After viewing the video with Stephen Abrams’ comments and reading the articles on Learning 2.0 and Web 2.0, the concepts are a little less murky. From my point of view, the technologies listed on the North Texas 23 list are not so “new” – they expand on existing features and capabilities of web and e-mail technology and add more bells and whistles. I was vaguely aware of most of them, but hadn’t felt any real need to use them. Searching for, and using, established websites and keeping up with several e-mail lists met my needs for web technology utilization.
The technologies bundled under the terms “Learning 2.0” and “Web 2.0” are, in my opinion, more like “channels of distribution” that librarians need to be aware of for purposes of public relations. Some patrons may use these “new” technologies exclusively, and it would be foolish to ignore them. However, it’s hard for me to conceive that a library with a website and e-mail access would suffer dramatically by not using them.
I wonder if most of these technologies will exist as they are today within 5 years time? If they follow trends in software development and search engine launches, some will be gone completely, others will be a feature of Microsoft Office, and still others will be merged with other services.
Since a major concern of mine is universal accessibility of electronic resources for people with disabilities, I found it interesting that Mr. Abrams failed to mention the concept in his remarks. James Coltham, a WordPress blogger from Edinburgh, UK offers his comments on the accessibility of social media for people with disabilities in this post: (http://www.prettysimple.co.uk/blog/index.php/2009/06/accessibility-and-social-media/).
To champion such technologies without acknowledging their deficiencies shows naivete’ that seems greatly at odds with librarians’ claims to be champions of “access for all.” The Web, Web 2.0, and Learning 2.0 are worldwide phenomena, and affect people with disabilities around the world. Advocates for people with disabilities in every country are aware of the issues, and the solutions they have found are widely and easily disseminated on the Web.
As a profession that claims a high level of expertise in the utilization of Web technology, a great deal of cognitive dissonance is created when librarians seem unaware of the deficiencies in access evident in many electronic resources. The information to remedy this deficit is available quite easily on the Web; it only takes a little effort to find it and apply it.