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Week 1: Semester 1

Getting Started

Listen to our first podcast (by clicking on the play button below), familiarize yourself with this wiki, and read/watch the content below. If you have questions about anything along the way, be sure to contact us. We’re happy to help!

What is Web 2.0?

You’ve probably heard a lot of hype about Web 2.0 already, but if you don’t know much about it the following video will give you a good idea of where we started and where we are today. It moves pretty quickly, but that’s life these days, no?

(The above video is by mwesch on YouTube)

So, as you can see from watching the video, we have moved from linear, one-way information providing to an interactive, participatory climate where people want and expect to be invited to communicate their thoughts and needs regarding our services.

Predictors of Web 2.0

So how can you tell if you’re using a Web 2.0 site vs. any other site on the Internet? There are a few predictors you can spot that will give you an indication. Here’s what to look for:

  1. Registration:
    Web 2.0 sites invite you to create your own account. If you are a registered user, you receive special features or capabilities that help you create a unique user experience.
  2. FAQs/”Learn More”:
    Providing enough information for you to know whether or not you want to register at a site is another Web 2.0 predictor. These sites want you to learn more about what they offer and make it easy to do so.
  3. Tour:
    Tours are the Web 2.0 way to make it easy for people to decide if the site is worth creating an account at. Some tours are static pages with images and text and some are videos that demonstrate how the site’s features work.
  4. Terms:
    Whether it’s privacy statements or terms of use for the site, these features are common predictors of Web 2.0.
  5. A way to do something:
    Web 2.0 gives you a way to do something on their site. With Doodle, it’s the ability to create a poll that anyone you share it with can respond to. Other sites allow you to create music lists, family trees or other information that you can then share with others.
  6. An invitation to add your comments and/or questions:
    Inviting participation is universal to Web 2.0 sites. Communication, input, and discussion are a hallmark and essential to 2.0 success.

Once you become more familiar with these features, you’ll see that Web 2.0 sites really aren’t that different from each other. Look for the commonalities, and there will be less to fear as you encounter new tools.

Why Web 2.0?

The Pew Internet & American Life Project does a lot of research about how Americans are using Web 2.0 and other technologies. If you haven’t checked out their reports, we’d encourage you to do so. In fact, we’ll point you to reports on specific topics as we address them in the coming weeks.

But there are a couple of themes about Web 2.0 that you’ll see throughout their reports and other research:

1. It’s not just for kids

While more young adult internet users may be adopting Web 2.0 technologies, it isn’t just kids using these technologies. Here’s a couple of examples:

  • The majority of adult internet users in the U.S. report watching or downloading some type of online video content and 19% do so in a typical day. [Online Videos Go Mainstream]
  • In a 2004 study of instant messaging (IM), 53 million American adults regularly used IM programs. (And that was 3 years ago! Imagine how many more there are today!) [How Americans Use IM]

2. It’s not just for fun

You might think that most people are using these Web 2.0 technologies for fun or personal stuff – Chatting with friends, reading blogs about their hobbies, or watching silly things (like the Kitty Cat Dance) on YouTube.

And you would be right. Most people are spending SOME of their time that way. But you know what? People are doing research and learning, too:

  • The Pew study about video found that 37% of adult internet users have watched news video, and 22% have watched educational video.
  • A recent study from the National School Boards Association found that 60% of students use these tools to discuss education-related topics. The majority of school districts have figured this out, and now use some sort of social tool to communicate with students, parents, and the community.

Where do you fit?

Another great study by the Pew group is called “A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users” (whew! What a mouthful!). The title’s complicated, but the findings are pretty easy to understand. They surveyed a bunch of Americans to find out how they used different technology. They discovered that there are 10 unique groups:

Elite Tech Users (31% of American adults):

  • Omnivores (8%)
    They have the most information gadgets and services, which they use voraciously to participate in cyberspace and express themselves online and do a range of Web 2.0 activities such as blogging or managing their own Web pages.
  • Connectors (7%)
    Between feature-packed cell phones and frequent online use, they connect to people and manage digital content using ICTs - all with high levels of satisfaction about how ICTs let them work with community groups and pursue hobbies.
  • Lackluster Veterans (8%)
    They are frequent users of the internet and less avid about cell phones. They are not thrilled with ICT-enabled connectivity.
  • Productivity Enhancers (8%)
    They have strongly positive views about how technology lets them keep up with others, do their jobs, and learn new things.

Middle-of-the-road Tech Users (20% of American adults):

  • Mobile Centrics (10%)
    They fully embrace the functionality of their cell phones. They use the internet, but not often, and like how ICTs connect them to others.
  • Connected But Hassled (10%)
    They have invested in a lot of technology, but they find the connectivity intrusive and information something of a burden.

Few Tech Assets (49% of American adults):

  • Inexperienced Experimenters (10%)
    They occasionally take advantage of interactivity, but if they had more experience, they might do more with ICTs.
  • Light But Satisfied (15%)
    They have some technology, but it does not play a central role in their daily lives. They are satisfied with what ICTs do for them.
  • Indifferents (11%)
    Despite having either cell phones or online access, these users use ICTs only intermittently and find connectivity annoying.
  • Off the Network (15%)
    Those with neither cell phones nor internet connectivity tend to be older adults who are content with old media.

It’s interesting to think about this table from a public library perspective. Public library patrons come from all 10 of these groups. You don’t have to be a Omnivore to help them, but you do need to be able to communicate with all of them. You need to be able to understand what their information needs are, and how to help them (which is what we’ve always been about, right?).

It might be helpful to know where you fit in this table. Now is the time to find out!

So, are you an Omnivore? Connected but Hassled? Something else?

Does this change your perception of yourself? Does it change how you look at other groups or at the technologies?

To share, you’ll have to enter a name, but it doesn’t have to be a real name. You can enter whatever you’d like. Then choose your category.

Visit this same link to see the results from all the Project Play participants!

David Lee King, a library guy who thinks and writes about technology a lot, gives us another way to look at ourselves:


Think of this as a pond, with the middle being traditional library services, and the circles out from the center being ripples in the pond. The further from the center, the more “Library 2.0″. If you’d like, you can read a more complete description from David Lee King.

Where do you see yourself in this “pond”? Are you vaguely aware of Library 2.0 technologies, but not sure what they are or how they work? Or are you ready to experiment and are looking for ideas of how to use them in your library? Or are you in the more traditional center, and not even sure these technologies are worthwhile?

Well, no matter what, you’re in the right place! Project Play will help you with all these questions.

Lifelong Learning

Project Play isn’t just about learning about Web 2.0 and how to apply it to your library. It’s also about encouraging you to be brave about exploring new technologies and to recognize the importance of lifelong learning and how it can help you adapt more easily to change.

Exploration requires a spirit of curiosity, open-mindedness, and playfulness. Lifelong learning requires the same spirit, but also a commitment to being personally responsible for your own education. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know, just be brave enough to play and find out more.

Take some time to read the articles and visit the site listed below. They will hopefully help you think about your own attitude, why exploring is important, and how you can approach your own development as a person and a library professional.

Congratulations on signing up for Project Play and completing Week One. And remember: Play more. Learn more. Fear less!

Tags: Doodle, Pew, web2.0

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13 Responses to “Week 1: Semester 1”

  1. [...] 24th, 2007 The content for Week One has moved to http://projectplay.owlsweb.info/?p=3. Sorry about the switcheroo, but everything should be in its final location now at the original [...]

  2. Good intro. Loved the video - that was fun!

  3. Glad you liked the intro, Maggie! Do you have the music from the video running through your head? I do! :)

  4. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I liked the videos (plural) also - and I watched ALL of them, trying to decipher why they were considered to be “related.” I now understand better how/why my son can sit for hours looking at YouTube videos recommended to him by online gaming buddies. It’s not as isolating as I previously believed it to be, since yes, the desire to share what you’ve seen with others (in the immediate physical vicinty, or via chatting) is rather irresistible.

  6. This is great. This is exactly what I and my staff need. Being 32, I might be closer to a digital native than many librarians, but in technology years, I’m a dinosaur, so this introduction is priceless.

    Thanks a million whoever has been involved in creating this.

  7. Okay, so I missed the initial promotion of Project Play and I’ve received my thirty lashes with a wet noodle for my latency. Now I’m ready to forge ahead in hopes of having some whopping good fun while learning,divulging and quite possibly embarrassing myself! The video was informative, the poll fun and I’m happy to report I’m slightly more evolved than I initially thought.

  8. [...] Weeks 10-12 [...]

  9. An Indifferent! At least there are two of us in that category, now.

  10. [...] ready to go for the next round. If you’re new to Project Play, you’ll need to complete Week 1 and Week 2 of 1st Semester, so you can register a blog and pseudonym with your system contact. [...]

  11. I am a Connector. I guess I thougt I would be a Lackluster Veteran. Hey! Maybe there is hope for me yet!

  12. I found the video by the professor very creative with the way it was taught by incorporating html and xml coding and explaing 2.0 and other terms many of us may not be familiar with.

  13. Although I am a librarin, my degree is actually in Electronics Engineering. I used to build computers and put in networks for small businesses. I have been out of the electronics industry for quite a few years…and by being out of the “game” I thought I would be lower in the technology totem pole. I actually tested as an omnivor. I guess I have not lost as much time as I thought I have.

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