Literature Review

Twitter: What, Why & How
This article supports the idea that Twitter is more than just a web 2.0 novelty (and a self-centered one at that) and goes a long way to proving its usefulness in the library context. For instance, instead of thinking of Twitter as just another communication beacon for the library, its best uses involve rapid social collaboration – a library could “retweet” interesting and relevant news or press releases, or branch-specific changes such as openings, closings, and special events. Instead of going to a website to get your news, Twitter is essentially broadcasting outwardly, in the form of an RSS update, to its audience. This is just another way of providing library visitors with a convenient method of staying up-to-date on library going-ons.

Thornton-Jarenge, J. (2009). Twitter: what, why & how.
    Nebraska Library Associaton Quarterly, (2), 22-23.

  • Social bookmarking for library services
Bibliographic access through Delicious is a hot topic in some Library 2.0 circles, and this article discusses some of the pros and cons. What social bookmarking enables us to do is to think about information resources as living organisms connected    through a matrix of related knowledge, instead of static records that simply point users to their location. We need social bookmarking because patrons may have complex reference needs that cannot be assessed through subject headings only. When we encounter those sort of questions, whether they be commentarial or topical, we usually find answers via web searches. While we do so, it is imperative that we, collectively as librarians add to the social-subject matrix by participating in tagging and bookmarking them for future usefulness. If the semantic web is to exist, this is exactly the type of work librarians can do to add to the whole of available human knowledge.

Gilmour, R. & Stickland, J (2009, April). Social bookmarking for library services: bibliographic access hrough delicious.     C&RL News, 70(4), 234-237.

  • U.S. Public Libraries and Web 2.0: What's Really Happening?
This article covers research done by Zeth Lietzau into usage statistics of web 2.0 tools in public libraries in Spring of 2008. What I found most interesting is that just 1.5 years ago, evidence suggests that public library users were not interested in Facebook or Myspace (9% and 17% respectively were served by those resources in a library setting) as much as they were Blogs and RSS feeds. This is very telling; I think we in the library field have an unnecessary fear of the library becoming a sort of internet amusement park, but as evidence by these statistics people still primarily want to access news-based information. And who is to say what sorts of knowledge types are more important than others? Libraries should supply the resources and assistance, and let people mediate the rest.

Lietzau, Z. (2009, October). US. public libraries and web 2.0: what’s really happening?
Info Today, (9).

  • Thinking About Technology and Change, or, “What Do You Mean lt’s Already Over?”
In this article, Linda Cook Shippert addresses the Library 2.0 cynics by tackling some of the most common misconceptions regarding social media apps in a public library context, the most interesting of which is that Libraries should invest time and energy into applications which will get outmoded quickly. I've always thought that this was a very strange and lazy approach to the idea of social media in a professional context; why not accept that the nature of open-ended, free applications is that they are in a constant state of evolution, and that it actually isn't very hard to participate (and retire) from that process. As the web continues to work towards a WYSIWYG interactive application model, the learning curve gets more and more level. This should make adjusting to various styles and types of apps much easier. There's no level of proprietary learning involved. Don't like it? Hit uninstall. Let's not confuse experimentation with non-sustainability.

Sippert-Crook, L. (2009). Thinking about technology and change, or, “what do you mean lt’s already over?”.
PNLA Quarterly, 73(2).

  • Governing Social Media: Protect Your Library's Brand Online
This article discusses some very broad strategies towards crafting social media best practices and policies for your library. One of the interesting points that the author makes concerns the idea that the distinction between ones private life and their business life is increasingly becoming a blurry one, since tools like Facebook tend to aggregate people from disparate parts of ones life into one 'mega-community'. However, it should be noted that on many of the social networking apps in question, web developers have made strides in making privacy settings totally modular (vs. universal) so that users can create various lists of people with different levels of access associated to each. It will be interesting to see how libraries integrate modular grouping and setting different levels of control across social media apps to further help refine the ways in which we expect to connect to one another while in a library setting.

Farkas, M. (2009). 
Governing social media. American Libraries, 40(12), 35.


Daniel Lopatin,
Dec 13, 2009, 5:17 PM