This is the first part of a three-part series on Web 2.0 tools written by Michael Baird, (OR-7), Evening Reference Coordinator at the Oregon State University Valley Library. Michael is one of five librarians who post on Infododads, a blog which “reviews and discusses existing and new tools, services, and technology for finding information on the internet.” He will be the lead presenter discussing “Information Discovery for Librarians – Keeping Up with Web 2.0” at the Online Northwest 2008 Conference on February 22nd.
Two great introductions to Web 2.0 are a youtube entitled The Machine is Us/ing Us and this article by Tim O’Reilly entitled “What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software”.
Subject Research Guides / Website Guides –
Use the del.icio.us linkroll feature for lists of links maintained in subject research guides or website guides. You don’t have to edit the webpage to change/edit/add links, just edit that group of links in your del.icio.us account. Look in the Other Suggested Resources section in the the Chelmsford Public Library for an example.
For a (relatively) small investment, Libguides is an amazing service that offers branded custom “widgets” that may be used as subject guides or portals for users. These widgets can pull in all sorts of information: RSS feeds, embedded video or podcasts, del.icio.us tag clouds and a lot more. Some even have live chat widgets (Meebo, Chatango, etc.) embedded. Here’s an example from Boston College University Library.
The Catalog –
What if you could rate items in the catalog? Comment on them? Leave recommendations for other users? Not possible? Sure it is. Check out this link for “A thread of grace” by Mary Doria Russell at Hennepin County Library. Note that the book has comments as well as tabs for summary, reviews, and excerpt.
Hennepin is also a great example of another web 2.0 technology in library catalogs. Is there a search you repeat on a regular basis? Do you have a favorite author? Add an RSS feed for your search and be notified when new items for that search are added to the catalog. Here is the RSS code for a keyword search on Miles Davis. Just copy and paste it into your feed aggregator (Google Reader, Bloglines, etc.).
Instead of updating text on your library homepage for each new event, service, or news update, use a blog. Again, this really opens the arena for any user to have the skills to create and publish the content. Aside from the initial setup, web skills are not necessary. Here is an example from Western Oregon University Library using a blog to feed news items to their home page. This library has two blogs feeding to their homepage: one for featured databases and one for announcements. The way these display is completely customizable so they “fit” the look and feel of the existing page and blend in.
Next week Michael writes about his favorite Web 2.0 tools.