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Why now is a good time to socialize your library

We've talked about how social knowledge networks can increase productivity, particularly in our How to Cost Justify Your Social Knowledge Network Needs series. Those benefits apply directly to social libraries too, because social libraries are essentially an application of social knowledge networks.

And with the economy in the you-know-what, that's all companies want. More productivity, for less cost. This makes now a good time to implement a social library, which I'll unfold more today in Social Libraries 101.

The notion of a social library is much more profound than simply meshing library workflow, content, access, publishing, and social media. In today’s challenging economic climate, it is more crucial than ever for the library to be viewed not as a cost center, but a productivity center.

The library needs to be justified not only in terms of the research it supports or the collections and assets it manages, but the power it provides to the organization.

That's where the social library comes in. It transforms the traditional library into an indispensable organizational asset when both vetted and community knowledge is managed and leveraged. The integration of social media capabilities, library workflow, information management, and publishing extends the value, and fundamentally changes the significance, relevancy, and usefulness of, the library.

When these components are integrated, you can begin to transform the library from a cost center to a productivity center. You can create knowledge hubs or “knowledge nets,” and extend, preserve, and protect the integrity of the knowledgebase. Social libraries unlock the benefits of social technologies, without the risks associated with unconstrained and unmanaged social networks, where users freely post and edit content.

By adopting this “content-centric” approach to social computing, social libraries leverage social technologies to add value to business activities and drive organizational effectiveness. Socialization of content allows individuals to access content that is more relevant, more targeted, more valuable, and more specific.

In the chart below, you can see how these attributes differentiate a social library from a traditional library. You can see how a social library is built with productivity as the end game in mind, while their traditional counterparts are designed for just research support.

There's more to these benefits when we specifically look at SOPACs. I'll have that for you next week!

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