Thursday, September 21, 2006

The "New" Web

Prior to coming across Tim O’Reilly’s “What is Web 2.0," I was still lost in the maze that is now referred to the new web 2.0. Blogging, Wiki's, podcasts, etc. etc. were merely a rehash of previous technologies. (I realize I've been harping on this point for ages - so I apologize for the repeat). However, O'Reilly allays my suspicion with the opinion that Web 2.0 is not meant to be a radical transformation - it is not meant to systematically alter the internet as we know it. Rather, Web 2.0 is a progressive and more interactive approach to online information.

The concept of "Web 2.0" began with a conference brainstorming session between Tim O'Reilly and MediaLive International. O'Reilly, who actually majored in Classics but moved onto the computer manuals business, realized that companies that had survived the collapse all had some things in common. To O'Reilly, the dot-com collapse marked a turning point for the web.

But there's still a huge amount of disagreement about just what Web 2.0 means, with some people asserting that it as a marketer's buzzword, while others take it as the holy grail. (I was somewhere in the middle). O'Reilly's article is definitely worth a read for those uninformed about social software or skeptical about its applications. Here are some of his main points:

Web 1.0 ------verus ------- Web 2.0
DoubleClick ----------------> Google AdSense
Ofoto ----------------------> Flickr
Akamai ---------------------> BitTorrent
-------------------> Napster
Britannica Online ------------> Wikipedia
personal websites ------------> blogging
evite ------------------------>
domain name speculation----> search engine optimization
page views ------------------> cost per click
publishing -------------------> participation
content management ---------> wikis
directories (taxonomy) -------> tagging ("folksonomy")
stickiness -------------------> syndication

Does this look eerily similar to the modern/postermodern dichotomy so hotly contested within academic circles? Sure does to me. But this is a good thing, and a worthwhile discourse in LIS. I see the future of library and information science, and it is headed in the direction of Web 2.0. I feel that we are on the cusp of something great, something that is only starting to unfold. However, there is no "true" concise definition for "Web 2.0" - nor should there be. It should continually contrast and challenge the way we perceive and use information as librarians and information professionals. The next stage in this evolution? Mashups. More on that to come....


Dean Giustini said...

As you know, after Rob suggested it, I refer to the new library as BMB 2.0

A second generation BMB. It seems so accurate since moving to the flagship building for academic and ambulatory healthcare in the Diamond Centre.

I feel that Web 2.0 is the second generation Internet: open access, open collaboration, open authoring, open platforming, open search. So, for me, it's not so much the technologies that facilitate the new openness but the fact that we are situating ourselves in a brave, new, open world.


Christina said...

If you're into science mashups, check out There is a link to the accompanying blog and a page that explains what was incorporated to create the mashup. I searched hesperostipa comata and got pretty good results.