Friday, April 17, 2009

The Rise of Collective Intelligence-16th Annual Aspen Institute Roundtable on IT

I think that this Bolier article is absolutely excellent. One of the benefits of looking at a library like a business is that the certain methods that a library uses to reach out to its patrons can be evaluated through a business mindset. The Bolier article is also helpful for libraries bc it demonstrates successful .net companies thinking about how to develop and maintain successful communication methods with their users and community through web community. While there is continued research done on library Web sites and their development, one of the things libraries seem not to have capitalized on is that technology now allows us to track how consumers are using the OPAC and learn from it. What libraries need to consider models that have the "...capacity to amass dispersed and specialized consumer preferences and then use this knowledge as the basis for innovative new business models." (p. 18 Bolier) For example how could our OPACs work better by more actively pursuing student and patron interaction before deploying new OPAC's or sitting down with a committee to determine how the OPAC can be better customized?
One of the reasons for reconsidering how our OPAC or website function with users is for the reason that the round table termed as OER or open educational resources which is encouraging such things as "...free textbooks, open repositories for scholarly work, open-access scholarly journals, open-curriculum development, peer-to-peer platforms for collaborative learning and much more." (31 Bolier) Is the library able to manage this information along with collection information and subscription information without making the user go to multiple areas of the website? Federated search is a move towards this but for larger collections federated search needs to be amped up. I'm looking forward to trying EBSCO's federated search program which is supposed to come out in June, if I remember correctly. Hopefully Koha 3.0 will be running by then so I can plug that in as well. Throughout this whole article is the idea of removing friction from the user and the final goal.
Bolier's article is an excellent example of an outside technology from library science that librarians need to be intimately aware of. Let's start dialoguing and thinking now about how our library technology can ride the crest of the OER/new computing wave instead of just paddling about in the tidal pools.

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