. A big part of my job was helping them learn how to use a computer. The majority did not have computers at home and were more comfortable with print (I did show them the electronic resources, but without the comfort factor with computers, they did not see the databases as their first source). We have to remember all of the users.

    And, I agree with ABorus, with an added thought. I had students who liked the features Ebsco offered when I showed them, but these were undergraduate students writing an undergraduate thesis. For the average undergraduate student, they do the research, write the paper/do the project/whatever and then move on. The features, in many respects, are not relevant for what they are doing. Now, if they become Graduate students, I would expect this to change, but maybe not.

  7. Thanks for this blog! I’m excited about having this space for talking about collections in a social environment. In my new position at Georgia Southern University (Collection Development & Assessment Librarian), one of my main projects has been redefining our Library Liaison program.

    We’ve been talking about ways to communicate with patrons across campus (we’ve even established liaison roles with non-academic units, from the Botanical Garden to the International Club), and a few of the librarians are already experimenting with blogs and Facebook.

    I’ve been blogging for a few years now, and participating in the blogosphere is a great way to tap into a subject specialty and connect patrons with useful information.

    Rock on!

  8. […] and listening to several things recently that have me thinking about some aspects of my manifestos (1.0 and 2.0) about digital collections and user-driven collections. One of these is the Educause […]

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