I just got an email from the Library 2.0 network announcing the upcoming 2.013 Worldwide Virtual Conference in October. The conference is free to attend and the call for papers is very open and inclusive. I first caught wind of this virtual conference last year and joined the network to access the 2012 conference. Sadly, I was unable to attend synchronously, but remained a member and promptly forgot about it and didn’t update my profile.
However, now that I’ve been reminded, I decided to add content to my profile and explore the site. Library 2.0 bills itself as “the future of libraries in the digital age.” They boast over 16,000 members from 160 countries. Conference participants don’t have to become a member in order to attend, but membership is encouraged to access up-to-date news and interact with other presenters and attendees. Once you join the network, you can do as little or as much with your profile as you like. San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science is the founding sponsor, and many SLIS instructors are members.
The site keeps archives of presentations from the 2011 and 2012 conferences. I viewed many of the keynote and session recordings when I first joined, and found them to be highly relevant to digital and social librarianship. Looking back at the presenter names now, I recognize many of them as folks that I think of as “movers and shakers” in 2.0 librarianship. I’m considering submitting a presentation proposal for this year’s conference– anyone want to collaborate with me?
The social networking aspect of the site involves groups, forums, and individual profiles. You can become “friends” with other members and interact in similar ways to other social media networks. You can message people, do status updates, write longer blogs, add photos and personal information, and comment on others’ activity. You can create and join groups and have more focused discussions. Groups include kinds of libraries and LIS focus; geographic areas and personal interests; and boards, presenters, and volunteers for conferences. I joined “The New Librarian Experience” (you don’t have to have your MLIS yet to join!) to see what group interactions were like. There are a few forum threads and a comment wall, and 166 other members I can view and potentially interact with. Some groups have very few members and very little activity; others are more robust and active. Overall, social interaction is better than I expected, but it’s no Facebook. Perhaps members become more active in the weeks leading up to the conference?
Please feel free to “friend” me if you decide to become a member of the Library 2.0 network!