Friday, January 18, 2008

Skilling Up for the Next Generation

There was an interesting post on the ReadWriteWeb blog recently suggesting that Sexy Librarians of the Future Will Help You Upload Your Videos to YouTube. The article presents a future where one role of librarians is to help people improve the discoverability of their online content. You should read the whole post but here is a snippet:
'Imagine a future when you go to the library with a 5 minute video you've just made about last night's Presidential debates and that librarian says to you:
You should upload it to YouTube and tag it with these four tags - two broad and two more specific to existing communities of interest on YouTube and the topic of your video. Then you should embed that video in a blog post along with some text introducing it and linking to some of your favorite posts by other people who have also written today about the Presidential debates. Make sure to send trackbacks to those posts!...
...Would that be great, or what?'
What I find interesting about this scenario is the recognition that the findability of information is a big challenge. The networking aspect of social software - blogs, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, etc allows people with converging interests to become recommendation engines. These are the spaces that potential future library customers inhabit. Libraries need to not only understand these new spaces but also to ensure that we are disclosing our content in these places so that our customers can discover us.*

So, how would your staff cope with an enquiry like this? Has your library started planning for the future skill sets your reference staff will require? Does your marketing strategy include online communities? Have you considered running a Learning 2.0 program in your library? If not, why not? Would any of the arguments in these posts sway you toward training staff in new technologies?

*See my comment on Ellen's post about Planning for the Future for a more in depth explanation of what I mean about discovery and disclosure.

Library of Congress and flickr

The Library of Congress has just announced a project called The commons. This makes some of their images available on Flickr and available for tagging. You can also add comments to the Library of Congress images. It is like a very large local studies project.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Library conferences

In case you are interested in what library conferences are happening where in 2008 have a look at this list compiled in Canada. It includes some Australian conferences.