At the Museums Australia conference in Canberra in May there were a number of papers on social networking (using web 2.0 features) in the museum sector. One of the speakers was from the Powerhouse Museum and he described a number of their projects including allowing users of the online catalogue to create their own tags (or user keyword) that they felt helped locate items in the collection thus creating a separate facility to search user produced keywords as well as the conventional museum headings. The rationale behind providing the two different search options is to help "bridge the 'semantic gap' between the language of the museum and that of the user".
The Powerhouse Museum, in its online sources section, also provides podcasts and videos on a range of topics as well as a blog associated with an expedition held at the museum - "Walking the Wall follows the 3000 kilometre hiking journey of Brendan Fletcher and Emma Nicholas along the Great Wall of China. Walking the Wall is associated with the Great Wall Of China exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney".
The discussions on museums using web 2.0 stressed the need for the users of websites to not be just passive observers. Increasingly visitors to museums are online visitors only, especially as people from any place in the world may visit a museum website but may not necessarily be able to physically visit the museum itself. Museums and galleries when designing websites are increasingly adding features to involve the online visitors in exploring the museum collections and exhibitions online.
Libraries can also use features of library 2.0 to enhance the experience of visiting the library website as an information resource. Library 2.0 allows for greater interaction between library staff and patrons for providing, sharing and creating information resources. The argument about search terms used by patrons not necessarily being in the same form as thesauruses used in libraries (terms for an object or concept also differ from country to country and even state to state) also applies to libraries. Creating a blog or a wiki for a specific purpose - subject area (local history, genealogy), book reviews etc - is another way libraries can encourage user involvement in the websites. Making podcasts of talks and information sessions available online allows those unable to attend an event access to the information.
The publication of library catalogues and access to other databases on the Internet has made the library available to patrons at any time including the ability to reserve and renew material online. The inclusion of web 2.0 and subsequent developments on websites will rapidly increase interaction between patons and the library and create an interactive information hub.