Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Role of libraries in Social Networking

Today libraries are using latest trends to make their services popular & user friendly especially in western countries. These trends are now also catching up with Indian library professionals. Every body is now talking about Lib 2.0 applications. One of them is Social Networking (SN)!!

Librarians are always maintaining good rapport with their users as well as other professional fellow beings. But doing the same with new resources provided by Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) is now termed as “Social Networking” where users especially college students are targeted as they gets fascinated by such applications. The basic aim is same as resource sharing.

Those who are not aware about SN may try following resources available on Internet. They also give insight how libraries can play role in social networking:

1. Using Social Networking Tags in a Library Setting
2. MySpace, Social Networking and Its Impact on Library Services
3. Building a Social Networking Environment at the Library
4. Social Networking Websites
5. San Rafael Library joins social networking site Facebook
6. Social Networking by Yale University Science Libraries

At the same time there are incidences where libraries themselves have banned these sites due to various reasons.

1. No MySpace, Facebook at Mishawaka Library
2. Library Bans Social Networking

SN may prove dangerous in some instances like misuse of personal details. Everything has its pros and cons. One should look for positive things. SN also may prove useful if applied correctly. In this regard, a book titled as Online Social Networking on Campus may prove to be useful. The book is a professional guide for Higher Education faculty and Student Affairs administrators, which rigorously examines college students’ use of online social networking sites and how they use these to develop relationships both on and off campus.

OCLC have designed a special course titled as MySpace, Facebook, and Social Networking Tools for Libraries

Actual usage of such tools by libraries in India is not identified. But elsewhere survey is also conducted to know the usage.

As per the PEW report, the share of adult Internet users who have a profile on an online social network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years -- from 8% in 2005 to 35% now, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project's December 2008 tracking survey.

While media coverage and policy attention focus heavily on how children and young adults use social network sites, adults still make up the bulk of the users of these websites. Adults make up a larger portion of the US population than teens, which is why the 35% number represents a larger number of users than the 65% of online teens who also use online social networks

Whether and how to use SN is the main point library professionals have to deal with keeping in mind all the pros and cons, which may vary from organization to organization also.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Best Practices for Lib 2.0

Last week I attended the INDEST-AICTE Workshop and Sixth Annual Meet 7-9, January 2009 at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai, Mumbai. There were many presentations focused on Web 2.0 applications in libraries, which is popularly known as Lib 2.0.

The Lib 2.0 applications includes:
¨ Wikis
¨ Blogs
¨ RSS feeds
¨ Podcasts
¨ Folksonomies
¨ Social Networking
¨ Mashups etc.

One can study these applications and use it for library users in various ways as it does not require programming or technical knowledge. But it is essential to follow some standard practices or “Best Practices”.

The Society for New Communications Research is dedicated to identifying and promoting best practices surrounding the development, adoption, usage, monitoring and measurement of new media and communications tools, technologies and practices. They have published following best practices, which will be useful for everyone:

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