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Posts Tagged ‘Library 2.0’

© Christine Rooney-Browne

© Christine Rooney-Browne

Instead of talking about the presentations,  the hot topic at the start of the IFLA conference seemed to be the WIFI access at the conference centre. Many were discussing the fact that they would have to pay €10 for 4 hours WIFI access.  The alternative was to either queue for 10 minutes complimentary access in the hallway, or at the library bus just outside of the conference centre.

And so began the confused and somewhat bemused updates on Twitter, with a number of #fail tweets from disgruntled tweeps and bloggers who had expected the WIFI to be free; it seems to be free at most of the other conferences we’ve all attended recently…

Some dismissed the issue, stating that we were there to listen and learn from the presenters and to network in real life, rather than to check our e-mail.  I think they were missing the point a bit.

There are various reasons why one would expect and rely upon free access at an international library conference; and these reasons extend well beyond being able to check our e-mail!   For example, during sessions it can be beneficial to be able to check out the speaker’s online biography; or to look up a specific library website; or even to bookmark some of the resources that the speaker has highlighted on their slides to our Del.icio.us accounts…

Also, I know that I am incredibly lucky to be able to attend this conference and I’m well aware that there are many more library and information professionals back home in Scotland who would have loved the chance to attend, but are unable to because of financial constraints, lack of time, etc… Many of these people follow my updates on Twitter; some specifically to be kept informed about news and ideas filtering through from the sessions I attend.   A fellow IFLA blogger referred to this as citizen journalism.  And I guess it is… 🙂

In addition, as a few of the sessions I wanted to attend were on at the same time, it would have been beneficial to be able to conduct a quick search using the IFLA hashtag on Twitter (#ifla2009 or #ifla09) to see updates from other delegates tweeting from these sessions…

So, on the second day I succumbed and purchased the €10 card…thinking that if I only logged on occasionally I could make my 4 hours stretch the duration of the conference.   However, on Wednesday came the announcement that WIFI would be free for the remainder of the conference – yay! The power of Twitter, again?  🙂

Surely, at an international conference where we all come together to discuss hot topics in librarianship and the information society, such as; freedom of information; democratic access to the world’s knowledge; the future of library service provision etc… delegates should be provided with free and democratic access to the internet?!  Plinius, a fellow blogger referred to access to online resources at this year’s conference as IFLA1.5, rather than 2.0 😀

Apparently, free WIFI at future IFLA conferences will be discussed in more depth at a later stage.  Word on the street is that it’s a budget issue…but I hope that at IFLA 2010 in Gothenburg the issue will be resolved and that all delegates are given a username and password as part of their IFLA welcome packs!

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iliThe full programme for this year’s hotly anticipated Internet Librarian International (ILI) Conference is now online.    I haven’t been to this conference before but I’m really looking forward to it as lots of people have recommended it to me.

I’ve also been selected to speak at this year’s conference, which is even more exciting!  I’ll be presenting with Liz McGettigan from Edinburgh City Libraries.We’ll be talking about Edinburgh’s Tales of One City Project; a joined up approach to social media, which includes blogging, microblogging, social networking, social bookmarking and streaming media.  Here’s the listing for our talk; don’t forget to bookmark it if you fancy popping along!

And here’s some additional details about the conference:

Internet Librarian International Conference 2009
15 &16 October 2009 (Workshops 14 October)
Novotel London West, London, UK

Hope to see you there! 🙂

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Although it’s still early days in terms of official research, public libraries are emerging once again as recession sanctuaries;  providing vital services, in times of economic crisis.

Brighton-and-Hove-Recession

I recently presented on this very topic at the Society of Chief Librarian’s (SCL) Conference at the University of Warwick.  (Presentation available via my SlideShare page, click here).  Attending the conference was a fantastic experience as I was able to chat to delegates about the impact that the recession has had on their library services; how they’re managing to deliver high quality services despite ongoing budget cuts; and the innovative ways that they’re promoting their services to users, including this inspired poster from Brighton & Hove….

During the Q&A session for my presentaion I noted a strong desire from many delegates to explore Web 2.0 and social media.  Unfortunately, however, many are unable to implement their Web 2.0 plans due to restrictions imposed on them by council-wide IT departments and their filtering policies (click here for a previous blog post about Glasgow City Libraries & internet filtering).  A shame really, given that other authorities, with slightly more liberal approaches to web 2.0 are able to forge ahead, creating interactive and collaborative spaces for library users to visit online (e.g. Manchester Libraries).

Seems unfair that public library users and staff, many of whom could benefit greatly from accessing web 2.0 and  social media sites are being prevented from doing so as a  result of a web 2.0 postcode lottery.  Wouldn’t it be great if all public library services across the UK were at the same operational level with web 2.0 and social media…before we have to deal with the challenges and possibilities that web 3.0 presents? Just a thought! 🙂

Twitter Feed - SCL Conference 09 - #scl &#scl09

Twitter Feed - SCL Conference 09 - #scl & #scl09

There were lots of other topics discussed over the two days and to highlight some of the burning issues I’ve created a word cloud, using Wordle, based on keywords from the Twitter feed (see above).

If you’re keen to find out more about the role of public libraries in times of recession then why not click here to check out my recently published article “Rising to the Challenge”,  featured in the latest edition of Library Review.

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I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last three weeks in Canada, visiting Toronto, Québec City and Montreal.  The main reason for my trip was to attend IFLA’s World Library & Information Congress in Québec City.  It was such a brilliant experience; meeting librarians from Japan, Canada, USA, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia…I think just about every country / continent was represented and it made for a wonderfully diverse and inspiring conference.

I also got to co-present one of my papers on ‘public libraries and web 2.0 technologies’ and sit proudly in the audience as David McMenemy presented another paper that I’d co-authored on ‘measuring the performance of public libraries’.   Such a brilliant experience!  And I’ve made lots of contacts too…which was a bit surreal at times…to actually meet the people that I’ve spent the last couple of years citing in papers;  I think I might even have come across as a bit star struck with some of them! 😀

Feels like I’ve achieved so much in just one week of ‘conferencing’ and I’d recommend to any new researchers out there trying to build up a reputation in the sector to sign up for future conferences as the experience has proven invaluable for me!

I’ve uploaded the Powerpoint presentation on public libraries and web 2.0 onto Slideshare.  Click here if you want to check it out.

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Busby Library Facebook PageIn an earlier post I discussed how excited I was to be selected to present a co-authored paper at IFLA 2008.  Well, that paper is now available online, along with the complete programme for this year’s conference. 

We’ll be discussing the ongoing journey of East Renfrewshire Library & Information Service as it attempts to embrace the concepts of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 within the constraints of a limited financial budget.   Lots of highs and lows and a step by step guide for other library services interested in joining the global social networking community. 

Here’s the full lineup for our section…

Information Technology
Enabling access to the global library – small is beautiful: distributed deployment of library services for small and special libraries

Case study: The Evergreen Open Source Integrated Library System; its origins and significant implementations in the USA and Canada
BEN HYMAN (Public Library Services Branch, Ministry of Education, Government of British Columbia, Canada, Victoria, BC, Canada) and JULIE WALKER (Georgia Public Library Service, Atlanta, GA, USA)

Archon: facilitating global access to collections in small archives
SCOTT W. SCHWARTZ, CHRISTOPHER PROM, KYLE FOX and PAUL SORENSON
(University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, United States)

Punching above our weight: a small Scottish Library Service joins the global community
ANTHONY BROWNE (East Renfrewshire Council, Community Services, Scotland, UK) and CHRISTINE ROONEY-BROWNE (Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)

Digital archiving of e-journals for Special libraries
EDMUND BALNAVES and MARK CHEHADE (Prosentient Systems, Sydney, Australia)

I can’t wait to get to Québec…just over 10 weeks to go! 

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I was already superexcited about attending the 74th IFLA General Conference and Council in Québec, Canada,  but I can hardly contain my excitement now; I’ve been selected to present a co-authored paper on Library 2.0 during the Information Technology Section’s session“Enabling access to the global library – Small is Beautiful: Distributed deployment of library services for small and special libraries”.

Can’t wait to attend my first international conference!  If you also happen to be attending, be sure to stop by and check out my presentation! I’ll be the nervous looking one standing next to a very cool co-author, Mr Anthony Browne from East Renfrewshire Council Library & Information Service. 🙂

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I’ve recently observed a rise in posts about ‘social networking’ on the various public library mailing lists, professional journals, blogs and newspapers that I subscribe to. Wikipedia aside, Facebook seems to provoke the most heated debate amongst librarians discussing Web 2.0. Undoubtedly, social networking is a key element of 21st century online life, but is it appropriate for public libraries to occupy a space in this type of community?

East Renfrewshire Council
Facebook offers public libraries an opportunity to exploit a relatively cost effective marketing tool to promote services; interact with existing users and deliver an additional access point, suitable for reaching potential new users. East Renfrewshire Council in Scotland was the first in the UK to launch Facebook pages for all of their libraries . The Scotsman featured an interesting editorial piece about the launch and SLAINTE promoted the story on their website.

Conflicting Views?
Despite this positive publicity, there still appears to be little consensus on whether other local authorities should fully embrace Facebook. As Tony Durcan observed in a recent article in Library & Information Review (March 2008, Vol 7(3):

“…there is absolutely no national leadership on the digital future of public libraries”.

In fact, I find it incredibly confusing and worrying that some authorities in Scotland have banned the use of all social networking sites for a variety of reasons; fear that employees would waste time online or that library users would be exposed unnecessarily to commercial advertisements, or, perhaps, as I suspect, as the result of a lack of knowledge and expertise at a higher level?

To ban or embrace?
Whatever the reason, would it not be a better idea to educate users and staff about the proper use of social networking, rather than banning the concept entirely? As far as I can tell, East Renfrewshire have done just that, by attempting to address issues such as:

  • protecting personal data online
  • adopting appropriate online communication skills
  • creating awareness that online ads are just like newspaper and TV ads; they are no way endorsed by the Facebook account holder (i.e. the Council)
  • staff training to ensure Library Assistants understand the basics of the service and can help users to create their own profiles, join groups and network, should they wish.

Thoughts for the future
I think it’s time to establish a set of national guidelines and a best practice toolkit to ensure that the strong presence of public libraries in our physical communities is replicated effectively and appropriately in virtual communities online.


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