Welcome to this issue of Library Technology Reports! In this issue, I’ll explore the social software landscape and point librarians toward some implementation strategies and best practices for using tools such as Weblogs, commonly referred to as blogs; wikis (server software that allows users to create and edit Web-based content using any Web browser); instant messaging, often denoted by the abbreviation IM; and RSS (Really Simple Syndication) to create new services or improve current ones in all types of libraries. I’ll define as many terms as possible, and point readers toward some useful research, case studies, and concrete examples to ensure that those who choose to use one—or all—of these tools can proceed without any stumbling blocks.
“This is a given in my world: To remain viable, interesting, and relevant, libraries should seek methods to get out into the community, engage users with services and conversations, and offer collaborative spaces both online and in beautifulphysical buildings. But here’s the other side of the coin: Librarians should embrace the social tools as well on a professional and even personal level. It’s the logical first step to put us on the way to Library 2.0.”
—Michael Stephens, “Social Software for the Rest of Us (or Librarian 2.0),” ALA TechSource Blog,www.techsource.ala.org/blog/2005/11/social-software-for-the-rest-of-us-or-librarian-20.html
Note from Michael Stephens, January 2012: This is the full text of my Library Technology Report from 2006. I’m happy to share it here to make it available openly and for free on the Web. Please note, many of the examples cited have changed since the reports were written. Comments are on for those that would like to share new examples or thoughts about the content.