Sunday, March 13, 2011

Online Library System and Traditional Library System

Thanks to the Internet, communication and ubiquitous technology. By having these technologies and services, I could keep in touch with this course from a distance, more than a thousand miles away from Honolulu. My social presence as a student can be managed through blogger without any difficulties. I tend to mobilize any kind of newest and available devices to function on serving my technology consumption (Dempsey, 2009). Further, virtual communities (Haythornthwaite, 2009), social networks and social information filtering (Lerman, 2006), as well as, social tagging (Geisler & Burns, 2008) keep me in touch with news about disaster in Japan and how is the situation in Hawaii during Tsunami warning while I was travelling from one airport to another airport. This travel and the entire experiences with mobile devices through social media have given me more gen about the potential of social computing process and social computing tools.

For this posting, I would like to make comparisons between online library systems (OLS) with traditional library system (TLS). What I am going to discuss here is different from Dempsey (2009) and Gazan (2008). However, these two articles influence a lot on sharpening my framework for this analysis.

#1: In TLS, sometime a collection owned by library get lost or not returned by the user. As a consequence, the librarian will file this item as lost item. The librarian will help the user to found secondary or alternative resource to replace this lost item, while the library probably will find a new one to replace this collection. On the other hand, in OLS, item was stored on a system with backup. Thus, the potential for lost item was reduced into minimal. However, the challenge for OLS is the searchability (Gazan, 2008; Dempsey, 2009), where users can locate exactly how to access the item for their personal used. Navigational of OLS is challenging. I remember a time when I assisted a friend on using UH Manoa OLS. She kept complaining about the searchability and the case-sensitive of search system on this OLS. She felt overwhelming at first with have to search for journal articles online. I showed her some steps on navigating the features, where to found online help manual, and ask a librarian function. By having this mentoring, she could overcome the first year scholarly journey on using OLS. The structure, dynamics, and (social) filtering mentioned in Lerman (2006) applied to this condition. Either online or traditional library need to have a convention on organizing collection, the structure of the library system. On the process, users with librarians will figure out how to substitute collection or items with cannot be found, acquiring the new one or interlibrary loan form other libraries. When librarian started to introduce alternative resources and OLS listed links and suggestions on the search engine, these applied the filtering concept mentioned.

#2: Most of The users when they feel devastating on finding the book by themself will turn into a librarian to ask for it. In TLS, librarians are available on libraries during their office hours. When users need help on searching a collection, they must go to the library in person with all information they have to get assistance from a librarian. During this interaction, library users experience in person how helpful is the librarian. They could talk face to face, and looking at one another emotional reaction. In some certain aspects, the human-human emotional interaction was difficult to measure. Moreover, when the feeling transfer to a computer-mediated communication (CMC) between librarians and users. However, there are additional benefits from the CMC. Some to be mentioned are the ability to get assistance 24/7 and options to use email or chat on getting assistance. In my personal experiences, both assistances in the f2f setting and online, librarian always started with a small-talk before assisting me to find the book that I need. The nature of conversation will not change by the change of system of process from real-life to online (Leibenluft, 2007). A little joke, social chat, and a small talk will function as an icebreaker between librarians and users.

#3: TLS uses list of catalog and index card to manage collections. In fact, on most of library, these catalogs and index cards were rarely used by library users. These paper-based cards, for example, using Dewey system, help librarian on organizing books on a shelf and searching collection based on users need. In the past, this system has served the entire librarian on helping their clients. Currently, catalog and index card are replaced with search engine on the OLS. In this system, users search the collection by using key words, phrases, titles, author names, ISBN/ISSN, DOI, etc. Using this search method is helpful for users if they know the mechanism of search engine on their library system. If they do not know well about the mechanism, they have to sit down for some time to get familiar with the search engine navigational mechanism. For some users, spending time to do this work is not convenient. This comparison showed similarity with 4 aspects mentioned on Dempsey (2009). The emerging of new technology, on supporting library services, will not take away “a complex systems environment, sourcing decisions, library value, and the user experiences.” Users experiences have a huge impact on how they convenience with the system they used.

#4: TLS serves printed books, while OLS serves printed book as well as the electronic version. For some printed book users, it is an exciting feeling to be able to hold, touch, and smell the book. This feeling cannot be found on using the electronic version. Electronic books are delivered to the display screen with some additional features which are not available in printed book. These features are electronic highlighting, annotating, and text-to-speech. Users probably will feel happy when they hold a tick printed book to read at home. They will also feel proud by putting it on the shelf. However, when they travel, they must be prepared to bring no books and get the access online while they are settled in the new place. Probably, they will also carry electronics book with their personal mobile devices. The increasing in number of personal digital devices is in some sense affect the increasing of possibility to access the book anywhere with various mobile devices. In Gazan (2008) mentioned, annotated works, particularly “intelligible annotations can become a valuable informational resource for users. That is why the printed/electronic version tried to accommodate this valuable aspect with annotated feature.

In conclusion, it is difficult for me to use all this week articles to analyze my comparison. The cases on each article give me a clear guideline about how to compare these two entities, Online Community with Offline Communities. However, ever cases also provide a different way on performing their comparison. Especially, I feel bad could not make connection with Duguid’s article (2006). This is a good discussion on assurance quality of open access software. I try to fit on several aspects of these readings in my case, although I am not pretty sure about the quality assurances of my analysis. Suggestion for improvement of my analysis in your comment will be appreciated.


Duguid, P. (2006). Limits of self-organization: Peer production and “Laws of quality”. First Monday, 11(10). Retrieve from

Dempsey, L. (2009). Always on: Libraries in a world of permanent connectivity. First Monday, 14(1). Retrieved from

Geiser, G., & Burns, S. (2008). Tagging video: Conventions and strategies of the YouTube community. TCDL Bulletin. 4(1).

Gazan, R. (2008). Social annotations in digital library collections. D-Lib Magazine, 14(11/12)

Haythirnthwaite, C. (2009). Crowds and communities: Light and heavyweight models of peer production. Proceeding of the 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Waikoloa, HI, 5-8 January 2009.

Leibenluft, J. (2007). A Librarian’s worst nightmare: Yahoo! Anaswer, where 120 million users can be wrong. Retrieve from

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