Metadata and Web 2.0 in libraries

The annual meeting of the Cataloguing & Indexing Group in Scotland focused on how Web 2.0 applications are being used in libraries.

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In libraries traditionally, everything is about metadata. In recent years everybody is using - or at least talking about - Web 2.0.  The 2012 CIG Metadata and Web 2.0 Conference focused on Web 2.0 in libraries.

In his introduction to the event, Graham Forbes, Chair of CIG Scotland, spoke about how the annual seminars had developed.  Early seminars focused on the potential applications of Web 2.0 in libraries.  Now, in the fifth year, it was time to explore the results.  The agenda was a thought-provoking mix of finished projects, strategies, examples of best practice and stimulating analysis.

Growing Knowledge at the British Library

Nora McGregor of the British Library spoke about the Growing Knowledge project, which aimed to explore what future research services and environments should look like.

The prototype was designed as a kind of Apple Store space ship, full of colourful fancy furniture and the latest technology: workstation arrays, touch screens and new interfaces with, for example, georeferenced maps. Between the autumn of 2010 and the summer of 2011 researchers at the British Library were asked to find out if these services meet their expectations.  As a result, staff at the British Library are now able to create the services needed by researchers acting as their research advisors, facilitators and partners.

Twitter as a professional tool

Lynn Corrigan from Edinburgh Napier University described how Twitter could be used as a professional tool for cataloguers, enabling them to discuss issues with colleagues in different institutions and countries.  This widens not only the professional horizon but also the personal. Lynn underlined the importance of bringing your personality to the fore when tweeting.  As one of the most passionate presentations of the day, the Twitter topic generated animated discussions about archiving and spam tweets.

Customer communication

The most important role of Web 2.0 in libraries is to facilitate the institution's communication with the customer.  Therefore it's important to know what people use and to what extent and intensity. Bryan Christie from the National Library of Scotland pointed out that, as an institution, you have to be aware that introducing Web 2.0 tools requires a huge amount of time and effort.  First you have to be active in posting interesting issues to attract users.  Once you have attracted them, you have to keep them by listening, monitoring and responding to ongoing discussions and reacting quickly. 

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