5 Weeks to a Social Library
is an online course that seeks to explain and demystify social networking software and highlight the practical applications of these new technologies in libraries.
While I am not enrolled in the course, I have been watching to see how others are able to effectively incorporate blogs, wikis, Flickr, etc into a variety of useful library services. I have also joined the Social Library Lurkers wiki
and will report on any interesting developments there.
One question I am considering is at what point a social networking site is appropriate and when a digital library is necessary. The two have different characteristics and functions, but both require planning and organization to be useful. This also raises the issue of defining the different strengths of each medium and distingushing between a formal curated digital collection, an institutional repository (where items may be uploaded, reused, and/or stored), and a spontaneous collaborative online project via a wiki? (And distinguishing where a librarian's skills might best be used.)