The Internet was first based on the “Web 1.0” paradigm of Web sites, email, search engines and surfing. Web 2.0 is about conversations, interpersonal networking, personalization and individualism, a much higher level of interactivity and deeper user experiences. It is vital that libraries be at the center of these new community conversations. Libraries are traditionally a trusted resource, a community institution that offers universal access and that can now be a point of practical information technology innovation — the third place in the physical and online community (beyond the workplace and home).
Different experts have different ideas about what exactly qualifies as “open-source” software. In general, the term refers to any program with a licensing agreement that allows you to view and modify the source code, which is a series of high-level, human-readable instructions that defines a particular program and tells the computer what to do. Under an open-source license, if you choose to distribute your modifications of someone else’s software, you have to do so under the same terms. Simply put, other developers can view and modify your source code, just as you could view the original code. An open-source license doesn’t require that the software be available free of charge, though that’s usually the case.
For most people, the Linux operating system is the archetypal open-source application and it’s the platform for which most open-source software was designed. There are hundreds of Linux variants (called distros) that differ from one another in look, feel and bundled applications, but all share the same underlying structure (embodied in the Linux kernel). For more information on Linux and Linux distros, see Further Resources.
Skeptics and Windows fans like to say that open-source software is “free like a puppy.” In other words, they argue that the ongoing support and training costs of open-source software will outweigh your initial cost savings. Open-source advocates respond that all technology has support and maintenance costs. The real Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for open-source depends on which program you’re considering and your staff’s expertise.
I think if there’s one thing that makes people gasp and flinch even more than mentioning Macintosh, when they’re used to dealing with PCs, is mentioning open-source. But, like you say, once you get it going and you say, ‘Go ahead, touch it, it won’t bite,’ I think it gets really exciting after that because it’s like, oh, hey, this does work. I think people are still kind of spooked into thinking they’re going to have to sit there and do all kinds of coding or something.Lisa Shaw
Turner Memorial Library, ME
We are actually using, and I talked about this once before, M0N0wall, and we use it for our wireless. It creates what you call captive portals so that way, a page will come up that the user has to accept. And, along with that now, we use Kiwi, so we can get statistics on how many people are using the wireless in certain libraries. Another product I just played with was Cybera, which is actually Internet café tracking software, so if a person wants to use a machine, [the software] will time them, and it will kind of keep statistics on them, and that’s open-source. I’m trying to think of some others. MRTG — that’s from an open-source product. Our listserv is an open- source; it’s just called List Serve Lite. I’m big on open-source because other stuff costs so much money. And, you know, when you are a small library, you don’t have a lot of money, so those are the kinds of things that we’re looking at.Jean Montgomery
Upper Peninsula Region of Library Cooperation, MI
The thin client project was my first major open- source project that we implemented here, the first one that I was responsible for. And it’s gotten a lot easier since those early days, because, for example, Ubuntu has the Edubuntu distribution that already has the thin client server installed on it. You could just potentially do an installation of that and be up and running.Cindy Murdock, Open-Source Guru
We tend to buy a pretty powerful server. I think the one we have now has two dual-core processors on it. I don’t remember their exact specs. Right now, we only have 2 GB of RAM on this one. I’ve been meaning to upgrade it, but the speed is pretty good, so it’s been all right. I also upgraded our internal network to gigabit, so we’re using all gigabit switches. That helps the traffic flow through the network. We have a little [more than] 30 thin clients on the same server. We’re also using 64-bit. The server uses a 64-bit kernel, but I think it serves up 32-bit software.
The Linux terminal server project has a Web site. It’s www.ltsp.org. They have a wiki on there that has a lot of information on how to set it up. Ubuntu also has a lot of documentation on their Web site about setting up a linux terminal server project (LTSP) server. Those are good places to start. I think Edubuntu has a handbook, too, that includes LTSP information.
On our public computers, I use K Desktop Environment (KDE) as the default desktop, because I tried initially locking down Gnome and I used to use IceWM, but KDE is really easy to lock down. You can create different profiles. All the configuration files are text-based, so you can edit those and create a profile for your various user types — like I have one for the online public access catalog (OPAC), one for the [circulation] computers, one for the public Internet computers. Also, we have another one, because we have an on-staff software developer. He just wrote a kiosk management system called LIBKEY. If anybody wants it, it’s on SourceForge. We created a profile just for LIBKEY so that instead of the desktop, a patron first sees a login screen, and they have to log in with their user name and password, and they get half an hour to use the Internet. Then it kicks them off. We’re using that for patron time management to avoid arguments about “I have five more minutes” and the librarian says, “No, you don’t” and that kind of thing. It’s tied into our [circulation] system. We’re using Koha. It grabs the patron database from Koha every night and that’s what it uses for the user name and password.
Meadville Public Library,PA
You don’t need to have an on-staff developer. We wanted to change quite a bit of it. We made our own interface for the [circulation] system to suit ourselves. It’s nice to have a developer on staff if you want to change a lot of things or tweak things. But you can get support from various vendors, like LibLime. There are vendors that do hosted solutions. So if you don’t want to muck around in the database innards or anything like that, you can do that as an option. Since it’s open-source, you can also download it and install it yourself if you want to see how it works. That’s a nice thing, because most vendors don’t give you that option to play with it without paying for it in some way. We’ve been using it since mid-May. We just finished migrating our third library to it just this past weekend. We have nine libraries in the county. I think we’ll be able to get the next few up pretty quickly. We had some issues because we’re encrypting all of our traffic for security reasons on the intranet side, the staff side. We found that it was really slow at the farthest library from the system headquarters. I had to use a hardware solution to get the encryption to speed up. Now that we’ve got that done, I should be able to get the other ones done pretty quickly.Cindy Murdock
Meadville Public Library, PA
We’ve included several additional resources on the topic of open-source software.
Board and card games have a long history in libraries. Most librarians have no problem with a quiet game of chess or gin rummy, and many libraries make these and similar games available for checkout. Video games, on the other hand, haven’t always had the best reputation, so libraries have tended to steer clear of them until recently. The idea that video games cause violent behavior has been strongly disputed, but some librarians still feel that they’re a waste of time with no relevance to our profession. However, there’s more and more evidence that games in general and video games in particular develop a wide range of useful skills. Furthermore, gaming events in libraries can generate great publicity and they create a strong, lasting connection between teens and the one institution in town that actually supports and encourages the activity that they love so much.
Our purpose here is to describe the logistics and details you should think about before you host a gaming program. We will not be covering the steps you need to take to build a collection of video games for checkout, but the Further Resources section will lead you to information on that subject.
And so we have a little teen area. It has this little moveable wall that’s four feet high around this table and that’s the teen area. One of our staff members, Natalia, donated a television, and we had a community member donate a video game system, and I just literally dropped it. I didn’t even hook it up. I just dropped the bag of donated stuff in the middle of the teen area and walked away, and the kids had it set up and playing within minutes; I don’t use a lot of staff time on that. I made a sign and it says if you’re really loud, we’re going to kick you out. If you’re consistently loud we take away the video game system. This is yours. Use it. Please use it but just know that it’s got to be quiet. It’s got to be respectful, and I don’t keep track of who’s playing what or anything. The kids maintain it themselves and they regulate themselves. Usually whoever wins gets to keep the controller and the next kid plays and they don’t really need clipboards. It’s more like sandlot baseball. Pick your teams.Kieran Hixon
John C. Fremont Public Library, CO
We have a projector that hooks up to laptops for PowerPoints and I thought, 'We have to get a video game system and hold a tournament.' What could be better than playing on a screen that’s six feet tall? Let’s get everybody here. The first thing I did was ask people in the community to donate stuff and I got more Xboxes than you can shake a stick at because the community does want to be asked and does want to help.Kieran Hixon
So we did our first tournament. We had two TVs in two different corners. One was a Dance Dance Revolution. One was a driving game, Burnout, I think. We close on Saturdays at 2:00 and so we scheduled the tournament at 2:30, and at 2:15 there was this kid knocking on the back door. Well, we were still setting up and the parking lot’s full of kids! It’s like a riot and we looked outside and sure enough there were 50 kids standing in line and we were 'Oh, my.' We expected maybe twelve, thirteen kids. It was crazy the tournament we had — it went really well.
We made a rule that you had to have a library card without any fines on it; then you could play the video games. The amount of kids we had sign up for cards was outstanding, and the kids that came in that didn’t have library cards said, 'Oh, I haven’t been in here. This place is really cool.' It’s really brought a lot of kids into the library and now we have probably 80, 90 video games and it’s the second highest circulating collection in our library. We have a video game tournament every month. At the last video game tournament sixty kids showed up. Think about it, ‘cause our district’s only 5,000 people.
John C. Fremont Public Library, CO
One of the head librarians gave me a heads-up with Best Buy, and we filled out a form to get some equipment donated to us. And there were two choices — the Wii and the Xbox 360. If we do the Wii, everyone from different generations can more or less adapt to it, and it seems like we can more or less use that for singular tournaments and for gaming tournaments for seniors and stuff like that. But the Xbox 360 has more games. I think either way, whatever one they decide to donate, we'll probably do good either way. And then we asked for the Guitar Hero bundled package.Tanya Finney
Cheltenham Township Library, PA
One of the things we do every Friday afternoon with the laptop lab is we actually invite teens to come in and do online gaming for about an hour and a half before we close.Terry Caudle
In 2005 we bought a PS2 and we put that on the children’s floor in the teen area and we let them play games on that. Then late last year we started doing once-a-month teen gaming after hours for two hours and we’d get pizza in and stuff like that. We were getting about 10 to 12 kids to come in for that. We bought a Nintendo Wii. We had an Xbox donated to us, so we’ve now got three gaming systems for them to use every day when they come in. And then the weekly gaming started about September, a couple months ago, so it was just a case of we had the laptops. Let’s take them upstairs. That way we can put the gaming upstairs and get them out of the Internet room so they can make a little bit more noise up there, and it frees up some of the computers downstairs for other people who want to use them. We’ve got about seven or eight regulars and then we have the odd two or three that sort of drop in.
Madisonville Public Library, KY
Martha Fuhrman is our teen librarian and she got us Guitar Hero II and DDR [Dance Dance Revolution] and she was just telling somebody today that they did a Guitar Hero event at one of our branch libraries and got just a monster turnout of boys coming into the library so, yeah, that’s parting the Red Sea.Stef Johnson
Flathead County Library, MT
To learn more about gaming programs, materials and resources for your library, check out the Further Resources section.
The term Web 2.0 has been around since the end of 2004. Wikipedia, the free user-created Web encyclopedia, defines it as “the trend in the use of World Wide Web technology and Web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing and, most notably, collaboration among users.” Web 2.0 is as transformational as the arrival of the Internet itself. It isn’t about technology, but about community, sharing and openness.
Specifically, Web 2.0 can enhance your library’s ability to:
Web 2.0 is about sharing, about making information available where people are — whether it is photos, videos, news, bookmarks, knowledge or shared lives. A key component of Web 2.0 is social software that lets people connect, collaborate and communicate over the Internet. The collaboration may occur in real time (called synchronous collaboration) or at different times (called asynchronous collaboration), while the locations may be across the world or across an office. Most of these tools are free, enabling anyone with access to the technology to be a publisher. The common goal is building communities in which participants constantly give and receive valuable information. The Collaboration Tools Chart, which is available in a downloadable PDF, outlines some of the broad categories of tools available.
Libraries should not only examine how social software can improve services to their patrons, but they should also consider how these tools can improve internal communication and collaboration. While social software tools can improve the ways in which libraries communicate with patrons, they can also improve internal communication and knowledge sharing. Blogs, wikis and social bookmarking each can play a role. A library wiki knowledge base can decrease people’s dependence on their colleagues’ in-person expertise. Blogs are a great way to disseminate news about broken printers or new databases. Social bookmarking can help colleagues share useful Web links.
Libraries can play a greater role in their communities by building dynamic, interactive Web sites, reaching out to users via instant messaging, feeding out content such as library holdings and library news to other community-based Web sites and offering mechanisms for users to create or mash up library content. Before there will be success, however, there must be a commitment by the librarians to sustain successful services and participate in the ongoing conversation. A library’s online presence should never be an afterthought or an aside with just one or two librarians contributing. There should be a collective voice made up of the individuals of the library staff.
Spring 2006 SirsiDynix UpStream
Allen County Public Library has used Flickr for three years in a row to do A Day in the Life of Allen County. They’ve encouraged their community to, on one specific day, take pictures in the community, upload them to their own Flickr account, tag it a specific way or if they want to email it to the library they can, and then Allen County showcases it on their Web site. And the nice thing about that is they’re not sustaining a whole year of capturing pictures about whatever. They're doing it in a really small timeframe.
Columbus Public Library, OH
We have included a large number of resource links related to Web 2.0 reference information and tools.
For a longer definition of open-source licensing and how it differs from commercial, proprietary licensing, see Open Source for Beginners at OSSwatch.
Linux for beginners:
Wikipedia has a good definition of Linux and links to other resources. If you want to know more about the different flavors of Linux out there, see the top ten list on DistroWatch, which compares the most popular Linux distributions. A larger matrix is available on Wikipedia.
Ubuntu for beginners:
For Ubuntu, the official documentation and the User wiki are great resources. In particular, you might want to look at Switching to Ubuntu from Windows and documentation about using the LiveCD. If you’re a visual learner, watch some of the “how to” screencasts. Once you’ve decided want to install it permanently, check out Installing Ubuntu or Dual Boot Ubuntu and Windows. Of course, you should back up important data and get permission from your IT department before you try this.
Open-source software for libraries:
Koha and Evergreen are the open-source projects with the highest profile among libraries and librarians. Koha is an Integrated Library System (ILS) for small and medium-sized library systems. Evergreen is an ILS for large systems and consortia. However, there are dozens of library-centric programs, designed to handle everything from patron management to interlibrary loan. The lists on OSS4Lib, Library Success Wiki and Sourceforge are all good starting places.
In other cases, the library community is extending and adapting software that already exists rather than writing new programs from the ground up. For example, a lot of libraries use Drupal, Joomla, Plone or WordPress to manage their Web presence. Drupal for Libraries, Joomla for Libraries, Plinkit (based on Plone) and Scriblio (based on WordPress) are four sites with more information on the ways that open-source software is being adapted for use in libraries. Also, the Library Success Wiki directs you to numerous sites that help you integrate your Firefox Web browser with your library’s digital resources.
Open-source software for windows:
If you’re not ready to switch your entire library to Ubuntu or another Linux-based operating system, take a look at the Open Source for Windows page. Rather than overwhelm you with a thousand choices, this site lists roughly 60 popular programs that run on Windows and breaks them down into categories. For a more comprehensive list, see the OSSwin Project. If you’re just looking for all the free software you can download, check out these popular freeware sites. But bear in mind that freeware is not the same as open-source, because you usually can’t view or modify the source code of a freeware program.
Introductory material: If you’re having trouble with the gaming terminology, InfoPeople has a handy glossary. Animeted.org has a great discussion of the practical details involved in setting up a gaming event (though some of the technical details are a bit out of date). You’ll also find excellent advice on the Library Success Wiki, including tips and suggestions from libraries with successful gaming programs. And if you want to talk to a colleague about his or her experience with gaming events, the Wiki provides contact information for libraries of all sizes. Gaming the Way to Literacy tells the story of a poor, rural library in South Carolina using gaming to engage youth and promote reading.
Advanced resources: If you’re looking for a longer, more detailed discussion of gaming in libraries, ALA devoted two recent issues of Library Technology Reports to this subject (both edited by Jenny Levine). Also, Eli Neiburger, who manages the highly successful gaming program at Ann Arbor Public Library, has written a book about gaming tournaments. Finally, the library gaming listserv is a great place to ask specific questions. If you’re really excited about the intersection of games and libraries, you might attend the second annual Gaming, Learning and Libraries Conference this November or read up on the latest academic research being conducted at the Library Game Lab.
Gaming blogs: There are too many blogs covering this topic to mention them all, but Game On and The Shifted Librarian are especially strong on library gaming. ALA also has some great postings at their Gaming News site.
Everything You Need to Know About Web 2.0 TechSoup explains ways nonprofits can benefit from the use of emerging technologies.
Five Weeks to a Social Library The first free, grassroots, completely online course devoted to teaching librarians about social software and how to use it in their libraries. It was developed to provide a free, comprehensive and social online learning opportunity for librarians who do not otherwise have access to conferences or continuing education and who would benefit greatly from learning about social software.
Library 2.0: A Guide to Participatory Library Service, by Michael E. Casey and Laura Savastinuk. Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc. 2007.
Library 2.0 Theory: Web 2.0 and Its Implications for Libraries This article by Jack M. Maness of the University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries addresses the application of Web 2.0 social software in libraries.
Library 2.0: Service for the Next-Generation Library, by Michael E. Casey and Laura C. Savastinuk, Library Journal, 2006. This article brought the concepts of Web 2.0 into the library arena, dubbing them Library 2.0. Explains “long tail,” collaboration, social networking, tools and services for today’s users.
OPAL: Online Programming for All Libraries is a collaborative effort by libraries of all types to provide free Web-based programs and training for library users and library staff members. You can find free courses, such as the Ten Top Technologies for Librarians, Day of the Digital Audio Book, Wikis and How to Google: An Introduction to Searching the Web.
SirsiDynix Institute includes free Webinars on blogs and libraries, Library 2.0, gaming, etc.
Techcrunch profiles and reviews Internet products and companies.
The Future of Libraries: Beginning the Great Transformation, Thomas Frey, Executive Director of the DaVinci Institute.
The Machine Is Us/ing Us is a YouTube video that explains the dynamic Web.
Web 2.0 This Wikipedia article does a good job of explaining the various services that make up Web 2.0 and the technologies behind it.
Web 2.0 and Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software This article from ALA's TechSource by Michael Stephens of Tame the Web, discusses how Web 2.0 social software can be put to use in libraries.
WebJunction’s Online Courses Everything from basic computing skills to training on advocacy and outreach.
WebJunction Webinars Live and archived free Webinars on topics including technology, training and outreach.
ALA TechSource Blog is published by the American Library Association with authors Michelle Boule, Michael Casey, Michael Golrick, Teresa Koltzenburg, Jenny Levine, Tom Peters, Karen G. Schneider and Michael Stephens.
BlogJunction is WebJunction’s blog authored by WJ staff and will keep you up-to-date on WJ events, programs and staff observations.
Information Wants to Be Free by Meredith Farkas, Distance Learning Librarian at Norwich University, includes posts regarding the library profession and technology.
It's All Good is maintained by five Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) staff members, with posts about “all things present and future that impact libraries and library users.”
MCLC Library Tech Talk. Blog of a technology interest group in Maricopa Country, AZ. Profiles a different Web 2.0 tool every Friday.
LibrarianInBlack is by Sarah Houghton-Jan, Information and Web Services Manager for the San Mateo County Library, who writes “resources and discussions for the ‘tech-librarians-by-default’ among us.”
LibraryCrunch: Service for the Next-Generation Library — A Library 2.0 Perspective, by Michael Casey.
Stephen’s Lighthouse by Stephen Abram, SirsiDynix’s Vice President of Innovation, includes his thoughts on library technology issues and notes from his national presentations.
Tame the Web: Libraries and Technology by Michael Stephens, Instructor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University, focuses on Web 2.0 and Library 2.0, technology-related articles and presentations and technology trends.
The Shifted Librarian by Jennie Levine, Internet Development Specialist and Strategy Guide, American Library Association, contains posts on technology gadgets, gaming and social technologies.
Podcasts: These are audio-only broadcasts that can be downloaded for free online.
CNET Networks Includes podcasts such as Buzz Out Loud, Gadgettes and MP3 Insider.
Talking with Talis Listen to conversations about the interface between Web 2.0, libraries and the Semantic Web.
TWiT: This Week in Tech Free podcasts on technology topics.
PLCMC’s Learning 2.0 project, an online self-discovery program that encourages the exploration of Web 2.0 tools and new technologies, specifically, 23 Things.
Princeton Public Library’s wiki for a summer reading club.
Infodoodads Librarians review online info tools.
Superpatron. Edward Vielmetti is a patron of the Ann Arbor District Library and a member of its Technology Advisory Board.
Hennepin County Library offers RSS feeds, comments within library catalog and Amazon links from the catalog.
Lansing Public Library Home Page The Lansing Public Library in Illinois offers RSS feeds and podcasting.
Wadsworth Public Library in Ohio is using MySpace for teen programming.
Western Springs History This is a joint project of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library and Western Springs Historical Society. It uses blog software to share photographs and collect comments from the public.
Westerville Public Library -- Celebrate Westerville's 150th Anniversary. This is a great example of the power of Flickr, used to create a timeline and show images of the town’s history.
The Coastal Resource Sharing Network (CRSN) is a consortium of public and academic libraries serving Tillamook and Lincoln counties in Oregon. Their staff intranet includes email contacts for all library staff, documentation, policy documents, reports, events, current and historical collection and circulation statistics, and a Staff Toolkit of special tools for staff use, including the Weed-O-maker, to generate shelf lists for weeding, reporting or other purposes.
Ann Arbor District Library, Michigan, has an innovative online presence created through the use of an open-source content management system, several blog mechanisms that allow easily updated content to display on the front page and a dedication to interaction with library patrons. AADL has created a thriving community with an online branch. In the teen area and gaming blogs, it is not unusual to see discussions with more than 200 comments.
Public classes at ImaginOn, a collaborative venture of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte include:
Princeton Public Library offers an amazing array of technology classes for the public, including “Fantastic Freebies for Everyone,” which focuses on free Web 2.0 tools. Here’s the class description: “Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as a ‘free lunch,’ and you can find it on the Web. The number of free services, sites and downloads is multiplying monthly at an astonishing rate in a new era of Internet innovation. This class will take you on a tour of some of the hottest freebies currently available. Everything from system tools to image editors to word processors and much more can all be found online for no cost. This session will ensure you know where to find the newest and most useful tools to keep you on the cutting edge of technology.”
Web 2.0 services and concepts make it easier to facilitate group use of information and allow for the creation of new data and value for library members. We hope you’ll find the following tools greatly beneficial as you select and apply Web 2.0 to drive and implement innovation in your library.
By creating an environment of continuous learning, by finding ways to stay aware of changing trends and needs, and by staying committed to thoughtful planning, it is possible to achieve that future-focused service vision in your rural library.
How can your library achieve goals and prepare for an unknown future? When doing strategic technology planning, here are seven key areas to consider:
|CATEGORY||EXAMPLE OF TOOLS|
|Blogs and microblogs — Short for “Weblog,” a blog is an easily updated Web site, generally in reverse-chronological order by date. These Web sites range from personal diaries to professional tools, and you can often subscribe to them via RSS using an aggregator. Often, they contain links to and comments on other online information. Microblogging involves sending brief posts to a personal Web space or a microblog site (such as Twitter). Microblog posts are short (Twitter limits them to 140 characters). Blogs represent the fastest-growing medium of personal publishing and the newest method of individual expression and opinion on the Internet.||
Blogger Blogging software owned and powered by Google.
Movable Type Blogging platform for organizations.
Twitter A microblogging service that allows users to immediately share short (140 characters) snippets of content via text messaging, the Web and other interfaces. The New York Times called Twitter “one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet.” TIME Magazine said, “Twitter is on its way to becoming the next killer app.”
WordPress Personal publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, Web standards and usability.
|Social bookmarks and tags — This involves online services that allow you to store your bookmarks online, categorize them and share them with other site visitors interested in similar topics. Tags are descriptive terms to categorize online content. Tagging content allows it to be shared with others interested in similar topics; multiple tags can be given to the same content. Also referred to as “folksonomies,” created by folks.||
Delicious A “social bookmarking” site. Users can store URLs, personal comments and descriptive tags to organize Web pages. It is like a Favorites folder that is located on the Internet, and it can be accessed from any computer.
Digg Digg is a user-driven social content Web site, where news and online content are submitted and rated through online votes and displayed in order of most votes.
Squidoo is an easy-to-build Web page that can point to blogs, favorite links, RSS feeds, Flickr photos, Google maps and/or eBay auctions.
SuprGlu helps you gather your content from all over the Web and publish it in one place.
|Multimedia sharing (including audio, photo and video) — Podcasting involves putting audio content on the Internet, and may be delivered via RSS feeds so that subscribers receive new content automatically. Podcasts can be downloaded to iPods or other players, or listened to on a computer. Screencasting is the capture of a video of computer screen activity (for example, to show people in real time where to click, what to type or to capture video for tutorials, presentations, etc.).||
Audacity is free, open-source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. Many libraries offer podcasts of book talks, library news items and book reviews.
Camtasia and CamStudio are common screencasting tools. Flickr is an online photo management and sharing application that includes the use of tagging. You can share your favorite photos with the world or securely and privately show photos to only your friends and family.
Live Plasma allows users to map music and movie interests.
Pandora makes a streaming “radio station” just for you, based on your ratings of favorite music.
Picasa is a free software download from Google that helps you find, organize and share your photos.
SlideShare provides a place to share and discover slideshows and presentations.
YouTube has been called the “million-channel people's network” and allows for the viewing and uploading of videos.
|Collaboration, projects and productivity — The collaboration and community evident in Web 2.0 even led TIME Magazine to name the Person of the Year in 2006 as “You.” The magazine designated Web 2.0 as a revolution and a massive social experiment. “The new Web is…a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter.…it's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.”||
Furl allows you to save a copy of your favorite Web sites with 5 GB of free storage space.
Google Docs and Spreadsheets provides an online tool for individual or group document creation and editing.
SurveyMonkey.com is a tool to create and publish custom online surveys in minutes and then view results graphically and in real time.
Ta-da Lists creates simple, sharable to-do lists.
Writeboard creates sharable, Web-based text documents that let you save every edit, roll back to any version and easily compare changes.
Zoho offers a suite of online Web applications geared towards increasing productivity and collaboration. Includes a word processor, spreadsheet application, presentation tool, hosted wiki, notebook, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, etc.
|Gaming — This is not just for fun! Libraries find that offering gaming attracts teens and young adults to other library services and is a good marketing technique.||
eGames Generator allows you to create your own custom learning games. Since eGames Generator is online software, there are no downloads or installations necessary: You can create a game in just a few minutes.
Neopets involves keeping a pet alive in this online community; great for children.
Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Not just a game, there are opportunities for communicating with the public, including in the library on “Info Island.”
|Instant messaging and communication — Differs from email in that conversations are able to happen in real time. Most services offer an indication of whether people on one’s list of contacts are currently online and available to chat. This may be called a “Buddy List.” In contrast to emails or phone, the parties know whether the peer is available. Examples include AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), Yahoo! and MSN, also embedded in gmail.com, Facebook, etc.||
Meebo is a Web-based instant-messaging application that combines all the major IM services into one.
Skype is an Internet call software and service.
Trillian is a software application for instant messaging. Compatible with all the major IM applications.
Library and book-related tools — People are doing library-related things online for fun!
Social software can provide ways to communicate, collaborate, educate and market services to patrons and other community members. Libraries can be the online hub of their communities just as they have traditionally been the physical community center. Often, a library is the only place where someone can get free connectivity, free training and free assistance and access to technological information.
Goodreads and Shelfari. Like Facebook and MySpace, users sign up for an account, post a profile, add friends, create personalized online bookshelves, find reading recommendations based on friends' shelves and reviews, connect with authors and the literary community, read about book signings and view excerpts.
Library Elf is a personal reminder service for library users that will send library notifications, such as overdue reminders with email alerts and text message alerts for holds.
LibraryThing catalogs your books online, easily, quickly and for free.
Scriblio (formerly WPopac) is a free, open-source CMS and OPAC with faceted searching and browsing features based on WordPress.
Mashup Dashboard lists hundreds of mashups, with new updates daily.
Web 2.0 Mashup Matrix is a programmable Web 2.0 mashup.
Yahoo! Widgets allows you to create, find and rate widgets.
|“Real Simple Syndication” or “Rich Site Summary” (RSS) and aggregators — You can subscribe to RSS-enabled blogs, newspapers, journals and other online content so that updates automatically come to you, rather than having to return to the original site to see if new material has been posted. It’s a way of packaging Web items such as blog entries in a stripped-down, XML-based format so that they can be imported into other Web pages. Most blog-hosting services automatically create RSS versions of blog posts. That means bloggers can “syndicate” their content across the entire Web, while readers can subscribe to RSS feeds. An aggregator, news reader or feed reader is a usually free service that allows you to subscribe to and read blogs, news or any type of feeds in one customized Web page. It is client software that uses a Web feed to retrieve syndicated Web content. Subscriptions can also be created for podcasts, photos, searches or other media. Web sites publish updates — called “feeds” — that indicate when new content has been posted. Aggregators automatically update and keep track of what you’ve read!||
Bloglines is a Web-based RSS reader, which includes blogging capabilities.
FeedBurner is a provider of media distribution and services for blogs and RSS feeds. It offers tools to assist bloggers, podcasters and commercial publishers promote, deliver and profit from their content on the Web.
Google Reader is Google’s RSS reader in its “lab.”
NewsGator Online is a free, Web-based RSS aggregator.
|Search engines — Search technologies today have moved beyond traditional content retrieves. They are now designed to combine existing Internet search engines with new and improved models that allow for stronger connections to user preferences, collaboration, collective intelligence and a richer user experience.||
BlogPulse is an automated trend discovery system for blogs. BlogPulse applies machine-learning and natural-language processing techniques to discover trends in the dynamic world of blogs.
Google Blog Search allows you to find blogs on your favorite topics.
LibWorm: Librarianship RSS Search and Current Awareness is intended to be a search engine, a professional development tool and a current awareness tool for people who work in libraries or care about libraries.
Podscope lets you search the spoken word for audio and video that interests you.
Podzinger is an audio and video search engine.
Technorati searches and organizes blogs and other forms of user-generated content (photos, videos, voting, etc.).
Top 25 Web 2.0 Search Engines Online Education Database’s Top 25 Web 2.0 Search Engines.
|Social and collaborative networks — Researchers are discovering that beyond the original digital divide, separating those who owned technology from those who didn’t, there is now an increasing social divide, termed technocultural isolation. Social technologies are connecting people and providing communication structures in more ways than ever before. Even teens are conversing and networking across countries and cultures. Those who do not have continual access to these tools will be isolated and at a societal disadvantage, particularly in the workforce.||
Classmates.com allows you to connect with school friends.
Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you.
FriendFeed enables you to keep up-to-date and discuss the Web pages, photos, videos and music that your friends and family are sharing.
Friendster is a social network emphasizing friendships and the discovery of new people through friends. Search for old friends and classmates, stay in better touch with friends and share photos and videos.
LinkedIn strengthens and extends your existing network of professional contacts.
MySpace is an online community that lets you meet your friends’ friends and share day-to-day events.
Ning allows creation of public or private social networks, including groups, forums and sharing.
WebJunction is an online library community, created by librarians for librarians, and includes articles, forums, etc.
|Wikis — Collaborative Web sites where anyone can create new content or edit existing content. Share staff knowledge through wikis, communicate regarding policies and brainstorm on projects.||
Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki This wiki was created to be a one-stop shop for great ideas and information for all types of librarians.
LISWiki The Library and Information Science Wiki, a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
PBwiki lets you quickly set up your own free, hosted, password-protected wiki to edit and share information. It’s as easy as a peanut butter sandwich.
Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that allows anyone to add or edit the entries. With over 10 million articles written in 253 languages, it is the world’s most comprehensive (though not most reliable) reference work. It may be the largest collaborative literary work in history. Wikipedia proclaims it is a project that attempts to summarize all human knowledge.
It’s all about sharing information, just using new tools. Instead of pencils, card catalogs or even databases, it’s blogs, wikis and del.icio.us. There are millions of blogs and online resources. The library cannot track and keep up with everything. Create teams and pilot Web 2.0 projects. Some key ideas include:
Instant messaging is important, and Meebo in particular seems to be a library favorite, as it is easy to use and to add to an existing library Web site (see www.lib.berkeley.edu/math). Meebo adds value to a static Web site without requiring big changes. Instant messaging with Meebo “pushes” your reference service where it’s needed the most — side by side with other instantaneous services. But the true value point is the human being — moderating and interacting with the community.