January 26, 2009

Reference and Web 2.0 Panel

Originally uploaded by curtis rogers
Reference Sources and Web 2.0 Meeting Notes
Monday January 26 2009

Panel consisted of Stephen Rhind-Tutt from Alexander Street Press
Jeff Penka from Cooperative Reference Services at OCLC
Samir Singh from ProQuest
Remmel Nunn from Readex

This was a RUSA sponsored event.

Jeff spoke first. He is the director of QuestionPoint which I personally thought had gone away. I was surprised to see that it actually still exists... He reviewed some basics of OCLC and Web 2.0. He showed an example using WorldCat.org. Users can create a free account, put it on your mobile phone, add search boxes to Facebook, etc. WorldCat has over 300,000 users. They will soon be adding LIbrary Profile pages. They also offer a QuestionPoint widget (Qwidget). They use RSS and Podcasts.


Remmel was next and spoke about how Readex is using Web 2.0 for higher education students. I did a quick search on the Readex web site for Web 2.0 and only found one hit: http://www.readex.com/readex/Press.cfm?press=39 which is an old press release from June 2007... He approached Web 2.0 very apprehensively. He said they do not like to use the term Web 2.0 for fear of Web 3.0 coming next. This was supposed to be a joke but came off more as fear of change... He also told a very boring story about when he was in college how he had to prepare for a final exam that took three years to study for (didn’t really understand what kind of a point he was trying to make). He talked some about Crossroads: http://www.readex.com/readex/product.cfm?product=248. Crossroads deals primarily with primary source documents. Remmel has an article at http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=jep;view=text;rgn=main;idno=3336451.0011.207 and from the looks of it, it doesn’t appear to be an easy to use or intuitive system. Overall his tone was skeptical and didn’t make this user want to investigate Crossroads... Also, it would have been helpful to have SOME KIND of visual presentation for this talk...

Stephen was the next speaker and apologized for not preparing a presentation. Not a good way to start IMHO... He explained what Alexander Street Publishing does. He used an old presentation from 2006. Like Remmel, his was a very academic presentation. He did actually do a live demo which was quite interesting. He showed the streaming music and video content. I personally think students would be more likely to visit YouTube than the Alexander Street audio and video page to find an aria. He also discussed tagging and folksonomies used in flickr which was good to see. He compared this against a taxonomy.

The last speaker was Samir and he discussed Web 2.0 in the most relevant terms. He was able to make good connections with what ProQuest is doing with popular uses of Web 2.0. He talked about how they are using Wikis to coordinate design discussions across teams. They use www.uservoice.com to get feedback on a site. They also use blogs to share info. Externally they are developing www.GradShare.com which is a Q&A community for graduate level students. He was by far the best panelist and actually made me want to explore the ProQuest resources.

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