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Back on the 2.0 Block – Philosophy and application are inseparable May 7, 2006

Posted by jennimi in About me, Blogging, Image of Librarians, Web 2.0.

I am a relative newbie to WordPress and have been frustrated all week by outages. Finally had time today to research the problem and lo, all I had to do was fill out a feedback form from my Dashboard and the problem was fixed a mere few hours later. So I must retract my frustrations a bit. Certainly outages are annoying, and it was a BIT difficult to pinpoint a solution (needed to visit a forum to find a thread which explained what to do) but having my problem resolved by what I am at this moment convinced was a real person in a short amount of time has put WP back in my good graces.

Now… just a couple of thoughts since I am not going to post all the stuff I originally wanted to:

I liked this post by Michael Stephens at ALA TechSource. I first heard of Stephens in this Library Journal article last October, “Talkin’ Blogs–LJ Round Table”. Well he’s still promoting blogging, but he’s also discussing the importance of hands-on experience in things 2.0, particularly for LIS students. I agree. It wasn’t until I took the plunge and started blogging that I began to see its potential role for information professionals. My own experience could probably make for a good article at this point but for now I also want to agree with commenter ChiLibrarian who wrote:

I think the important thing is not for students to learn to use Flickr or to start a blog. The important thing is to think about how libraries can use technology in a meaningful and useful way. I think my library school education more than a decade ago more than prepared me to deal with blogs, social tagging, RSS feeds, etc. Not because it taught me to be proficient in any particular programming or search technique, but because I had one class in particular that emphasized thinking about how technology effects users and library staff. It wasn’t about learning to use the shiny new thing, it was learning about being open to how the shiny new thing might be useful – or not.”

Blogging is something I have done on my own and managed to merge successfully with some coursework. But the tenets of librarianship I have internalized through coursework – and applied on the job through practicums – are what have prepared me to embrace “web 2.0” (or whatever we want to call it) in the first place.

As ChiLibrarian explains, it’s a mindset of openness which allows us to ponder how new technologies may be used to bring our patrons/users/friends/community to information. And I might add it’s useful to remember even though the world of information continues to evolve and morph beyond the wildest imaginations of our ancestors, what we do remains essentially the same: empower people to find information. (See my Philosophy of Librarianship here.)

Now, in my experience, we seem also to be playing a role in helping people to find each other. Tagging is an idea that is – if not invented by then certainly – embraced by librarians. Sites like Flickr and MySpace (my experience as a lover of indie music has been extremely positive on MySpace) are bringing people together in large part due to social tagging and user-defined metadata. I don’t think I would have had as rich an experience and understanding of this as I do had I not combined philosophy with application. It’s like the old nature/nurture debate in one way: it’s not one or the other, it’s both. Just some late night thoughts on future librarian 2.0. Now as I drift off to sleep I am pondering information literacy…



1. washtublibrarian - May 8, 2006

I was going to try to add all of my posts from the blogger account over on to my wordpress, and kept having the issue of the posts not displaying or carrying an entry date of January 1st, 1970. Overall, I have been having pretty aggravating issues with WordPress, and think I’ll probably stay with Blogger in the meantime.

2. Jenn Graham - May 8, 2006

Yeah… it was fixable, but annoyingly hard to navigate to the solution. I hear from lots of folks that when you host it on your own server you have a much better time of it. Yeah… probably time to scoop up a domain. Waiting til the right (employed) time. – Jenn

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