Wednesday, May 14, 2008

it's all about having options

Andrew Pace wrote an interesting post about his take on Library 2.0: It's the data, stupid. My highly simplified version of his thesis is that Library 2.0 is about control and presentation of data, and how we might give the best access to it.

I think that there are a couple of corollaries to this that libraries have only recently begun to consider and implement. First, there is NO ONE WAY to best provide access, and that providing multiple paths and formats is necessary because we can never imagine what all the potential uses of our data are. Data should be exposed in as many ways as an institution finds sustainable, using appropriate community standards.

The second corollary is that while varied and easy access to data is vital, Library 2.0 is also about the personalization of discovery and use of data. Whether it's applying personal tags or personal filters to improve or focus discovery and retrieval, or applications that can take advantage of Identities and/or other APIs for personal or community-based mashups, it's all about how I might need to discover and use the data versus how Andy might need to work with data, and that those needs will likely be different next month than they are now. Last month I was researching Institutional Repository software solutions. This week I'm reading up on the Django web application framework. Last year I may have wanted to combine geographical and geocoding data with images. I don't know what I'm going to want to do next year.

Library 2.0 is about providing options to users, and removing barriers to innovative use and re-use.

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