#citylis Student Perspectives: Web 2.0 : Different opinions and its implications in Libraries by Shohana Nowrin

Student Perspectives is our series of guest posts written by current #citylis students.

This post is by current #citylis student, Shohana Nowrin.


Technological development offers new opportunities and challenges in creation, promotion, dissemination and storage of information for library and information centers. A typical technology is Web 2.0, which has significant impact in modern libraries. Many Web 2.0 technologies such as Wikis, RSS, blogs, social networking tools (Facebook, Twitter, You Tube etc.), Vodcast, Podcast, Instant messaging and other social software are incorporated in academic library website to assist communication and secure information sharing.

The concept of web 2.0 was introduced for the first time by Darcy DiNucci back in 1999 where the author said that, “the Web we know now, which loads into a browser window in essentially static screenfuls, is only an embryo of the Web to come. The first glimmerings of Web 2.0 are beginning to appear, and we are just starting to see how that embryo might develop. The Web will be understood not as screenfuls of text and graphics but as a transport mechanism, the ether through which interactivity happens.”

Later, in 2004, the idea gained popularity through the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference hosted by Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty. It was apparent from their discussion that the web 2.0 was not a new technology itself but one that indicated new ways of using the modern technologies in various forms and on different devices as well as making contributions to web contents by lay users.

The definition and application of Web 2.0 is subject to argument. According to Tim O’Reilly (2005), “Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform. Chief among those rules is this: Build applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them”. He finds that Web 2.0 is the web as platform and that platform is used as the base of Web 2.0 applications. It can be said that the web of previous generation or Web 1.0 incorporates the Web 2.0 applications in order to provide more effective and developed environment of communication.

MacAskill and Owen (2006) identifies Web 2.0 as the second wave of the online based library which includes various web tools and services like wikis, RSS, weblog, tagging, Ajax, blogs, social networking tools (Facebook, Twitter, You Tube etc.), Vodcast, Podcast, Instant messaging and other social software etc. These services make various types of online exchanging like sharing music, bookmarking to documents and photographs available through the post, generate, describe, search, harvest, annotate and exchange facilities of all the Web 2.0 applications.

Web 1.0 Vs. Web 2.0

web20-dataIn web 1.0, users could only gather information from websites which were basically designed by the website owners whereas in Web 2.0 the users can actively interact with each other through creating content in the website by themselves.

An example of a Web 1.0 feature is the personal website where the owner of the website presents relevant information in respective pages for users to access but, in Web 2.0, the concept of personal websites has been replaced by Blogs where everyone can comment and share the contents of the blog through active participation.

Different views of Web 2.0

Web 2.0 technologies have connected more people for sharing ideas and experiences which also ease the process of providing services to them. These latest phenomena allow the users to get the facilities through various mobile devices very quickly from distant places. Due to these latest inventions the online contents are being enriched in larger volume dramatically. Usage of Web 2.0 is very user friendly and no expertise is required for using these facilities or taking parts into it. It can easily be considered as a modern revolution for human kind.

There are some negative views about the very existence of Web 2.0 and its critics mention this phenomenon as a marketing Buzz word. Like many others the inventor of the world wide web Sir Tim Berners-Lee (2006) points this out as a piece of “jargon”. He said that Web 2.0 does not add any new dimension to the usage of the internet because the initial purpose of the internet was to connect the people.

He further said that the future of internet usage is beyond our imagination and not limited to any current usage of it. Therefore, the new usage of the internet should not be considered as Web 2.0 in any event. Some of the claimed Web 2.0 features were pre-existing long before the introduction of Web 2.0 – for instance Amazon had incorporated the facilities of commenting for its customers since its beginnings back in 1995.

Implications of Web 2.0 to the modern library

rijun12web2-0_0Modern libraries are massively benefited by the new features of Web 2.0. In the past libraries were supposed to provide place based library services, and users of the library usually visited the it to consult the catalog and use the physical collection of the books, journals, CDs, etc. But in the present day this situation has been completely changed through the use of the academic library website. These dynamic and interactive websites support user involvement and force their way into changing the early static library websites. Liu (2008) says, academic library websites are the virtual presentation of the library to the world.

Moreover, Web 2.0 features have brought the facility to share, communicate, update, renew, borrow, contribute content and distantly access library product in a more convenient way.

Web 2.0 features are truly blessings for modern libraries.

It is apparent that Web 2.0 is the subject of massive debate because of the diverse nature of the world wide web, its previously set objectives and huge foreseeable potential in the future. Even though the controversy is there in terms of the true existence and application of Web 2.0, the respective features carry huge potential for the users of these applications.


IBM developerWorks (2006) DeveloperWorks Interviews: Tim Berners-Lee. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/podcast/dwi/cm-int082206txt.html. [Accessed 09 October 2016].

Liu, S. (2008). Engaging users: the future of academic library web sites. College & Research Libraries, Vol. 69 No. 1, pp. 6-27.

Macaskill, W. and Owen, D. (2006). Web 2.0 to go.  Proceedings LIANZA Conference 2006,Wellington.

O’Reilly, T. (2005). What is Web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of softwar. [ONLINE] Aailable at: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html [Accessed on 7 October 2016].

Web 2.0. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.wb2.com/. [Accessed 09 October 2016].


You can follow Shohana on twitter.

This post is an edited version of the original which was published on https://shohanasite.wordpress.com/ on October 10th 2016.

If you are a current #citylis student or alumni and would like to contribute a post, please contact our Editor, James Atkinson.

About James

Information Assistant (Academic Services) in the Library at City, University of London.
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