Web 2.0 refers to the second generation of the web which marked a shift from websites which were viewed by visitors to websites that facilitated interaction and user-generated content (Schwerdtfeger , 2013, March 17). The term was first coined by publisher Tim O’Reilly in 2004 (Hosch, 2009). It is a significant change because of the impact these sites now have in our daily lives, interactions and society as a whole.
In an earlier blog post I talked about that the idea of sharing information and ideas globally and instantly was the primary driving force behind Tim Berners-Lee’s pivotal development of the world wide web in 1989 (Riddle, 2014). The usability of Web 2.0 extended this initial concept to create a more dynamic and interactive platform which in part has been enabled by the rise and availability of computers and MED’s (mobile electronic devices) globally (Poushter, 2016).
O’Reilly (2009) expounds the different approaches of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 by comparing examples. Something that clearly distinguishes Web 2.0 is the central role of the user and in one example, he compares Britannica online and Wikipedia. Britannica is a published website written and proof read by professional and experts and belongs to Web1.0. Wikipedia on the other hand, is only functional because of user-generated content and is representative of Web 2.0. While there are great benefits to Wikipedia and the sharing of information in this way, the role of the user also raises issues in terms of reliability and the lack of quality control of information. Indeed, in my library we have bought a subscription to Britannica Online which students can access through our school’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The subscription was costly but we felt was necessary. With the wealth of information on the web, the children need to be taught the skills to discern reliable information but they also need quick and easy access to reliable content from a trustworthy source.
In Web 2.0, end-users are increasingly contributing to metadata to retrieval systems. This can take the form of personally written reviews and ratings for books and online content belonging to other people as well as ‘tagging’ key words and topics by the creators and end-users on sites such as Youtube, Flicker, Instagram. Consequently, large collections of online and digital information is being created and organised by the online public (Hider, 2012, p.70). Again, concerns can arise regarding the consequences in this process of personal bias and interpretation as well as lack of expertise . Nevertheless, Hider states that while mass tagging may lack the efficacy of formal indexing, it is still useful (Hider, 2012, p.72). Moreover, tools exist that aid the person tagging (for example Youtube suggests a number of categories) which does help to produce some sort of standardization in a format that at first appearance seems uncontrollable.
Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet Publishing.
Hosch, W. (2009). Web 2.0. In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://global.britannica.com/topic/Web-20
Poushter, A. (2016, February, 22). Smartphone ownership and internet usage continues to climb in emerging economies. In Pew Research Centre. Retrieved from http://www.pewglobal.org/2016/02/22/smartphone-ownership-and-internet-usage-continues-to-climb-in-emerging-economies/
Riddle, K. ( 2014, August, 4). A reflection on Don Tapscott’s Ted talk. In Kate loves books. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/kate/
Schwerdtfeger, P. [Patrick Schwerdtfeger]. (2013, March, 17). What is Web 2.0? What is social media? What comes next?. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=119&v=iStkxcK6_vY