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I am eating my words.  At the recent NSW Health Libraries’ Forum, I commented that Facebook was one application that I’ve tried, but not really connected with.  I did qualify this by saying that our library doesn’t work with students, and I’m sure that they are a large part of the market – which was agreed to by comments from university librarians present.

Today, the Krafty Librarian has a post about health information in Facebook.  Including mentions of people adding BMC and PubMed citations, and a link to Stony Brook University’s Facebook page.  I’ll be interested to follow this trend and see where it leads.


Zdnet is reporting today that Westpac (Australia’s oldest bank) is not only unblocking sites like Facebook, but is “building its own social networking capabilities”. Interestingly, this follows the bank’s discovery that 1500 people on Facebook nominate that they work at Westpac, so they’re building a similar internal site on MS Sharepoint technology.

The Westpac CTO David Backley reveals a refreshing attitude to staff, technology and wasting time

“The rationale is that people will waste time if they want to waste time,” Backley says. “Most people who work for us will do the right thing, and see that others are doing the right thing. Many of these things can be self-managed.”

Backley said that there is nothing written in Westpac’s terms of employment or IT policy about what constitutes acceptable use of the technology.

“We don’t write into the policy how long they can spend having a cup of coffee either,” he said. “The only boundaries we have set is that the same rules apply online as they apply in the offline world.”

If only more of our institutions were this enlightened!

I’ve been monitoring the site of our Social Networks survey, and today it’s hit 158 responses.  I’m pleased.  Given that the MLA survey reported 495 responses, and there are quite a few more health librarians in the US, I think this is a good response rate.  I’m looking forward to crunching the data, and working out who is using (or not using) what, and why.

Thanks to Resource Shelf, I’ve seen a posting about Zoho Meeting.  I’ve been a bit of a fan of Zoho (as opposed to Google Docs) for some time now, and if this is good, I shall be glad of it.  The idea of being able to do low-cost web-conferencing is something that appeals to me, especially for training.  And even more, not being a google site, it’s less likely to be blocked by corporate firewalls for now.  Something to watch.  I’ll be interested to read what others are doing with it.

I could write a very long post about this, as there’s so much to comment on, but the first thing must be the excellent organisation. And attention to detail. The things I loved most were the “Bright Ideas” boards around the room, which encouraged everyone to write up things they would like to do (or see done); and the fact that we were not just talking about 2.0 anymore, but we were discussing putting things into practice, what we’d done, how we’d done it, and how it had gone. Given that all of us are from small, time-poor libraries, this was very exciting. Especially where the result was a resounding success in communication or marketing. And very replicable, if we want to do the same.

Just before I left, I was reading Meredith Farkas’ comments on going to two conferences back-to-back where she comments on the need for people to be good and enthusiastic presenters. I concur totally, especially for vendors who are trying to sell us their product. In this context, I was most impressed by the presenters in the Poster Session I chaired, where a couple of the presenters were clearly nervous, and new to presenting – but were clear, interesting, and kept to time. Well done!

Now comes the hard part – getting back to an overflowing in-box with little things to be completed before we can set out on the journey of new ideas from the Forum.  My genuine hope is that we can look back in a year and see more things that are happening, and that these two days will kick start some more interesting and clever ideas.

Okay, it’s really nine months, but yet again, I’m doing a presentation for Australian health librarians on L2.0; and each time I do one of these, I try to take stock of what’s happened since the last time. Firstly, I’m aware that it’s all not very new anymore. I certainly take things like blogs, wikis and rss feeds for granted (which is why I’m so frustrated that my ILS doesn’t support rss, but that’s another gripe). And I’m using more tools personally – I now use igoogle at work to keep my life together and am thinking of something for my non-work life; i’m moving to an online calendar (still torn between yahoo and google – suggestions, anyone?); and I’m on facebook. All of which sounds old-hat to many 2.0 afficionados, but the interesting thing is that this is in my personal, not professional life.

But professionally, we’re not doing much more than we were nine months ago. No great leaps forward, no wonderful inventions. Just more of the same, which seems to be working well. However, I am drawing up a wish-list of where I want to be this time next year, and there are some great leaps that will need to happen there. I’m looking forward to the challenge of working out how to make them happen.