Saturday, November 17, 2007

OCLC and Web 2.0. Thing #15

"In my library, we’ve seen a 55 percent drop in circulation rates over the past twelve years, making it harder and harder to justify the continued buildup of a large “just in case” print collection. As a Web 2.0 reality continues to emerge and develop, our patrons will expect access to everything – digital collections of journals, books, blogs, podcasts, etc. You think they can’t have everything? Think again. This may be our great opportunity."

How useful is the idea of listening to your users needs in a system such as mine? We serve over 1 million people, some of whom are very tech-savvy, many of whom think they're tech-savvy but aren't, and many of whom (still!) who barely know how to move a mouse. Why should we be ignoring our print collection because the cool people aren't using it? We've all had those awful days when the computer system goes down and we don't have access to it. This is when the "just in case" collection comes in handy. To say that it is impossible to teach everyone to use the print material, or to teach people to surf the Internet successfully, isn't helpful. We can't be everything to everyone, as much as we can try, and I don't think that the tools of Web 2.0 will help us bridge the digital divide.

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