It has become apparent that all sectors of the economy are depending on the technology development for the organizational growth and for their general economic growth. Jennewein (2005) has argued that in the business sector of the current century, the requirements are different from the past century. This is because in the 20th century, the business enterprises depended on physical aspects such as land and machines for business success.
This has however changed and the 21st century businesses are depending on intangible assets such as knowledge and know how of its employees, as well as intellectual property rights. This has forced companies if they are to succeed in any business endeavor to create and update new technological competencies and replace all obsolete technologies and products within the organization.
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Technology has also improved the mode of providing education system to both the learners and the teachers, especially in the library use. The use of technology in libraries has a backdated history as in early eighties as has been argued by Grosch (1995), that,
the decade of the eighties would bring systems technology and new electronic forms of access to smaller library through the microcomputer. A more global view of automated library systems would emerge. Communications and linking of users to library systems remotely with gateways to arrays of locally available databases were becoming a brighter possibility. Finally library automation and application of the computer to bibliographic activities would become a natural phenomena since parent organization also were evolving to a more global information systems strategy, (pp.49).
Messaging in a 2.0 world
Learning and teaching is supposed to be fun and enjoyed to the student and the teacher. There are different ways that education can be made easy and enjoyable. One of the ways is by undertaking technologically changes that can make the learning and teaching process to be easy. Technology makes availability and use of learning materials easily accessed and to go with the current economic requirements.
Technology changes have been continuously making the learning and teaching process easier for the student and the tutor. Materials can be easily accessed and shared among the different users of such materials. For instance, the new web 2.0 sites slideshare enables people to share presentations on slideshows.
It is also possible to use the system to “upload PowerPoint, open office, keynote or PDF presentation, tag them into your blog or website, browse others’ presentations and comment on individual slides”, (Stephens 2007 pg 61). This has increased knowledge sharing as one can be able to know immediately what others feel about the work they’ve done, and where there is need of improvement.
These kinds of changes in technology have made information not to be seen as a container of value but the knowledge alongside the changes. Knowledge, like all the other sectors keeps on changing and people have to keep pace with the changing technology so as to ensure they are not left behind in development or, in competitive advantage in businesses.
Twitter messaging is a means of the current technology being used widely. To understand how twitter functions, think of it “like a personal IM account that can be shared with everyone. Once you have a twitter account set up, you can send short IM, SMS or web-based messages to twitter”, (King, 2007).
Therefore, twitter can be defined as a system that allows users to update messages containing up to a maximum of 140 characters to the twitter website via SMS, Instant Messaging or e-mails. The updates will be displayed to the profile pages of the user and instantly delivered to the other end user who has signed up to receive them.
Uses of messaging 2.0 world in libraries.
The web 2.0 technology is becoming more useful in the library use. It is widely used especially in communicating in conferences, keeping up with the development in the filed and promoting library services.
Ruby on rail technology is one of the of the twitter technology that can be used to keep track of the library employees. According to Williams (2006), “Ruby on rails is an open source web development framework that allows you to rapidly develop data-driven applications using ruby programming language”. An application in this context refers to web applications such as Basecamp and flickr. Ruby rails programming can be used in many computer applications including Basecamp, blogging platforms (e.g. Mephisto) and twitter.
Twitter is the most interesting of the Ruby Rails as it enables one to keep track of the colleagues whenever they are by the use of SMS text messaging, Instant Messaging or the web by posting updates (Williams, 2006). To use the twitter to track a person, the cell phone is set to use the twitter and an SMS is send to the twitter short code, containing the updates, the message will be automatically posted to the twitter site. With this, it will be possible to spread the contacts cell phones so as to see what those in the contact phone are doing.
This kind of technology is being used in libraries to trace down the employees of the library in an organization. It will be possible to know if the employees are at their workstations or not, and the exact work they are doing. There are many new methods of communication that comes up on a daily basis in the organization due to technological changes. It is therefore important that the organization chooses the method that is more suitable and appropriate to the organization.
In library organizations messaging technology allows the employees to set up twitter accounts and share their information. The workers can be able to locate coworkers Instant Messaging name. It can also help employees to know exactly the working hours of their colleagues and thus be able to relay any information or seek any urgent information at that particular time. While working with this system, it is possible that the patron might also stumble on the employee’s information while browsing and thus send reference question to the employee’s site.
Another means that the SMS can be used in libraries is through referencing. The first SMS referencing mode was started at the South Eastern Louisiana University by Mr. Hill in 2005, (LibranInBlack. Net, 2005).
The reference uses the Altarama referencing system. The system operates between 8 am – 9 pm, as this is the period that the librarians are around to answer questions from the clients. The SMS/text messaging referencing systems of the South Eastern Louisiana University is limited to 160 characters. The SMS that is send to the librarian reaches the end as an e-mail and then when the librarian answers the email, it gets to the other end user as an SMS. Because the librarian is only required to use short answers, it will not create problems related to typing especially to those who have a poor typing speed. This will ensure that the replies are not delayed because of the typing problem.
The Altarama referencing system has got unique text messaging numbers set bundles of text messages. For the email on the librarian side, the system allows the products to run seamlessly with MS outlook. The Library number is always the sender, hence the email message will stand out in the inbox of the recipient. If the recipient is using outlook, it is possible to reply directly through email. “If not, you [the recipient] need to use whatever e-mail program you are using and manually respond (copying and pasting in the ‘to’ field)”, (LibranInBlack. Net, 2005).
The South Eastern Louisiana University referencing system tried as much as possible to limit the characters to 160. Responses can be sent in multiple messages but the librarians’ try as much as possible to have only one message. This is because the system gives them room to do this by automatically abbreviating some words, such as, for -4, too-2.
The system also helps to keep the exact time that the transaction took place and the number of the transactions without keeping the actual messages of the transactions that took place. The library systems only accepts text messaging and not images. Therefore, incase a person sends an image message, the library will indicate error message.
The synchronous messaging system in the libraries allows real- time communication between individuals. “Librarians have began employing it to provide ‘chat reference’ services, where patrons can synchronously communicate with librarians much as they would in a face – to – face reference context, (Manness, 2006).
Manness argues that Web 2.0 is considered to be consistent with tenet 2.0 as it “allows for collaboration between the patrons and librarians, it allows a more dynamic experience than the fundamentally static, created-then-consume nature of 1.0 service”.
The importance of using this mode of interaction in the successor of the library system has enabled the librarian to adopt the successors of the library web system more quickly and expertly. There have been improvement in the instant messaging that have seen the inclusion of audio and video messaging also becoming increasingly common in the library use.
Libraries have started placing “links to their charts reference service within resources themselves such as at the article level in subscription data bases”, (Manness, 2006). The system has been developed so that the chart reference takes place within the framework of the library system as much as it could have been when dealing with a physical library patron.
Library 2.0 has also been designed to offer immediate help to a user whenever it seems that there is a problem in using the library system. This is possible when certain user behaviors are detected in the system. The common behavior that can indicate the librarian patron that the user needs help in the use of the library service is when a “user browses through certain materials repeating steps and moving cyclically through a classification scheme or series of resources,” Manness (2006). The use of a synchronous messaging service is useful tool to the patrons in giving the assistance to the library user whenever in problem of accessing library materials.
Librarians have been using the messaging system to promote the service of the library. Library creates several twitter accounts and sends messages to its client’s in various categories informing them of the services offered at the library. Since the message gets to the end use instantly, it becomes an effective tool in carrying out promotional activities compared to the other mode of media communication. Therefore, to be completely in competitive environment like any other business organizations, libraries have got to tactically promote its services to attract more users of its products. In promotion, libraries have especially benefited through the technology in reaching to their clients in the remote area easily.
The new technology of library 2.0 implies that the librarians take the library to where the users are instead of the users going to the library. These sites are also important in that they put the library where the users are, and especially meets the needs of the users who are constantly on the move.
There are still increased numbers of libraries world wide adopting the system of the SMS referencing. The Lee Kong Chian Reference Library has adopted the SMS referencing system because of the high penetration of cellular phones in Singapore. The increased number of cellular phones and Internet use has created avenue for increased online chat.
“Trends such as these suggest that SMS could be an ideal way to reach out to a greater pool of potential users of our reference enquiry service”, (Han and Seng, 2007). The use of cellular phone as a tool of obtaining referencing material is advantageous in that it is very portable. This has made it an ideal solution for the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library to use it for posting reference materials for those who have got a tight schedule such that it is not possible for them to visit the library personally to receive any information they need.
Apart from the recipient getting immediate information, the users of the web 2.0 world referencing system can be able to maintain their anonymity while seeking assistance from the libraries. The system is also receiving much advocacy because it can be used or accessed at any time of the day, or within any period, i.e. its operation is 24/7/365
Technology in all sectors of the economy enhances service delivery to both service providers and the clients. This technological improvement ensures that the service delivery is offered at the best disposal of both the client and providers.
Libraries like any other sectors of the economy have to embrace technological changes and use it positively to increase performance level in the organization. Despite all the obstacles that might be associated with the new technology, in the long run when the system has been fully and nicely implemented it becomes more beneficial to the organization than the sunk costs that might have been brought due to implementing the system.
To ensure that the technology receives positive acknowledgement from all stakeholders, Librarians should try to make the system simple and easy to use to both users so as to increase the attitude of the users towards that technology rather than making them shun it away.
Jennewein K. (2005): Intellectual Property Management. The Role Of Technology Brands In
The Appropriation Of Technological Innovation, Springer, ISBN 3790802808.
King D L. (2007). Twitter Explained for Librarians or 10 Ways to Use Twitter, Retrieved on
29th Oct 2007 from http://www.davidleeking.com/2007/03/10/twtter-explained-for-librarians-or-10-ways-to-use-twitter/
Manness J.M (2006): Library 2.0, Theory: Web 2.0 and its implications for libraries
Retrieved on 29th Oct 2007 http://www.webology.org/2006/v3n2/a25.html
Stephens. T. (2007): Trademark 2.0: Defining Your Value in the web 2.0, World Lulu.com,
Williams J. (2006). What is Ruby on rails? Retrieved on 29th Oct 2007 from
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