Sunday, February 13, 2011

Walt Crawford: Library 2.0 Five Years Later - Part 2

In the March 2011 issue of his Cites & Insights, Walt Crawford continues his examination of how the concept of Library 2.0 has evolved over the past five years.

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of January 18, 2011 entitled Walt Crawford: Library 2.0 Five Years Later.

Quoting from a section near the end of the recent article, called "In Closing":

"On reflection, I wonder whether the dichotomy I suggested in 2006 (between Library 2.0, the set of tools, and 'Library 2.0,' the movement/bandwagon) is inadequate. Maybe that should be a three-part model: The movement, the toolkit—and the philosophies (including the idea of direct multiway contact with the user community, small 'failable' projects, library transparency and more)."

One truly beneficial result of the whole “Library 2.0” phenomenon is that some (by no means all) library groups and libraries recognize the virtue of small, rapidly-deployed, “failable” projects: ones done without a lot of planning and deployment, ones that can grow if they succeed, die if they fail and in many cases serve as learning experiences.

"Not that such small projects are new to Library 2.0, but I believe the rhetoric and experiences of Library 2.0 made the virtues of small projects more evident to some library folk who had forgotten them."

"It’s also certainly the case that, used thoughtfully, the tools and techniques of the web and the internet expand the universe of feasible small projects. A library can start a blog or a Facebook group a lot more easily and affordably than it can start a mailed newsletter—and, done right, the blog or group may be recognizable as a failable experiment: one that might reasonably disappear after a few months."

"The Library 2.0 'movement' had more than its share of Big Deal Projects and Manifestos, a whole bunch of universalisms ('every library should…' and 'every librarian must…') and a fair amount of better-than-thou moments. It involved more intergenerational misunderstanding and quarrels than should have been the case. But it also resulted in some worthwhile new philosophies and tools."

"Thinking about it even more, I think there may be four parts—because there are two philosophies of Library 2.0. The one I applaud is the one discussed in this quotation. But there’s also another philosophy, one that was clear from some (but by no means all) early proponents of Library 2.0 as a movement: The assertion that all existing libraries were (are?) deficient, endangered and in need of transformation. You could call this the library equivalent of Calvinism, if you wanted to use a religious analogy. To me, it was always a somewhat foreign and forbidding philosophy, one I thought of as 'the glass is one-quarter empty—and we need an entirely new glass.' I believe that philosophy has largely faded."

Cites & Insights is described as "a journal of libraries, policy, technology and media" published monthly since 2001.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:03 pm


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