Friday, July 31, 2009


In simple words, application of Web 2.0 in libraries is known as Library2.0 or L2. Therefore, it is important to have a discussion on Web2.0 at first before moving further. During the year 2000, when web under ‘dot com’ was getting crumbled up with the concept and general consideration that web is for publishing only. Even in this situation O’Reilly Media Inc. under the leadership of its founder Tim O’Reilly come out as strong believer of web. This group has highlighted the web as dynamic platform for productive communication, especially in the area of business and marketing. Web 2.0 is a term originally coined by Dale Daugherty and Tim O’Reily in the year 2004 during a brainstorming session of a special conference organized to discuss the future of web and emerging techniques.

Web2.0 is being defined differently by the experts, few say it is a technology which provides lively experience to the users while using the Internet and few say it is an advance stage of Internet. Other say it is optimum use of technologies over the Internet and few considered it as propaganda for Internet marketing. Though, web 2.0 is a user-centred web, where blogs, wikis, social networks, multimedia applications, dynamic programming scripts are being used for collection, contribution and collaboration concepts on the web.

Library 2.0
The term Library 2.0 is coined by Michael Casey in 2006. Various library professionals have defined the term differently but in general we can say that application of web 2.0 in libraries is known as Library 2.0. Now question arises how libraries have come into Web 2.0 business and this question is being discussed in many professional platforms. To answer this question, Five Laws of Library Science given by Dr. S R Ranganathan about a century ago are absolutely valid to justify transformation of libraries into Library 2.0. The laws are:
  1. Information is for use (Books are for use)
  2. Every user his/her information (Every reader his/her book)
  3. Every information its user (Every book its reader)
  4. Save the time of the user (Save time of the user)
  5. The library is a growing organism (The library is a growing organism)

These laws are strictly showing users as centric force of any library system. First law recommends proper use of information. Second and third laws address right information to the right user and also about alert services. Forth law is asking to use new tools and technologies so librarians can save the time of user as well as library staff. Fifth law shows the broad spectrum of library system which is infinitive in nature and also recommending use of latest technologies, tools, services and methods as required to give vibrant and dynamic shape to the library system.

Web 2.0 in the libraries

Library website: Library 2.0 is offering dynamic websites for the libraries which embedded with semantic web and interoperability of various tools and techniques. Few of them are as:

  • Streaming media: Streaming technology takes care of multimedia files over the Internet. It is the streaming of video and audio media that incorporate more interactive, media-rich facets. With the help of streaming media users can interact with library staff or their teachers as they interact in classrooms or instruction labs.

  • Mashups: Mashup is a hybrid application of the web which integrates information from different sources at one platform. In simple words it is an application that combines data or functionality from two or more external sources to create a new service. Mashup is the technology which integrates all applications of web 2.0 at single platform.

  • Podcast: Padcast defined as “a digital media file or collection of files that is distributed over the Internet periodically and made available for download by means of web syndication”. The files can be played back on a computer or personal player i.e. Ipod or mobile etc.


  • Tagging: This makes information searching easier on the Internet. In which users can create and change the metadata, especially subject headings to the contents. This acts like an open catalogue to the information. In this users can give subject headings to their interested documents/ contents and also write reviews of the contents. In web OPAC system users can tag their interested documents and also write comments and reviews on interested documents.

Alert Services:

  • Instant Messaging: In simple words it is known as “Chat”, through this chat reference library users can interact with librarians on library related issues as they would interacting face to face. Instant messaging reference service is being used successfully and expertly in libraries.

  • Social Networks: Social networking is the most promising and most talked technology of present days. This allows people to create virtual communities (personal or professional) over the internet for interaction. Social Networks are online communities where people meet, socialize, exchange digital files, etc. Facebook, MySpace, Orkut and Flickr are few popular examples of Social Networks. Libraries can also start their social network about latest books or documents in the libraries where users can discuss or comments on the contents being contained by these books or documents. This can not be only restricted to books or other documents even library services and activities can also be discussed through this.


  • Blog: Jorn Barger coined ‘Blog’ in the year 1997 and blogs are being considered as a great milestone in the history of web publishing. This is a sort of personal web site featuring diary-type commentary, simple web posts and links to articles or other web sites. This is being frequently updated and gives chronological arrangement of the posts. For easy search each entry or post can be tagged with keyword and description. Libraries can start their blogs to encourage interactions amongst users and library staff. Blog can also be used for promoting activities and services of the libraries. It allows two ways interaction where users can also make comment on the posted information.

  • Wikis: This is like an open web page and who have access permission can publish or edit the information on these wabpages by using their browsers. Professional communities are using wikis as reference guides that reflect the collective knowledge of the community. Wikipedia is the excellent example of this service. Libraries can open their webpages in the wikis and can promote social interaction among librarians and library users.


  • RSS Feeds: RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is the technology which facilitates users to keep track of new updates on selected websites. This technology normally is being seen in blogs and wikis but now almost all the websites are using this technology. To facilitate the users, libraries have already started using this technology to keep them up to date with the latest happening in chosen websites. It enables users to have customized personal pages that contain contents of various other websites which would of their use.

In nutshell:
Application of Web 2.0 in libraries has taken the libraries into next generation. Library 2.0 is completely user centric which provokes libraries to share the resources collectively. It is important for the librarians to experience Web 2.0 tools from a user’s perspective and use these tools in modernizing library services. Therefore, librarians have to techno-savvy in today’s world of information and technology.

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