internet librarian 05: social software and public libraries

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I'm here not so much to find out things I didn't know so much as I am to find out what a skilled, savvy librarian thinks her not-quite-so-savvy colleagues need to know. (This session is pretty crowded...a good sign.)

Jessamyn West cracks me up. Funny, smart presentation on "Flickr, tagging, and the F-word." I walk in a few minutes late (oops), and she's talking about Flickr. Focuses on the metadata available on Flickr, particularly in the form of tags. She shows photos of hers tagged with "library" as an example. Goes on to show other neat tag tricks--from clustering to tag clouds to affinity groups.

She shifts into a tagging v classification riff, in an attempt to calm ruffled library feathers. Does a brief discussion of "folksonomy" (she calls it "the F-word"). Says the most interesting thing about it in contrast to traditional classification is that it's flat. Downsides? Synonym problems (library? libraries? il05? il2005?) Who should the burden be on--the tagger or the searcher?

Talks about "desire lines," that the paths that people put down are a clue to where the "official" paths should go. She has a number of links to related reading; will see if I can find those and add them here.

(I love that when she's done tagging, she's available on IM. This is definitely a tech-savvy panel.)

Next up is Jenny Levine, the famous "Shifted Librarian," who talks about She does a basic overview of how it works, then goes to how libraries are using it. the LaGrangeParkLibrary reference librarians use it as a shared "ready reference" site. Great examples of tagging problems (dvdstobuy and dvdstopurchase...beyond the overlap, there's the time-senstivity of those tags). Thomas Ford Memorial Library web site has a live links feed from del.

Then shows CiteULike, the academic/bibliographic version. (Doesn't show the sweet integration with existing sites like ACM.)

Then it's a rapid-fire run through other tagging, 43 Things, Yahoo! MyWeb, Yummy! (a PDF posting service--I hadn't seen this one), a few others.

Suggests the D-Lib article on social bookmarking (by the folks at Nature magazine) for more reading, along with articles by Clay Shirky and Thomas Vander Wal.

There's a question about what happens when people assign inflammatory tags. Jenny's sanguine--"this will work itself out."

Jenny shows the Technology Review August issue on social computing tools, recommends it as an indication that this is a "watershed" point.

(Am going to hit "post" and then come back later to clean it up and add links.)

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on October 24, 2005 2:58 PM.

internet librarian 05: 30 search tips in 40 minutes was the previous entry in this blog.

internet librarian 05: expert panel on searching is the next entry in this blog.

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