Selasa, 10 April 2012

Future Library: When Participation Becomes Essential

 “Libraries are not made; they grow,” said Augustine Birrell, an English politician and author. At no time in history, it has been truer: Libraries are growing by leaps and bounds to become digital libraries. According to Mary E Brown, a professor of information science at Southern Connecticut State University, “The term digital library has been applied to a wide variety of offerings from collections of electronic journals to software agents that support inquiry-based education, to collections of email, to electronic versions of a public library, to personal information collections, and even to the entire Internet.” Most importantly, people want to participate more in not only getting information, but also giving feedback, comments and data. No wonder there are many online sites, such as Google, Blogger and Wiki, which fill this need. For people to continue using libraries as centers of knowledge instead of just searching for information on Google, then libraries should build on this trend. Libraries can adapt Wikipedia style as a resource for users to get and to share information online. Also, libraries can apply LinkedIn style to allow library users with the same interests to share data. These innovations will enable libraries to be complete resources in the future.

Adapting the Wikipedia style for libraries in the future is a good step for the library’s system. Wikipedia, one of the great online data sites, provides services for users to get information and also to share information. Knowing and sharing information will be very useful for library websites by letting people be involved in enriching resources by their participation. How can they participate? First, people who are interested in giving information have to register on the library site. In order to avoid plagiarism, inappropriate words, and irrelevant topics with the content in the writing, the library should give a clear explanation of the terms and policies in the registration process. The library has a right to block the member account which disobeys the rules. Once users have succeeded to register, they will be able to publish their research, paper, or journal through the library sites, in the same way as Wikipedia. Furthermore, allowing other users to comment on the writing is a good way to create participation on the library site. Here, adapting the library system to make it more like Wikipedia would be a positive change in the future. 

Another existing library system is LinkedIn which could connect library members. Once Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., said, “It’s not a faith in technology. It’s faith in people.” LinkedIn allows users with the same interest to connect to each other through their site. This idea could absolutely benefit library users. For example, one researcher can find other researchers with the same research topic to do collaboration through a library’s site. Additionally, library sites should provide user-friendly tools for people to create their own professional profiles, which allow people to connect and get involved with each other. Libraries will not only be a site for users to connect to things such as online resources, but also to connect people to people.

The library has to improve the way it serves people in this digital era. By making changes and allowing people to give and share information, libraries can build people’s participation through their site. Also, connecting people to people is important for libraries to build mutual symbiosis among members. A great library provides something great for everyone. In the future, libraries will still be great places for people, because everybody is involved here, every resource is in the library.