A fantastic post from Meredith Farkas about why Web 2.0 initiatives succeed or fail at libraries - It’s not all about the tech - why 2.0 tech fails.
Whatever we’re doing should be tied to the library’s strategic goals and planning.
If it’s not tied to the library’s goals, then how will it be seen as a priority? Similarly, 2.0 technologies should be planned for in a strategic way, which I think has not happened at a lot of libraries. Some libraries jumped on the blogging bandwagon because they thought (or were told) that every library must have a blog. Other libraries started wikis because staff were really excited about the idea of having a wiki. Neither are good reasons to implement a technology. We first need to understand the needs of our population (be it patrons or staff) and then implement whatever technology and/or service will best meet those needs. We need to have clear goals in mind from the outset so that we can later assess if it’s successful or not. These technologies may be fun, but they’re simply tools.
The paragraphs above are as good a description of the need for a strategic planning function (which, being an enterprise architect, I naturally think of as an Enterprise Architecture function) at a library. This is what I said on FriendFeed
It is absolutely not about the technology. In enterprise architecture terms, it's about determining the target (most commonly, a strategic plan) and then ensuring all activities are aligned with that plan. It can be hard for an org to understand that both working really hard, but on the wrong things AND indulging 'side' projects because the tech is trendy will get them nowhere. If it doesn't move you forward to your goals in a sustainable way, don't do it.
That's not to say you shouldn't allow "20% time" for experimentation, but draw a clear line between a blog experiment, and an official public blog presence. One can be tried and disappear, the other had better be sustainable.
Dorothea has quite rightly called me out for talking in my blog more about the technology than the people, (The great thing about blogging is I get to test my ideas and their expression against an audience that thinks about these issues from many different angles.) So I want to be very clear: the specific technology implementation does not matter, at a high level. You must first decide, will creating this business function (e.g. "store organisational output") move me towards my strategic goals. You must do this with a clear-eyed view of the ROI (that is, don't ascribe silver-bullet capabilities to a commodity technology - my joke at work is, to the extent that an IR is just a hard drive spinning in a corner, I could run an IR from home - I have 750GB of RAID 1 mirrored, networked storage). The point being of course that an IR is not just a hard drive, it's a whole set of people and processes that make it valuable, sustainable, and worthwhile.
In summary - based on where you want to go (your strategic goals):
1. Chose the right set of aligned activities.
2. Ensure you have the right people and process to support those activities.
3. Only then concern yourself with the particular technology implementation details.
This is an echo of what I said in "librarians don't need to know SEO" - start at the high level first, don't just grab onto the latest buzzword. I wish I could fit more about enterprise architecture into this blog, but it is a huge topic (I'd make a joke about "I have a wonderful solution, but sadly I've run out of space on the margin"). I have spent years trying to explain various aspects of it here, see the Enterprise Architecture category for my various attempts (including this one).