This isn’t about FRBR, but I hope that after twenty months you won’t begrudge me talking about something else for just one day. This is the best place I have to ask this question.
Anyone reading this blog is familiar with the ideas of “Web 2.0″ and “Library 2.0.” Publisher Tim O’Reilly coined Web 2.0 and said: “Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform. Chief among those rules is this: Build applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them.” Blogs, tagging, Ajax, RSS, and mashups are all part of Web 2.0.
Michael Casey on LibraryCrunch coined Library 2.0. There’s some debate about what exactly the term means and how much it relies on technology. Is it just about blogging and RSS and Ajaxotic catalogue interfaces that leverage folksonomic synergies, or does it include having teenagers hang out all night in a branch playing computer games, and does it go so far as letting people actually drink a cup of coffee while on library property? Is it just a way of thinking? My definition requires the use of technology: Library 2.0 is the use of Web 2.0 means to fulfill the end that libraries have always had: to make the world a better place through access to information and knowledge.
Web 2.0 is a big thing. People are getting rich off it. There are books and web sites and blogs and RSS feeds and mailing lists about it and reams of JSON and XML passing back and forth over XMLHttpRequest as people do stuff that a couple of years ago would have seemed like magic.
In the library world, Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 are pretty big things. No-one’s getting rich off it, but people are figuring out how to apply whatever they think Library 2.0 is to make their services and operations better for users. Lots of smart and talented librarians expend lots of energy talking about it and implementing it. That’s good.
But what about Climate 2.0? The world’s temperatures are expected to rise by 2 to 6° C by the end of the century if things continue as they are now. Vast and frightening possibilities and probabilities face us because of the increase in greenhouse gases, the acidification of the oceans, and other environmental effects of human cause.
Where is all the talk and work in the library world about this? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be releasing its fourth report in parts over 2007 (the first part in a week or so, so keep an eye peeled), and it will contain enormous amounts of information. There are more and more good books on the subject, more blogs and web sites, more documentaries, more movies, more novels (I highly recommend Kim Stanley Robinson’s excellent Science in the Capital series about climate change and how people do science: Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below, and Sixty Days and Counting), more newspaper and magazine articles, more raw data, more concern, more debate, more consensus, more worry, more people wondering what they can do and how.
Perhaps there’s a lot going on and I’ve missed it. If you know of any resources for librarians interested in the subject and working on it, please leave a comment. It’s a perfect situation for librarians to help: lots of confusing information, and lots of people who want to make sense of it. The Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 approaches will help. It can be as important to provide tools for other people to do something as it is to do the thing itself. Blogging and better catalogues will help in a general sense, but what about the direct application of library skills to the subject? What’s being done, what needs to be done, what should be done?
All pointers, comments, and suggestions are welcome. (Note that if you post a comment there will be a delay before it appears; they are held in a queue for approval so that no spam gets through.)