Bookending “Library 2.0”

I dipped my toes into the stream of Library 2.0 and “Library 2.0” discussion on December 8, 2005.

On December 30, I issued a call to add to an examination that was already “issue-length” (but an 18-page issue at that point). Several of you responded, as did everyone (I believe) who received separate email on the issue.

On January 8, the issue hit the fan–and in some ways what didn’t happen is almost as interesting as what did happen. (A lot of you really do want to point to the 42-page HTML version instead of the 32-page PDF. Whatever.)

Enough happened pretty rapidly to justify the first portion of this three-part post. But that just touched on a bit of the reaction.

  • What didn’t happen (so far at least): Nobody accused me of raising straw men. (OK, so I went out of my way to preclude such accusations.) Update 1/17: Given one post I saw today suggesting that nobody talking about Library 2.0 could possibly have meant to exclude anyone else or suggest that today’s libraries are failures, I’m very happy that I went through the excruciating cross-referencing process…maybe nobody meant those things, but some of them certainly said things carrying such implications.) Nobody among those advocating Library 2.0 attacked me personally–the only attack came from the most ludicrous of sources and had nothing whatsoever to do with anything in the issue.
  • What did happen (and is still happening): More people have gotten involved in several overlapping conversations about improving libraries. Fewer people are involved in bandwagon-building. I take no more than incidental credit for either change.

What’s next, as far as my own involvement? Less than you might expect, for reasons that should become clear in the February Cites & Insights (which I assure you will not under any circumstances emerge prior to January 29!). Not because I’m not interested, and certainly not because reactions so far have scared me off–but because I don’t feel that C&I is the right place for the ongoing conversations and real-world developments or that I’m necessarily able to add much value to those conversations and developments.

The bookend will either appear as a Followup Perspective in the February issue or as the majority (maybe 100% majority) of a Bibs & Blather section. I haven’t decided yet. A rough draft is in place (a week’s absence encouraged me to move forward with some writing now, as did the three-day weekend). The rough draft is just over one-thirteenth as long as the special issue. I’m inclined to believe that the appropriate length for that bookend is around one-twentieth the issue length–that is, roughly 1,300 words. Changing it to Bibs & Blather may accomplish that.

In the rough draft, I glance at some of the first wave of posts and comments just before and just after the issue was published, but I don’t examine them closely or engage in lengthy commentary or argument. (That’s the part that might get even shorter.) I explain in a little more detail why I probably [shouldn’t | don’t need to] be a major ongoing voice in these conversations and developments. And I point people to a couple of sources that could and perhaps should serve as clearinghouses or centers for successful (and failed?) implementations (Meredith F. won’t be surprised, I don’t believe).

No, I’m not saying “That’s the last I’ll ever have to say about this bandwagon or the concepts behind it.” That’s ludicrous. This isn’t even the classic western scene where I mount up, say “My work here is done,” and ride off into the sunset. (Lovely though such a thought is, my head’s too big for most white hats and there is no way on Gaia’s green earth that you’re getting me on the back of a creature that probably doesn’t want me there….) It’s just a recognition of where I can add value, where that’s less likely, and where time, space, and energy limits really do come into play.

So that’s the announcement of a bookend of sorts.

On a mostly different issue: I don’t know whether this will be my last pre-Midwinter post. Probably not–but if so, don’t be surprised if comment moderation slows to a crawl for about a week between January 19 and January 27. I travel without technology, and a surprise two-day trip was recently added to Midwinter. I might turn 100% moderation on, given the amount of spamment I’ve been getting, but I might not. As for Midwinter schedules: I’m not likely to post one–it’s so sparse as to be odd to post–but sure, I’ll be at the OCLC Blogger Salon, and a couple other predictable spots, and of course my own “small group of people sitting around chatting” (for which no advance work will have been done!).

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