Thing 2 in 23 Things on a Stick had participants watching a video and reading some blog posts about the nature of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0. (Library 2.0 is simply Web 2.0 as it relates to libraries.) As part of the exercise, several questions were posed as potential prompts for reflection and posting on our own blogs. We were encouraged to deviate from the listed questions, so I shall.
While I was able to read the suggested blog posts for Thing 2, I could not watch the video. That is because we have a phone internet connection at the museum and the video wouldn’t download. One of the big issues with Web 2.0 (or Web 1.0, for that matter) is that there are digital haves and have-nots. And then there are those of us who are in between – we have some digitial capabilty, but not the latest and greatest.
We are in an unsettled time as far as providing museum services to our existing members and supporters, while still reaching out to potential new members and supporters. Because we realize that not everyone is connected to the internet, we continue to maintain our traditional ways of connecting (i.e. publishing the newsletter, mailing event notifications, creating publications, etc.). At the same time, we understand that many people are looking for us on the web. They expect us to be there. If we didn’t have a web presence, they might not think to seek us out in other ways. Rather than ignore one audience over the other, we are attempting to cater to both. Of course, this means spending more time in communicating all the way around, which is not a bad thing. It just takes some getting used to as far as thinking about how best to reach which audience.
We tend to take a middle course when it comes to technology. We don’t immediately jump on the bandwagon and go for all the digital bells and whistles. We take our time and think about which digital tools will be the most effective for what we are trying to accomplish. Are these digital tools a passing fad, or something that will be around for a while? It does no good to adopt a new technology if it isn’t going to last.
We also have to consider the how much in the way of resources (time & money) we have to spend in order to reach our goals. Researchers often ask why we don’t have all of the newspapers in our archives scanned for use on the internet. Aside from copyright issues, such a task would take expensive specialty equipment and an incredible amount (years!) of staff time. As it stands, it is much more cost and time-effective to have staff find the newspaper articles researchers request and make photocopies. That may seem terribly “old-school,” but more and more people are requesting those articles through email, which illustrates how all of us are balancing the old with the new.