UK Web Focus

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Archive for September, 2010

OMG! I Didn’t Intend Everyone To Read That!

Posted by Brian Kelly on 29 September 2010

A Context To Archiving of Digital Content

We’ve probably all had the experience  of creating digital content and, in retrospect, wishing we hadn’t said what we’d said, had rephrased our words or could delete all copies of the embarrassing content from hard drives around the world – and, if it were only possible, from people’s brain cells too!  I still cringe at the memories of the time I sent a message to a former colleague of mine complaining about a third party – and getting a phone call 2 minutes later asking if I was aware that the messages had been cced to the third party. Since then even if I don’t always spell check my messages I do try and check the distribution list before pressing the Send key.

User Management of Archiving of Tweets

Although these issues are nothing new: they include messaging systems such as Usenet New, instant messaging and email as well as publishing systems such as the Web.  In all of these environment digital content can easily be copied, forwarded to others and archived. But these concerns are being highlighted once again in the context of Twitter.  Although the creator of a tweet can delete the tweet, once it has left the Twitter environment it can be difficult to retain management of the content.

It is possible to delete tweets, but once they have left the Twitter environment it becomes difficult to manage them   The announcement in April 2010 that the Library of Congress will be archiving tweets caused the concerns over ownership of tweets to be revisited.  According to the Law and Disorder blog:

After “long discussions with Twitter over this,” Anderson and other LoC officials agreed to take on the data with a few conditions: it would not be released as a single public file or exposed through a search engine, but offered as a set only to approved researchers.

It is not obvious what an “approved researcher” is but it seems clear that this service won’t be able to be used for general use, such as embedding hashtagged event tweets on a video (as the iTitle tool does) or for providing statistics on usage of particular hashtags (as Summarizr does).

Whilst following the #ipres2010 tweets from the iPres 2010 conference, where my colleague Marieke Guy presented our joint paper on “Twitter Archiving Using Twapper Keeper: Technical And Policy Challenges“,  I became aware of the #NoLoC service which will prevent tweets from being archived by the Library of Congress. If you register with this service using your Twitter account any of your tweets which contain the #noloc, #noindex or #n hashtag will be automatically deleted from Twitter after a period of 23 weeks – one week before they are archived by the Library of Congress.

The Difficulties

This isn’t an approach which will help with those embarrassing tweets which have been posted – if you are alert enough to add the tag you will probably be thinking about what you are saying. It is also interesting to observe that the service appears to have been set up to prevent the government (should the Library of Congress be regarded as the US Government?) from keeping an archive of tweets: “Every single Twitter tweet will be archived forever by the US government” – it says nothing about Google having access to such tweets.

In addition I think it’s likely that users who use a #noloc tag on their tweets  will draw attention to themselves and their attempts to stop the government from archiving their tweets – I wonder if the government is already archiving #noloc tweets to say nothing of the tabloid newspaper which will have an interest in publishing embarrassing tweets from celebrities.  It will be interesting to see if any politicians or civil servants, for example, use this approach in order to protect politically embarrassing comments which the public should have a right to know about.

What Is To Be Done?

This discussion does make me wonder if there is a need to engage in discussions with Twitter over ways in which privacy concerns can be addressed. Would it, for example, be possible to develop a no-index protocol along the lines of the robots exclusion protocol developed in 1993 which provided a mechanism for Web site administrators to specify areas of their Web sites which conformant search engine crawlers should not index. Might Twitter developments, such as Twitter annotations, provide an opportunity to develop a technical solution to address the privacy concerns?

Of course once an archive of tweets is exported to, say, an Excel spreadsheet, there will be nothing which can be done to restrict its usage. So just like use of Usenet News, chat rooms and mailing lists perhaps the simplest advice is to “think before you tweet” – or, as the Romans may have put it, “Caveat twitteror“.

Posted in General, Twitter | 2 Comments »

RDFa API Draft Published

Posted by Brian Kelly on 28 September 2010

The W3C have recently announced that the RDFa API draft has been published. As described in the announcement “RDFa enables authors to publish structured information that is both human- and machine-readable. Concepts that have traditionally been difficult for machines to detect, like people, places, events, music, movies, and recipes, are now easily marked up in Web documents“.

The RDFa API draft document itself helpfully provides several examples which illustrate the potential benefits of use of RDFa:

Enhanced Browser Interfaces: Dave is writing a browser plugin that filters product offers in a web page and displays an icon to buy the product or save it to a public wishlist. The plugin searches for any mention of product names, thumbnails, and offered prices. The information is listed in the URL bar as an icon, and upon clicking the icon, displayed in a sidebar in the browser. He can then add each item to a list that is managed by the browser plugin and published on a wishlist website.

Data-based Web Page Modification: Dale has a site that contains a number of images, showcasing his photography. He has already used RDFa to add licensing information about the images to his pages, following the instructions provided by Creative Commons. Dale would like to display the correct Creative Commons icons for each image so that people will be able to quickly determine which licenses apply to each image.

Automatic Summaries: Mary is responsible for keeping the projects section of her company’s home page up-to-date. She wants to display info-boxes that summarize details about the members associated with each project. The information should appear when hovering the mouse over the link to each member’s homepage. Since each member’s homepage is annotated with RDFa, Mary writes a script that requests the page’s content and extracts necessary information via the RDFa API.

Data Visualisation: Richard has created a site that lists his favourite restaurants and their locations. He doesn’t want to generate code specific to the various mapping services on the Web. Instead of creating specific markup for Yahoo Maps, Google Maps, MapQuest, and Google Earth, he instead adds address information via RDFa to each restaurant entry. This enables him to build on top of the structured data in the page as well as letting visitors to the site use the same data to create innovative new applications based on the address information in the page.

Linked Data Mashups: Marie is a chemist, researching the effects of ethanol on the spatial orientation of animals. She writes about her research on her blog and often makes references to chemical compounds. She would like any reference to these compounds to automatically have a picture of the compound’s structure shown as a tooltip, and a link to the compound’s entry on the National Center for Biotechnology Information [NCBI] Web site. Similarly, she would like visitors to be able to visualize the chemical compound in the page using a new HTML5 canvas widget she has found on the web that combines data from different chemistry websites.

However the example I find most interesting is the following:

Importing Data: Amy has enriched her band’s web-site to include Google Rich Snippets event information. Google Rich Snippets are used to mark up information for the search engine to use when displaying enhanced search results. Amy also uses some ECMAScript code that she found on the web that automatically extracts the event information from a page and adds an entry into a personal calendar.

Brian finds Amy’s web-site through Google and opens the band’s page. He decides that he wants to go to the next concert. Brian is able to add the details to his calendar by clicking on the link that is automatically generated by the ECMAScript tool. The ECMAScript extracts the RDFa from the web page and places the event into Brian’s personal calendaring software – Google Calendar.

Although all of the use cases listed above provide sample RDFa markup the final example makes use of Google Rich Snippets for which there is a testing tool which illustrates the structure which is visible to Google. I have been using RDFa on my forthcoming events page for a while so using the Rich Snippets testing tool it is useful to see how the structure provided on that page is processed by Google.

The testing tool does point out that “that there is no guarantee that a Rich Snippet will be shown for this page on actual search results“. As described in the Rich Snippets FAQCurrently, review sites and social networking/people profile sites are eligible. We plan to expand Rich Snippets to other types of content in the future“.

So although there is no guarantee that use of RDFa embedded in HTML pages using Google Rich Snippets for, say, events will ensure that search results for an events hosted on your Web site will provide a structured display of the information like this:

the fact that Google’s Rich Snippets are explicitly mentioned in the RDFa API draft document does seem to suggest commitment from a leading player which has a vested interest in processing structured information in order to improve the searching process.

And of course the “ECMAScript code that [Amy] found on the web that automatically extracts the event information from a page and adds an entry into a personal calendar” suggests that such RDFa information can be processed today without the need for support from Google.  Now does anyone know where Amy found this ECMAScript code?

Posted in Linked Data, W3C | 3 Comments »

How Can We Assess the Impact and ROI of Contributions to Wikipedia?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 27 September 2010

On Friday Andy Powell tweeted about a sentence he had written. He had written:

303 See Other is one way of responding to a request for a URI that identifies a real-world object according to Semantic Web practice (the other being the use of hash URIs)[1].

I responded to Andy suggesting that “this might have been the biggest impact you’ve made!

The contribution Andy had made was to the Wikipedia entry for the HTTP 303 status code. Andy’s contribution to this brief entry was to add a “note about Semantic Web usage of 303 response to indicate real-world object being identified”.

My comment to Andy was based on the usage statistics for this entry – in August 2010 there had been 3,515 views of the page and over the past year there have been a total of 35,489 views as illustrated.

Now although the contribution appears modest it does amount to about a quarter of the full article:

The HTTP response status code 303 See Other is the correct manner in which to redirect web applications to a new URI, particularly after an HTTP POST has been performed.

This response indicates that the correct response can be found under a different URI and should be retrieved using a GET method. The specified URI is not a substitute reference for the original resource.

This status code should be used with the location header.

303 See Other is one way of responding to a request for a URI that identifies a real-world object according to Semantic Web practice (the other being the use of hash URIs)[1].

The addition makes it clear that the HTTP status code has an important role to play in Semantic Web usage – something that wasn’t mentioned in the original version. So if there are a further 35,000+ views in the next 12 months they may benefit from this additional information. And although there are much more detailed articles about use of the HTTP 303 status code in this context, such as “How to Publish Linked Data on the Web” the addition to the Wikipedia article has the advantage of brevity and the little effort needed to add the sentence.

In a recent post on Having An Impact Through Wikipedia I suggested that it would be useful if JISC-funded project work used Wikipedia as a means of disseminating their knowledge and went on to provide examples of how well-read technical articles in Wikipedia can be. But how would we assess the impact of such work and identify the return on investment?

In the case of the HTTP 303 article it appears that Andy created the first version of his update at 09.52 on Friday 26 September with the final version being published at 10.13. This suggests that the update took about 20 minutes to produce – although it should be noted that Andy pointed out that he “contribute[s] to wikipedia so rarely, it always takes me ages when i do“.

So can we speculate that 20 minutes work may provide a significant part of an article which will be read by over 35,000 people, based on current trends? And how does this compare with other ways in which 20 minutes of work? Is a blog post likely to have a similar number of readers?

I can’t help but feel that contributions to Wikipedia (by which I mean ‘sticky’ contributions which are not removed) may have a more significant contribution in certain areas that many other dissemination channels. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any incentives for such contributions to be made apart from the ‘Big Society’ approach of doing good on a voluntary basis in order to provide benefits to others. This approach, I feel, won’t scale. So shouldn’t we encourage contributions to Wikipedia as a dissemination activity which should be formally recognised?

My question, therefore. is should JISC programme managers encourage projects to contribute to Wikipedia and encourage the projects to report on successes they have doing this? And if you want an example of the outreach which can be gained through use of Wikipedia have a look at the August 2010 usage statistics for the Scientology article (158,845 visits in the month) – an article which Martin Poulter (a well-established contributor to Wikipedia who is ICT Manager at the ILRT, University of Bristol) has contributed to.


Twitter conversation from Topsy: [View]

Posted in Web2.0, Wikipedia | 10 Comments »

URI Interface to W3C’s Unicorn Validator

Posted by Brian Kelly on 23 September 2010

The W3C recently announced that they had launched Unicorn, which they described as “a one-stop tool to help people improve the quality of their Web pages. Unicorn combines a number of popular tools in a single, easy interface, including the Markup validator, CSS validator, mobileOk checker, and Feed validator“.

Output from UnicornAn example of how this validation service works is illustrated, which is based on validation of the UKOLN home page.

The  default options provide validation of the HTML and CSS of the selected page together with any auto-discoverable RSS feeds.

The interface to the validator is a Web form hosted on the W3C Web site.

But encouraging use of such validation services would be much easier if the interface was more closely integrated with am author’s browsing environment, so that they didn’t have to visit an other page and copy and paste a URL.

The UKOLN Web site has been configured to provide this ease-of-use. Appending ,unicorn to the UKOLN home page will invoke the Unicorn validator – and this option can be used on any page on the UKOLN Web site.

This service is implemented by adding the following line to the Apache Web server’s configuration file:

RewriteRule /(.*),unicorn http://validator.w3.org/unicorn/check? ucn_uri =http://%{HTTP_HOST}/$1&ucn_task=conformance# [R=301]

I’m not sure how easy it may be to implement such extensions to Web servers these days; there may be policy barriers to such changes or perhaps technical barriers imposed by Content Management Systems.  But I wonder if this simple approach might be of interest to others?

Posted in HTML, standards, W3C | 1 Comment »

Linked Data for Events: the IWMW Case Study

Posted by Brian Kelly on 21 September 2010

Linked Data and Events

In a post entitled “Getting information about UK HE from Wikipedia” published in July on the Ancient Geek’s blog Martin Poulter commented that “At IWMW 2010, last week, a lot of discussion centred around how, in an increasingly austere atmosphere, we can make more use of free stuff. One category of free stuff is linked data. In particular, I was intrigued by Thom Bunting (UKOLN)‘s presentation about extracting information from Wikipedia.

Martin’s comment related to a Linked Data application developed by my colleague Thom Bunting which he demonstrated in the final session at the IWMW 2010 event.  In this post I would like to summarise this work.

Thom, along with UKOLN colleagues Adrian Stevenson and Mark Dewey, were facilitators for a workshop session at the IWMW 2010 event. In the run-up to the event  I suggested to Thom that it would be useful to exploit the historical  data for UKOLN’s annual Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) series of events.  This event was launched in 1997 and has been held annually ever since, with this year’s event, IWMW 2010, being the 14th in the series.

The Web sites for all 14 events continue to be hosted on the UKOLN Web site and care has been taken to ensure that the URLs for the Web sites have remained persistent.   In the past five years or so as well as providing a series of HTML pages we have also provided a series of RSS files for each event which can be used not only to provide news for the events but also to enable key information sources, including speaker biographies and abstracts of the talks and workshop sessions to be syndicated and reused by other applications. We have recently ensured that such RSS files are available for all of the workshops.

Our intention was to make use of this information in order to develop a Linked Data application which would demonstrate the potential of Linked Data in an application area (organising events) which is of relevance to all higher educational institutions.

Thom has written a post on Consuming and producing linked data in a content management system in which he describes the technical details of how he used Drupal to produce his Linked data application, having first processed the various RSS feeds (which were available in the RSS 2.0 format which is not suitable for Linked Data applications without further processing). In this post I want to highlight some of the benefits to end users which his application provides:

Information on the host institution of participants, speakers and facilitators at events: The RSS 2.0 files had previously been used to provide a Google Map showing the location of speakers and facilitators.  This information had been extended to include the host institution of participants at recent events.  But in addition to the map, clicking on an icon will display information about the numbers of participants from the institution together with information about the institution. The important thing to note is that the institutional information is not held locally; rather this information is gathered from the institution’s entry in DBpedia.

The screen image below (taken from the Locations map area of the IWMW Linked Data application) shows this information, providing details of the speakers and facilitators from the University of Southampton at recent events (this being public information) and a summary  of the total numbers of participants from the institution.   The image also shows the information taken from DBpedia, which includes information that the institution is part of the Russell group, together with details of, for example, the student numbers.

This illustrates access via a specific institution. It is also possible to view such information for all institutions which have participated at recent event events. Illustrated below are the results of such a query sorted by the total number of registrations.

It should be noted that what is referred to as the ‘Loyalty rate’ is calculated as the total registrations / total persons registering. This gives a general indication of how many annual IWMW events, on average, each person registering from a specified institution (or company) has attended.

What Next?

This work has provided UKOLN with a better understanding of the impact the IWMW series of events has had across the HE sector.  We can now see the institutions which have contributed to or attended significant numbers of events and, conversely, those which haven’t. And although such information could be obtained through use of a internal database the integration with the institutional data could not realistically have been achieved without use of a Linked Data approach.

Our next step will be to include information about the speakers and participants at the IWMW events and the topics of their sessions.  As described previously such information is available at stable URIs. However we are waiting for an upgrade to the Drupal software before we begin on this next step.

We hope this summary illustrates some of the benefits which use of Linked Data can provide.

Posted in Linked Data | 4 Comments »

Twitter Archiving Using Twapper Keeper: Technical And Policy Challenges

Posted by Brian Kelly on 20 September 2010

In addition to the paper  on Approaches To Archiving Professional Blogs Hosted In The Cloud” which I mentioned last week a second paper was accepted by the programme committee of the iPres 2010 conference which is taking place in Vienna this week.  The paper, “Twitter Archiving Using Twapper Keeper: Technical And Policy Challenges“, was co-authored by myself, Martin Hawksey, John O’Brien, Marieke Guy and Matthew Rowe. The paper is based on the JISC-funded developments to the Twapper Keeper service.  As summarised in the abstract:

This paper describes development work to the Twapper Keeper Twitter archiving service to support use of Twitter in education and research. The reasons for funding developments to an existing commercial service are described and the approaches for addressing the sustainability of such developments are provided. The paper reviews the challenges this work has addressed including the technical challenges in processing large volumes of traffic and the policy issues related, in particular, to ownership and copyright.

As described on the JISC Beginner’s Guide to Digital Preservation blog my colleague Marieke Guy will be presenting a poster of the paper and will also give a lightning presentation at the conference.

A copy of the poster is available on Scribd and is also illustrated.

Note that the paper states that “The software developments which have been funded will be made available under an open source licence“. Since the paper was submitted this development has now been done, as described n a post entitled “Twapper Keeper Goes Open Source“, and the final stage of the work will include working with the JISC OSS Watch service to ensure that best practices for releasing open source software are adopted.

One particular aspect of this work which pleases me is the use of two additional services which have been built on top of the Twapper Keeper developments: Andy Powell’s Summarizr service, which provides various statistics on hashtag usage and Martin Hawksey’s iTitle Twitter captioning service.  Increasingly it seems to me that Twapper Keeper is becoming an established component in the provision of an amplified event,with the Summarizr service seeming to provide a common way of providing statistics on Twitter usage at such events.

Such (unfunded) developments are interesting in terms of identifying the return on the JISC’s investment in funding this work. If these services had been included in the formal project plan the costs would have been  much higher.  It seems to me that the rapid innovation we are seeing across a number of JISC development activities could be regarded as the ‘Big Society’ in operation – rather than requiring funding to ‘do good’ the community is demonstrably willing to do good without prompting. I wonder if policy makers and politicians are aware of the added value which is being provided within the high education sector which is unlikely to be formally audited?  Hmm – I wonder if this means that unfunded development work should be accompanied by formal project reports :-)

Posted in Twitter | 2 Comments »

Approaches To Archiving Professional Blogs Hosted In The Cloud

Posted by Brian Kelly on 17 September 2010

I was recently thinking about the “must read” blogs which are always the first I read in my blog reader.  These include:

OUseful: Tony Hirst’s blog “in part about… things that I think may be useful in an higher education context, one day…“.

eFoundations: A blog about “Web 2.0, the Semantic Web, open access, digital libraries, metadata, learning, research, government, online identity, access management, virtual worlds and anything else that takes our fancy by Pete Johnston and Andy Powell“.

The Ed Techie:  Martin Weller’s blog on “Educational Technology, web 2.0, VLEs, open content, e-learning, plus some personal stuff thrown in“.

Learning with ‘e’s: Steve Wheeler’s “thoughts about learning technology and all things digital“.

Ramblings of a Remote Worker: My colleague Marieke Guy’s reflections on working from  home and the broader issues of remote working.

What do these blogs have in common? From a personal perspective they are all written by people I like and respect – and have been out for a drink with.  But in addition the blogs are all hosted outside the blog authors’ institution, at http://ouseful.wordpress.com/ (via the http://blog.ouseful.info/domain), http://efoundations.typepad.com/, http://nogoodreason.typepad.co.uk/, http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.com/ and http://remoteworker.wordpress.com/.

Isn’t it risky that such valuable professional blogs are hosted outside the institution? Shouldn’t we be learning the lessons of the imminent demise of the Vox blogging platform and look to migrate such blogs to a trusted institutional environment? After all although the early adopters of blogs may have had to use an externally-provided platform we are now finding that institutions will be hosting blog platforms, in many cases the open source WordPress application.

I don’t think such blogs should move to the host institution. I feel that use of platforms such as WordPress.com, Typepad.com and Blogger.com can provide flexibility and autonomy which may be lost if an institutional platform were used. And, as described in a post on “Auricle: The Case Of The Disappearing E-learning Blog” there is no guarantee that  a blog hosted within the institution will necessarily be sustainable.

But if third party blogging platforms are used to support professional activities there will be a need to assess and manage possible risks of loss of the service. In the case of well-established services such as WordPress, Typepad and Blogger it is unlikely that such services will disappear overnight. If, as is the case with Vox, the service is not sustainable we could reasonably expect to be provided with notification on withdrawal of the service.

But perhaps a bigger risk relates to the responsibilities associated with ownership of the blog by individual authors as opposed to the departmental responsibility which would be the case of the institutional blog environment. What, for example, could happen to the contents of a blog if the author left his or her host institution?

In some cases it might be argued that the blog contents are owned by the individual and the host institution would have no claim on the content. But this won’t be true in many cases including, for example, blogs used to support JISC-funded projects. And at a time when the public sector spending is becoming subject to public scrutiny how would we explain to tax-payers that a University employee can own valuable content and is free to delete it if, for example, they were made redundant?

My colleague Marieke Guy and myself have written a paper on Approaches To Archiving Professional Blogs Hosted In The Cloud” which has been accepted by the iPres 2010 conference which takes place in Vienna next week.

The paper is based on UKOLN’s digital preservation work including the JISC PoWR project. Recently we have explored ways for preserving blog content, ranging from migration of rich XML content, processing a blog’s RSS feed, mirroring a blog’s Web site, creating a PDF version of a blog through to creating a paper copy of a blog! In addition to the technical approaches the paper also addresses the associated policy issues. On this blog and Marieke’s blog we have provided a policy statement which states that:

  • A copy of the contents of the blog will be made available to UKOLN (my host organisation) if I leave UKOLN. Note that this may not include the full content if there are complications concerning their party content (e.g. guest blog posts, embedded objects, etc.), technical difficulties in exporting data, etc.)
  • Since the blog reflects personal views I reserve the rights to continue providing the blog if I leave UKOLN. If this happens I will remove any UKOLN branding from the blog.

We have applied the guidelines we have developed to a number of other UKOLN blogs which are hosted externally including the IWMW 2009 event blog and the JISC SUETr project blog.

Marieke will be presenting this paper at the iPres 2010 conference next week. Her slides are available on Slideshare and are embedded below.

We’d welcome comments on the approaches we have developed?  Do they satisfy the concerns of the institution related to possible loss of valuable content whilst providing professional bloggers with the flexibility they may feel they need?

Posted in Web2.0 | 7 Comments »

An Early Example of a TTML Application

Posted by Brian Kelly on 16 September 2010

Back in February 2010 the W3C announced a Candidate Recommendation Updated for Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) 1.0. This article referred to work being carried out by the W3C’s Timed Text Working Group which had been asked to produce a W3C Recommendation for media online captioning by refining the W3C specification Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) 1.0 based on implementation experience and interoperability feedback.

This work is now complete with version 1.0 of the Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) 1.0 Proposed Recommendation having being published on 14 September 2010.

Martin Hawksey’s iTitle Twitter captioning tool was an early example of an application which has exploited this emerging new standard. As described in the Twitter subtitling article in Wikipedia Martin “created a subtitle file from tweets in W3C Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) which could be used with the BBC iPlayer“. This example was initially used to provide Twitter captioning of the BBC/OU The Virtual Revolution programme followed by Gordon’s Browns talk on Building Britain’s Digital Future.

It’s good to see this example of a prototype service which takes a proposed standard and demonstrates its value.  Congratulations to Martin and RSC Scotland North and East.

I’d be interested, though, to speculate on what other possibilities time text markup language applications may have to offer. Any suggestions anyone?

Posted in standards, W3C | 1 Comment »

Failures In Forcing People To Use Standards

Posted by Brian Kelly on 15 September 2010

Why Not Use a Richer DTD?

My recent post on EPub Format For Papers in Repositories generated some interesting discussion. In particular I was interested in Peter Sefton’s response to Stian Haklev’s suggestion that:

… instead of specifying the exact margins and fonts to be used, why not give us a DTD? Or some other form of easy authoring a structured document? This would make it much more future-proof, and also enable creation of different versions ….

I’m still not sure about what format and production process that would be the best. The NIH DTDs for academic publishing seem very robust and future-proof, but there would have to be an easy way to generate the content, with stylesheets or macros for Word/OOffice etc.

The advantages of a more structured authoring environment seem to be self-evident. However Pete Sefton is unconvinced, not of the merits of the benefits which this approach could provide but whether such an approach is achievable. As Peter reminds us:

The ETD movement is littered with attempts to use DTDs and coerce people into using structured authoring tools like XML editors. As far as I know none of these have been successful, and what happens is they end up falling back on word processor input

Experiences at the University of Southern Queensland

In his comment Peter linked to a post he published recently entitled “ICE to DocBook? Yes, but I wouldn’t bother“. On the post Peter summarised the benefuts of the DocBook standard, quoting the Wikipedia article which describes how:

DocBook is a semantic markup language for technical documentation. It was originally intended for writing technical documents related to computer hardware and software but it can be used for any other sort of documentation.

As a semantic language, DocBook enables its users to create document content in a presentation-neutral form that captures the logical structure of the content; that content can then be published in a variety of formats, including HTML, XHTML, EPUB, PDF, man pages and HTML Help, without requiring users to make any changes to the source.

As Peter pointed out this “sounds like a good idea for documents – getting all those formats for free“.  But in reality “but you have to take into account the cost of creating the documents, inducing the authors to capture the semantics, and providing tools for authors that they will actually use“. Peter described how this has filed to happen: “when USQ (University of Southern Queensland) tried to get academics to climb a steep hill with the GOOD system, they simply wouldn’t do it“.

I agree with Pete’s concerns – and even getting users to make use of MS Word in a more structured way can be difficult.

Users Can Be A Barrier

It strikes me that the users can be a barrier to the effective deployment of more interoperable and richer services in general whether this is, as in this case, use of more structured content creation environments or, as I suggested in a recent post on “Why Skype has Conquered the World” and, some time ago, in a post on “Why Did SMIL and SVG Fail?“, the deployment of open standards.

I had previously suggested some reasons for the failures of such laudable approaches to take off which included (a) over-complex solutions and (b) lack of engagement from vendors.  However it now seems to be that a barrier which may be overlooked is a lack of interest from the end user community. I can recall having discussions about the likely take-up of emerging open standards in which the dangers that users might be happy with existing solutions were dismissed with the argument that ‘open standards provide interoperability and that’s what users want’.

There is a need to factor in user inertia into development plans, even when such plans are based on what appear to be clear benefits.

Posted in standards | 2 Comments »

DBPedia and the Relationships Between Technical Articles

Posted by Brian Kelly on 14 September 2010

Wikipedia is Popular!

I recently wrote a blog post in which I asked How Well-Read Are Technical Wikipedia Articles? The statistics I quoted seemed to suggest that content provided in Wikipedia is well-read. This, for me, suggests that we should be making greater efforts to enhance the content provided in Wikipedia – and avoid having valuable content being hidden away in large PDF reports which few people are likely to read.

Wikipedia Infobox for HTML5 entry

Wikipedia Infoboxes

But in addition to the content providing in Wikipedia it also seems to me that we should be making more of an effort in exploiting the potential of the Wikipedia Infoboxes.

An infobox is described as “a fixed-format table designed to be added to the top right-hand corner of articles to consistently present a summary of some unifying aspect that the articles share and to improve navigation to other interrelated articles“.

An example of an infobox for the HTML5 Wikipedia entry is shown. As suggested by the definition it provides a summary of the key aspects of the HTML5 markup language. If you view the entry for HTML you will similar information which is presented in a similar fashion.

The infoboxes provide consistency in the user interface for groups of related Wikipedia pages. A better example can be gained if you look at entries for countries or cities. For example view the entries for the UK and USA or Bath, Bristol and London to see how the infoboxes are being used in these contexts.

If the Infoxes were solely concerned with the user display I wouldn’t be too interested. However these sets of structured information form the basis of the content which is used in DBpedia. And the ability to process such information when it is provided in Linked Data is really interesting.

An example of the potential for DBpedia has been described by Martin Poulter in a post on Getting information about UK HE from Wikipedia which explores some of the ideas I discussed on A Challenge To Linked Data Developers. But rather than discussing how DBpedia might be used to analyse data about Universities in this post I want to explore its potential for exploring information about technical standards.

DBpedia and Relationships Between Technical Standards

The DBpedia RelFinder illustrates how such structured and linked information can be processed. I used this service to explore the relationships between the Wikipedia infobox entries for XML, XSLT and the World Wide Web Consortium. The output is illustrated below.

Relationships between W3C, XML and XSLT

If we are looking to provide developers with a better understanding of important technical standards and their relationships, rather than writing reports which provide such information wouldn’t it be more effective if we ensured that we engaged in the creation and maintenance of such information provided in infoboxes in Wikipedia entries as well as contributing to the content of such pages?

If you look at the entry for the metadata standards for MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema) or METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard) you’ll find that these entries do not (currently) have an infobox. Similarly the entry for DCMI is also lacking such structured reusable metatadata – which is perhaps disappointing for a organisation which is about metadata.

Isn’t it time to engage more with Wikipedia? And if the development community across the UK HE sector were to do this in a pro-active fashion wouldn’t this be a good example of how the benefits can be shared more widely? The Big Society, perhaps?

Links between JISC projectsI’ll conclude by saying that if you are still unclear as to what a visualisation of the relations between such resources might look like you can view a video in which Balviar Notay illustrates how such an application might be used for “a search tool that visualises the links between JISC projects to help explore the knowledge that the projects have produced“.

Posted in Linked Data, standards | 1 Comment »

Has Google Replaced the Institutional Directory of Expertise?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 13 September 2010

How did you find me?” I asked Pablo Castro, one of the organisers of the University 2.0 course held recently at the UIMP (Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo).  “I can´t remember exactly” was the reply “but probably through Google“.  This wouldn´t surprise me – after all, if you were looking for a speaker for your conference wouldn´t most people use Google?

But what, therefore, is the point of an institutional directory of expertise? I´m sure most institutions will have one, containing details of researchers, in particular, their areas of expertise and their publications.  But are these being used or is Google now providing the interface to such content which may be held in a less structured form than the directory of expertise, such as departmental lists or personal home pages?

Or perhaps the researcher´s profile is being stored in LinkedIn? After all this service does seem to have significant momentum behind it.

Such suggestions are being made somewhat in jest. After all many researchers will not have published details about their activities on departmental Web pages or on third party services such as LinkedIn.

But in light of the need to be able to justify expenditure of time and effort on existing services and the need to be able to demonstrate the return on investment, it seems to me that it would be useful to explore these issues in more depth.

And rather than necessarily hosting a directory of expertise within the institution or relying on the uncertainties of Google finding results from a diversity of Web sites maybe LinkedIn could have a role in supporting the institution as well as the individual. After all a Mashable article on 10 Ways Universities Are Engaging Alumni Using Social Media has pointed out that “many universities are finding LinkedIn to be an effective tool to provide alumni with career resources“.

LinkedIn does have a developer network – so could it go beyond helping graduates in finding jobs and be used to help researchers make contacts?

Posted in Social Networking | 1 Comment »

Should I Take the Bus or Train To Bilbao?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 12 September 2010

On my final night in San Sebastian I tweeted:

I must admit San Sebastian is a beautiful place. But will be leaving tomorrow to go to Bilbao. Bus or train, which is best, I wonder?

A few minutes later @maturanaricardo (Ricardo A. Maturana) responded unambiguously: “Bus!

And a few minutes later I received another response, this time from @pintxolari who not only confirmed Ricardo´s suggestion but also provided links to the bus timetables: “definitely go by bus. ALSA http://ow.ly/2CsSd or PESA http://ow.ly/2CsSV are the bus lines“.

Ricardo had a vested interest in my trip to Bilbao as we had a meeting arranged for the following day.  The @pintxolari Twitter account, in contrast, seems to be owned by the ToDoPintxos service which provides a guide t0 pintxos (Basque tapas).  But its remit seems to also include provision of travel advice to visitors to the Basque County.

A good example of social search, I thought.  And it makes me realise how useful Twitter can be when travelling abroad.

Posted in Twitter | 1 Comment »

Are the Benefits of Multiple Event Hashtags Now Accepted?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 10 September 2010

A year ago I wrote a post entitled Hashtags for the ALT-C 2009 Conference in which I suggested use of a session hashtag in addition to the event’s hashtag in order to be able to differentiate tweets related to the numerous parallel session which were taking place at the conference. My suggestion for minting the session hashtag was simply to use the session’s code which was listed on the conference Web site – #s321 for the session I ran, for example.

It would be an understatement to say that, at the time, this suggestion didn’t receive a favourable response, with the following comments being made:

  • Sorry Brian, but I do think this scheme is too complicated for the lightweight Twitter approach“;
  • I really think this is trying to make Twitter something it isn’t. The very thing that people appreciate about Twitter is its lightweight nature and this is simply over complicating things“;
  • When you first started suggesting multiple hashtags, I think I assumed it was a bit of a comedy experiment. Now, it’s becoming clear that The Librarian Is Too Strong In You.“;
  • Way too complicated, messy, and just so damn cluttered“;
  • I’m in agreement with those that suggest this is over-complicating things – mainly because I struggle to see the problem it’s solving“;
  • Sorry Brian, I’m with the others here. Twitter is for catching the ‘buzz’”.

There were six negative comments with only one supporting, although in a somewhat lukewarm fashion, my suggestion:

In the past I’ve generally argued against multiple hashtags – agreeing with the comment that they introduce complexity. However, given the size of ALT-C, and the number of concurrent sessions, I have some sympathy with the issue that Brian raise

A follow-up post on “I Want To Use Twitter For My Conference” provided suggestions on use of Twitter to support events but avoided mentioning use of session hashtags. Chris Gutteridge, however, made a suggestion in a comment to the post: “At Dev8D2010, at the end of February, I plan an experiment of assigning each location a hashtag, then publishing an electronic form of the schedule so the twitter can be merged into each session via location+program data.” Chris also pointed out that use of session hashtag at IWMW 2009 “fell apart in small sessions in IWMW because nobody advertised them and people didn’t care enough to go to a webpage to check.

The suggestion that session hashtags could be processed by software was interesting. I also agreed with Chris’s implied suggestion that there was a need to promote session hashtags more effectively.

Summarizr statistics for hashtags used at IWMW 2010 eventSo at this year’s IWMW 2010 event we used a session tag more consistently throughout the event (#P1-#P9 for the plenary talks and #A1-A9 and #B1-B9 for the parallel sessions) and ensured that the chairs of the plenary talks encouraged participants to use the session tags when tweeting.

Did this work?  The Summarizr statistics for the #IWMW10 event hashtag provides details of the top 10 tweeted hashtags, as illustrated.  This indicates that the most widely discussed session was session #P8 – the group session on Doing the Day Job.  Whilst it is true that the session lasted longer than the other plenary talks (it consisted of three plenary talks) it is also true that this session included a rather controversial talk which generated much discussion on the Twitter back channel.  Looking at the usage of the other session hashtags we can see that Paul Boag’s talk on “No money? No matter – Improve your website with next to no cash”  – this does not surprise me as Paul’s talk was widely acknowledged to be the most inspirational and did generate much discussion after the event as well as on the Twitter backchannel.

It was also interesting to observe that #remote hashtag which was also widely used. We had previously stated that we would “treat the remote audience as first class citizens” and use of that hashtag seemed to be effective in communicating with those who were watching the live video stream remotely.

The session hashtag can also enable tweets about a particular talk or session to be further analysed. Although the comment had been made that the  “obsession with tracking, capturing and archiving everything to the nth degree just doesn’t fit with Twitter” in reality we are now seeing that a strength of Twitter lies not just in “catching the ‘buzz’” but also in the  interoperability the service provides. A good example of this is the way in which Martin Hawksey’s iTitle Twitter captioning service combines a twitter stream with a video of the talks.  And whilst this particular example is meant to illustrate how tweets can be reused, and is not  specifically related (currently!) to session hashtags (the tweets are integrated using a timestamp rather than a session hashtag) I am still convinced of the benefits of this lightweight approach to disambiguating tweets at large events.  A session tag was useful, for example, in my final conclusions about the session. When I gave my thoughts on the Doing the Day Job session, for example, the Twitter community could exploit the simplicity of the #P8 hashtag rather than attempting to coin a hashtag based on the title of the session or the speakers’ names.

Is the case for use of session hashtags at large conferences proven? After all if beer drinkers can make use of the beerspotr syntax which ranges from:

@beerspotr pint:x  (if you’ve spotted a pint)

through to:

@beerspotr bottle:x y%  (where y is the ABV of the beer)

@beerspotr bottle:x pub:y  (where y is the name of the pub)

I´m sure sober Web techies are capable of using two tags with no additional syntax required!

Posted in Events, Twitter | 5 Comments »

Twapper Keeper Goes Open Source

Posted by Brian Kelly on 9 September 2010

I’ve previously described how JISC have funded development work for the Twapper Keeper Twitter archiving service and that I am the project manager for this work.

The initial area of work addressed the robustness of the service by seeking to “ensure the Twapper Keeper service could continue to be a viable platform for archiving tweets“. As described on the Twapper Keeper blognumerous operational / infrastructure issues were addressed“.

The second area to be addressed was the functionality of the service, both to end users of the Web interface and to developers who may wish to make use of the Twapper Keeper APIs.  The Twapper Keeper blog was used to gather suggestions for developments to the user interface and the APIs. In May a summary of the Plans for Updates to Twapper Keeper Functionality and APIs was published and these updates have now been implemented.

The final area of work was to address the longer term sustainability of the service. The approach taken was to minimise the risks of loss of the centralised Twapper Keeper by ensuring that the software components were available as open source.

On 25 August the Twapper Keeper blog “Announced yourTwapperKeeper – archive your own tweets on your own server!“.  This provided the information that “As part of our partnership with JISC, we are now releasing an open version of Twapper Keeper that is designed to run on your own server“.

So in addition to the main Twapper Keeper service there is now an “open / downloadable version that can be run on your server!” which is available from Google Projects. In addition there is also an option whereby you can subscribe to a hosted version of the Twapper Keeper service.

And, of course, you can export your data from Twapper Keeper in a variety of formats (HTML, RSS, JSON and MS Excel).

I’m pleased that the JISC funding for this development work has provided various benefits, not only for end users but also for the developer community. But most importantly, I feel, are the ways in which the development approaches have sought to address the much more challenging issues of the longer term sustainability.

Posted in Twitter | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

My Plenary Talk at the #UIMPUni20 Event in Santander

Posted by Brian Kelly on 8 September 2010

This morning I gave an invited plenary talk on “Embedding and Sustaining University 2.0″ at the “University 2.0: the Extended University conference” which was held at UIMP (Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo) in Santander, Spain.  The talk was listed in the programme as lasting from 09.30-11.30 – and two hours is far too long for a talk!  I discovered that the timetable hadn´t included a 30 minute break for coffee, so not as bad as I had initially feared but still a long time.  However as I was an invited speaker I had prepared a talk for that time, with the intention of having breaks for audience participation, but sufficient content if I discovered the audience was not willing to engage.  Fortunately the audience was very lively and, despite that fact that quite a number didn´t understand English  the various exercises I used in the session, including the virtual Twitter exercise, seemed to go down well.

As well as talking on the sustainability challenges on use of Web 2.0 in higher education I tried to adopt a Web 2.0 approach to the talk itself. This included an on-the-fly use of Elluminate in order to provide a streaming video service for non-Spanish speakers, who could access the official UIMP-TV video stream. My thanks to Steve Hargadon for facilitating this use of Elluminate (whoch seems to have progressed significantly since I used it a few years ago) and Kirsty Pitkin who, once again, acted as a remote event amplifier, this time using a new application for her.

My colleague Marieke Guy also participated in the latter part of the talk and has provide a summary in a post on Amplifying Events from Santander.

The final session of the conference is about to start so I´ll leave my reflections on the conference itself to another post. The slides I used in the talk are available on Slideshare and embedded below. I will add a link to a recording of the video once it becomes available. But I´d like to conclude by thanking the event organisers, the participants and Kirsty Pitkin, Martin Hawksey and Marieke Guy for their help in ensuring that my talk, which initially I was rather apprehensive about, went down so well.

Posted in Events | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Twitter Questions from #udgamp10

Posted by Brian Kelly on 5 September 2010

Responding to the Remote Audience

During my amplified talk on “What Can We Learn From Amplified Events?” I invited the remote audience, who were watching the live video stream and participating in discussions using the #udgamp10 event tag on Twitter, to announce, with a #eureka tag, if they suddenly understood a concept or idea and wer willing to share this moment with others. I also invited the audience to ask questions using the #qq tag as this would help me, and the event amplifiers who were providing support for the remote audience, to identify questions in the Twitter stream.

A Eureka Moment

There was on #eureka moment, when @hle, a  IT Developer at the Faculty of Education, University of Glasgow, announced:

#eureka #udgamp10 maximise learning rather than maximise pocket

This tweet was published at 11:10:48 on Friday 3 September. I have to admit that I´m not quite sure of the context, but once the Twitter stream has been synchronised with the video I´ll be interested to see what I said just before the remark was posted.

There were no tweets tagged with #qq, which could mean that my talk was clear and unambiguous :-) In reality I know that tagging questions hasn´t taken off (too much complex metadata, some would argue).  However I did look through the Twitter stream and noticed two questions in particular which I feel I should respond to.

How Would You Define An Amplified Event?

@dsegarraCAT, who, it seems, joined Twitter on the day of the seminar, asked for clarification of what an amplified event is:

The basics of amplified event = Videostreaming + tweet. Isn’it it? #udgamp10

This was interesting. In a talk on amplified events I had described how the term had originated and the key characteristics which I had summarised in my entry on Wikipedia. But, in retrospective, I realised that I hadn´t provided a brief definition. So let me see if I can provide a definition which can be summarised in a tweet (or a headline as such pithy summarises used to be referred to).

An amplified event = videostreaming+Twitter.

I think this is a good description of the typical amplified event, in which the speakers´talks are made available to a remote audience, often by video streaming, though this could also include audio streaming.   Use of Twitter is also prevalent, providing the opportunity for discussion by the audience,  engagement with remote participants and the viral effect whereby followers of those tweeting at an event can be drawn into discussions which they may otherwise have been unaware off.

However although this if a good description of a typical amplified event there is a danger of a definition being associated with a particular technology, such as Twitter.  One might also argue that event amplification does not necessarily require IT – event amplification for Harry Potter might involve gazing into a crystal ball or uttering a magic spell. So let´s try to decouple the notion of an amplified event from specific IT application areas.  Another view of an amplified event may be:

At an amplified event the speaker is open for their ideas to be made freely available.

And building on this notion of openness we might go on to add that:

At an amplified event participants will openly discuss ideas with others, whether physically present or not.

How do those attempts at a definition sound?

The Ethical Issues

In addition to her #eureka moment @hle also asked a very pertinent question:
 
What about ethics? If someone is unlikely to sue you, does it mean it’s right to do it and infringe somone’s privacy? #udgamp10

The context to this question was my suggestion that one needed to take a pragmatic approach to various potential legal concerns. Should one seek permission before reusing or quoting a tweet, for example (as I have done in this post)? I suggested that implementing a rigid policy (“all resources deposited in the institutional repository must be cleared for copyright“) might be counter productive if, for example, it was felt useful to archive conference-related tweets (which, incidentally, was a suggestion felt worthy of considering on the Twitter channel during the seminar). Instead I suggested the need for a risk assessment approach and cited the Oppenheim copyright formula which Professor Charles Oppenheim and myself had published in a paper on “Empowering Users and Institutions: A Risks and Opportunities Framework for Exploiting the Social Web” presented in Florence last December.

My discussions on legal concerns moved on to privacy issues, and I described how event organisers needed to be sensitive to individual concerns.  I mentioned the use of the Quiet Zone which we introduced at the IWMW 2009 event and was also adopted at the Eduserv Symposium earlier this year.  But the complexities of resolving the tensions between openness and privacy are not easily resolved, as I described in a post on OMG! Is That Me On The Screen?

As it is a Saturday night and I am in Girona I´ll not attempt to address this complex issue tonight, but I will try and revisit this issue in a future blog post.

Many thanks for these two fascinating questions during my seminar.  I´d, of course, welcome further comments on this blog.

Posted in Twitter | Tagged: | 19 Comments »

Revisiting The THE Table of UK University Web Sites

Posted by Brian Kelly on 4 September 2010

I recently published a post on the Best UK University Web Sites – According to Sixth Formers which commented on a 6-page feature article published in the Times Higher Education (THE) which listed the 20 top-performing institutional Web sites according to a small group of sixth formers who are looking to select a University.

I’ve had a letter published in this week’s THE about this article.  In passing I mentioned the flaws in publishing a league table based on such a limited survey.  However didn’t dwell on such considerations (which could sound like sour grapes).  Rather I pointed out that University Web managers are very aware of the importance of use of Social Web services – a subject which has been addressed in recent Institutional Web Management Workshop events and was highlighted in a plenary talk on “Let the Students Do The Talking” given back in 2007 in which Alison Wildish  described how Edge  Hill University was encouraging students to engage in discussion using the Social Web. It is not, as the article seemed to imply, a question of the top twenty ranked institutions using approaches which others are blissfully unaware of.

So rather than informing the readers of the importance of the Social Web (although the article may be beneficial in helping to remove internal political barriers to such innovation) a more interesting area to explore might have been the question of the institutional policies in providing Social Web services and, of particular importance with October’s Comprehensive Spending Review rapidly approaching, the metrics which can help to provide evidence of the return on investment in the provision of such services.

The danger is, I feel, that there will be unnecessary duplication in the  development of such policies.  I am aware of the University of Essex’s social media policy.  But how many other institutional Web policies can be found easily?

And how do you determine if your Social Web offering is working effectively?  What metrics can be used? Again this is an area in which the sector should be being pro-active in sharing and provide open access to ideas, discussions and policies.    This is a topic I’d like to revisit – but for now I’d welcome comments from those working in institutional Web teams who do have resources to share.

Posted in Social Networking | 1 Comment »

On Friday: Amplified Seminar on “What Can We Learn From Amplified Events?”

Posted by Brian Kelly on 2 September 2010

Tomorrow (Friday 3 September) I´ll be giving a seminar on “What Can We Learn From Amplified Events?” at the University of Girona (UdG) in Catalonia. A summary of the seminar is available on the UdG Web site ‘ for those of you who understand the Catalan language ‘ though the automated Google Translate option is also available if you don´t :-).

As is appropriate for a seminar on this subject, the seminar itself will be amplified, with a live video stream to be provided on http://www.livestream.com/1c4d and there will be a Twitter back channel using the #udgamp10 hashtag. There will also be a an official live Twitterer, with Kirsty Pitkin (who has provided live blogging for the IWMW10 event) using her recently established @eventamplifier Twitter account to act as a live blogger – while blogging from her home in Bath! This will be the first time Kirsty and I have worked together to provide distributed live blogging support. It will be interesting to see how this works. As well as Kirsty, there should also be two additional live bloggers who will be reporting from the seminar room, one Twittering in Catalan and one in Spanish. Again this will be another first.

This is also the first time I have given a talk about Amplified Events, as opposed to organised or participated in such events. I´ve found it useful to reflect on the approaches we´ve taken in exploiting various networked technologies at events over the past few years. I´ll be describing how amplified events can help to “avoid the constraints of space and time“, can provide “real time peer reviewing” and reflect the views that “an open exchange of ideas will promote innovation” expressed recently by the JISC´s Executive Secretary Malcolm Read and published a few days ago in the Times Higher Education.

The seminar will take place from 11.30 (BST). Further information is available on the UKOLN Web site. In addition the slides are available on Slideshare. Note that the slides are also available on Authorstream and use of this version is recommended as it supports slide builds and animation.

But rather than being a passive consumer of the slides I´d like to invite you to view the streaming video and join in the discussions on Twitter.

Posted in Events, Web2.0 | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Draft Amplified Event Report Available For Comment on JISCPress

Posted by Brian Kelly on 1 September 2010

I’ve previously mentioned my interests in (1) amplified events, such as recent IWMW events; (2) being open and willing to share one’s experiences with others in the sector and (3) the potential for the JISCPress service (and the digress.it WordPress plugin and community).

Bringing together these three areas of interest I am pleased to announce that a draft version of a document entitled “Organising Amplified Events: A Report Based on UKOLN Experiences” is now available for comments on the JISCPress site.

As indicated by the title this report summarises UKOLN work in both organising and participating in a range of amplified events over the past few years.

The report is at a draft stage and so there is an opportunity for comments to help shape the final structure of the document.

I was also interested in gaining experience of uploading a report to the JISCPress service. Although, as I described recently, I had been told that it could take a couple of hours to make a document available in JISCPress I found that it took less than 10 minutes :-)  I simply copied the individuals sections of the document from the MS Word file and pasted the contents into the WordPress blog interface. I used the Chrome browser and was pleased that there were no Microsoft HTML extensions included in the post – an irritation I have encountered previously when copying MS Word documents into Web interfaces. The JISCPress site also maintained much of the formatting provided in the original MS Word file, including headings, bulleted lists and bold and italicised text – all that seemed to be missing was various instances of indented text, the occasional missing hypertext links and a couple of instances of text in colour.  These were added to the JISCPress post afterwards. I  should mention, though, that the original document did not include any tables or images – I have been told that it’s the processing of these objects which can be time-consuming.

The final report will be available under a Creative Commons licence – so feedback provided using JISCPress can help to improve the quality of the final report not only for those who read the document but also for those who wish to reuse the content.  I therefore hope there will be lots of useful comments and suggestions.

Posted in Events, Web2.0 | 2 Comments »