Tuesday, 29 January 2008

More from BOBCATSSS 2008

We attended a panel this morning with Margaret Heller, Patrick Danowski and Tom Roos on the subject of Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 (the latter, in case you were wondering, was envisioned by Roos as the ultimate arrival of the semantic web allowing for much greater sophistication in the retrieval of information).

Topics discussed included privacy issues (and librarians' role in educating users about these, especially in relation to social networking - not easy if like Margaret you work in Illinois where libraries have been forced by state legislation to block the use of such sites!); the inherent subversiveness of blogging (and how they challenge authority by giving the tools of communication to the masses - making them an obvious 'fit' for the mission of libraries); the usefulness of tagging and librarians' tendency to be 'prescriptivist rather than descriptivist' (>Margaret) in their use of language.

The discussion was lively and interesting ideas were shared, however what we couldn't arrive at an answer for was the time-old question of how exactly we're going to arrive at the semantic web, or what librarians' role in this will be. Will user-generated metadata help get us there? (and how many people are adding it anyway - Tom Roos says he rarely tags anything since it costs him time but the benefit is to someone else) Or is the breakthrough likely to be not in the content or metadata but in the search technology itself? We hope to revisit some of these areas of discussion in our workshop, tomorrow afternoon.

Please use the comments to add your own thoughts on any of these issues.

More later!

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