Thursday, January 25, 2007

Oh, and by the way ...

... I have to say, Jeffrey responded much more graciously to my crime march-related slamming of him the other day that he really had to. He responds at length to the criticism of his position in his blog, and while I still don't agree, he defends himself well.

Library 2.0 -- it's on!!!

Just as I was talking about social software in libraries and the "next generation catalog," here comes SOPAC, the "Social OPAC," created by John Blyberg at the Ann Arbor District Library, which has all the very things I was talking about -- reviews, comments, tagging, customization, the works. Fabulous!

AADL is very cutting-edge on the 2.0 front -- their website has been blog-driven for a while, using blogs to advertise events, publicize new acquisitions and let the director talk to the citizens. It is a very supple, natural, yet dynamic website. And I daresay it was neither terribly expensive or difficult to create -- if you know some Web programming. These tools are designed to be easy, to be used and tweaked by ordinary users. This is not out of the reach of even modest libraries, if someone is willing to put the time in to learn the skillls. Or if the library is open to harnessing the native skills of its younger, more tech-savvy workers.

The SOPAC, of course, is more complicated, but it is built, as I understand it, with a set of customizable modules overlaying the catalog, and interacting with it to retrieve and display bib records. They did it themselves, by the way -- it is not a product of their automation vendor.

Another neat, very 2.0 thing about it is that you don't have to be an AADL cardholder to have a SOPAC account and add content. Anyone can register. So you can play aroud with it! Add tags! Write reviews!

That's what 2.0 is all about -- collaboration.

It's just super-cool. Watch the movie, too -- it's neat and very informative.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A nice Library 2.0 list for Public Libraries

My Top-ten Library 2.0 “No-brainers” for Public Libraries « The Other Librarian

This is a nice, easy list of simple -- mostly free -- things libraries can do to be more responsive and collaborative. Very simple things like having a blog with an RSS feed, allowing social software like YouTube to run on public access PCs, and adding the plug-in to browsers, so patrons can tag on the fly.

I am all for this. As a minor webhead myself, I am all about Library 2.0. Why? Because it expands the capabilities of the library. Because, as patrons use and create with collaborative software, at their library, they become more engaged with the library itself, and become stakeholders, concerned and involved with the future of the library itself as an institution. That's the hope, anyway. Besides, it's just offering better service. And why not do that? It's free, it's easy, and it provides a useful servicefor patrons. What's not to like.

I look forward to going out into libraryland with my degree and being a "change agent," bringing these L 2.0 techniques to whatever library I end up in. It pleases me to think of returning to NOPL as a branch manager, and creating my own little Branch 2.0, doing gaming programming, and having regular patrons read my "branch manager blog." It pleaes me greatly. It is the only reason I might consider going back -- assuming that is possible.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

March on!

Somewhat out of the loop up here in Baton Rouge, I was enormously heartened to hear about the anti-crime march on City Hall. I think it will really have an effect. Angry people marching in the streets is really the only thing that inspires fat-cat politicos to action; it scares them, as it damn well should. And I absolutely LOVE the fact that Nagin was not permitted to speak at the rally!

And on a related topic, I feel I have to express my complete disgust at the anti-march stance taken by my former co-worker Jeffrey over at Library Chronicles. Jeffrey, I am appalled. You accuse the marchers of being Yuppies, of being crypto-fascists implicity endorsing the advent of a police state, of being racially insensitive because they are upset that it was a a white woman and mother, Helen Hill, who was murdered. But it is her family and friends who organized the march -- how should they not be upset? They are trying to do something, trying to effect change, address the issue. How can you censure them for that? At least they are trying something -- whereas you consistently sit back, criticize, belittle, and offer absolutely nothing in the way of constructive alternatives or options.

That is no longer good enough. Bitching and brick-throwing no longer cut it. Jeffrey, I used to read you every day, but as of today I am removing you from my blogroll. You are too negative. I feel you are now part of the problem, not the solution. You're certainly entitled to your opinion. But I don't have to read it.
Various fundies, wingnuts, and TV talking heads have been squawking about freshman Congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim, taking his oath of office on a copy of the Quran, but for myself, this makes me proud to be an American.

Do you get it? Thomas Jefferson had a copy of the Quaran! Isn't that what America is all about, being open to the offerings of other cultures, taking the best of them and energizing them with America spirit and optimism? If TJ was open to studying the books of other religions, we can do no less.

I feel very happy for Keith Ellison that he had such a rare and precious volume to swear upon. The people who are upset and frightened by this are fools. They should be glad instead.