05 February 2008

International Librarianship 2.0: some international dimensions of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0

Peter Johan Lor
, Secretary General, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and Extraordinary Professor, University of Pretoria, South Africa
The World-Wide Web is evolving into an interactive, multipolar social space, referred to as Web 2.0. Libraries are urged to follow suit, as implied by the term Library 2.0. A brief exploration of the evolving environment precedes a discussion of a number of trends which affect the library profession and which require attention at the international level. They include the commodification and dematerialisation of information, globalisation, and disintermediation. Their effects are diverse and affect freedom of information, equity of access, and inclusion in the information society – three themes that are addressed as part of IFLA’s international advocacy programme.
Well, as a keynote, this one didn't measure up. The content was initially entertaining but pedestrian in its content. Sorry, but I expected more from a keynote than this and struggled to stay awake. I wasn't expecting him to put a Reliant Robin into orbit, just some stimulating new ideas or a different perspective. Maybe there is more in his written paper.
He talked about the early days of library automation and how it has accelerated. Now we are in a "disruptive innovation phase".
He mentioned the importance of enjoying the journey (search) & the Long Tail of obscure/esoteric trivia encountered along the way. Problems encountered with amount of information to digest and limited bandwidth. Web: interactive; collaborative; and private/personal.
He links the Web & Library 2.0 to Info Economy. He also noted the ephemeral nature of new “dematerialised” documents. How do we preserve them? The place of publication is now irrelevant/obsolete.
Virtual content must reside somewhere and he briefly entioned “trusted repositories” in this context. Maybe they make it easier to pull the plug and censor material.
See his discussion of the relationship between Commoditisation/IP and the Long Tail (- in his paper for those interested I have the pdf file).
He also talks about the issues like orphaned works (i.e governing anything produced after 1860-70!) which confront mass digitisation projects. IFLA/IPA have a joint statement on this: should conduct a diligent search and if they can't find the owner and then go ahead and (mass) digitise, and the owner appears, there should not be a sanction against the library. [This may be relevant to the RC WW1 digitisation Project.]

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