Essential technologies for “Library 2.0”


Recently, I have been working towards providing a better, more accessible online presence for people working within the subject areas I cover. This is evidenced in the Toolbar, re-presenting MetaLib, SFX, library catalogues, etc. and the BIBSYS-RSS-feeder. As a handy term covering these efforts, I will be using “Library 2.0” — a jargonistic term if ever there was one. This concept is modelled on “Web 2.0”, which is “of course a piece of jargon”, and is equally much a description of a use of existing technologies, rather than a new technology.

What I have been doing is looking at the old technologies that are needed to get the information we need, and re-packaging them. The best example of this is the dynamic web-page concept; merging the content of the eJournal index SFX, link server MetaLib, library catalogues and LDAP server — a choppy example (Firefox only! Get certificate! Maybe weak functionality for external users.) can be seen here. This is real mash-up territory, to use the Web 2.0 jargon.

I have been working with information systems for some time now, and have come across a few library specific technologies that I already see as totally essential. These are:

  • The Z39.50 protocol — essential for searching and harvesting data
  • MARCXML with XML/XSL/Xpath, etc — essential for data manipulation
  • Powerful, well-documented, open server-side and client-side scripting (examples: PHP, JavaScript respectively)
  • Well-documented, open databases (examples: LoC, BIBSYS, Google (!))
  • Good, well-documented, open web browsers

These are the technologies I have used so far, I am sure that there are more things I should be looking at…contributions?

Other necessary things include:

  • Changes to intellectual property laws that enable us to open things up — yes, open access does benefit us all
  • A change in the way we view technology and its role in academic life

Does the Library 2.0 scene actually benefit anyone? Or are we just doing more of the same, and not actually producing anything of value?

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