library 2.0

Thoughts on Google+

Posted on September 28, 2011. Filed under: education, facebook, google, libraries, library 2.0 | Tags: , , , |

Google+ achieved 20 Million users in its first 24 days and having earned #8th place in the top 10 social networking sites this week, it is set to become a key Facebook and Twitter competitor (for comparison, Twitter took 1035 days and Facebook 1152 days to reach 20 million) .

Now that Google+ has been opened up for anyone to join after two-and-a-half months in closed testing [see] you may be having a look at it and thinking about how it may be useful to you or to librarians and education even.  It is still very early days and no doubt there is more functionality in the pipeline, but in the mean time here are some thoughts.

Like other social communications media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter etc) Google+ is a place where you can create, stream, share and comment on information including photos and links etc and meet with others who share your interests.  You create your own profile and add people (friends colleagues etc) to ‘circles‘, this enables you to share particular things with certain people and not others if you wish.  Your circles are private, others can’t see them and they don’t know which circle(s) you have added them to. Google+ also provides real-time text and video chat functionality (hangouts, similar to Skype). Hangouts may provide an alternative to Library livechat e.g. Questionpoint for example and with the ability to share screens and documents, could be a useful module tutorial/work space.  As with other networks, critical mass (the number of ‘active’ people in your network) is important, you are more likely to find it useful if your network is regularly posting and interacting.

In Google+ you can +1 posts, which is similar to ‘like’ in Facebook, you can also share other people’s posts with your friends. You can save searches in Google+ too, so if a group of colleagues agreed to use a particular phrase e.g. Digital Literacy in their posts then the latest posts on that subject can be found by viewing the saved search.  There are already groups of librarians, students and academics using Google+, it will be interesting to see how these evolve and what aspects of Google+ they find most useful.

This slide (taken from Must See Google Plus Presentation from Zenslide) compares Google+, Facebook and Twitter features.  Those of you who use Facebook will realise that it does also have lists and re-sharing features and, following recent up-dates, it now has a twitter-style news ticker and it’s now possible to only share your status up-dates etc with selected lists and/or hide them from specific people or lists if you wish.  It’s worth mentioning that games (which can be used as a method of attracting and retaining users as well as generating revenue) feature in both Facebook and Google+ but not in Twitter.

Comparison of Google+, Facebook and Twitter functionality

Other social networks can quickly add new communications features and as mentioned above Facebook are already doing so, rapidly catching up with those in Google+.  So the ability to search,

to find updates from your circles, news from around the web and public Google+ posts, giving you instant access to the topics you care about and the people who care about them along with you.

and the location of Google+ within the Gmail user’s ‘desktop’ environment are perhaps Google’s killer applications.   Not forgetting Google+ integration with other Google apps e.g. Google docs and Picasa which further strengthen its position.  Facebook is also in the integration business, Spotify tied its future to Facebook last week so that new users have to also have a Facebook account (see Is Spotify too friendly with Facebook?).  It seems the race is on for social networking sites to provide the best communications features and more importantly, integrate key online applications and so win new users, with both Google and Facebook sharing the same aim, to increase market share and hence advertising revenue.

At the moment Google+ is focused on individuals and not on organisations or businesses. It’s not yet possible to create a business profile or Facebook-type business ‘page’ or a ‘group’. On July 22nd 2011 Christian Oestlien from Google said:

“…we expect to have an initial version of businesses profiles up and running for EVERYONE in the next few months.  In the meantime, we ask you not to create a business profile using regular profiles on Google+. The platform at the moment is not built for the business use case, and we want to help you build long-term relationships with your customers. Doing it right is worth the wait. We will continue to disable business profiles using regular profiles. We recommend you find a real person who is willing to represent your organization on Google+ using a real profile as him-or-herself.”

So for the moment we can figure out Google+ as individuals, and interact with others in Google+ as ourselves but if we want to we can promote what our own organisation is doing e.g. by sharing links in Google+ to our blog posts.

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OU Library iGoogle Gadgets

Posted on September 11, 2008. Filed under: google, library 2.0, technology, web 2.0 |

The OU Library’s Website Personalisation Project is experimenting with the use of web services (including gadgets) to provide content to Library customers. The gadgets are currently available within Library Toolbox, which is where we showcase new technologies that we are working on and invite feedback on them.

Below is the list of gadgets that we plan to implement using the NetVibes Universal Widget Application (in addition to the Library catalogue search and the new books list gadgets that are currently available). The Netvibes UWA enables you to write a widget once and run it anywhere, e.g. iGoogle/Pageflakes/Netvibes/Facebook, Vista etc. Is anyone else using this application to create Library widgets? Please share your thoughts on it.

  • ORO Search
  • OneStop Search
  • eJournals Search
  • Search boxes for key databases
  • Featured links (as per the links box on the Library homepage)
  • “My record” (similar in format to the Facebook iGoogle gadget; to enable people to see how many books they have out, how many requests pending and how many items are available for them to collect. Tabs for other Library services e.g. catalogue search, New books, etc)
  • RSS feed for each OU Library blog
  • New books (individual rss)
  • Library news (rss)
  • Library events (rss)
  • Library seminars (rss)
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Library related apps in iGoogle

Posted on September 11, 2008. Filed under: google, library 2.0, web 2.0 | Tags: , , , |

On the 6th March 2008 I did a quick search on “library” within iGoogle’s apps (via ‘Add Stuff’) and found various truly Library related apps (as opposed to things with library in the title that are nothing to do with ‘libraries’), which I categorised as per the below.  This (and other research) has informed the development of a list of Library-related gadgets that we plan to implement using the NetVibes UWA.


  • ILIM Library (India)
  • Pearland Junior High South Library
  • Penn State Life Sciences Library
  • The Library Channel
  • Library stuff (Steven M. Cohen)
  • (Jessamyn West)
  • Unshelved (Library Comic strip/blog)
  • The Shifted Librarian (Jenny Levine)

Children’s Books

Custom Search engines
These are iGoogle api’s that have been configured as search-engines. 6 in total.

  • Academic Libraries search (searches 62 college and university library sites)
  • ALA Best of Free Reference (Web sites included annual lists issued by the “ALA MARS Best of Free Reference Web Sites Committee” to recognize outstanding reference sites on the World Wide Web.)
  • Clark Memorial Library
  • The Librarians Book revoogle (searches book reviews on library and librarian websites)
  • Librarians e-library (Selected resources on Libraries and Librarianship from the American Library Association (ALA) Library and a growing list of volunteers.)



  • NY Public Library Events

Google Scholar

  • UNLV Libraries Google Scholar


  • Combined Library Job postings – and library job postings on the internet.


  • D-Lib Magazine

Library catalogues

46 in total. 6 UK (university, plus the British Library); the rest appear to all be US based (mix of university/college/high school and public libraries), apart from Worldcat, and 2 Australian Libraries. Most provide a catalogue search only; a few provide a link to ‘my account’ or similar; a few provide an institutional repository search and/or a federated search box e.g. Metalib and/or links to databases/e resources/library blog/web chat service).

Database searches

15 separate api’s in total. Some were just a list of links to databases rather than a search box.

  • Amador Valley Library Online Databases (list of links)
  • The British Library (BL webpages, collect Britain, catalogue, Journal Articles)
  • Canisius Library (Jstor)
  • CLL Legal Research Engine (Easy access to authoritative legal research guides on every subject. Brought to you by Cornell Law Library.) (Inoperable)
  • DLP Library article search (Database links)
  • Foothill High School Library (list of links to dbases)
  • Gordon Library (Quick find (federated search), and links to: catalogue, databases & eresources, instant answers webchat)
  • Gumberg Library (Ebsco)
  • Gumberg Library (Proquest)
  • Gumberg Library (Journal Finder – metalib)
  • University of Kansas (eJournals – serials solutions)
  • Loughborough Uni Library (catalogue, insititutional repository, and metalib)
  • National Science Digital Library
  • Pleasanton Public Library Online databases (list of links)
  • Stamford University Library full text journal finder
  • Library Express (Log in screen, no details of what it’s for. A Wisconsin Uni ap).

Teaching resources

  • Amador Valley Student/Teacher Writing resources (list of links to copyright/plagiarism resources)
  • AVHS Teacher Resources (list of links)


  • Librarians’ Internet Index: News this week (Lii is a gateway to websites selected, described and organised by librarians)
  • LISNews (collaborative weblog)

Reference resources

  • Encyclopaedia Britannica (Library articles)
  • Wikipedia


  • BCCLS Member Libraries Map (Location of Bergen County Cooperative Library System Libraries)
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Dangerous literature for Library staff

Posted on June 29, 2008. Filed under: collaboration, Everything is Miscellaneous, libraries, library 2.0, sharing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Having read various blog postings, including one by Martin Weller about “Everything is Miscellaneous: The power of the new digital disorder” (EiM for short), I asked for a copy for my birthday. I am currently 1/2 way through it and think that it is set to become a classic, a must read for anyone with an interest in information. It is easy to read and thought-provoking: Is everything miscellaneous? Should we aim to make everything miscellaneous? Should we be allowing our users to categorise everything? How should we do this?

The book is quite challenging. A few years ago I managed the implementation of document management policies and procedures supported by a document management system in the Library that I work in. We produced a folder structure and a set of file and folder naming guidelines. These aim to help us to organise our information effectively, retrieve documents more easily and reduce document duplication. One of the things that we said was that staff must not label folders “miscellaneous” or documents “Joe Blogg’s report”. Weinberger asserts that organising information in folders is not efficient in the digital world. Every person has a different view of the world. Assigning multiple (unlimited) tags is more efficient; file names become less important.

I am so enthusiastic about “Everything is Miscellaneous” that I want everyone in the Library where I work to read it so that we can discuss it and work together to decide how to shape our strategies for both our online and physical information resources. I would like staff to look at the challenges that we are facing and think about how we should move forward. I have enlisted the help of a couple of colleagues to spread the word and help to enthuse other people. So far we have managed to persuade 17 to buy the book (currently we are eagerly awaiting a bulk Amazon order); at least 4 more are going to read the Library’s copies. So almost a quarter of Library staff will be reading the book and hopefully more will join us.

For fun we plan to ask people to take pictures of themselves with the book in interesting places (whilst on holiday, or away at conferences for example) and we will put these into a flickr group. We will be asking staff to share their favourite quotes from it.

Karen G. Schneider’s post at ALA TechSource: “This is, I repeat, a dangerous book. Ban it, burn it, or take it to heart. The most dangerous part of this book is not that Weinberger says these things, and so much more: the danger comes if we don’t listen.” sparked off an idea. With the help of a few colleagues, I am going to set up a “dangerous” literature group for Library staff. The group will read and discuss things that it’s dangerous for people working in libraries not to read. EiM will be the first book.

We will also be doing a “dangerous” literature display for the Library staff room, to include EiM and other literature relevant to libraries, the information profession & the digital revolution (e.g. “Wikinomics” by Don Tapscott and “Ambient Findability” by Peter Morville). We will summarise each text and our thoughts on it and will include our favourite quotes from it.

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More on Journal Articles: Ratings and Comments

Posted on November 22, 2007. Filed under: collaboration,, education, indexing, information, library 2.0, sharing, technology, universities, web 2.0 |

This post is further to my earlier post on Journal articles: ratings and comments (7th November, 2007).

Yesterday I attended the JIBS workshop: “Is Library 2.0 a trivial pursuit”. The presentations were all excellent. They included one by Dave Pattern, Library Systems Manager at the University of Huddersfield: “Making the catalogue a good place to be: Lipstick, cowbells and serendipity.” I asked the question:

“How long will it be before people can rate and comment on articles aswell as books; and how long will it be before we can find out ‘people who read/downloaded this article have also read/downloaded these articles’ ” and “Are fed search providers e.g. Exlibris looking at doing this sort of thing?” No-one was aware of anyone doing anything in this area.

However, Ale de Vries, Product Manager, Elsevier, in his presentation: “A publisher’s view of Library 2.0” mentioned 2collab, a beta system that will enable sharing and collaboration between researchers in particular fields. Ale’s presentation also included a last-minute slide (following my question earlier in the day) on how they are going to provide article download/useage information and rankings based on this. So perhaps the rating, recommendation and review of journal articles and papers is not far off.

Personally I think that this would work best as a mash-up of a type-system with a LibraryThing/Zotero type system so that you can save the references to the articles (and add your own tags and comments/reviews to them) wherever you have found them (e.g. within a web-based bib database to which your library subscribes or in a web-journal, e.g. Ariadne) and share them with your colleagues wherever they are based.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this? Anyone else blogging/writing elsewhere about this? Should I patent the idea?

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Journal Articles: Ratings and Comments

Posted on November 7, 2007. Filed under: education, indexing, library 2.0, sharing, technology, web 2.0 |

How long will it be before it is possible to rate and comment on articles and papers and see that people who read this also read…  these papers and these books and want to read these ones?

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End of PROWE event

Posted on October 5, 2007. Filed under: cpd, education, library 2.0, OU, PROWE, technology, web 2.0 |

I am organising an end of project event on Wednesday 12th December for the JISC-funded OU-led PROWE project ( which looked at the use of informal repositories within wiki and blogs to meet the Continuing Professional Development needs of part-time tutors.

We will be disseminating PROWE’s findings at the event. If possible I would also like to include talk(s) by other speakers who have been researching or implementing web2.0 technology to support CPD. So I am looking for people who are working in this area who I could contact.

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