The state of Library 2.0 in Norway today

I just wanted to set a baseline for what I think is the state of Library 2.0 i Norway today. These are my thoughts and impressions. Please feel free to comment on anything you thing is missing, wrong or just plain stupid:-)
There are several interesting phenomena which should interest other Library 2.0 people. First and foremost there is the Norwegian Digital Library (Norsk Digitalt Bibliotek (NDB)), an office for digital library development at the central authority on archives, libraries and museums (ABM-utvikling) in Norway. Probably one of the boldest initiatives in recent norwegian library history. The program has severaly interesting projects going, among them the National Common Library Card. A project that is really Library 2.0, both in concept and execution. I really hope we can fill this card with a lot of exciting possibilities in the near future. The main problem for the NDB is the lack of funding from the central government. The program was promised several million norwegian kroner (about 1 million US$) to implement national digital library solutions and as seed money for local and regional projects. This has not happend so far, and the Archives, libraries and museums authority has used funds from its ordinary bugdet to fund the few projects that have seen the light of day so far. We remain hopeful for the new red/green government and the budget for 2007, but have been dissapointed for the last five years, so there is an expectation of dissapointment nested in the hope.

One library system vendor, Biblioteksystemer, has been quick off the mark when it comes to utilizing new web 2.0 develompments within its system Bibliofil. RSS feeds of several different categories and the use of AJAX to improve searchability is just two of the latest developments in a system that has constantly been in the forefront of new tricks. They openly support open source software and uses it in their system where appropriate. Hopefully a new dialogue between the four main library system vendors in Norway will lead to a better understanding of web 2.0 and what it can offer in increased capabilities for library systems in the future for all systems. The main challenge is of course to get the librarians who use the systems to demand the right capabilities for their system and their users. No little challenge there.

The Norwegian Library Association (Norsk Bibliotekforening (NBF)) has long been a fairly conservative institution in the Norwegian digital library landscape. Last year something happend though, and now it is in the forefront, with the establishment of a blog with RSS and some innovative uses of a wiki. NBF has long been a frontline fighter in freedom of expression and copyright debates here in Norway and internationally. There has been NBF representatives at the WTO and WIPO negiotiations and in the recent revision of the norwegian copyright act, NBF was very active and gained som important infuence on parts of the law that are vital to libraries and electronic publishing.

There is another development that I find extremely encouraging and altough it is small, I think it is a sign of something larger. For years the regional library authorities in Norway has published small newsletters on paper, recently electronically, with news and information for libraries within a region. Recently one of the best of these, Vestær’n went blog, and has not looked back since. I think that the new format fits the old newsletter like a glove and it looks as if more regional library authorities will follow the lead. This will again lead to a great spread of blog reading among librarians, and hopefully a greater adoption of this format by norwegian libraries. I remain hopeful!

With this baseline in mind I will try to write about Library 2.0 in a Scandinavian perspective and hopefully contribute to the development of the Library 2.0 concept with this viewpoint.

I'm a norwegian librarian.

Posted in Library 2.0, Norway, Scandinavia

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January 2006
The Librarian

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