Reading about Web 2.0 technologies and information literacy

Last night, I read the article in CILIP Update about Web 2.0. This is the first out-of-work hours reading I have done for my chartership. Actually, it’s probably the only thing I have read for my chartership/professional development that isn’t directly to do with my day-to-day work! The article is about how Web 2.0 applications, such as social networking sites (e.g. MySpace), blogs, wikis and RSS feeds, can be used to further opportunities for teaching information literacy in higher education institutions.

I found the article interesting, both from a professional point of view as a library professional working in higher education, and as someone who regularly uses Web 2.0 applications (is applications the right word?). The word used in the article is ‘technologies’ so maybe I should use that! I like Web 2.0, or what I have seen and know about it, which isn’t a lot. Having said that I don’t know much about it, I realised when reading the article that I actually use many of the technologies associated with Web 2.0 already.

Interestingly, I mainly use them in my leisure time. I blog, I mess about on MySpace, I watch things on YouTube, I look things up on Wikipedia, I tag things (mainly blog-related), I use instant messaging, and I’ve just recently made my first use of an RSS feed on this blog. Creating my own content on the web and interacting with other people using web-based technologies is something I enjoy doing, and sometimes I actually get quite excited about it and the opportunities such things present.  [Should I be worried?!]. It’s pretty obvious, looking at the stats, that lots of people feel the same, and many of the people using Web 2.0 are very likely to be students in higher education institutions such as the one I work in.

Unfortunately, we’re not using many of these technologies in the university I work in, although there are plans to develop an e-enquiry service. I’m not sure how the powers that be are planning to run this, but perhaps I should find out! I imagine that instant messaging would be a good technology to use for this. As Peter Godwin, the author of the Update article, suggests, instant messaging (IM) could be particularly helpful for shy students who don’t like to ask for help face-to-face, but I think it would also be something that students who find the traditional library envrionment off-putting or intimidating would feel more comfortable using. Anything that encourages students to ask librarians for help is a good thing in my view – just as long as the students asking the questions get the right answers, preferably from qualified librarians (or at least library staff who have sufficient knowledge – I suppose it depends on the question, she says hastily before she opens a can of worms about qualification, etc…) I have no idea when the e-enquiry service is planned to come into operation, probably not for a few years! Anyway, it is something for me to find out more about.

Judging by the article, and the way things are going both on the web and in popular culture generally, Web 2.0 technologies are things we should be using (or at least investigating the possibility of using) in our library a lot more than we are at present. Although I don’t normally get involved with much of the user education side of things at work, it is something I’m interested in gaining more experience of. I also need to develop my own knowledge of Web 2.0 technologies, as I don’t know nearly enough about them, and I know even less about Web 2.0 as a concept. At least being interested in it will help my motivation!

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5 thoughts on “Reading about Web 2.0 technologies and information literacy

  1. Suzanne says:

    Like you, I’m a big fan of Web 2.0 in my leisure time (and at slow times at work, though I’ll ask you to keep that quiet!). My own favourite is librarything.com, but I’ve listened to music on myspace and watched clips on YouTube, before our technicians banned them.

    I work in an FE college, and I don’t think we’ve adapted any of the technologies for use, so far. There’s a poorly-used wiki on our VLE (also not used much) but that’s about it. The ideas are great if you can find a way of getting students into them, but as CILIP Communities are finding out, you can lead a horse to water…. etc etc 🙂

  2. Alice says:

    I’ve found your post very interesting. I enjoyed reading the article in update and it’s useful to read someone else’s reflections.

    One point that I got out of reading the artical is that even though I often feel that I use quite a lot of Web 2.0 applications, there are so many more out there, and more constantly emerging.

    I do mainly use Web 2.0 for personal things but there are applications I use for work. Wikipedia for example, and I do sometimes use LibraryThing with stock selection and to help students. I use RSS feeds to try and develop my own subject knowledge, I’m constantly finding new blogs that are useful and interesting.

    I would definetly like to use Web 2.0 applications to encourage interaction from students. I will be starting a new job as a business librarian next month so I’m hoping that I’ll have more opportunities to use, and encourage the use of, Web 2.0 there.

  3. Katharine says:

    I did scan the article you are referring to, but have not read the whole thing through yet (busy weekend and all that) but I do intend to look into web 2.0 quite a bit in the coming weeks, it is clearly a hot topic and I can see many applications, although as mentioned above, perhaps getting students to utilise them in libraries will require some effort.

    My last employer was in the process of trialling an instant messenger “Ask a librarian” type service, but I dont know if it is in use now or not – I will try to find out.

    There are several Library staff blogs where I am working now but they are not generally updated very much and I am not aware of much student involvement in them.

    I think a large part of getting students actively involved in Library services, and using us to our full potential, is first getting them to understand what Libraries really are about. Many students are surprised to discover they have a subject team within the library at all; so providing services linking to us seems to be a couple of steps down the line after more students realise we are here and what we are here for.

    I’m all for marketing and raising our profile within institutions – I imagine that once that is done services like the ones available through web 2.0 will be much better used.
    (I hope so – because it all sounds like a lot of fun!)

    Katharine

  4. Lilian says:

    Yeah, I hope that we can implement at least some services using Web 2.0 in our library…one day. It is certainly fun stuff and I think it has so much potential for raising the profile of library services and helping students and others (depending on which sector you work in) to understand what libraries and librarians can do for them and maybe even become more enthusiastic about using the library!

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