Posted by: Steven Harris | July 13, 2009

Mashability

Coming to you from the Metra line on the way to Elburn, IL after the ALA conference in Chicago

I’ve been reading 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 publication “The Academic Library in a 2.0 World” (Wawrzaszek, Susan, and David G. Wedaman. Research Bulletin, Issue 19. 2008. http://www.educause.edu/ECAR/TheAcademicLibraryina20World/163206) This report is a good summary of the changes happening in libraries because of the explosion of digital information. A couple of sentences capture the essence of these changes:

“We see a growing emphasis on information creation, including collective intelligence, tagging, and individual empowerment. Group study, social learning, experiential learning, online learning, and multimedia learning are transforming higher education and student expectations.” [emphasis mine]

Saturday, I also participated in a program for ALCTS at the ALA conference. (I know, alphabet soup: American Library Association, Association of Library Collections and Technical Services.) I was the moderator of a panel that discussed the changes they envisioned as necessary for collection development in the future (Collection Development 2.0). Martha White (Lexington, KY Public Library) and Jonathan Nabe (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale) discussed patron outreach efforts and the reorganization of collection development, respectively. Rick Anderson (University of Utah) talked a lot about how we really need to change our collection development behavior, especially to give up just-in-case collecting in favor of patron-driven and just-in-time collecting.

Both of these items (the Educause reading and the ALA program) focused on the changes digital information is causing in libraries and librarianship. But neither of these events really get at what I think is the heart of collections 2.0: the ability of library customers to use and repurpose information however they like, to make mashups, as it were, that serve their needs and interests.

I recently read a chapter by G. Sayeed Choudhury and David Seaman that more closely represented these views:

“There is a growing realization that in order to encourage the innovative uses we as librarians want to enable in our users, we need electronic content that is not simply available on a website but which encourages innovation by being easily gathered, personalized, re-purposed, and delivered out again to an audience. This malleability goes to the heart of much scholarly endeavor…” (“The Virtual Library” in A Companion to Digital Literary Studies, ed. Susan Schreibman and Ray Siemens. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. http://www.digitalhumanities.org/companionDLS/)

This is my new manifesto! It remains to be seen how amenable commercial information vendors will be to this kind of mashability. Stay tuned.

(Library selection was one of the big themes for me at ALA. Lots of thoughts to come about that.)

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Responses

  1. Thanks so much for alerting me to the “companion.” was mind blowing.

    and hey, i beat u to the manifesto: (not really, i just like the wrought manifesto) http://techview.wordpress.com/2007/05/31/the-library-as-text-part-iii-or-the-finest-possible-communication-apparatus-in-public-life/


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