“If you are going to succeed at Web 2.0 you must immerse yourself in the culture.”

I can’t believe I got up at 6:30 to be at an 8 AM presentation… and it was in a room with only about 50 chairs!

Presenter Matt Hong was not available for whatever reason (I missed the “why” as I was pushing my way through to sit on the floor at the feet of the speaker), but Ken Breen from Gale did a nice job of leading us through the slides and concepts, goodnaturedly explaining it was not the presentation that was hard, it was fielding the questions, after! He encouraged us to ask them, though, and maybe expertise in the room would lead to answers – it was very unconferencey!

We began with an introduction: digital natives are born into tech and speak the language of computers & video games; immigrants were not. Immigrants tend to be linear; prefer to work individually and favor text over image audio and video. Natives prefer random access to information, work collaboratively, desire customization and favor multimedia.

Some stats on going to the library first versus going to the Internet first:

  • 71% high school students go to the Internet first
  • 73% college students go to the Internet first
  • 85% of (Facebook supported) college students have a profile on Facebook

Digital natives prefer tools with personalization, expression and collaboration. I’ve not only heard of all the tools mentioned, but actively use Flickr, del.icio.us, Facebook, IM, Second Life, wikis and blogs.

Last FM was the only I haven’t heard of, but it must be similiar to iLike.

“The digital native is at the center of the information ecosystem” said Ken, “with many paths in which to go.” Another major point was that if you are going to do it, you have to go all the way. Don’t make a MySpace page that asks users to call you–utilize the MySpace IM, commenting and groups.

Thomas Ford Memorial Library

Notable for it’s action driven left menu, hyperlinks within the text, and Meebo chat room

Penn Tags
Notable because students can tag the collection

We need to put the pressure on library vendors to get there Web 2.0 tools integrated into their products. Examples include AquaBrowser, an overlay for the library catalog, and Access My Library which puts database hits come up first on Google.

Ken facilitated a discussion where the participants asked questions and responded to one another. Debate over “they don’t want us in their space” vs. “they don’t mind and at least it gets out name out there” followed.

One participant suggested that we should be embracing Wikipedia and taking control of it.

I think it’s about affinity groups; age is not as much of an issue. The ‘net is a great equalizer. Also, it’s important to remember that natives blur the lines between work, school and play. having these 3 facets overlap is a way of life.

Someone said they were wrestling with the decision, do you go in as an individual or an organization? “the answer is yes (the both).”

Someone else pointed out that it’s still all about finding the right resource to answer the question… trying to educate teachers that the database is not the Internet.

I was quick to jump up and explain Second Life when someone asked what it was. A few people came up to me after to ask more questions. Did anyone make it to the panel on participatory media at 10:30 Saturday? I was sorry to miss it (although, all committee was great).

About Beth Gallaway

Beth Gallaway was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2006 for her work in advocating for videogames in libraries. She is an independent library trainer/consultant specializing in gaming, technology, and youth services, and is a YALSA certified Serving the Underserved (SUS) trainer.

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