Social Networking: embracing new technologies to transform library

Devika Ramsingh, Librarian, at the Republic Bank Library, and Kumaree Ramtahal, Librarian II, of the, of the Main Library, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, will present this poster session.

The concept of social networking has been used in libraries and universities for many years; however the term is relatively new and popular due to the emerging technology. In order to keep abreast with meeting the needs of patrons, libraries are challenged to adopt the popular elements of the digital age.

The world’s top three social networking environments, MySpace, You Tube and Facebook attracted more than 350 million users according to comScore in June 2007.1 The length of stay online ranged from one hour to four hours. These statistics clearly highlight the fact that the new communication tools of email, instant messenger and social networking are fading the line between the online and offline world as more and more users are daily attracted to social networking environments.

Social networking and Web 2.0 technologies provide the opportunity for an interactive Web community, thus enabling an environment for knowledge sharing and learning. Also, these tools facilitate the breakdown of communication barriers created by distance and cost.

The phenomenon of social networking will one day, no doubt, become as common and widely used as email is today. Because of its current popularity however, social networking presents itself as a viable option for libraries and librarians to join the Web 2.0 movement and build interactive web communities.

This poster session seeks to introduce the concept of Social Networking and highlight some of the popular technologies that are being used in this Web 2.0 era. It will also present some of the websites that have been developed, using these tools, by Caribbean and international librarians. Moreover, it will explore how the information contained in these websites can benefit libraries, librarians and researchers in keeping abreast with current issues in librarianship and new technologies.

February 2008

Notes
Libraries and social Networking: the thoughts of nine experts about our increasingly online lives, NextSpace the OCLC Newsletter No. 7, September 2007 (Available online at http://www.oclc.org/nextspace/007/1.htm – accessed on 13/02/08)

For more information, kindly contact: d.ramsingh@gsb.tt or devikaramsingh@gmail.com

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