Libraries, social software and distance learners: The adventures of LASSIE

  1. Jane Secker
  1. London School of Economics and Political Science (J.Secker{at}
  1. Caroline Lloyd
  1. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine


There is currently much hype about a phenomenon known as Web 2.0 or social software and not a day goes by when there isn't a new story about the social networking site Facebook <>, or about a company buying space in Second Life <>. Librarians and libraries are certainly no different and Web 2.0, or ‘Library 2.0’ as it has been called, has been receiving considerable publicity recently. Even the professional body CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) has opened offices in Second Life and has been encouraging CILIP groups to set up blogs. There have also been a number of recent publications on implementing Web 2.0 technologies in libraries.1,2

A team based at the University of London and led by Dr Jane Secker at LSE's Centre for Learning Technology, has spent the past 9 months working on the LASSIE (Libraries and Social Software in Education) project to explore how social software might enhance the distance learners' experience of libraries. The team includes librarians, learning technologists and archivists from the Institute of Education, the Open University, the University of London Research Library Services and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. This short paper will present an overview of the work of the project to date, as well as some initial findings about how these technologies are being used by medical libraries.

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