Walt Crawfrord, C&I, Library 2.0

I may not agree with everything Walt Crawford writes in the latest issue of Cites & Insights [pdf], but I can’t argue that his points are not well reasoned and thoroughly documented. I came away from his article understanding (but still disagreeing) with his assertions. His latest article (a 26,000 word essay) aggregates almost all of the L2 discussion in the blabosphere (including mine). I’m of the mind to treat it as an audit of the current state of L2. In that context, I find it extremely useful (see his lengthy list of L2 definitions, for instance).

What you’ll notice in the collection of L2 discussions he’s put together are a number of contradictions, some conflict of interest, some proselytizing and a healthy dose of scattered thought. On the surface, Walt’s presentation is mostly objective, but some of that objectivity is lost by the fact that the formal C&I venue draws a great deal of material from the much less formal blog format. Blogs traditionally tend to be sounding boards for ideas and suggestions. My own blog features both ‘light’ and ‘heavy’ content. Blogs are often times the arena in which concepts like Library 2.0 are shaped like clay before they are hardened into, say, whitepapers (which he also pulls from). As a result, one might come away from his article with the impression that all the L2 chatter constitutes a three-ring circus, which it is not.

On the other hand, it’s clear to me that L2 has achieved enough critical mass that it garners such criticism. Some of that criticism has been useful to me because it serves to remind us that libraries are complex beasts and that there are no absolutes (something everyone should keep in mind). I doubt Walt meant it to happen, but I believe this latest issue of C&I has served to further legitimize Library 2.0.

No matter what your feelings on the subject are, Walt’s latest article is a pretty important document.


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