Lorcan Dempsey has, what I find to be, a visionary blog article, The two ways of Web 2.0. Dempsey writes about Web 2.0. He sees two major ways that Web 2.0 is being used and he doesn’t see many of us making the distinction. He has coined the terms diffusion and concentration to describe these two ways.
Diffusion, Dempsey explains, is about connectivity among people, applications and data. Think blogs, RSS, and social networking sites. Concentration is about what Dempsey refers to as “major gravitational hubs” which include sites that contain or aggregate large volumes of content. Diffusion, Dempsey believes, is the more dominant of the two ways of Web 2.0.
Dempsey makes the point that libraries haven’t done a good job of promoting concentration of their assets; library digital holdings remain fragmented even as diffusion activities increase. This fragmentation limits the experience of library users.
While I don’t have any great answers about how to increase concentration to bring it into balance with diffusion, I do imagine that federated search has an important role to play in a rebalancing. Federated search concentrates content from a number of sources and makes it easily searchable.
Dempsey’s article is worth a read. I’d be interested to hear from those of you in the library community as well as anyone who has experienced the two ways; Do you see diffusion and concentration in play? Are they in balance? Are the concepts important?