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Christina's LIS Rant
Saturday, February 05, 2005
  Defining Web 2.0
Richard McManus has posted on various definitions of Web 2.0. Many are hopeful we're in a second wave of excitement about the web, ebusiness, etc., that will lead to and economic boom like the 90s. In a nutshell, here's my definition (cut and pasted, for the most part, from an e-mail conversation I had with RM)
I think the first wave was the technical layer-- the establishment of the code (kind of in a Lessig sense), the exploration of the technology. I think web 2.0 is the semantic web, social networking, folksonomy, blogs, wikis -- more what Berners-Lee talks about. There's some code involved, but it's more about the content and connectivity.

So from a library-type point of view, this is just a technology to better enable what we've been doing all along. We've been indexing articles for access for 150 years. Making hyperlinks (see also, used for, BT, NT, RT), using metadata... Many librarians don't see folksonomy as something fundamentally new. We've been there, and found that having professionally built taxonomies and controlled vocabulary to be more efficient and work better.

Now that I think about it a little more, there's something here about the commons vs. the ownership of the system by the elites. There's an idea that folksonomies are evidence of a backlash against THE MAN controlling information. Assignment of terms to an item happens after its creation and shouldn't interfere with the creative process. It's done to provide access and aggregation to the item. Your choice of tags reveals your judgment of the item. An example from library land: feng shui used to be in the 133s with the talking-to-dead-people books. It's now in the 740s with the decorating-your-house books. It went mainstream. Choosing terms from a carefully prepared list doesn't exactly stifle creativity.

I don't believe that control of the classification system by established experts is inherently evil. It is more like a benevolent oligarchy.

Updated: forgot the tags

||web 2.0

 
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

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