This chapter exposes some core concepts for an innovative bibliographic information search system model, where not only the document is the point of reference, but to a new extent, the user himself and all his surroundings. Taken as central point is the bibliographic collection of the Library and the “ecosystem” of users and their use of the same, added with, to the extent where it is feasible, information from other sources.
Despite carrying out several activities with Web 2.0-related tools for quite some time now (such as implementing RSS feeds in some of the their more dynamic services), recently, Libraries became aware of social media’s power as open channels for information dissemination and training, but also for gathering their users’ feedback. In fact, most of them are placing a strong bet in Web 2.0 related services, of presence near their users, allowing them to reach them wherever they are. Ensuring systematic and ongoing updates, this presence is intended to, among other objectives, promote in an agile and simple manner, the activities of the Library and related news, giving visibility to its action in academia, but also to promote and enhance resources available to their users, as well as generate a participatory dynamic and a shared production of contents.
Nevertheless, Libraries should not stop here; in fact, they should not take it up only a notch, but rather a lot higher. Complementing this ongoing bet, they should provide the university and its users with an integrated system, contextualized to the community it serves, implementing participatory and information sharing features, creating and maintaining communities. By providing a complete framework, tools and features users treasure in popular external services or by implementing mechanisms of aggregation of such socially generated information in such services, this system should aim at preventing information produced by users to be disperse across those services (as currently is), most of it not possible to be integrated, connected or aggregated (and thus becoming virtually invisible to other community members), with no guarantee of future preservation.
In fact, implementing such a system can target a double contribution: first, to systematize and preserve cultural and scholarly production of faculty members; secondly, to make this memory accessible, so that it may enrich the present work, generating a conservation and dissemination effect which contributes to the collective intelligence and social cognition, not only within the local community but also to external ones. This new model of search, discovery, and information sharing aims at integrating Library’s collections indexed in its Catalog, as well as to aggregate content from external sources and contributions of its users. This is where the OPAC comes along; given the main features advanced for such system; it is quite natural that the OPAC should be given the central role, in a new vision for the Bibliographic Catalog, an OPAC 2.0 / NGC (Next Generation Catalog), aggregator at a content level, explorer of users’ actions, gathering and valuing their contributions.
This new Catalog concept redefines the traditional Bibliographical Catalog of materials and contents accessible in the Library or acquired for consultation in the Campus, extending its span to all the resources that the users have at their disposal, either local or accessible remotely, with printed manifestations or in digital format, acquired or in free access. Since it is “2.0” by nature, it brings to the paradigm of information resources what it was always verified in the remaining portion of the academia: in an initial phase, the students benefit from all of the accumulated knowledge of the institution and in a more advanced phase they contribute to this pool, with their projects and research. Thus, the users in the paradigm of Catalog 2.0 benefit not only from the base value of the resource itself, but also from all the information added by previous users, either in an active manner (adding tags, commentaries, recommending related resources, etc.), or in a passive manner (from loan activities or from consults or resources’ downloads). In addition, as in a mechanism that is alive, the indexed resources gain value from the usage given by these new actors. Catalog 2.0 breaches with the classic Bibliographical Catalog concept, a mere database of the set of resources, mostly monographs in bookshelves, with usage at all similar to the one made by the users with these resources, that is, not adding value in any way to them. Instead, Catalog 2.0 stimulates the users to underline book passages and take notes, only with the difference that, instead of making it directly in the book, they are encouraged to do it in a digital platform (Catalog), in proper fields associated to the resource record.