Wikis and other collaborative tools.Posted: February 6, 2012
I find the use of wikis to be a fascinating subject. Obviously, applications like Twitter and Facebook are helpful in disseminating messages, but the collaborative element inherent in wikis takes social media to a much higher level – particularly within the library world. As the provided Farkas article noted, as libraries work to become physical community and neighbourhood hubs, wikis might work to develop online communities between libraries and their patrons.
Indeed, while I was on co-op with the Kingston Public Library, I was privileged with the opportunity to do a little visual purchasing the Overdrive, the library’s online collection. Circulation numbers, for the online material, is small but growing. One of my thoughts to drive circulation was for the library to develop an online forum for electronic borrowers to discuss titles they’ve seen or hope to borrow. If patrons are borrowing material online already, how difficult would it be to generate a more meaningful discourse? Attempts were made to develop online communities in the past, but met with little success. Admittedly, these attempts were prior to electronic books and tablets.
I wonder if the popularity in tablets and other mobile devices will drive an increase in online participation? As we become more engaged – if only because our online access and presence becomes more consistent (constant?) – will we be more likely to collaborate with the sites we visit? In Kingston, I wondered if more people borrowed electronic resources (and rarely set foot within the physical confines of the library), would these people be more likely to interact online with the library? I suspect that broader communities are only now ready to be built.