Inspiring Innovation: Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating the Web 2.0 Challenge

23 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2009 Last revised: 13 Aug 2013

See all articles by Deborah Ginsberg

Deborah Ginsberg

Chicago-Kent Law Library

Meg Kribble

Harvard Law School Library

Bonnie J. Shucha

University of Wisconsin Law School

Date Written: March 6, 2009


Law librarians need Web 2.0. The Web is increasingly the primary way we reach our users - through our websites, online catalogs, research resources, and informational guides. Yet over the past 10 years, our users have seen the rest of the Web grow increasingly interactive: News sites encourage readers to discuss articles; wikis provide new frameworks for understanding and appreciating popular culture; and organizations and associations communicate with their members though weblogs.

If we law libraries continue to develop primarily static web sites with no tools for our users to communicate, collaborate, and discuss resources and policies, then we will be seen as increasingly out of touch. Already, conventional wisdom believes libraries are irrelevant. We can only reestablish our credibility if we can convince our users to take advantage of our unique skills and resources. To do this, we need to offer services and applications that work like those with which they are already familiar.

This does not mean that law librarians need to immediately embrace every Web 2.0 technology out there. But law librarians must develop a Web 2.0 toolbox from which they can choose the applications that are best suited to their patrons and their libraries - weblogs to broadcast the latest library news, chat boxes for instant communication, or online photo-sharing accounts for highlighting recent library events.

How can law librarians find the best tools for their libraries? Few librarians have time to explore all of the possibilities and learn every new resource. To help law librarians focus on the most important new Web 2.0 applications, the American Association of Law Libraries Computing Services Special Interest Section (CS-SIS) hosted an online, 5-week course designed to introduce popular Web 2.0 applications to all kinds of law librarians. Participants ranged from court librarians to firm librarians to academic librarians, from recent library school graduates to librarians on the edge of retirement, from technological newbies to librarian hackers. The course, the Web 2.0 Challenge, guided 100 participants though tools they could add to their toolboxes right way, such as weblogs, wikis, and social bookmarks.

Keywords: law librarians, Web 2.0, social networking, wikis, blogs, social bookmarking

JEL Classification: L86, K00

Suggested Citation

Ginsberg, Deborah and Kribble, Meg and Shucha, Bonnie J., Inspiring Innovation: Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating the Web 2.0 Challenge (March 6, 2009). Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1077, Available at SSRN: or

Deborah Ginsberg

Chicago-Kent Law Library ( email )

565 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661-3691
United States


Meg Kribble

Harvard Law School Library ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Bonnie J. Shucha (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States

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