Welcome to Library Apps

Welcome to LIBRARY APPS! THE NEW FRONT DOOR! (Baker, 2007) An "app" is an application software designed to help the user perform singular or multiple related specific tasks. Wikipedia (2010) We hope this blog will be a useful tool for a snapshot look at library blogs, reviews, and web tool developments within Library 2.0.

Monday, April 11, 2011

‘All that Glisters is Not Gold’ – Web 2.0 And the Librarian by Paul Anderson


Anderson’s article aims to create a framework within the list of new technologies originally outlined and formulated in Tim O’Reilly’s (2005) paper, and questions how the development of Web 2.0 applications and ideas will work, “in the context of librarianship” (Anderson, 2007, p.195). He also touches on the need for an agreed direction and definition of the concept of ‘Library 2.0’.

Amsterdam Central Library    Photo. Saskia Ruijs
The purpose

In our review, Anderson confirms a number of important themes within the heading of Library 2.0 that will be highlighted and further developed. Firstly the impact Web 2.0 technologies have on librarians and the library community, and secondly how the library must utilise its perception as a ‘trusted’ institution in terms of ethics, privacy and copyright.

Web 2.0 and Library Information Services
Anderson’s comment that “librarians need to start to mobilise their skills and to deploy them in new directions and take risks” (Anderson, 2007, p.196), is actually being actioned in today’s libraries. Web 2.0 is a technical evolution of the web, yet there has been a new creation of services and behaviour patterns (Barbry, 2007, p. 91). Today, the use of Web 2.0 interface applications are both user and receiver friendly with librarians creating information specific blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, podcasts and tweets (Twitter) as a further add-on tool for information participation.  Due to the ease of user interfaces, libraries are using Web 2.0 tools as their own such as the:

  • Instant Messaging service Meebo  Library members can converse in a virtual environment in regards to their information needs with Librarians.
  • Facebook – the State Library of South Australia has a presence,  providing links to educational resources.
  • Blogs – Like a live web page, blogs alert users to new developments within a library and provide feedback. Cornell University Library Blog
  • Twitter – a ‘micro-blogging’service, used for peer support, engagement with librarians and library users. National Library Australia on Twitter @nlagovau
(Kelly, 2010)

The phasing in of Web 2.0 tools and ideas into libraries are a “step along the historical path that illustrates the continual expansion of information that libraries have been able to offer to their users, and sheds light on the opportunities and challenges we will face in the future” (Breeding, 2004, p.42). Breeding (2004) also states that the main task for librarians now are “dealing with information overload and providing users with tools to effectively search a vast array of information resources” (p.44).

Web 2.0 and Web Standards

Anderson in his outline delivered on his promise to provide information and ideas for “the visible surface” of web 2.0, and the “six big ideas” framework even though the headings and summaries were somewhat disjointed and confusing.  However he failed to elaborate at all on the third aspect of the framework, being “web standards”. We have provided in this case some relative recommendations.
The security of our digital identity via Web 2.0 applications and the importance of ethical usage needed to be understood and developed in this article if information institutions such as libraries are to bare some of  the responsibility of information exchange. (Pearlson & Saunders 2005, as cited in Houghton & Berryman 2007) found that “the four aspects raising most ethical issues are privacy, accuracy, property (or ownership and accessibility” (p.17). Anderson’s article also fails to mention the legal concerns relating to the production of web service content, being the ownership of information and the impact of new media on both the production and dissemination of information (Houghton & Berryman, 200, p.14).

The library acts as a ‘filter’ and a trusted institution for the academic, education or public library user.  This was confirmed by the founder of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee who recently at a keynote address said that Web 2.0 information should come as a stream of trusted things such as links and URL’s from a trusted source such as the BBC or a library (Berners-Lee, 2009).
There are a number of organisations and services providing assistance for users and institutions in accessing the correct form of information via the Web; Creative Commons providing open access to content, the Government’s Cyber Security Strategy (icode), developed by the Internet Industry Association (IIA) to improve the cyber security culture and trusted third party SSL encryption and digital certificates such as Verisign.

If we can borrow the phrase from Anderson in saying that Web 2.0 and the Library is “the new front door”, coupled with the “library’s public sector ethos”, we can say that it is gradually being opened.  As more working examples of Web 2.0 services are being authored and analysed we hope that it will only justify the importance of information services staff and libraries, which now require further investment in network application skills in teaching, updating, responding and securing Web 2.0 tools for their user base.


Barbry, E. (2007), Web 2.0: Nothing Changes…but Everything is Different. Communications & Strategies, No. 65, 1st Quarter, 91-103. Retrieved from http://ssrn.com/abstract=1009136

Berners-Lee, T. (2009, July 10).  Web at 20. Digital Revolution [Video file]. Retrieved from  http://wn.com/Tim_Berners-Lee's_keynote_speech_at_'Web_at_20'_event__Digital_Revolution__BBC_Two

Breeding, M. (2004). Platform evolution: from dumb Terminals to PCs to the Web and
Beyond. Computers in Libraries. 24(6), 42-44. Academic OneFile. Web. 3 Apr. 2011

Koltay, T. (2010). The Web 2.0 contradiction: commercial and library use. Library Philosophy and Practice, Retrieved 2 April 2010 from http://unllib.unl.edu/LPP/koltay.pdfGale

Kelly, B. (2010). Web 2.0 and Libraries: Impacts, technologies and trends. Oxford, UK:

Houghton, J., & Berryman, J. (2007). Ethics and law for information practice. In S.Ferguson (Ed.), Libraries
      in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information services (pp. 267-288). Wagga Wagga, NSW.:Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University. Retrieved from http://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/houghton-j.pdf 

Documenting the Global Conversation: Relevancy of Libraries in a Digital World

By Fred Heath


Heath’s article gives a colloquial yet articulate account on the relevancy of communicative and information institutions in the digital economy. It is commonly discussed that research libraries will become obsolete due to the fast paced evolution of the networked era, however Heath points out survival strategies for decision making, to tailor current collections towards the current directions of the digital environment.

The purpose

Amongst Heath’s list of library asset headings, we will highlight ‘collection building’, ‘open repositories’ and the ‘physical plant’ as some of the main attributes forming the library environment, and their purpose and value in the future, so that libraries can take action now (Staley and Malenfant, 2010, p.58).

Collection Building & Repositories

Heath’s pro-activity within his library of controlling the capacity of collections and storing resources in common by partnering with other institutions are examples of library longevity.  As Horova (2010) confirms, “we reformulate our practices of selecting, acquiring, and disseminating a collection as one of the most difficult issues we face” (p.143). The Web presence through institutional repositories and collections give libraries a new life to connect to current and new populations. Horova (2010) explains that by “focusing on remote access, active stewardship, a heightened awareness of learning outcomes for the researcher’s agenda, and a carefully sustainable approach to acquisition activity, we can enhance the value and use of our collections” (p.149).

Digitising Collections

Interestingly Heath only touched briefly on the Google Book digitization project, where libraries have digitized a major part of their collection with the ability for full-text searches (Duderstadt, 2009).  Google Books have partnered with 19 major university and public library systems in the Americas and Europe. Duderstadt (2009) enthuses that “these massive digitisation efforts will be able to provide full text search access to a significant fraction of the world’s written materials to scholars and students throughout the world within a decade” (p. 221). 
On the Google website Heath’s University of Texas library is actually one of those major universities, (The Google Books Library Project which started in December 2004), and it is uncertain why he did not promote the alliance further in his paper. He says on the Google Books website that “our libraries are also responsible for effectively preserving this knowledge and ensuring access to it over vast periods of time…..we believe that participating in this venture will help ensure our ability to meet those commitments far into the future." 
With the commercial power that Google Books will have on the world of publishing, it raises a profound challenge to the future of libraries and to our collection activities.  The issue is not one of competing with the Google digital library but of demonstrating how we can offer unique value and services that allows students to achieve their learning goals and researchers to further their programs. (Horova, 2010, p. 149)

Some positive outcomes by using the Google Book project:

  • reducing library collection budgets and student text book costs,
  • sustainability in the library - paying per chapter (pay for only what you need),
  • providing statistics for library staff on preferred or popular texts
  • Eradicating the increasing collection of superseded text books on shelves and offsite storage

Rearranging the Library Furniture

An interesting observation made from Heath’s ‘physical plant’ posit, is that he lacks definition on the re-badging of the library from a “storage facility” to being an “interactive meeting place”.  When did the university library start being an interactive meeting place?  My suggestion is, as more technologies have become available, more students have entered the library.  Heath needs to promote more the positive alliances that are taking placing within the library walls rather than what has diminished.

From this author’s experience working in a university library, students enjoy utilising the ‘physical plant’ of a library:

  • to use free wireless access
  • to learn how to access the latest technologies from information staff
  • to configure their iPhone with their student webmail and wireless printing
  • to socialise, drink coffee and feel part of a student community
  • to collaborate and practice their group assignment work using assistive technologies
  • as a quiet place to study.
  • as a type of community centre and for international students to enhance their language skills
  • A place to print out assignments and scan documents, or in the future to “pay for print” the virtual chapters provided by Google.


Heath has detailed that the future direction of specialist research libraries in the digital age can only happen by coordinating and sharing collections and knowledge with other university communities, ensuring a broad access to it using institutional depositories and open access companies. Breeding (2009) confirms that “libraries that fail to integrate into the environment of their broader organisation risk a dwindling relevancy and may miss out on the benefits of sharing institutionally” (p.35). Or as in Google’s case, users universally sharing.


Breeding, M. (2009). Libraries Thrive Through Enterprise Computing. Computers in
Libraries, 29(6), 34-36. Academic OneFile. Web. 2 Apr. 2011.

Duderstadt, J.J. (2009). Possible Futures for the Research Library in the 21st Century.
Journal of Library Administration, 49, 217-225. doi:10.1080/0190820902784770

Google. (2011). Googlebook/partners.Retrieved from

Horova, T. (2010). Challenges and Possibilities for Collection Management in a Digital

Age. LRTS, 54(3), 142-152. Ebscohost. Web. 29 Mar 2010.

Kniffel, L., & Bailey, C.W. (2009). Cuts, Freezes Widespread in Academic Libraries.

American Libraries, 40.6-7 (June-July 2009): 28-29.  Academic Onefile. Web 2 Apr. 2011

Staley, D.J., &  Malenfant, K.J.(2010) Futures thinking for academic librarians: Higher

Education in 2025. Information Services & Use, 30. 57-90.



Web 2.0 Implications on Knowledge Management

By Moira Levy


Levy’s article questions the participatory success of Web 2.0; “so many people are sharing knowledge so actively” in comparison to the “struggling knowledge management community” in getting people to share.   She identifies that there is an opportunity to use Web 2.0 tools such as Wikis and blogs, because of their recreational popularity with users and its participation rates. Levy offers a detailed collection of feedback from a number of knowledge management scholars confirming mostly the attributes of Web 2.0 to organisations.  Levy structures the paper into three segments highlighting the effects of Web 2.0 being intertwined through both enterprise and knowledge management organisations, which provides a clear understanding to readers new to web 2.0 and the knowledge management community.

The purpose

Levy, an experienced knowledge management solutions provider, seems disenchanted by the current status and direction of her profession and asks whether the participatory popularity of Web 2.0 be included within knowledge management organisations.  The purpose for her research questions; why is it difficult for people in organisations to share and extract knowledge within its enterprise domain, when they use Web 2.0 tools such as blogs and wikis and other social networking tools more freely? 

Due to their success on an individual user level, Levy promotes the controlled use of wikis and blogs, which could be a way to capture and store content in knowledge management enterprises.  We will further analyse the two Web 2.0 tools that Levy suggests and comment on their popularity due to the rise of the net generation now in the workforce.

Importantly, let us summarise what knowledge management is within a community. Reilly & Mcbrearty (2010) explain that it is “a way to capture and share existing individual knowledge and to collect it in order to create distributed knowledge” (p.237). Davenport & Prusak (1998) as cited in Galloway Seiling (2010), state “if opportunities arise, people must be motivated to share and combine knowledge with others” (p. 99).

Wikis within knowledge management systems

The opportunity of a wiki used in an organisation is that “they allow anyone to contribute information or edit others’ contributions” (Valacich & Schneider, 2010, p. 273).  In a knowledge management environment both a public wiki (anyone can contribute), and a private wiki, (only authorised staff contribute) can be a tool for an organisation to openly collaborate.  A number of organisations are currently using the wiki technology to “create internal knowledge repositories” (Valacich & Schneider, 2010, p. 274).  This idea also links with Stacey (2010) who states “it is usually individuals who learn and create knowledge, and the principal concern from an organisation perspective is how that individual learning and knowledge might be shared across an organisation, and how it may be captured, stored, and retained” (p.42).

Levy in her summary of wikis promotes the “most successful one”, Wikipedia, and its usefulness in being constantly updated, although some argue that “in allowing anyone to edit and create, a systematic bias in the content can occur” (Valacich & Schneider, 2010, p. 273).  This author agrees with Levy in that wikis are an important assistive technology tool that can encourage an enterprise with fresh information, however in knowledge management, “inter-communicative sharing of knowledge in digital environments raises issues of legitimacy, credibility and authority” (Widen-Wulff, G., & Ginman, M. 2004, p.454).

Blogs within knowledge management Systems

                    Photo.   Saskia Ruijs
 Levy also encourages the use of blogs as a Web 2.0 tool, however she does not confirm how or with any authority in mind, only that it should be “enlarged”. This author likes to think of a blog as a moving intranet web service replacing the often stagnant website that has not shared fresh data to its community for a time. As Keenan (2011) explains, “in the business world, where information is constantly changing, use of an extranet to keep all parties updated can be invaluable”.

                                     Photo. Saskia Ruijs
However in an enterprise or a knowledge management environment who should conduct the blog?  Tapscott (2009), states that the Net Generation and learned Web users are “moving beyond e-mail; they use wikis, blogs, social networks, and digital brainstorms to engage their employees or customers” (p. 261).  However Richardson & Tait (2010) question whether our “contemporary notions of ‘experience,’ ‘knowledge,’ ‘authority,’ and therefore ‘expertise’ and ‘expert’ are out-dated and inappropriate for these globalised and connected times” (p.24). Newstex, a website that offers real-time authoritative content from new sources such as blogs, Twitter, and podcasts to the end-user professional believe, “authoritative content is useful, meaningful and continual, and readers can depend on it and trust it.” http://www.newstex.com/about/what-we-do/   By using blogs in the knowledge management environment, only editorially selected authoritative content should be maintained.


Levy provides a plethora of justifiable quotes and statements by her knowledge management peers who promote the use of Web 2.0 with a softly but surely approach.  Levy does tread quietly in promoting Web 2.0 within knowledge management by concluding that adopting ‘it’ (Web 2.0) on a conceptual level will be slow, whilst confirming that the use of applications such as wikis and blogs are to be enlarged.  Hart (2010) confirms this and suggests “trying small incremental implementations, which improve on existing services in new and more proactive ways, as a potential way forward” (p.182).


Galloway Seiling, J. (2010). Knowledge Generation as a Complex Relational Process. In

A.Tait & K.A.Richardson (Eds.), Complexity and Knowledge Management, Understanding the Role of Knowledge in the Management of Social Networks (pp.93-108). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Hart, L. (2010). Meeting the Challenge. In D.Parkes & G. Walton (Eds.), Web 2.0 and
Libraries: Impacts, technologies and trends (pp171-182). Oxford, UK: Chandos.

Keenan, M.A. (2011). Digital Collections [INF405 Module 3.2]. Retrieved April 2, 2011,

Newstex. (2009). Newstex – What we do. Retrieved from  

Reilly, C., & Mcbrearty, M. (2010). Getting there is not a very neat circle or process. In
Tait & K.A Richardson (Eds.), Complexity and Knowledge Management, Understanding the Role of Knowledge in the Management of Social Networks (pp.237-265). Charlotte, NC: Information Age.
Richardson, K.A., & Tait, A. (2010). The Death of the Expert? In A.Tait &
K.A.Richardson (Eds.), Complexity and Knowledge Management, Understanding the Role of Knowledge in the Management of Social Networks (pp.23-39). Charlotte, NC: Information Age.

Stacey, R. (2010). The Emergence of Knowledge in Organisations. In A.Tait &
K.A.Richardson (Eds.), Complexity and Knowledge Management, Understanding the Role of Knowledge in the Management of Social Networks, (pp.93-108). Charlotte, NC: Information Age.
Tapscott, D. (2009). Grown Up Digital. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill

Valacich, J., & Schneider, C. (2010). Information Systems Today (4th ed.). New Jersey,
Widen-Wulff,G., & Ginman, M., (2004). Explaining knowledge sharing in organisations
through the dimensions of social capital. Journal of Information Science, 30(5), 448-458. doi: 10.1177/0165551504046997

Encouraging the digital economy and digital citizenship. (broadband access for Australians)

By Roxanne Missingham

                             Photo.  Saskia Ruijs

Missingham, a Parliamentary Librarian and Researcher for the Australian Government and Chair of Electronic Resources Australia (ERA), duly provides a passionate and clear argument for the challenge that Australia faces in connecting all geographically dispersed users to the digital (online) environment, to form a place in the new digital economy, coupled with the need and skills to freely and openly access these resources. 

The article’s structure was written as a presentation to convince and justify to the Federal Government and the Australian community, the investment in our place in the digital economy and the role public libraries can play in managing digital services for the broader community. This was confirmed with relevant and informative statistical data, independent research and reports along with concerned user accounts.

Access to the Digital Environment

Missingham has highlighted two important themes to describe further; access to the digital environment, and the role of public libraries providing content for our digital citizens.  In explaining Missingham’s concept of ‘content’, (Batt, 2003) describes it as becoming a widely used descriptor for web-based information. “It suggests a product, with structure, that can be trusted, that is integrated into the nature of the network and is focused on the end-user” (Batt, 2003, p.66).

To fully appreciate and understand Missingham’s paper we need to define the digital economy. Tapscott (1996) succinctly labels it as the “Age of Networked Intelligence” (p6), where information can be stored and retrieved instantly from around the world.  Tapscott (1996) also says that the “new (digital) economy is also a knowledge economy, based on the application of human know-how to everything we produce and how we produce it” (p.197).

Access and Lifelong Learning

Both of these points; access and content also tie in with the popular mantra of ‘lifelong learning’.  As Tapscott (1996) confirms “as you enter the digital economy, you become not only a knowledge worker but a knowledge consumer. We need to plan our lifelong learning and through self-paced and on-the-job learning, and formal education and training, we can stay robust in a changing economy” (p.200).

Access and the Net Generation

Access to the digital environment in the form of connectivity and content must be for all abilities and generations.    However an important group that Missingham has overlooked is the Net Generation’s (‘Generation Y’ those aged 16-29) technological demands. Tapscott (2009) says that the “Net Generation are evolving the Internet from a place where you find information to a place where your share it, collaborating on projects and solving problems, creating and democratising content which will have a revolutionary impact on everything it touches from entertainment, politics, business, and education” (p.40). Tapscott (2009) believes “if we listen to them and engage them, their culture of interaction, collaboration, and enablement will drive economic and social development and prepare us for a more secure, fair, and prosperous future” (p.8). This group in Australia will need to be accommodated quickly.
Access and regional Australia
The regional divide also could have been discussed further as we may see generations of people move away from particular regional areas, preventing them contributing to the digital economy.  As the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee says a neutral Internet platform should be available to everyone, making it not only in High Definition for early adopters (cities) but to target those with lower resolution or low bandwidth. “We won’t be feeding them our culture but their culture is going to come back very strongly” (Berners-Lee, 2009).

Content and the role of libraries

The underlying theme in Missingham’s paper is the increased role that public libraries can play in regards to content.  “Content will drive learning, create new life skills, support daily life and personal development and enable everyone to achieve more and understand others better” (Batt, 2003, p.67).  Libraries have traditionally been quick to take advantage of new technologies. The State Library of Queensland, and the Gold Coast City Library are both access points to content via the ERA subscription. The SLQ offers search programs for those new to current technologies with “authoritative, unbiased and current content” (Barron, 2010, p. 29).


Missingham’s presentation provides a powerful reason for change yet accompanies her points with a number of achievable solutions via the access points of ERA and public libraries in Australia. “All citizens must be able to find and use information. It is the key raw material, but it is a zero resource, if there are no access points to it” (Electronic Resources Australia. 2011). Finally it is also up to citizens to adhere to the mantra of ‘lifelong learning’.  “The digital economy is based on knowledge and innovation, and users will need to reinvent their knowledge base throughout their lives” (Tapscott, 1996, p.197).


Electronic Resources Australia. (2011). About ERA. Retrieved March 21, 2011, from

Barron, L. (2010). Untangling Web 2.0. Insight, SLQ Magazine. Winter, (8)29.

Batt, C. (2003), Policy push, personal pull: trying to make sense of the journey towards

the information society. In S. Hornby & Z. Clarke (Eds.), Challenge and Change in the information

society. (pp.63-82). London, UK: Facet.

Berners-Lee, T. (2009, July 10).  Web at 20. Digital Revolution [Video file]. Retrieved from  http://wn.com/Tim_Berners-Lee's_keynote_speech_at_'Web_at_20'_event__Digital_Revolution__BBC_Two

Tapscott, D. (1996). The Digital Economy. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Tapscott, D. (2009). Grown Up Digital. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.