Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What is the future of Web 2.0? Web 3.0?

To really understand the progression of the "web," and how it will continue to evolve, we need to establish a common understanding of what these 'versioned' phases imply.

Web 1.0 - The original development and release of the world wide web in 1993 presented the Internet traveling user with a very static interaction with hosted content.  In fact, to say interaction at all is a stretch.  A user was basically limited to reading and discovery through hyperlinks.  Websites and information present on the Internet was posted rarely and generally served to provide topical data based on the domains interests.

Web 2.0 - This is how we most commonly identify the modern Internet that features all of the functions and intractability that we observe and utilize.  The designs are user friendly and continue to press the boundaries of creating a stimulating experience.  Collaboration, interoperability, and user modified content are the essential elements that drive this modern experience where users feel part of a community.  The Web 2.0, as it would imply, is not an updated version of the Internet or any sort of network infrastructure.  It simply establishes how developers and users have created a new landscape that presents a much more highly sophisticated realm of possibility.

So, what comes next?  Web 3.0?  The next major phase of the web is disputed by IT professionals.  It could include significant updates in technical infrastructure, content creation, content delivery, personalization, or it may even include first-generation technologies we can't even predict yet.  One such theory includes the potential development of a "metaverse," where physical and virtual worlds join together to create simulations and augmented realities.  While this certainly correlates with modern interest in 3D technologies, it would seem that these sorts of possibilities are a bit further down the road.

If you consider the jump from 1.0 to 2.0 was primarily the community based social interactions, it would be safe to assume that 3.0 could be a very mild advancement such as the computer generated content and delivery.  Right now we have RSS feeds and various sources that are starting to study our behavior and patterns on the Internet to deliver the most relevant user experience on a person by person basis.  That presents a significant core upgrade from simple interaction, but is not such a broad leap to require inventions and seemingly distant future possibilities.

Consensus may never be reached, and the title of Web 3.0 may have to be retroactively applied to an era once we have determined we are already past it.  As I doubt they called the world wide web 'Web 1.0' at the time of it's conception, they were more likely to coin the term after they established the fluctuation into the Web 2.0 landscape.

Then, maybe we should start evaluating what Web 4.0 will introduce?

What aspects of social media and emerging technologies could be beneficial for use by our libraries and in what ways?

As we have seen in the previous video, emerging technologies and social media can offer many benefits to today's libraries.  For example, by creating a Facebook page or engaging in Twitter, libraries are able to connect with patrons, promote library events, and reach a larger number of prospective users than by other ordinary methods. Additionally, academic libraries are experimenting with embedding library services within the Facebook page itself for a true outreach program (Dickson, 2010).

Based on research done by Terra Jacobson, many libraries are using Facebook primarily as a marketing tool, and it may be valid to assert that this is currently the best use in the library realm.  However, uses for communication from patrons or "fans," communicating library needs, and as a forum/discussion space for users may not be an ideal use at this time (Jacobson, 2011).

Dickson, A. and Holley, R. (2010),"Social networking in academic libraries: the possibilities and the concerns”, New Library World, Vol. 111(11/12), 468-479.

Jacobson, T. B.  (2011).  Facebook as a Library Tool:  Perceived vs. Actual Use.  College & Research Libraries, 72 (1), 79-90

What are the definitions of Social Media and Emerging Technologies?

Social Media

As defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, social media are forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content.  Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as "a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content."(Social, n.d.).  For more information on Web 2.0 and social networking presented by the ALA please see Social Networking by the American Library Association.

Social media includes web-based and mobile based technologies which are used to turn communication into interactive dialogue between organizations, communities, and individuals (Social, n.d.).  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, wikis, and gaming are just a few examples of social media that we see in our society today.

Emerging Technologies
In the history of technology, emerging technologies are contemporary advances and innovation in various fields of technology. Various converging technologies have emerged in the technological convergence of different systems evolving towards similar goals. Convergence can refer to previously separate technologies such as voice (and telephony features), data (and productivity applications) and video that now share resources and interact with each other, creating new efficiencies (Emerging, n.d.).
Emerging Technologies.  (n.d.).  In Wikipedia.  Retrieved May 20, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerging_technologies

Social Media.  (n.d.).  In Wikipedia.  Retrieved May 20, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media#cite_ref-0 

What impact will social media and emerging technologies have on the future of our libraries?

While social media and emerging technologies are being used to meet the public in areas that they are comfortable in, librarians need to keep in mind that “The goal among online academic libraries is to reduce the need for users to come to the library and to repackage our materials into an environment that is more familiar to specific users” (Dickson, 2010).

The immediate thought is that social media and emerging technologies are detrimental to today's libraries.  However, if used correctly by our librarians and library staff, both can provide an avenue to reach current and new patrons.  This is a slippery-slope, because overuse of either of the two could cause patrons to believe that they no longer need libraries to achieve what they can on the privacy of their own computers.  Visit the Eejewell Blogspot to learn more about the impact that social media has on library services.

The question still stands…will there be libraries in the future.  Susan Gibbons of the University of Rochester offers one answer to this question.

Dickson, A. and Holley, R. (2010),"Social networking in academic libraries: the possibilities and the concerns”, New Library World, Vol. 111 Iss: 11 pp. 468-469.

Monday, May 21, 2012

How are traditional library models evolving with emerging technologies?

First, let’s establish an area of technology where there is very important growth happening, and that is in “open-source software.”  For those unfamiliar with OSS, it’s software that is freely available to anyone; free to download, free to distribute, free to use, free to view, free to modify, free to adapt, and free to improve.  If you’ve ever heard someone say “nothing in life is free,” they stand corrected by this community of collaborators with altruistic motivation.  When everyone from end-users to senior enterprise developers from a variety of fields are all working together and information is shared freely, you end up with highly sophisticated products that are solely geared toward service quality rather than marketing, branding, and profit seeking.  In a library industry context, OSS is like the Wikipedia of software systems and application development.  If you would like to read more about OSS in the context I am about to explore further, see the “Evergreen OSS FAQ.”

So how are libraries taking advantage of this digital parallel to their cornerstone fundamentals?  By scrapping their subscription and leased services in favor of adopting systems built on OSS backbones.  This puts more of the control in your own administration’s hands and can save a fortune in your budget.  Not only can you dictate how the software and modules will be utilized to accommodate your patrons, but you can also request modifications and improvements from the community at rates much faster than typical software applications.  OSS is also much more secure than proprietary software because you have so many eyes on the code.  This makes keeping checks and balances much easier.  With the additional budget, you can improve other services and public offerings.  While the progression to an open source system is filled with advantages technologically, it’s also exceedingly responsible as businesses and organizations from the private to the public sector are continuing to seek cost cutting opportunities.  Specific to the library industry, this migration supports core philosophies while allowing you to not only tighten your spending, but also create new services with the residual budget.

What OSS solutions should be considered then?  Evergreen, formerly “Open-ILS,” is an OSS package developed by a dedicated community of IT professionals and library industry workers.  It contains modules for circulation, cataloging, discovery, as well as a fully functional back end for the library management including staff client, reporting, and policy configuration.  Since the software is also scalable, it is used in small libraries as well as major, nationally recognized libraries with huge endowments.  CentOS is another enterprise level solution, except as a Linux distribution, it would suit your general information technology requirements.  CentOS offers a vast and growing developer community, user community, production efficiency, and issue resolution.

If you are still curious about OSS and how the effects are being felt in various industries, check out Jonathan Feldman's article, Open Source: Why Are You Still Waiting?

How can social media benefit ME as a library professional?

In previous research and collaboration, I had the opportunity to work with graduate students in Library and Information Science.  A major project required that we study how young professionals in the library industry could utilize social media not only for their organizational progression, but also for their personal professional progression.

With economic and career outlooks developing in the manner that they have, establishing yourself and progressing in any occupational field is becoming very difficult.  Since job openings are declining and qualified applicants are growing, a person needs to best equip themselves to utilize every opportunity that can make their ends meet.  This has come to include the use of social media and interactive mediums to better represent yourself and find open opportunities.

Since social networking is nothing new or limited to the information age, the basis and benefits that it creates are well understood.  However, because of the way social networking sites have leveraged the previous functions of community based support with emerging technological advancements, a new level of engagement has surfaced where employers and potential employees can share many important facets of their occupational industry in a streamlined environment that increases efficiency in an employment search.  The most gratifying uses of these social media services when searching for employment is when you get the opportunity to market yourself as a professional by laying out a simple social networking plan that describes why and how to use each network or tool to the best of your advantage.

Below, I present an excerpt from the paper, Job-Hunting, Social Media, and You by Sara Harper, Andrew Hill, Cynthia Lamberth, Rachel McGuire, and Jana Mayfield Mullen:

The process of applying for positions within the Library and Information Sciences field is handled online with little opportunity to present qualifications in person until very late in the selection process. Therefore, it is important to provide a view of a candidate’s expertise that differentiates his or her qualifications from all other applicants. Using Qualman’s definition of “Socialnomics,” we posit that individual value created and shared via social media can influence hiring outcomes. The result: “word of mouth on digital steroids” (Qualman, 2009). 
It is also commonplace for employers to use tools like LinkedIn or Facebook to find applicants, and for applicants to use social media to find job openings. The social media strategy of thoughtfully creating an online presence to inform potential employers of professional expertise will give MLS students an advantage in the highly competitive market for positions in the field.
Lastly, many libraries are eager to find candidates with social media expertise. Libraries at every level are using social media for marketing and outreach strategies. Therefore, a candidate exhibiting the ability to create a good online image and ability to use social media to syndicate information will have a leg up in the screening process. If a potential employee can become a “pied piper” (Qualman, 2009), touting their own expertise or another area of interest, employers will see that these skills could be applied to the mission of the library. 
Qualman, E. (2009). Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.