Web 2.0 is like the Mafia…

…just when you think you’re done with it, it pulls you back in.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve recently switched up job duties and am now in charge of my library’s Interlibrary Loan department.  (And by “in charge” and “department”, I mean I do everything.)  So I thought I wouldn’t have time anymore to reallly think about Web 2.0 things.   Turns out, that’s not quite the case.

I was minding my own business this afternoon, submitting ILL requests via OCLC, and I noticed that there is now an option for electronic delivery of materials via Yahoo IM, Skype or Windows Live Messenger.  Check it out.

(Sorry for the external link, but I can’t get an image to upload to WordPress today to save my life.  The electronic delivery stuff is in the middle of the screen shot.)

For reasons beyond my understanding, my branch library is unable to get Ariel or any of the other ILL software operational, so perhaps this could be a way around that.  My patron-privacy-o-meter goes up when I think about transmitting materials via non-library vendors, so I’ll have to check into that and see how it all works before I fire it up.

On a related note, there has got to be a way for me to stream line the notification process when an ILL is recieved.  Or submitted, for that matter.  When this first law journal source and cite rush calms down, I hope to work on creating an electronic form so that I can keep my records better organized (ILL is causing me to go through a hellish amount of paper…my carbon footprint is growing at an exponential rate!) and do “push button” notifications.

Now for something completely different….

If you’ve followed the news this week, you’ll have seen that my neck of the country got slammed by a terrible ice storm.  I’m okay – surprisingly didn’t lose power or cable – so I can concentrate on the neat things about the storm.  Namely, this is my first natural disaster since I got all Web 2.0.   I spent Tuesday night on my laptop chatting with friends and watching the storm’s progress through Lexington via Twitter.  I have to admit, it was pretty scary, because I could hear the branches crack and transformers pop and it many ways it felt like a horror movie and that I was being stalked by a monster.

On the bright side, it was also nice to get the occassional reassuring message and helpful advice from those that had gone through something like this before.   And it was nice to know that if something had gone wrong, I could have always updated my Twitter via my cell phone (assuming, I guess, the cell towers were okay) and my friends and family would know I was alright.  Or that they should send help.   And, of course, sometimes the best news of all came through Twitter.

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Law Libraries and Librarians ning

From the e-mail announcement:

Announcing Law Libraries and Librarians (http://lawlibraries.ning.com): a social networking site for law librarians interested in social networking

Do you blog or podcast?  Twitter or Gtalk or AIM?  Ning or Wiki? Flickr or del.icio.us or ooVoo or Seesmic or Utterz or Ustream?  Want to find out more from other law librarians who use social networking technologies?  Join us at Law Libraries and Librarians.  See you there!

*****

I was super excited to see this because (a) most Web 2.0 stuff is being done (and talked about) by public or academic libraries serving the undergrad set, and while that’s helpful, law libraries have special needs and I’m interested in seeing how law libraries are using these technologies, and (b) I’ve been wanting to try ning, and this is a good opportunity to do so.

It already looks like there’s some great info sharing going on in the forums, so check it out!

Weird Social Networking Experience

Lately I’ve been drifting out of library science literature and reading more-ACM type literature to get a different perspective on the whole social networking thing.  One point that has been brought up several times in discussing the difference between Facebook and MySpace is that Facebook, with its networks based on educational or professional affiliations, is primarily used to build upon existing off-line relationships.  MySpace, on the other hand, is much more of a free-for-all and encourages online-only relationships.

Reading that was totally an Oprah-esque ‘A-ha’ moment for me and explained one of the reasons why I’m so much more comfortable on Facebook.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a misanthrope, but I have no desire to go out and make a huge circle of friends.  Facebook is just an avenue for me to maintain contact with people I already know from real life – primarily co-workers and friends from library school.  (Although that has changed recently…I’ve been getting a lot of “friend” requests from librarians that I’ve never met in person. )  So I generally don’t have to worry about dealing with strangers.

I thought the same was going to be true for my Zune Social account.   Earlier this week, however, I got a friend request from someone I don’t know.  At least I don’t think I do.  I asked and he (at least I think it was a he) was very coy about it.  From what I can gather, this person somehow stumbled upon my profile – which is open to the public, after all – and liked my taste in music* so decided to “friend” me.   I’m kinda weirded out by it, but I guess there’s really no harm done.   I just never really thought of Zune Social as something other than a place to share music with the few people I know that have Zunes.

*For the record, here’s my current list of top listened to artists for this month: Fatboy Slim, Gogol Bordello, Lilly Allen, Thelonius Monk, Presidents of the United States of America, Mika, Amy Winehouse, Green Day, Sharon Jones, The Breeders, The White Stripes, The Clash, Dave Brubek, Limp Bizkit, Dropkick Murphys, Weezer, Charlie Parker, Sublime, Kanye West, Dizzy Gilespie, Bud Powell, Beastie Boys, Charles Mingus, and Nirvana.  It’s really only a weird combination unless you know that I like to listen to up tempo stuff on my walk into work, stuff that will not distract me while at my desk,  and jazz on the walk home to decompress.

55 Alive

I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with signing my mother up for social networking services, especially in light of our disastrous MySpace experiment.  And yet I persist.  Today I found one that she may like….55 Alive, a social networking site aimed at the older population.   It features many of the same features that one would find on Facebook or MySpace, like groups, picture sharing and games.  There’s also an online dating service because – depressingly – you’re apparently never too old to try and find love on the Internet.

Facebook Pages Update 2

When I sing the praises of Facebook to, well, seemingly everyone I talk to lately, I mention how it has made it easy for me to stay in touch with friends that live on the other side of the country, reunite with long lost friends and learn humility at the hands of Scrabulous. (My current W/L record? 4 and 20. Ouch.) However, another benefit is that it allowed me to connect with co-workers at my home institution, which is sort of a big deal when I’m trapped in the relative isolation of the law library and they’re the ones that make the decision whether or not my contract get renewed.   On a less selfish note, it seems like librarians that serve undergrad populations are a little more keyed into this Web 2.0 stuff and are a good resource for finding out about them.

Anyway, this is all one big digression leading into today’s discovery that Facebook is now allowing Facebook Pages to be searched. I discovered this through my colleague (and Facebook friend) Stacey Greenwell’s blog that she has feeding into her Facebook Profile. According to her, the title of the Pages can be searched, but unfortunately the search mechanism is not that sophisticated. (e.g. A search for “library” will not bring up “libraries”) Again, we’re only about 28 hours into this, so perhaps that will improve with time.

Of course, after finding that out, I did a test search. As of 10:50 am EST, there were 18 “library” pages and 6 “libraries” pages. My library is the only law library. The only other special library was a medical library at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  On Stacey’s blog there’s a link to the “Libraries Using Facebook Pages” group she started.  If you’re interested in trying this out, that’d be a great group to join.

When Blog Posts Collide

Oh, Gentle Reader, it’s amazing how fast things move in this crazy Web 2.0 world.

It was just two days ago that I was thrilled to be Facebook friends with Kevin Smith.   And then this morning I completely geeked out over Facebook Pages.   This afternoon Kevin Smith found that, while a celebrity can have an individual profile on Facebook, he or she is limited to 5000 friends.  So Kevin Smith is closing out his Facebook profile and started a Facebook Page to replace it.

Now, if I were the suspicious sort, I’d find it awfully convenient that a celebrity with a history of reaching out to his fans via the Internet decided to start a Facebook page that was clearly doomed to failure due to the 5000 friend limit THE DAY BEFORE Facebook rolled out it’s new format especially for celebrities/businesses/libraries.  Awfully convenient.   But as it stands, I’m from the Midwest and I just assume that everyone is as sweet and innocent as I am.  🙂

When I’ve had the time today, I played around with some of the Facebook Pages features.  Thus far I’ve found two problems.  (1) While I can add applications to my library’s page, the ones that would be the most useful (such as JSTOR) are not available.  (2) I can’t find a way to search for Facebook Pages.  I found the one for my university’s libraries through the creator’s Facebook profile, I found the New York Times one through a post on Mashable and I found Kevin Smith’s because he had to set one up due to COMPLETELY REASONABLE AND NOT AT ALL SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES.

It is only the first day of roll out so perhaps I should be more patient.

Facebook Upgrade

Remember a few days ago when I was talking about Facebook vs. Myspace and I said that it would be really great if Facebook allowed organizations like libraries to have a profile instead of just a group?  Well, guess what?  Today Facebook announced Facebook Pages which is going to allow just that.    I was so excited to start playing with this, I almost turned down an offer of going out for Indian food for lunch.  Almost.

Thus far I’ve just created a basic page for my library.  As I hoped, one is able to add applications like you can with personal profiles.  (Not all applications are available, but it looks like even some of the “fun” ones  are.)   Before the aforementioned Indian food outing, I added del.icio.us, a social bookmarking tool.   Many libraries (but not mine…yet) create a del.icio.us profile as a way to share online resources.  I know that there’s also a JSTOR search application.   As Facebook has made their application development tools free and available, theoretically I could make an application that would allow people to search the OPAC or some other library related type thing.  Basically, the possibilities for library use of Facebook are now pretty much endless.   Yay.