Saturday, August 30, 2008

The forcast is getting more cloudy all the time

Lots of different thoughts flooded my brain as I watched the introduction video to Ubiquity for Firefox. This video should be required viewing for librarians because its a proof of concept that illustrates what 'web 2.0' or 'cloud computing' can be: the user makes use of a website's services without even visiting that site.

The obvious question is how do we integrate the local library into this new ecology? I've been mulling it over and on first glance, I think that answer might be that we don't because we can't. I came to this conclusion after trying to envision a user trying to add a book or an article that they wanted to recommend to a friend. The most likely scenario is that this is an item in that user's own collection. To this end, I suspect that the most natural fit for this space is a web-based citation service such as Zotero 2.0 or newly released Mendeley. LibraryThing could work for books.

If we do want libraries to provide this service to our users (and I do), I think at a minimum, our library catalogue has to provide a means for a user to create their own virtual collections of books that include items from their library and from their own shelves . From my understanding, Bibliocommons is the only library catalogue service that can do this.

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