Friday, February 12, 2010

Here I Am! And Where Are My Friends?

Below are notes from the session "OCLC Reaching Consumers through Nontraditional Methods: What Can WorldCat Do for You?" which I attended at ALA Midwinter in January.

Mashable: the Social Media Guide = Mash-up integrates two sources of data

OCLC Offers:
1) A find your library feature and the ability to make lists and bibliographies
University librarian Jennifer Friedman uses these features in collection development. She can see what items are available at nearby institutions and discover topical books and publishers of niche books to fill collection gaps. She noted that the lists can be imported into Excel. Graeme Williams added that one can make notes, tag, and review list items as well as add items from others’ lists.

2) Interfaces/information that can be accessed by software or API (application program interfaces). An XML layer allows one to present that information in different ways.

3) Metadata “crosswalk” = e.g. send MARC record get back Dublin Core

4) A Developer Network

OCLC is also a partner with many groups such as Google Books, Bibliofile, and QOOP

Andrew Yu of MIT talked about popular platforms in use today, noting that mobile web access through smart phones (iPhone, Blackberry, Android) is surpassing that of laptop computer access. He mentioned that the MIT web is an open source project that is platform neutral. He also noted that the younger generation wants to share with the rest of the world. Instead of being afraid to reveal their location, they state, “Here I am! And where are my friends?”


  1. This is interesting (anything with web technologies gets me going). What sort of ways was Andrew Yu proposing for integrating social web services with library use? I mean, it'd be cool if people could link their library accounts to twitter / facebook in some way (though, I also think that could cause some privacy issues. Ie, people who wouldn't want the world seeing what they are checking out). Perhaps make a local YPL book review section, a la goodreads or some similar service, that would allow library users to leave reviews / rate books after they check them out (and maybe publish the short review / rating to a social network service)?

    PS> In light of this conference, tell the YPL that they need to create a mobile site. Just something barebones, where you can check your account / renew books / do catalogue searches.

  2. As I understand it, Mr. Yu comes from a programming background. His piece in the presentation wasn't to propose integrating social web into libraries so much as providing the professional library community and related professions a picture as to modern technology use and growth, specifically the what and how of Smartphone technology.

    I have had patrons use their SmartPhone to access the catalog, coming up to the librarian's desk with the appropriate screen on display. (Now I just have to show them how to read the screen and find the section/shelf!)

    I know the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County is working toward a more dynamic and social website. I, too, look forward to seeing it in action.