Wading Into Web 2.0

Wading Into Web 2.0
from The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog

Over at ACRLog, Steven Bell flags “Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World,” a new report released by the OCLC Online Computer Library Center. The report — drawn from surveys of American librarians and library patrons in six nations — should provide plenty of grist for librarians as they debate how their institutions should make use of Web 2.0 tools and other new social media.

“Becoming engaged in the social Web is not about learning new services or mastering new technologies,” according to the center. Instead, the group argues, modern libraries should be “dismantling the current structures and inviting users in to create their content and establish new rules.”

That’s heady stuff, and it’s unlikely that too many libraries will embrace radical change, Mr. Bell writes. But the report makes another point that should strike a chord: Libraries’ forays into Web 2.0 are only as useful as the number of patrons who use them. The center polled more than 500 college students about their social-networking habits, and the results prove that, for campus librarians, not all Web 2.0 platforms are created equal.

About 84 percent of the students said they used YouTube, and (a surprisingly low) 56 percent reported using social networks like MySpace and Facebook, but just 10 percent said they had visited Flickr, the popular photo-sharing site. For college librarians wondering where to start with Web 2.0, statistics like those should be quite handy. —Brock Read

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