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What SOPACs bring to the library

We've taken a hiatus from our Social Libraries 101 series to focus on SLA, but today we're picking up where we left off. Click the Social Libraries 101 label for a refresher on what we've covered so far in Social Libraries 101, and then read on. Today I bring you more insight into SOPACs and their impact on the library.

If you're in a hurry and just want the nutshell, take a look at the diagrams. For more explanation, scroll down.


* One-way push model
* Focus is to organize and publish
* Supports researcher productivity
* Operationally-oriented, passive


* Two-way model
* Focus is to manage and create knowledge
* Supports community productivity
* Collaboration-oriented, active

A managed social library improves a knowledge worker’s ability to find relevant and high-quality information faster, fosters collaboration, and increases productivity across an organization. Social libraries deliver everything traditional libraries deliver while at the same time enhancing the value of the library by incorporating how the community of users relates to and enhances the information.

SOPACs extends the definition of a traditional OPAC and takes it to the next level of value by creating a user-rich environment with two-way communication. The SOPAC enhances the user experience, breaks down information silos, and improves productivity of the library’s knowledge assets.

However, the basic premise of a library remains: People seek accurate, relevant, subject-specific information. The social library extends information quality through user ratings, commenting, blogs, and social tagging. Domain-specific collaborative environments can create and enhance collective knowledge and resolve domain-specific problems.

Everybody is a researcher, networking and communing with information and people. They all become part of the effort to share knowledge and inform the community at large. Information users transform from passive to active participants.

I'll talk about successfully managing SOPACs next time.

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