Posted by: Steven Harris | July 20, 2009

What is 2.0?

I served as moderator for a program at the ALA conference recently. My introductory comments kind of serve as my justification for the term “2.0,” at least as far as it is applied to libraries.

Collection Development 2.0: The Changing Administration of Collection Development
Moderator: Steven R. Harris
Saturday, July 11th, from 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
[speakers’ slides]

[My introductory comments]

Welcome to Collection Development 2.0. Everybody wants to be 2.0, right? Well, maybe not. Maybe it’s gone by… time to be replaced with 3.0!  I had something about 2.0 on Facebook the other day and someone posted a note that said, “2.0 is SOOO 2007.” There IS a danger, which I think we should try to avoid, a danger in keeping up with the latest trends, of seeming to be hipper than thou. Or 2 pointier than thou.

But is 2.0 something that is enduring, much less REAL? I think so. Whether we call it 2.0 or something else. What is it then? In it’s most basic and mundane usage, 2.0 just means doing things in the library in ways that are new and innovative. But that’s not the kind of enduring idea I have in mind.

2.0, to me, is all about listening to library users, engaging them in a conversation about what library services and collections should really be, designing services around real user needs. Some might say we’ve always done that. But I think it’s never had the potential for immediacy that we see now.

2.0 is also about exploiting digital technology and social media to enhance that conversation. Technologies now enable libraries to reach more information, but also to reach more users. 2.0 is about tying those two abilities together.

From the collections perspective, I think 2.0 is about either changing the manner in which we develop collections or about developing collections themselves that are new and innovative. Or specifically about developing collections that users can do things with, do whatever they need to do or whatever they find meaningful and significant. It’s about putting the power of information truly and actually into the hands of the user.

Our speakers today have all demonstrated a skill at innovation and at putting library user needs at the beginning of the conversation. Today we are going to hear about innovative collection development practices and inspired ideas about how we OUGHT to be doing collection development.

I am going to introduce all of our speakers now and then just call each in turn to the podium to speak for a few minutes. We’ll leave all questions until the end of the presentations. Then we hope to engage all of you in a conversation.

Jonathan Nabe is Collection Development Librarian for Science and Technology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  He is also Coordinator of the institutional repository there, OpenSIUC.  Prior to his arrival at SIUC, he worked at the University of Connecticut, Brandeis University, and SUNY Stony Brook. SIUC recently underwent a complete change in the way collection development is handled, which we will hear about.

Martha White is Director of Library Experiences at Lexington (KY) Public Library. Her very title suggests a focus on customers and, as she told me, “on making sure that the customer has a great experience at the library, real or virtual.” LPL also recently underwent a reorganization that focuses more library staff on user experiences. Martha is going  to describe that.

Rick Anderson is Associate Director for Scholarly Resources & Collections, University of Utah. Rick is also the current president of NASIG. You may know him from his work on CD Hotlisit or columns in Against the Grain. There and in other publications, Rick has long advocated an overhaul to our library collections practices. He will present more of those ideas today.

[speakers’ slides]



  1. Thanks for sharing! Since I couldn’t make it to Chicago, I’d love to see the other presentations from this session if they’re available.

  2. Here are the slides for the other speakers:

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