Call For Submissions to IWMW 2010
We have recently announced the call for speakers and workshop facilitators at UKOLN’s annual Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW). This year’s event, IWMW 2010, which is the fourteenth in the series of events aimed at members of institutional Web management teams across UK higher educational institutions and related organisations, will be held at the University of Sheffield on 12-14 July 2010.
This Year’s Theme
The theme of this year’s event is “The Web in Turbulent Times“. Unlike previous years, in which the community has tended to be optimistic about the potential of the Web to support a wide variety of institutional objectives, this year we are likely to see a focus on managing and maintaining institutional Web services against the background of decreases in funding and possible reductions in staffing levels :-(
Might we be seeing a greater move towards Cloud Services to provide and deliver institutional services, I wonder? And if so, in what areas and what approaches might be taken to address the variety of associated risks?
Related to this, will there be an increased interest in marketing and outreach activities? This is clearly an area in which the Social Web appears to have much to offer but, as described in a recent JISC-funded Shared Infrastructure Services Landscape Study on the use of Web 2.0 tools and services in UK Higher Education (PDF format), “active use of Web 2.0 appears to still be largely centred on early adopters” and there do not yet appear to be well-established patterns of best practices for institutional use of such services.
If we do see interest in greater institutional exploitation of the Social Web there is likely to be a need to ensure that the benefits can be measured – so perhaps there’s an opportunity for a session on tools and approaches for measuring (and maximising) impact in use of the Social Web.
We might also ask whether we should be expecting institutions to make a greater commitment to openness on the basis that this can help stimulate the economy and avoid unnecessary replication of activities within the sector – or, on the other hand, institutions will seek to protect what they may perceive as their crown jewels or potential for income generation.
Alternatively we could see a consolidation in the services provided and an avoidance of anything new which might be considered too risky for current climes? Or perhaps the challenges of providing institutional services at a time when both main political parties are warning of significant cuts to funding for high education provide the motivation for innovation and risk-taking?
If we do start to see a move towards consolidation of services, requiring little-used or expensive services being withdrawn from service, perhaps there might be an interest in ways of managing such activities – so perhaps there may be a renewed interest in digital preservation activities for the decommissioning or mothballing of networked services, such as those addressed by the JISC PoWR (Preservation of We Resources) project.
These are some of the broad areas which might be addressed at the event – but we are also inviting a broad range of submissions on topics of interest to those involved in providing institutional Web services.
Why Submit a Proposal?
At a difficult time for those of us working in the higher education what is the motivation for submitting a proposal?
Perhaps now is the ideal time for submitting a proposal. Over the 13 years the event has been held many members of the community have contributed to the event. The accompanying image shows the host institution of plenary speakers from the University sector. Note that a visualisation of the data is available with access to a more complete range of data about the IWMW series of events available on the IWMW Web site (and a map of the workshop facilitators for IWMW 2007-2009 is also available).
Those who have given a plenary talk at the IWMW events, or the much larger numbers who have facilitated a workshop session, should have gained benefits from their participation. In addition to having something tangible to include on a CV (or a LinkedIn profile) the speakers and facilitators should have gained personal benefits from raising their profile across the community and from the experiences of speaking to large numbers of their peers or facilitating discussions and debates with a supportive audience who are familiar with the challenges involved in providing and supporting institutional Web services.
Giving a talk or running a session also provides a valuable opportunity to receive feedback on your ideas and plans. It’s far better to have flaws in your plans for future work identified by your peers prior to the deployment or development of a service. And in workshop sessions you can also get the participants to identify problem areas and work on the development of solutions! I know this is an approach I often take.
So please visit the call for proposals and get in touch with myself or my colleague Marieke Guy, who is chair of the event, with your proposals – or tentative ideas. We’d love to hear from you.