October 22, 2007

New OCLC Report about Sharing Online

It’s taken a long time for them to release this, but OCLC has finally made their Shar­ing, Pri­vacy and Trust in Our Net­worked World report avail­able for free on the web.

New OCLC report on sharing, privacy, trust, and social networking

The prac­tice of using a social net­work to estab­lish and enhance rela­tion­ships based on some com­mon ground—shared inter­ests, related skills, or a com­mon geo­graphic location—is as old as human soci­eties, but social net­work­ing has flour­ished due to the ease of con­nect­ing on the Web. This OCLC mem­ber­ship report explores this web of social par­tic­i­pa­tion and coöper­a­tion on the Inter­net and how it may impact the library’s role, including:

  • The use of social net­work­ing, social media, com­mer­cial and library ser­vices on the Web
  • How and what users and librar­i­ans share on the Web and their atti­tudes toward related pri­vacy issues
  • Opin­ions on pri­vacy online
  • Libraries’ cur­rent and future roles in social networking

The report is based on a sur­vey (by Har­ris Inter­ac­tive on behalf of OCLC) of the gen­eral pub­lic from six countries—Canada, France, Ger­many, Japan, the United King­dom and the United States—and of library direc­tors from the U.S. The research pro­vides insights into the val­ues and social-networking habits of library users.”

I’ve heard OCLC staff say they don’t believe they asked the right ques­tions for some of the top­ics, which I agree with, so I think we have to take the data with the prover­bial grain of salt. You’ll be able to order a 280-page paper copy start­ing Octo­ber 28, which is how I’ll read this if I can get my hands on a copy. I couldn’t totally resist, though, so I did jump ahead to the con­clu­sion (PDF) and already I’m intrigued.

In the 18 months since the pub­li­ca­tion of the Per­cep­tions of Libraries and Infor­ma­tion Resources report, the use of search engines and e-mail has grown by more than 20% over what were already enor­mous par­tic­i­pa­tion lev­els. User par­tic­i­pa­tion in basic Inter­net ser­vices, such as search­ing and e-mailing, is approach­ing total par­tic­i­pa­tion. More than twice as many respon­dents are using blogs now as then.…

Inter­net use has not sim­ply increased, it has infil­trated our lives, offer­ing more and more ser­vices at more and more ser­vice points. Use has grown for almost every Inter­net ser­vice we mea­sured in this survey—well, almost every service.

The per­cent­age of Inter­net users that have used a library Web site has decreased. Library Web site use declined from 30% of respon­dents in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. in 2005 to 20% of the gen­eral pub­lic in these same coun­tries in 2007, a 33%

The more intrigu­ing ques­tion is—what are the ser­vices and incen­tives that online libraries could offer users to entice them to come back or to visit more often or even devote some of their own time to help cre­ate a social library site?…

If con­ve­nience does trump qual­ity, then it is the librar­i­ans’ job to make qual­ity con­ve­nient. If shar­ing will trump pri­vacy on the social Web, it is the librarians’

On the social Web, the library brand must go from insti­tu­tional to personal.…

The social Web is not being built by aug­ment­ing tra­di­tional Web sites with new tools. And a social library will not be cre­ated by imple­ment­ing a list of social soft­ware fea­tures on our cur­rent sites. The social Web is being cre­ated by open­ing the doors to the pro­duc­tion of the Web, dis­man­tling the cur­rent struc­tures and invit­ing users in to cre­ate their con­tent and estab­lish new rules.

Open the library doors, invite mass par­tic­i­pa­tion by users and relax the rules of pri­vacy. It will be messy. The rules of the new social Web are messy. The rules of the new social library will be equally messy. But mass par­tic­i­pa­tion and a lit­tle chaos often cre­ate the most excit­ing venues for col­lab­o­ra­tion, cre­ativ­ity, com­mu­nity building—and trans­for­ma­tion. It is right on mission.…

The new Web is a very dif­fer­ent thing. Libraries need to be very dif­fer­ent, too.”

Now, I give full credit to OCLC for run­ning, ana­lyz­ing, and pub­lish­ing (espe­cially freely) this report (I so wish MPOW pub­lished this kind of won­der­ful data this freely), but I have to dock them points for the way they invite feed­back on this report. On social net­work­ing. And shar­ing online. And pri­vacy concerns.

OCLC - thank you for sending us your one-way comment

Where do the points come off? The only way to sub­mit feed­back is via a form that has your name and email address as required fields and which sends the mes­sage off into the ether instead of post­ing it online. No dis­cus­sion at all on the report’s site. Given the social efforts OCLC is mak­ing else­where (World­Cat, Web­Junc­tion, etc.), I have to believe they have some­thing in the works that just wasn’t ready yet, but this cer­tainly does fill the belly of the irony beast.

Update: And indeed, the online com­mu­nity is now live via open com­ments on what appears to be a blog. Dis­cuss away.

Be Socia­ble, Share!

8:43 pm Comments (8)


  1. […] der Blog­gerin  Jenny Levine ist der Umgang fon OCLC mit eben diesem Thema — keine öffentliche Diskus­sions– oder Kommentar […]

    Pingback by OCLC Report zur vernetzten Welt « Globolibro: das internationale Bibliotheksblog — October 23, 2007 @ 2:17 am

  2. I thought it was inter­est­ing that out of 4,000 post­cards mailed to U.S. librar­i­ans, only 382 com­pleted the sur­vey. Of course, I real­ize this is fairly typ­i­cal for sur­vey response.…

    Comment by Talking Books Librarian — October 23, 2007 @ 8:06 am

  3. Open the library doors, invite mass par­tic­i­pa­tion by users and relax the rules of pri­vacy.” LOL… We would need a PSA!

    The mes­sage below can be the disclaimer:



    Comment by Woeful — October 23, 2007 @ 9:59 am

  4. […] The Shifted Librarian’s commentary […]

    Pingback by Shifted Librarian: New OCLC Report About Sharing Online « UW-Madison SLISIT — October 23, 2007 @ 7:37 pm

  5. […] blog­ger 的報導:Jenny Levine、Michael Stephens、 Stephen Abram […]

    Pingback by Library Views 圖書館觀點 :: OCLC 最新報告出爐 - 「Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World」 :: October :: 2007 — October 26, 2007 @ 5:42 pm

  6. Yes, the com­ment­ing page for the report is live. I com­mented on this OCLC report and asked for more infor­ma­tion about “Online Activ­i­ties” by age. They answered my ques­tion and even posted an addi­tional pdf with a chart of “Online Activ­i­ties by Age”! I really appre­ci­ate that the staff at OCLC went to the trou­ble of mak­ing this data public.

    Comment by Isabelle Fetherston — November 1, 2007 @ 8:28 pm

  7. […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

    Pingback by internet service » New OCLC Report about Sharing Online — November 29, 2007 @ 5:15 am

  8. […] New OCLC Report about Shar­ing Online (The Shifted Librarian) […]

    Pingback by The OPLIN 4cast » Blog Archive » 4cast #77: IL2007, OCLC Report, Twine, Catalogs — December 12, 2007 @ 10:12 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. |

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.