Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Library 3.0

(We are approaching web 3.0 very fast, the desires and expectations from the ICT have already started giving shape to this generation of web. Consequently Library 3.0 envelops lot of challenges to the librarians as well as new dimensions to the profession. In this post we tried to put our views on the Web 3.0 and Library 3.0, which may not be accepted by many of the professionals. The discussion we are keeping open for all professionals or individuals and request them to put across their comments and views on the discussion, if they have any. )

We have talked about Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 in our earlier posts. The web generations which have given the existence to library 1.0 and library 2.0. Nowadays we can see discussions about web 3.0 are mushrooming in various discussion groups and forums. Before moving to library 3.0, lets share few words about Web 3.0 and what does it mean to us?

We have been experiencing applications of vibrant and dynamic technologies in Web 2.0 generation which stimulated our expectations and demanding more computing and analyzing intelligence from next generation of the Web. Since, Web 2.0 has been working with the aim to give social synchronization through groups, wikis, blogs, communities, forums and social networks. It brings individual whether a professional or general in contact with known and unknown people. In this people are sharing their thoughts, comments, feedbacks and scraps to be remained in touch with each others. Therefore, in broader sense we can say that Web 2.0 is bringing Individual together and information scattered all over the web. Whereas it is being expected that Web 3.0 will bring information together. Application of mashup technologies will give us the virtual world of Information in which web will be strengthen with more computing and analyzing powers through artificial intelligence. In Web 3.0 all created profiles and browsing history of an individual put together, on basis of analyzing the contents, computer will come out with the result needed by that particular individual. In this sense, two individuals will get different output while searching on a same query. Web will produce the result by knowing searcher’s flavor of information through analyzing his/her profiles and browsing history. Web 3.0 will work with more web semantic technologies, today hidden web or invisible web is a matter of concern and it is also being expected that it will not be there in Web 3.0.

Definition about Web 3.0 is in discussions these days, whereas a valid definition is yet to be established. Though, Web 3.0 set up the linking between data, various devices to exchange, analyse and find the data and finally establishes the linking between all users of web. This is quite an interesting debate that how web 3.0 is going to be implemented in libraries? To understand this we can say, Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 are completely based on the computer experts who showed these generations of web to all of us. Use of dynamic contents, blogs, social networks, tagging, wikis, podcasts and mashup technologies on web is a common application but information is scattered and unorganized all over the web. Now, Web 3.0 will prominently be based up on the librarians, for organizing this scattered or unorganized information. The application of semantic technologies and ontologies will be the key aspects in this generation of web.

Applications of Web 3.0 in Libraries

Since, features of web 3.0 are little hazy but being a user and organizer of information, speed, accuracy, precision and systematic organization of information available on the web are the most desirable elements of Library 3.0. Below, we are describing few of the prominent features or aspects of library 3.0 generation in brief:

Semantic Web: Semantic web will provide us with the option to share, unite, search and organize the web information in easy manner. Sharing and organizing information available in every corner of the web, which is the main aim of this generation and expected to be achieved with the help of semantic web technologies.

OPAC: In library 3.0, Web OPACs of various libraries which are forming a part of visible or invisible web would be brought together. Metadata of contents (contents in any format) would seamlessly accessible and searchable from single user friendly interface, just the way a ‘Portal’ provides one stop shop for various contents in present generation.

Ontologies: These are the techniques to give richer semantic relationships between terms and thoughts of knowledge. These give more standardization in managing the web contents instead of merely indexing the terms. Ontology aims at how the information is organized rather than organizing the information. Librarians can adopt various ontological techniques to define the web contents in more professional as well as personal manner.

Ubiquitous contents: The ubiquitous computing offers various contents which can be used or re-used frequently and will also not get absolute in near future. The contents of this generation need to be created in various formats and can also be easily shared, transferred and accessible through all modes of communication. Ubiquitous contents are the personal contents of the people persistently stored on the web in form of movies, blog posts, RSS feeds, wikis, stories, articles, music, games, etc. These are always there on the web and accessible from everywhere over the Internet through all mobile and Internet accessible devices.

GeoTagging: This helps users to find specific information located at specific location. It is simply a marking of various media or digital contents like images, photographs, video, websites or RSS feed etc. Most of the cellphones and mobile devices have GPS (Global Positioning System) facilities, which allowing users to add metadata exactly where the data or image or video was created. So tagging helps users to mark their information in which they are interested for.

Virtual Reference Service: Since technology is developing very fast in all domains, librarians are more determined to serve the users who are away from the libraries. In virtual reference service, apart from helping the users in personal or telephonic way, librarians are now developing the contents which can easily be transferable and readable in cellphones and other mobile devices to help the users at any point of time.

Librarians: In Library 3.0 is not only to provide the service to the people but it is serving the user with various services. They should know how to get the requested information and make it available to the user without concerning about the location. They should also help the users to make use of the given information. Librarians will have to work on the alternative way of providing information if one mode of communication gets failed.

In Nutshell: We are in the unorganized set of web contents these days but in library 3.0 to establish these unorganized web contents into a systematic and organized way. The most important sphere of library 3.0 is to establish a semantic relationship between all available web contents to ensure seamless accessibility, search-ability, availability and usability. Librarians need to be more inclined towards the use of latest tools and technology to create virtual library system. But basic aim remains the same i.e. ‘right information to the right user at the right time’.
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