This week’s ITConversations show features Beth Jefferson, founder of BiblioCommons, a company that aims to reinvent and federate the online catalogs of public libraries. She’s thinking very creatively about the social forces that such a federation could marshall. The idea is not to create yet another social network. Instead, she wants to promote the social discovery — and social cataloging — of books, CDs, videos, and other kinds of library resources. Social networks pivot on interpersonal relationships. A BiblioCommons-enabled network would, in a complementary way, pivot on those resources.
How would such a network achieve meaningful scale? Beth has found some data which suggests that if you federated lots of public library catalogs, the combined user population would rival some of the web’s largest sites. Enabling those folks to connect with one another, in the context of resource collections that share common metadata, would be a big deal.