Friday, November 13, 2009

Why "Clay Shirky: The Social Media Revolution" Matters for Academic Libraries

Below is a recent interview with Clay Shirky I want to share. It's 23 min. long and worth the time. He starts off talking about twitter and why it's important and how it's evolving. There are some direct references to ebooks, bookstores, libraries etc. but it's not really about that. It's about what's happening in the world of social media and about what may come. Important stuff for academic librarians and others in higher education to consider these days.

Clay Shirky's 2005 article "Ontology is Overrated: Categories, Links, and Tags" had an impact on me back in the earlier Web 2.0 days. I was a newer librarian and folks in the library profession were beginning to understand our profession would be experiencing significant change. Librarians began to wrestle with folksonomy vs. taxonomy and more, much more, and at an increasingly rapid pace.

I've continued to follow Shirky's writings on the Internet and disruptive technologies because...well, because there's a digital revolution taking place and these things are of critical importance to libraries.

I was also glad to see a tweet a couple of days ago pointing me to a new publication by OCLC Research. The "Call to Action" section in the two page PDF below is about how librarians need to keep up on what's happening in the field of scholarly research and publishing and adapt our practices to the changing needs of researchers. It also states, "Developments such as cloud computing, open access publishing and online social networking are affecting research practices." The report includes a citation and link to Clay Shirky's post "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable," which is valuable reading as well.

I've put these two things together in this blog post because I've found as an academic librarian, at this time in history, it's more important than ever to follow and understand what is happening in this social media/digital revolution. I'm not sure I could really feel prepared to play a central role in support of scholarly research and publishing at my institution otherwise.

An Academic Library Manifesto
OCLC original PDF: Chris Bourg, et al., for OCLC Research

1 comment:


Imagination is limited without knowledge just as thinking is limited without words.