On OPACs again ...

John Blyberg has a great thought provoking post today on the social impact of OPACs
Our OPACs cannot be the golden kiosks we all want, but by inviting participation in the stewardship of a community resource, we can begin to build unique meta-collections that slide value, pertinence, and humanity into the search process. It may be that in that moment when a patron is about to turn away from the library, something catches their eye–a tag, a comment, some marginalia, perhaps, that puts the patron in front of the material they truly need.

The key component in growing social OPACs is community. Once you put the community you service into the process of delivering content back out into the very same community, you initiate a loop that will become exponentially richer over time as those neural connections glom on to each other.

Here’s a few examples of what he's talking about:

I can’t think of much more to add to this discussion, because I think John says it already so well. I agree that it’s time to begin rethinking the services that we offer in our libraries and realize that the notion of service is no longer a one way extension of what we do. Our services need to also empower users with the ability to add their own contributions and value to our collections/services if we are to truly continue our role as the “community resource”.

After all, just take a look at Webster’s definition of “community” and you’ll see that it’s strongly defined by the words sharing, participation and fellowship. And, it seems to me that these same three words form the cornerstone of social software tools as well. Therefore, doesn't it seem natural to extend this idea to our OPACs?

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