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Radical Trust

I’ve been quoting Darlene Fichter and using this slide for the past few months. Darlene hits the nail on the head that some of the evolution of library portals and OPACs will require us to understand and work through the concept of ‘radical trust’ with our operations and relationships with users.
It’s a somewhat amorphous concept but John Blyberg has written an excellent longish posting that can form the basis for a discussion. You can read it here.
I like to think about radical trust in terms of some examples:
1. Why does Amazon work as an experience? Can libraries trust their users enough to safely share personal information to create a user recommendation experience like Amazon?
2. Why is LibraryThing growing so quickly for personal collection management? By one measurement it’s now the 100th largest public library in the U.S. Can libraries trust their users to add their home collections to the major local community collection?
3. Are we comfortable with users tagging our MARC records? Can they add post-it note and comments to MARC? Are comments and user recommendtions OK with us? Moderated or unmoderated? (Don’t be so fast – Are Amazon, Borders and B&N moderated?)
4. Are we comfortable with users setting their own levels of privacy and information sharing like they do in other socially driven environments rather than having libraries set it for them?
5. Are we ready for the next generation of local MySpace and Facebook or Google defaulting to local area experiences? Can libraries create this space first?
Hennepin County Library has started on this here and here. See what it looks like here. Is the rest of LibraryLand ready for this shift?

Posted on: May 22, 2006, 9:41 am Category: Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Local information is great when you can get it.
    I don’t think you have to have patrons annotating MARC records – it would make an equal amount of sense to build a parallel database for each user’s collection a la LibraryThing where you share data with the collective but keep your own local control for details like which edition you have and where you got it and whose name is on the inside cover.
    One MARC record per book, with lots of ways to fill in the default fields.

  2. “(Don’t be so fast – Are Amazon, Borders and B&N moderated?)”
    Amazon definitely is.