UK Web Focus

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Reflections on 16 Years at UKOLN (part 2)

Posted by Brian Kelly on 23 July 2013

Background

In yesterday’s blog post I described my early involvement with the Web, prior to joining UKOLN in October 1996. My interests in supporting early adopters, sharing emerging best practices, working at a national level (beyond my host institution) and sharing such best practices across the sector at events and in paper and online publications has underpinned my work at UKOLN over the past 16 years.

Participation at Events

According to the list of the presentations I’ve given during my time at UKOLN I have given a total of 429 talks, with a peak of 44 talks in 2006, when there was much interest across the sector in Web 2.0.

Presentations given in UK from 1996-2013Since I have sought to make use of emerging Web standards and services as well as talk about them, for several years I have provided a geo-located summary of my talks in RSS format which enables the locations to be depicted in services such as Google Maps. The accompanying image shows the locations of talks across the UK.

Zooming out from the locations in the UK illustrates how I have supported UKOLN in achieving a strategic goal in ensuring that “The global visibility of UK digital initiatives is increased“.

Presentations given globally from 1996-2013

  • My talks outside the UK have included:
  • Peer-reviewed papers presented at conferences in the US, Canada,  Italy, Holland, Australia and Japan.
  • Invited papers presented in Norway, Sweden, Greece Spain, Russia, Singapore, and Taiwan.
  • Workshops facilitated in Italy and Belgium.

It may be worrying if I were to analyse the environmental costs of such travel (and since the locations of my talks have been geo-located it might be an interesting exercise to estimate the carbon costs of such travel). However I should add that one invited presentation in a conference given in Australia was based on a pre-recorded video of a talk I had given in London!

Organising Events

Although it is pleasing to have received so many invitations to talk at events, I often prefer having the opportunity to facilitate interactive workshop sessions, as such approaches can be more effective in enhancing learning and ensuring that new approaches become embedded in working practices.

I have particularly enjoyed organising technology-transfer  workshops in Belgium, Italy and Holland. But in the UK my most significant achievement has been the establishment of the Institution Web Management Workshop (IWMW) series. I established this in 1997 and the most recent event, IWMW 2013, was held in the University of Bath a month ago. The event has provided an opportunity for those with responsibilities for managing large-scale institutional Web services to share best practices and keep up-to-date with emerging technological developments as well as being prepared to address the implications of legal and economic changes.

During the IWMW 2013 event I was pleased to hear how important the event is felt to be across the sector and the encouragement I received from  many of the participants for exploring new business models which will enable the event to continue next year. Once my work at UKOLN is over on 31 July I will be developing a business plan for continuation of the event. In the meantime I’d welcome ideas for the sustainability of the event. Feel free to get in touch.


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5 Responses to “Reflections on 16 Years at UKOLN (part 2)”

  1. I’m really enjoying your write ups and wish you every success in the future Brian
    Regards
    Nigel

  2. Jonathan O'Donnell said

    Hi Brian

    I think that the best way to build a business plan for an event like this is to keep the organisation as simple as possible. My top five ideas for keeping it simple are:
    1. Avoid charging for the workshop.
    2. Limit the numbers.
    3. Know your audience (and who they want to talk to).
    4. Let the attendees set the program (unconference it!).
    5. Either have no internet (and tell people) or know _exactly_ how the internet work for your venue.

    You can see a fuller explanation of these ideas in the Research Whisperer post, Run a workshop, build a network, Jonathan O’Donnell, Research Whisperer, 30 August 2011, http://theresearchwhisperer.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/workshop-network/

    I realise that your workshops are much bigger than the ones that I have run, but the beauty of these ideas is that they scale. Of course, ymmv.

  3. […] Reflections on 16 Years at UKOLN (part 2) […]

  4. […] Reflections on 16 Years at UKOLN (part 2) […]

  5. […] Background In yesterday's blog post I described my early involvement with the Web, prior to joining UKOLN in October 1996. My interests in supporting early adopters, sharing emerging best practices, working at a national …  […]

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