Application of Web 2.0 Technologies in Libraries

Elaboration, 2017

16 Pages






1. Blogs

2. Bibliographic reference managers

3. Vodcasts

4. Web conferencing / Webinars

5. Podcasts

6. Social networking

7. RSS feeds

8. Chat

9. Wikis



How can web 2.0 technologies be applied in a library set up?


According to Stephens and Collins (2007), Web 2.0 is the next incarnation of the World Wide Web, where digital tools allow users to create, change, and publish dynamic content of all kinds. Other Web 2.0 tools syndicate and aggregate this content. In this ecology, users will all be publishers and creators of their own information content. Since these applications allow people to make connections, do conversations, and collaborate, they are also known as the Read/Write Web, social software, and social computing. This paper looks at various web 2.0 technologies and how they can be applied in a library set-up.

According to Curran, Murray and Christian (2007) as quoted by Mahmood (2011), for a website to be web 2.0, it must fulfill the following conditions:

- User generated content, as opposed to content solely posted by the site author
- Treats users as if they are co-developers of the site
- Highly customisable and interface
- The core application of the website must runs through the browser and web server, rather than on a desktop platform
- The incorporation of popular internet trends, the sharing of media and content and the use of web standards
- Integration of emerging web technologies

Stephens and Collins (2007) provide another dimension of looking at these conditions. They argue that the principles of web 2.0 include conversations, community, participation, a sense of experience, and sharing. These can be elaborated as follows:

- Conversations: In web 2.0 platforms, user participation, discussion and feedback are welcomed and encouraged.
- Community: Open conversations taking place on these platforms can lead to a sense of community and belonging within social sites.
- Participation: New information is created via collaboration between users. Everyone can create content; ideas and knowledge flow freely and are remixed and reused.
- Experience: Engagement with other users and the community as a whole is rewarding and provides some type of fulfillment.
- Sharing: Users can post about as much or as little of their lives as possible.

Web 2.0 technologies have found application in businesses, schools, libraries and government services. Online ecommerce businesses such as ebay, alibris and amazon use web 2.0 technologies extensively. However, in this paper, I will only discuss how various web 2.0 tools and technologies can be applied in libraries.

1. Blogs

Kajewski (2007) defines the term blog as “a particular category of website where the content is presented in a continuing sequence of dated entries. Put simply, a blog is an online diary.”

Kajewski (2007) defines the term blog as “a particular category of website where the content is presented in a continuing sequence of dated entries. Put simply, a blog is an online diary.”

Blogs are used in libraries as:

a. Promotional tool

Libraries can use blogs as a promotional tool to inform clients of changes and additions to library services and collections, and of news and current events. For instance, they can use blogs for:

- Making library announcements for example announcing library closures during public holidays, repairs and regular maintenance works , among others
- Publicizing library events, providing lists of acquisitions in form of new books, CD-ROMs, audiovisuals among others
- As platform for interaction between the library staff and the library patrons. Any contribution for the improvement of library services as well as suggestions for new purchases can also be made through the library blogs.

b. Feedback tool.

According to Kajewski (2007) library blogs can be used as a feedback tool. This is because blogs encourage valuable feedback from readers via the comments link. For example, patrons can provide information about their library experiences which is a valuable input into decisions concerning improving the future of the library in terms of services, policies among others. Kajewski (2007) also cite the use of blogs for conducting polls and surveys. According to him, polls and surveys can be added to blogs using free software tools such as Pollhost ( Libraries can collect useful feedback from their users by asking questions of users in a space they feel safe enough to express themselves in.

c. Blogs as a professional awareness tool.

Blogs can also be used as current awareness tool and professional aids for someone to keep updated with new developments and trends in his/her field. Blogs help someone to stay ahead of changes in technology and in the library profession (Kajewski 2007). Good examples of useful blogs for professional awareness include: WebJunction, Library Stuff and Researchbuzz. WebJunction for example, is an online community where librarians meet to exchange ideas, resolve professional problems, take online courses and enjoy themselves.

Library Stuff on the other hand is a library blog providing resources for keeping current and for professional development.

d. Blogs a library service

According to Kajewski (2007) blogs are used by libraries as a library service themselves. For instance, the library can list new materials such as books, videos, CDs, or DVDs as they are added to the library collection. In addition, blogs can feature book reviews where staff members contribute to the blog and readers contribute to the reviews by sending their comments and opinions.

2. Bibliographic reference managers

These are softwares for managing bibliographic references. In particular, they allow one to capture bibliographic information about research materials, create bibliographies, add footnotes, and manage research collections. Some of these tools also make it easy to share references with other researchers. In libraries, they allow rapid and simple creation of a bibliography by importing records from various library catalogues and databases. Good examples are Zotero, RefWorks, CiteULike, and BibMe.

3. Vodcasts

Rosenthal (2006) defines vodcasting as a step beyond podcasting which adds video to the downloadable sound files podcast listeners are used to. The videos are online delivered online on demand via Atom or RSS attachments (Kajewski, 2007). Ideally, a vodcast allows someone to download and watch an episode of a TV program or a video segment whenever and wherever he/she likes, even after the broadcast has been aired. In libraries, vodcasts are used to illustrate recent library programmes and to attract the user community to attend future programmes conducted by the library.

4. Web conferencing / Webinars

Web conferencing is used to convene group meetings or live presentations through the internet (Kajewski, 2007). A web conference usually features a web version of a PowerPoint presentation and web co-browsing, whereby conference participants see whatever is on the presenter’s screen; voice communication, either through a traditional telephone conference, or through voice over internet protocol (VoIP); and text messaging, enabling participants without a microphone to use text chat in place of voice. Most web conferencing software allows the participants and the presenter to record the session and save the text chat for future reference.

The term webinar is often used when referring to web conferencing. ”Webinar” is a combination of the words web and seminar. A webinar is intended to be interactive between the host and participants and the information is communicated according to a programme, with a starting and ending time. Generally the host speaks over a microphone, highlighting information being offered on screen, and the participants can reply via their own microphones or text chat.

Libraries have a challenge of providing library services to remote areas due to distance. This situation is made worse by the ever-increasing cost of travel. This is where conducting tutorials, meetings and workshops via Webinar or web conferencing becomes important since these bring librarians together to share ways of keeping their libraries up-to-date and flourishing. They are also used to train librarians in far areas on many aspects of library. For example the University of Greenwich uses Webinar to train liaison librarians in various countries on how to assist students, who are enrolled the in University’s collaborative programmes, on using the library’s vast electronic resources.

Through webinars or web conferencing, librarians have access to top-notch industry speakers, activities and events. By listening to their presentations and watching events and activities, librarians can advance their skills and therefore grow professionally.

5. Podcasts

According to Kajewski (2007), a podcast is an audio program distributed over the internet. In a podcast, the content distribution is automatically done through RSS (really simple syndication). Also in blogs, you can receive podcasts by subscribing using podcast-clients such as iTunes and PodSpider. Podcasts can be downloaded into iPods and MP3 players for listening at a time when one chooses.

When explaining the use of podcasts in public libraries, Kajewski (2007) suggests that libraries can use podcasts in the following ways:

- As training tools for databases and online library resources.
- Provide library tours on podcast.
- Provide professional development for staff – include on-demand tutorials, copyright discussions, and presentations by external professionals, book group discussion guides, summaries of new services or policies.
- Use recordings from presentations or turn presentations, lectures, and tutorials into podcasts.
- Library marketing podcasts (such as how to use RSS, databases etc.)
- Give updates about what is going on in your library and the user community.
- Review new books and follow by interviews with users who have read the books.
- Podcast computer classes to make users more conversant with the use of computers in the library.
- Information literacy and research help.

6. Social networking

Oxford online dictionary defines social network as “a dedicated website or other application which enables users to communicate with each other by posting information, comments, messages, images, etc...”. Social networking sites provide libraries with an effective way of connecting with their patrons. Some of the most common social networking sites include: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace and Pinterest.

a) Pinterest

According to American Library Association (2013), libraries generally use Pinterest to publicize the resources and services they offer, by, for example:

- Pinning book covers. Many librarians use the visual power of Pinterest to display book covers, especially those from new books, special collections, and child-friendly material.
- Creating reading lists on a wide range of topics.
- Getting the word out on recent acquisitions.
- Fostering research. Much Pinterest material is on the light side, but some librarians and academics see potential in the site for much more serious applications.
- Promoting library activities, showcasing everything from lectures to job help and author visits.
- Offering access to digital collections. With ebooks gaining popularity, some libraries are using Pinterest to share links to new digital materials.
- Libraries also use Pinterest as a tool for developing community with other libraries online and to interact with members of the community, for example by creating collaborative boards with patrons.

b) LinkedIn

According to The Computer Language Company Inc. (2014), LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site that enables users to connect with colleagues, look for a job or business relationships and get answers to industry questions.

LinkedIn is being used by libraries for exchanging knowledge, ideas, and opportunities and for helping individuals find groups of interest as well as job opportunities in their field. It is being used to create electronic discussion forums/boards where librarians can share knowledge. A good example is University of Michigan LinkedIn Discussion board. From such a forum, librarians are able to learn extensively from their network and post problems in the network for a way forward.

According to Khan and Bhatti (2012), LinkedIn can be used by the libraries to create professional connections and to market library services among other professionals working in different libraries of the world and can also solicit their ideas and professional experiences. By using LinkedIn, libraries can spread news about the events in other libraries.

c) YouTube

According to The Computer Language Company Inc. (2014), YouTube is the largest video sharing site on the Web, and lets anyone upload short videos for private or public viewing. Users can also watch videos, and also tag these videos with descriptive keywords.

Libraries can use YouTube in the following ways:

- YouTube can be used to share videos conferences, workshops and library events.
- They also post library promotional videos on YouTube to promote their libraries to a wide audience. For example, virtual demonstrations of library tools and facilities can help in promoting the library
- According to Ziyad (2008), YouTube is also being used by libraries to increase accessibility for the physically challenged. This is because they can access the Digital Video Library in the YouTube.

d) Facebook

According to Jacobson, Facebook has come to dominate the social networking site arena with more libraries creating their own library pages on Facebook to create library awareness and to function as a marketing tool. The specific areas libraries use face book includes:

- To make announcements and for marketing the library services. For example libraries announce closure dates during holidays and also lists new library acquisitions on their Facebook pages.
- Users also give their feedback and comments about issues in the library through Facebook.
- Reference services
- Forum for Users to interact and discuss pertinent issues regarding the library.
- Link to OPAC search. For example, The University of Texas allows for searching their library catalog within the Facebook web interface (Harinarayana, 2010)
- Database Search
- Employee Announcements,
- Employee Communication
- Administer a course, Tutorials and other forms of training.
- Post Audio, Video and Podcasts.


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Application of Web 2.0 Technologies in Libraries
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Mr. Daniel Kinyanjui (Author), 2017, Application of Web 2.0 Technologies in Libraries, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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