web 2.0 in the library

September 9, 2007 at 6:48 pm | Posted in library, openaccess, publishing | Leave a comment

Coming back from a workshop titled “web 2.0 applications for
librarians”, I thought about what web 2.0 means for me.

To me, web 2.0 is basically defined as third part of the trinity

  • REST – HTTP done right
  • AJAX – JavaScript done right
  • Web 2.0 – the Web done right

And just as the other two, it’s more defined as a correction of prior
erring. It’s no longer cool – or even ok – to publish a web site in
PDF to browsers and some other data via a WS-* type web service to
others. Instead, once you forget about browsers being the only user
agents, quite a bit of the web 2.0 developments seem very natural.

So the participative aspect of web 2.0 starts well before everyone
creating content; it starts with not making restrictive assumptions
about who and how people – or programs – will use your site. Let the
web participate in reusing your content.

I think this aspect is particularly important for librarians to
embrace. They don’t (necessarily) need to have ideas themselves of how
their data (catalogs, …) may be used, but they should care about
making it accessible:

  • Provide URLs (as stable as possible) for resources.
  • Publish new resources via feeds.
  • Offer open interfaces (sru, OpenSearch, unapi, Coins, …).
  • Make sure you publish semantically meaningful HTML (because screen scrapers have become first class citizens of the web, too).

My guess is, that the above recommendations do also make sense for
intranet services in many scientific institutions, because the
mechanisms to mashup data have become so easy that they are actually
available to end users as well.

So, let’s open up the catalog and see what happens.


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