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!