Over the last few years the World Wide Web has changed from a place where we passively consume information to one where everyone can carve out their own little place to participate and contribute. The set of Internet technologies that encourage interactivity and user contributions—blogs, wikis, social networks and social bookmarking sites—are called Web 2.0.
Over the last year the library has embraced many of these Web 2.0 technologies, venturing out in the wilds of the interactive web and looking for involvement with our students, faculty, and anyone else around the world.
Here are some of the projects we have up right now, and one or two that are still just experimental glimmers in our eyes.
Twitter is part of the latest social media craze: microblogging. In a nutshell, Twitter is a way to broadcast what's going on in your life—online or off—to everyone following you…and to get the same kind of updates on the people you're following, too. An added kicker is that all "tweets" need to be 140 characters or less. Wit, brevity and abbreviations all help meet that.
It's catching on -- Toronto mayor David Miller (http://twitter.com/mayormiller) is on Twitter, as is Brad Ross, Director of Communications for the TTC and Peter Scowan, editor of the Globe and Mail books section.
Scores of libraries out there are also on Twitter, broadcasting to their patrons all the latest news and happenings.
Check out what we're doing with our own Twitter presence:
Blogs are a big part of the social media landscape—they're a great way to communicate and connect with your audience. If you've checked out the Libraries' website recently, you'll have seen the feed from our news blog prominently displayed.
Here's what it looks like close up:
Lots of other people and groups at York use blogs to talk about their research or their unit's activities or their day-to-day life at York. Some are run by faculty and go deep into their research area, some are from departments or faculties telling about what they do, and some are from students talking about university life.
The Libraries have created a web site to aggregate all the most recent posts from all those blogs. We call it Planet York:
If you have a blog that you'd like to be included in the Planet, please let our Web Librarian William Denton know at email@example.com.
Facebook is all the rage amongst high school and university-aged people these days and most York students are on it. The Steacie Science & Engineering Library has created a page that they use to reach out and communicate with their student population. So far, Steacie's page has over 130 fans!
The Frost Library at the Glendon Campus also has a group:
Not to be outdone, some students have set up their own pages about York Libraries:
As promised, we do have a few secret experiments going on in the Web 2.0 world. One of them is to create an interactive discussion space by and about the York University community, using FriendFeed as a way to organize it.
Don't forget, it's a top secret development version, so don't tell anyone! ;+}
—William Denton, Web Librarian and John Dupuis, Head, Steacie Science and Engineering Library