Not a Library 2.0 post

I’ve been biding my time–both here and at Cites & Insights–about discussing “Library 2.0.”

There are several reasons for that, and those reasons have shifted in the past few days, where I’ve seen several thoughtful posts about Library 2.0 from people other than Library 2.0 Advocates. (Apologies to all those I didn’t link to: This is just a tiny convenient selection.) (Many of the posts from Library 2.0 Advocates and advocates–there’s a difference, which I won’t get into here–are also eloquent, thoughtful, worth reading–but they’re not hard to find, and I’m not much of a linker in general. TTW would be one of several places to start…)

On one hand, I don’t really enjoy being called a naysayer, I don’t really enjoy confrontation, and I have no desire to discourage enthusiasm for new ideas and services.

On the other hand, I am seeing a certain degree of “or thinking” going on, and the term itself draws a circle: This is Library 2.0, and everything else is Old Hat Library 1.0. Since I firmly believe this is all a continuum, and I’m not that fond of disruptive thinking and the ease with which people can be labeled as Luddite/old and ready to be put out to pasture/whatever, this is troublesome. I continue to believe that words and names matter, and wonder whether the rallying virtues of “Library 2.0” outweigh the confrontational drawbacks. “Wonder” in this case really does mean “don’t yet have any firm opinion but am continuing to read, explore, and think”

On the gripping hand, I see a growing number of explicit “middle people” getting involved, trying to make sense of all this from an and, not or perspective, and am encouraged by this–and wonder whether it doesn’t make sense for an “accidental elder” like me to just stay out of the discussion for the moment.

So that’s what I’ll do for now. Some day soon, maybe, I’ll have something semi-coherent to add to the discussion, and will do so either here or in my primary outlet.

8 Responses to “Not a Library 2.0 post”

  1. Michael says:

    Hey Walt! New place for my blog on my site is:

    Thanks! 🙂

  2. walt says:

    I just copied what Bloglines showed me as your main entry point, but I’ve replaced it…

  3. Paul Miller says:

    As someone you’d presumably label either an ‘advocate’ or ‘Advocate’, I honestly would value your opinions and input to the discussion which (on the whole) I believe has not been – and hope will remain – non-confrontational.

    This isn’t a battle. It’s not right against wrong. It’s a discussion about some of the ways in which things are changing inside and outside libraries, and the things that we can do to harness or manage those changes.

  4. walt says:

    When I have something useful to add–which I hope will be soon–I’ll add it. So far, I think most of the discussion I’ve seen has been non-confrontational. The term itself carries a touch of confrontation with it, but that’s a semantic issue.

    I want to dig a little at what I see being said and argued, the extent to which I think it’s really something new (and, to be sure, it may be important to say anew even if it’s not a new concept), and the whole set of issues surrounding balance, continuity, “disruptive change” vs. development, “and” vs. “or”…

    What I do not want to do, and why I have avoided addressing the issue so far (other than this non-post), is to indulge in my own rhetorical excess. That’s one reason I’m holding off until I can put together some coherent thoughts, synthesize what I’m reading, and hopefully serve as a positive force in the set of discussion. I’m not much for bandwagons, but I also try to avoid putting things down for the sake of naysaying. (And I’m trying harder in that area as I grow–sorry, Steven C.–less young chronologically.)

  5. walt says:

    Oops: Immediate clarification. “and that’s a semantic issue” would be a better way to put it. I think semantics matter, and in this case the semantics are tricky.

  6. WoW!ter says:

    Pity that your last issue (6:1) was too early for a thoughtfull perspective on library 2.0. It certainly would have been appreciated.

  7. walt says:

    It’s not that the new issue was “too early for a thoughtful perspective on Library 2.0.” It’s the other way around: I’m just not ready to write such a perspective yet, and may not be for weeks to come…

    It’s always possible that, after I go through all the notes, I’ll conclude that I don’t have much to add to the discussion (or that I’m not willing to deal with the ramifications, although that’s unlikely, as I’ve achieved a kind of Father William status–and if that reference doesn’t make sense, see Lewis Carroll). More likely, when I have a perspective ready, it will form one of the capstones of an issue that will be ready when the perspective is.

    (I already see that a (C)4: Locking Down Technology perspective is needed soon, given that two congresscritters have introduced legislation to “close the analog hole.” So there’s two perspectives for a future issue right there…if/when I have time to deal with them.)

  8. walt says:

    If anyone happens upon this, an update to the above may be in order.

    I have written the central portion of a probable C&I essay on Library 2.0. (The central portion excerpts a range of statements about the subject and adds my own commentary as appropriate.) Unfortunately, or fortunately, or whatever, what I hoped would be the core of a nice 3,500-word to 5,000-word (that is, 5- to 7-page in C&I’s PDF form) Perspective is currently at 14,000 words.

    That omits the prefatory portions (which I suspect will be a series of one-liners of the “Library 2.0 is…” variety, based on statements within the core, and maybe several one-paragraph asserted definitions taken directly from the core excerpts) and the portions that attempt to provide some overall perspective and conclusions.

    In one recent case, discussing the Open Content Alliance and Google Book Search, I separated the two–one front-page essay with my overall comments and a much longer core essay full of excerpts and comments. That might make sense here as well–but if I do that, or if I do the “usual,” then it comes out to a long issue’s worth of content unless I manage to slash at least one-third of what I have already. And I’m not that good a self-editor (as C&I readers know all too well).

    So it’s possible–not probable yet, but possible–that I might put out an initial serious foray into this area a week or two before ALA Midwinter, as a special issue. (I’ve already made some promises that mean it can’t happen before January 8 or so.) As I said to a couple of other people, “Of course, that may mean I’ll have to wear Groucho glasses during Midwinter…” since a few Library 2.0 people may (or may not) be upset with the commentary.

    Alternatively, if I can cut the heck out of the core section, it might be a major portion of the next C&I, which would probably come out a couple of days before Midwinter.

    I’m hoping to firm up the first draft in the next day or two, let it sit while I move on to some other stuff (not all of it writing-related or work-related!), and come back to it fresh a few days later. Then we’ll see what happens.