Saturday, September 23, 2006

Why is Library 2.0 so hard?

I'm going to be judicious in what I say here since some of my staff actually read this.

First of all, I am reading Michael Stephens LTR on Web 2.0 which I received as a blogger. I admit that I am not far into it, and will do a later post on the whole issue of trust and radical trust. But that was the section I had just read before having a meeting with the Library web committee. After all, I'm not about to do a huge web site like the Library's. There are many staff who know so much more than I both about creating the site, as well as about the content.

This time we were talking about Flickr and blogging.

First the good news, there is now a group of us who are going to start the Library's official blogs which will be integrated into the next version of the web site. I firmly believe that you cannot "make someone do something." And that is particularly true with blogging. If you get someone who is enthusiastic, the job will be much better done than if the person doing it is reluctant.

The more difficult was about Flickr. The Library has a Flickr account now, and yes, we sprung for a "pro" account so that we can have more than three sets. That is great, and the staff member who has taken hold of this is doing a great, and enthusiastic job. If you watch the site, don't be surprised to find that over the course of the next few months you see several thousand photos from the past four years added. We've had a digital camera that long, taken lots of pictures, and not been dealing with the collecting/archiving part very well.

The concerns expressed by staff were about the fact that we are putting up photos without collecting releases from those in them. Look at the September 11 Observance set. There are patrons doing activities. The only people identified by name are staff (including the staff member who has taken charge of the account.)

The other concern was about our pool. [Of course there was the whole discussion about "sets" versus "pools."] Most of the photos there are ones from my Flickr account. "Who can contribute?" "Who controls that?" "What if they have something inappropriate on their site?" All those questions which involve trust and the social networking part of Web/Library 2.0 were brought up.

I, as the administrator, and the one whose job is on the line, am willing to take a risk here. Why are others so risk averse? It costs us very little. Other libraries are doing it without problem, we are not first, and I'll be blasted if we will be last!


  1. If I understand a 'pool' to be a collective not limited to just library input then no, I wouldn't go for it either. There is something about radical trust that comes off as unprofessional. Its one thing to recruit involvement, another to just leave the doors open.

  2. But as I understand Flickr, the administrator gets to choose who is allowed to post to the pool. That removes the danger -- real or percieved.

    I'm at a point where I am willing to take some risks. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and this is something we can do without spending money.