Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A LEAP of Faith

One of the main tasks I do in my position is to evaluate digital technologies and how they fit into the Library model. I always am looking at how other organizations integrate emergent technologies into their webpages. One organization that has done a superb job is the Learning Enhancement Academic Partnership (LEAP) program at UBC. They really have some outstanding concepts. Libraries are increasingly moving towards the Library 2.0 (L2) model. Catalogues and homepages play only a part of the whole picture, but an important one. Here's why LEAP surpasses most library homepages by leaps and bounds. Here's hoping it catches on. And quick.

(1) User-generated content – As opposed to content posted solely by the site author(s), LEAP encourages user feedback, with things such as online surveys, polls, and student blogs.

(2) Treats users as co-developers of the site – The more people using the service, the better it becomes. LEAP treats this fundamental treatise to the core, encouraging student’s reviews, comments, and rants. Collective intelligence in its purest form.

(3) Customizable content and interface – LEAP allows students (and faculty) to merge their blog content to the

(4) Core application of the website runs through the browser and web serve – Rather than on a desk platform. We don’t need Dreamweaver. All we need is a freely downloadable open source software. LEAP uses Wordpress, a beautiful piece of work.

(5) Social software – the LEAP homepage is maximizes on this. Blogs, tagging, video and image sharing. You name it, they’ve got it. The whole Web 2.0 suite.

(6) Integration of emerging web technologies – LEAP uses this, building on AJAX, RSS, and using API’s for mashups.

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