Some information technology managers and administrators are blocking access to social networks like Facebook or MySpace or to social tools like blogs because of fears that their staff will spend too much time updating their profiles and commenting and not enough time working. The purpose of this report is to give library managers the tools they need to encourage collaborative work both within and outside of their organizations and to make the case that social networking tools, when used efficiently by a library, are more of a boon to productivity than a drain on it. In this report, readers will also find hard data and concrete proposals that will save money and time in just about any collaborative effort library staff might decide to undertake. Even if a given library is not presently engaged in collaborative work, the activities that staff members do on a day-to-day basis can be improved by using collaborative platforms like Google Docs, a wiki, or an internal blog to facilitate communication.
In this issue of Library Technology Reports, author Robin Hastings explores several different dimensions of online collaborative work and their potential for librarians. In the twenty-first century, a physical presence is becoming less necessary for group work to occur. Through various platforms that have emerged in recent years, librarians can now create documents, participate in discussion, share photos and video and work towards a goal regardless of their physical location.
About the author
Robin Hastings is the Information Technology Manager for the Missouri River Regional Library in Jefferson City, Missouri. She manages the library's network, websites and training classes, as well as a four person staff who keep the library's computers running while she's off presenting at conferences. In 2008, Robin has been to England, Jamaica, California, Chicago (twice), St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri, giving presentations on Web 2.0, Learning 2.0, Library Mashups, RSS, OpenID and Web 3.0. When she's not traveling, she spends most of her free time in front of a computer blogging at http://www.rhastings.net or writing articles, a book chapter on mashups in the library and (coming soon) a book on lifestreaming and microblogging.