I spent the weekend at my parents’ house in Toronto to see my brother, who’s visiting from Vancouver. The train ride from Ottawa takes about four and a half hours, which was plenty of time to make my way through the short but sweet Library 2.0 and Beyond: Innovative Technologies and Tomorrow’s User, edited by Nancy Courtney.
This collection of articles revolves around the ideas of (surprise, surprise) Library 2.0. For those who don’t know and can’t wait to open the book for a more detailed explanation, Library 2.0 is essentially the application of Web 2.0 tools (and more importantly, Web 2.0 concepts) in libraries as a way to become more responsive to the needs of the user community. For those unfamiliar with Web 2.0, I’ll direct you to Wikipedia, but here’s a hint: leave a comment on this blog post, and you’re participating in it!
One major strength of the book is that each article tackles a certain tool by first explaining how it is typically used on the web and then providing specific details of how it could be used in a library setting. As such, it will satisfy readers with a general interest in the future directions of libraries as well as librarians looking for advice they can put to use immediately.
Highlights for me include Looking Toward Catalog 2.0 by Michael Casey, which discusses improving library catalogue interfaces by taking advice from Google and Amazon.com; The Wonderful World of Wikis: Applications for Libraries by Chad F. Boeninger, which covers the use of wikis for internal communication, institutional collaboration, and research guides, as well as suggesting best practices for library wikis; and Folksonomies and User-Based Tagging by Ellyssa Kroski, which weighs the pros and cons of user-based categorization and offers examples of libraries that have already made use of tagging.
So if you’re interested in where libraries are headed (or at least where they will hopefully be headed soon), I recommend Library 2.0 and Beyond – even if you’re not trying to pass the time on a boring train ride.