Sep 23, 2009

Web 2.0 and librarians

From On the Boundaries of Reference Services: Questioning and Library 2.0 , Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 50(3), p. 164-175 (by subscription):

Goal: To understand the demand for "Library 2.0" skills in librarianship as well as evaluate the attitudes of students toward 2.0 technologies
Method: surveys of library staff in 242 public libraries about technology, observations of libraries websites, surveys of students in two universities - 31 graduates taking a course in reference and 46 undergraduates taking courses from Informatics dept.
Results:
  • Libraries implement technologies (153 libraries had blogs, 105 participated in social networking sites, 91 libraries used wiki, RSS, Flickr, YouTube and Delicious was also used)
  • "We need to train librarians and build into job descriptions technological proficiencies. You work with books but also the Web."
  • Use of Web 2.0 by students (an excerpt):


    Web 2.0 type
    Undergraduates
    Graduates
    MySpace
    80.4%
    29.4%
    Facebook
    84.8%
    2.9%
    Wikis
    95.7%
    5.9%
    Blogs
    47.8%
    17.6%


  • Students didn't think that it was appropriate to ask librarians about blogs and social networking sites.
  • "web 2.0 services currently are not really helpful in an academic setting so I assume librarians have better things to do."
    "Older librarians might not have this knowledge."
  • LIS graduate students didn't think Web 2.0 was relevant to librarianship


    "It never would have occurred to me to as a librarian with help [sic] finding one of these websites."

Web2.0 and other technologies should be considered one of the many documentary practices. It makes more sense to educate students about print and digital technologies that are used to produce documents and information, rather than teach them certain skills, which will be obsolete when they graduate anyway.