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 

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