Library 2.0: Now that that’s settled…

For the longest time, there seemed to be many differing opinions as to what “Library 2.0” was all about.

So much so that I wrote an issue of Cites and Insights about it, an issue that was downloaded more than 15,000 times in PDF form (as of October 20) and another 15,000 times in HTML form (again as of October 1). For that matter, between September 1, 2007 and October 28, 2007, that issue was downloaded more often than any current issue. Apparently there are still people out there who think it’s unclear what it’s all about–lots of people.

So imagine my surprise at the title of this post: “We Know What Library 2.0 Is and Is Not.”

Wow. No ambiguity. No disagreements. Michael Casey and Laura Savastinuk know.

It’s an interesting post. Not quite as interesting as the sheer certainty of the title, though.

Steven Chabot isn’t wild about the certainty of the post title, even as he agrees (as do I) that empirical research makes sense–that offering “solutions” nobody’s really asking for is less than ideal.

Chabot “can’t really stomach the opening statement” (the post title).

I don’t feel nearly as strongly. I think the absolute certainty of the title is amusing.

The post? Worth reading, as is Chabot’s.

7 Responses to “Library 2.0: Now that that’s settled…”

  1. Jeff says:

    I thought the title was very un-library 2.0. Of course, what do I know?

  2. I find the statement amusing as well, but sometimes vitriol is what comes out when writing at twelve in the morning.

  3. walt says:

    Jeff–I almost noted your comment on Steven’s post. What do you know? Well, I follow Gather No Dust with considerable interest (which doesn’t mean I always agree with you, any more than I look for anyone to always agree with me), and I’m inclined to believe you know quite a bit. (I’m starting to build a leadership blogroll on a separate Bloglines account–for work–and GND looks to be part of the “library leadership” half of that blogroll.)

    Steven: Thanks for the comment–and I really wasn’t objecting to the tone of your post. I don’t post at midnight (or do much of anything else other than sleep), but I can see how posting your unvarnished feelings can happen. And it’s not such a bad thing to do sometimes.

  4. Meredith says:

    Hey Walt. I commented on the post and got a response from Laura.

    “I think you misunderstand. “We” is collective – it is all of us, understanding it for ourselves.”

    Looking back at the post, I still read it as “we (Michael and Laura) know”, but I’m glad to hear they didn’t mean it that way.

  5. walt says:

    Meredith–That’s interesting and, frankly, worse than the original situation. After all, Michael Casey probably coined the term “Library 2.0”–so he could potentially lay some claim to being the right person to (re)define it now.

    But Laura’s response says two things:

    1. The post was poorly written. As you say, even after being told what Michael and Laura intended by the title, you still don’t read it that way. Neither do I. Neither, as far as I can tell, has anyone else who’s commented on the post.

    2. What they intended to say is not so much arrogant as pure nonsense. “We”–all of us, understanding it for ourselves–most certainly do not share a single definition of what “Library 2.0” is and is not. As with most universalisms, that’s wholly improbable (“we” do not all agree on when the earth was created or, I suspect, on the idea that the earth revolves in an elliptical orbit around a star). In this particular case, there’s not even near-unanimity of opinion among Library 2.0 advocates.

    I was impressed by TangognaT’s understanding of the situation. Maybe I’ll leave it there.

  6. Elena O'Malley says:

    I’m a bit suspicious of the LibraryCrunch post – it’s a “user-centric” approach, but we “have to get our…users on board.”

    I can think of a reasonable argument or two that people can be hesitant about a new method or system that might benefit them, or one group doesn’t want what might benefit another, but I’m cynical (or perhaps snarky) enough that I’d like that clarified.

  7. walt says:

    Elena, you raise an interesting issue…but one that I’m not going to address right at the moment. At least I like the idea that libraries should attempt to see what their users want (presumably all their users, not only the most advantaged, most technophilic, or those who spend all their free time in virtual worlds) as an early part of trying to improve services: Finding the needs that tools might be good for, rather than spotting the tools and assuming a need for them. How many library uses of 2.0-style tools have really had that advance understanding of real community needs? I have no idea.