About a year ago I observed a group of New Media researchers from a variety of disciplines, including the UNLV School of Journalism, who came together to research the Consumer Electronics show, trade shows, and technology through a variety of academic disciplines. These scholars, working with the Center for History and New Media
proposed an interesting methodology of "swarm" scholarship (spontaneous, "in the moment", data collection) combined with a hybrid publication of both a monograph and an evolving digital component (a wiki) to complement the content. This was the first time I was introduced to the idea, and shortly thereafter I was asked to collaborate with some of my UNLV colleagues on a book chapter for Library 2.0 Initiatives in Academic Libraries
using many of the same techniques.
While writing about Library 2.0 was exciting, it was equally as intriguing to be part of a new type of dynamic scholarship that involved not only research, writing and editing, but also continuing updates and status reports on projects that, at this minute, are evolving and growing. There were times in the past year that I admit I became burned out on Web 2.0. I felt like it was everywhere and un-escapable; a trend that was going to be worn out by the time the book hit the publisher. But, the beauty of the hybrid project is that the projects detailed in the various chapters are not
confined to the print their authors composed last year! They can be modified and reported upon as they mutate into new initiatives, are evaluated and refined, and as they transform from experiments into integrated library services. This is the most exciting thing about the Library 2.0 project. The print publication is available from ALA
and the wiki
will follow the projects through the next two years.
This type of hybrid research presents all sorts of interesting challenges and opportunities for libraries. How do we assist with this new type of research (topics that are a moving target or require timeliness and nimbleness, collaboration and new technological tools)? How do we as consumers of information adapt (if we can't just wait for it to be printed, cataloged, shelved and circulated)? And how do we preserve this new type of information resource into the future (is it ever really "finished"...)? I, for one, find these two projects compelling as they seem to give life and vitality to the somewhat stodgy and oppressive "traditional" world of publishing and provoke all sorts of interesting discussions of "Librarianship 2.0".