I’d like to place a hold on Library 2.0

I was pondering how the face of the library will change over the next few years and I ran into this interesting article. I have cut the out the explanation of each trend for brevity, you can find the entire article here.

In 1519 Leonardo da Vinci died and left behind one of the world’s largest collections of art comprised of well over 5,000 drawings, sketches, and paintings, the vast majority of which the general public would not become aware of until over 400 years later.
The largest portion of this collection was left in the hands of Francesco Melzi, a trusted assistant and favorite student of Leonardo. Sixty years later when Melzi died in 1579 the collection began a lengthy, and often destructive, journey.
In 1630 a sculptor at the court of the King of Spain by the name of Pompeo Leoni began a very sloppy process of rearranging the collections, sorting the artistic drawings from the technical ones with scientific notations. He split up the original manuscripts, cut and pasted pages and created two separate collections. Some pieces were lost.
In 1637 the collections were donated to Biblioteca Ambrosiana, the library in Milan, where they remained until 1796 when Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the manuscripts to be transferred to Paris. Much of the collection “disappeared? for the next 170 year until it was rediscovered in 1966 in the archives of the National Library of Madrid.
Libraries played a significant role in the preservation of the da Vinci collection and we often wonder about other brilliant people in history who didn’t have libraries to preserve their work. Some we will never know about.
Archive of Information
Throughout history the role of the library was to serve as a storehouse, an archive of manuscripts, art, and important documents. The library was the center of information revered by most because each contained the foundational building blocks of information for all humanity.
In medieval times, books were valuable possessions far too expensive for most people to own. As a result, libraries often turned into a collections of lecterns with books chained to them.
In 1455 Johann Gutenberg unveiled his printing press to the world by printing copies of the Gutenberg Bible. Later Gutenberg had his printing press repossessed by Johann Fust, the man who had financed his work for the previous 10 years. The sons of Johann Fust were largely responsible for a printing revolution that saw over 500,000 books put into circulation before 1500.
A huge turning point in the evolution of libraries was architected by Andrew Carnegie. Between 1883 and 1929 he provided funding for 2,509 libraries, of which 1,689 of them were built in the US.
Leading up to today libraries have consisted of large collections of books and other materials, primarily funded and maintained by cities or other institutions. Collections are often used by people who choose not to, or can not afford to, purchase books for themselves.
But that definition is changing.
Beginning the Transition
We have transitioned from a time where information was scarce and precious to today where information is vast and readily available, and in many cases, free.
People who in the past visited libraries to find specific pieces of information are now able to find that information online. The vast majority of people with specific information needs no longer visit libraries. However, others who read for pleasure as example, still regularly patronize their local library.
Setting the Stage
We have put together ten key trends that are affecting the development of the next generation library. Rest assured that these are not the only trends, but ones that have been selected to give clear insight into the rapidly changing technologies and equally fast changing mindset of library patrons.
Trend #1 – Communication systems are continually changing the way people access information
Trend #2 – All technology ends. All technologies commonly used today will be replaced by something new.
Trend #3 – We haven’t yet reached the ultimate small particle for storage. But soon.
Trend #4 – Search Technology will become increasingly more complicated
Trend #5 – Time compression is changing the lifestyle of library patrons
Trend #6 – Over time we will be transitioning to a verbal society
Trend #7 – The demand for global information is growing exponentially
Trend #8 – The Stage is being set for a new era of Global Systems
Trend #9 – We are transitioning from a product-based economy to an experience based economy
Trend #10 – Libraries will transition from a center of information to a center of culture
Recommendations for Libraries
Libraries are in a unique position. Since most people have fond memories of their times growing up in libraries, and there are no real “library hater? organizations, most libraries have the luxury of time to reinvent themselves.
The role of a library within a community is changing. The way people interact with the library and the services it offers is also changing. For this reason we have put together a series of recommendations that will allow libraries to arrive at their own best solutions.
1) Evaluate the library experience. Begin the process of testing patron’s opinions, ideas, thoughts, and figure out how to get at the heart of the things that matter most in your community. Survey both the community at large and the people who walk through the library doors.
2) Embrace new information technologies. New tech products are being introduced on a daily basis and the vast majority of people are totally lost when it comes to deciding on what to use and what to stay away from. Since no organization has stepped up to take the lead in helping the general public understand the new tech, it becomes a perfect opportunity for libraries. Libraries need to become a resource for as well as the experts in each of the new technologies.
a. Create a technology advisory board and stay in close communication with them.
b. Recruit tech savvy members of the community to hold monthly discussion panels where the community at large is invited to join in the discussions.
c. Develop a guest lecture series on the new technologies.
3) Preserve the memories of your own communities. While most libraries have become the document archive of their community, the memories of a community span much more than just documents. What did it sound like to drive down Main Street in 1950? What did it smell like to walk into Joe’s Bakery in the early mornings of 1965? Who are the people in these community photos and why were they important? Memories come in many shapes and forms. Don’t let yours disappear.
4) Experiment with creative spaces so the future role of the library can define itself. Since the role of the library 20 years from now is still a mystery, we recommend that libraries put together creative spaces so staff members, library users, and the community at large can experiment and determine what ideas are drawing attention and getting traction. Some possible uses for these creative spaces include:
a. Band practice rooms
b. Podcasting stations
c. Blogger stations
d. Art studios
e. Recording studios
f. Video studios
g. Imagination rooms
h. Theater-drama practice rooms
We have come a long ways from the time of da Vinci and the time when books were chained to lecterns. But we’ve only scratched the surface of many more changes to come. Writing the definitive history of modern libraries is a work in progress. Our best advice is to enjoy the journey and relish in the wonderment of what tomorrow may bring.

The DaVinci Institute – The Future of Libraries

I can not agree more with many of these points, especially Trend #10 – Libraries will transition from a center of information to a center of culture. Smart libraries will get involved in creating remote patron resources from mashups of leading online services that integrate and add value to the user experience. Here is a starting list of some services the public is already using via logging into each site individually. The mashup field is ready to plant and Yahoo is busy with Flickr, del.icio.us, and Movable Type, lets hope our libraries catch on and can even help integrate in some premium databases.

The Best Web 2.0 Software of 2005

Category: Social Bookmarking

Best Offering: del.icio.us


Description: Just acquired by Yahoo!, which already has a social bookmarking service called My Web 2.0, the exact future of this seminal bookmarking site is now a little up in the air. But del.icio.us remains the best, largest, fastest, and most elegant social bookmarking service on the Web. In fact, del.icio.us is the benchmark that all others use. And because del.icio.us appears to take the Web 2.0 ideas pretty seriously, they provide a nice API for others to build new services on top of. As a consequence of this, and because social bookmarking sites makes everyone’s data public, witness the amazing array of add-on services (or if you have 15 minutes to spare, look here) that mash-up or otherwise reuse del.icio.us functionality and content. If you want access to your bookmarks anywhere you go along with engaging and satisfying functionality, this is your first stop. I personally can’t live without my tag cloud of del.icio.us bookmarks.


Category: Web 2.0 Start Pages

Best Offering: Netvibes

Description: There are a rapidly growing number of Ajax start pages that allow your favorite content to be displayed, rearranged, and viewed dynamically whenever you want. But if the traffic to this blog is any indication (though possibly it isn’t) Netvibes is far and away the most popular one. Available in multiple languages, sporting new integration with Writely, and offering an extremely slick and well-designed interface that provides some of the best DHTML powered drag-an-drop organization, Netvibes has no major vendor backing, yet it has captured mindshare out of pure excellence. While many of the major Web companies like Microsoft and Google are offering competing products, none of them are yet very good.


Category: Online To Do Lists

Best Offering: Voo2do

Description: Ever more of the software we use on a daily basis is moving online, from e-mail to feed readers. To-do list managers are no exception. I’ve used a variety of them and so far the one that’s resonated with me most is Voo2do. A one person operation run by Shimon Rura, Voo2do uses Ajax sparingly but very effectively to let you create and manage multiple to do lists. With an API available for you to access or export your data with your own programs, support for Joel Spolsky’s Painless Software Scheduling method, Voo2do is the embodiment of simple, satisfying software. Runners-Up:

Category: Peer Production News

Best Offering: digg

Description: While not packed with Ajax, digg frankly doesn’t lack for it. And of course, Ajax is only one of many optional ingredients on the Web 2.0 checklist. The important Web 2.0 capability digg provides is that it successfully harnesses collective intelligence. All news items listed in digg are supplied by its users which then exert editorial control by clicking on the digg button for each story they like. The home page lists the most popular current stories, all selected by its registered users. And digg’s RSS feed has to be one of the most popular on the Web. Digg has been so successful that Wired magazine has even speculated it could bury Slashdot, which also allows users to submit stories, but doesn’t let them see what stories were submitted or vote on them. Runners-Up:

Category: Image Storage and Sharing

Best Offering: Flickr

Description: Also acquired by Yahoo! earlier this year, Flickr is the canonical photo/image sharing site par excellence. Sprinkled with a smattering of just enough Ajax to reduce page loads and make tasks easy, Flickr provides an open API, prepackaged licensing models for your photos, tagging, a variety of community involvement mechanisms, and a vast collection of add-ons and mashups. There are other sites but none of them compare yet. Flickr is one of the Web 2.0 poster children and for a good reason. Runners-Up:

Category: 3rd Party Online File Storage

Best Offering: Openomy Description: As more and more software moves to the Web, having a secure place for your Web-based software to store files such as documents, media, and other data will become essential. There is a burgeoning group of online file storage services and Openomy is one that I’ve been watching for a while. With 1Gb of free file storage and an open API for programmatic access to your tag-based Openomy file system, and you have the raw ingredients for secure online storage of your documents wherever you go. There is even a Ruby-binding for the API. Expect lots of growth in this space going forward, especially as other Web 2.0 applications allow you to plug into your online storage service of choice and the desire also grows to offload personal data backup to professionals.


Category: Blog Filters

Best Offering: Memeorandum.com Description: Gabe Rivera’s Memeorandum service is a relevance engine that unblinkingly monitors the activity in the blogosphere and appears to point out the most important posts of the day with a deftness that is remarkable. The growing attention scarcity caused by the rivers of information we’re being subjected to in the modern world needs tools that effectively help us cope with it. Blog filters are just one key example of what the future holds for us. Memeorandum covers both the political and technology blogospheres, and hopefully others in the future. There are other blog and news filters out there, but none compare in terms of simplicity, elegance, and satisfying results.


Category: Grassroots Use of Web 2.0

Best Offering: Katrina List Network Description: I covered Katrinalist.net in a detailed blog post a while back but it remains one of the best examples of grassroots Web 2.0. Katrinalist was an emergent phenomenon that triggered the peer production of vital information in the aftermath of this year’s hurricane disaster in New Orleans. In just a handful of days participants created XML data formats, engineered data aggregation from RSS feeds, and harnessed volunteer efforts on-the-fly to compile survivor data from all over the Web. This led to tens of thousands of survivor reports being aggregated into a single database so that people could easily identify and locate survivors from the Katrinalist Web site. All this despite the fact that the information was distributed in unstructured formats from all over the Web with no prior intent of reuse. A hearty thanks again to David Geilhufe for help making Katrinalist happen.


Category: Web-Based Word Processing

Best Offering: Writely Description: Easy to set-up, fast, free (in beta), and familiar to those with even a passing familiarity to MS word, Writely.com is an effective and easy to use online word processor. With its WSIWYG editor, users can change font and font size, spell check and insert images (up to 2MB). It also uses tagging and version control, both excellent features for any word processor. A very useful word processing tool, especially for those who can’t afford to buy MS Office. In addition to being a word processor, Writely.com also serves as a collaboration tool. Users invite others to collaborate on a certain documents via email. It is can also serve as a tool to help a user blog and publish. Built with an AJAX user interface, it maximizes many of the new features available with Web 2.o. It ends, once and for all, any uncertainty that productivity tools can and should stay online. Writely is the best out there but just by a nose. The others are very close runners-up.


Category: Online Calendars

Best Offering: CalendarHub Description: Online calendaring is a rapidly growing product category in the Web 2.0 software arena. The fact is that a lack of good, shareable electronic calendars is still a real problem these days. I’m fond of saying that the software world has vast collections of synchronization utilities and integration capabilities, yet it’s incredible that we still can’t routinely do simple things like keeping our personal, family, and work calendars synchronized. CalendarHub is the best online calendar I’ve seen so far, with Kiko a close second.


Category: Project Management & Team Collaboration Best Offering: BaseCamp

Description: Web 2.0 has terrific social collaboration models for two-way information exchange like blogs and wikis, open enrichment mechanisms like tagging, ranking, popularity, and organizing techniques like folksonomies. All of these provide a great backdrop for team collaboration and project management. Surprisingly, there aren’t many terrific Web 2.0 project management tools. Part of this is because project management tends to be very specific between different types of projects. Fortunately for Web 2.0 companies, this means there isn’t a lot of competition from traditional software companies like Microsoft and Primavera, which churn out somewhat mediocre products in the shrinkwrapped software space. This is why 37Signal’s Basecamp is such a pleasant surprise. It’s an excellent team-based project management tool that continues to delight me the more I use it.


The Story Continues However, As It Must!

No one person could accurately list the best Web 2.0 software of 2005. This is the wisdom of crowds bit of Web 2.0. In order to complete this list, I’ll need your help. Please contribute your selections below. Keep in mind that I haven’t worked with many of the terrific Web 2.0 software applications out there but many of you have. There are whole product categories I’m not covering here and I’m glad to keep extending this post if we get lots of feedback. Tell me about social spreadsheets, Web 2.0 project management tools, video versions of Flickr, additional grassroots Web 2.0 events, and whatever else you know of.

The Best Web 2.0 Software of 2005 (web2.wsj2.com)


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