UK Web Focus

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Archive for October, 2013

Starting A New Job!

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 28 October 2013

Cetis home pageI’m really pleased to announce that I’ve got a new job. As announced on the Cetis Web site today I started work at Cetis as an Innovation Advocate (great job title!)

I’m looking forward to working at Cetis. I’ve worked closely with Cetis over the years. Looking at my list of events it seems that I ran workshop sessions or spoke at Cetis conferences in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013 and was the organiser of a joint UKOLN/CETIS/UCISA workshop on “Initiatives & Innovation: Managing Disruptive Technologies“. I’ve also written papers with current or former Cetis staff including ones on “Openness in Higher Education: Open Source, Open Standards, Open Access” (with Scott Wilson), “Twitter Archiving Using Twapper Keeper: Technical And Policy Challenges” (with Martin Hawksey) and “A Contextual Framework For Standards“, “A Standards Framework For Digital Library Programmes” and “Reflecting on Yesterday, Understanding Today, Planning for Tomorrow” (with Paul Hollins).

My new role will enable me to build on our previous collaborations and my interests and expertise in areas including standards, accessibility, social media and open practices. In addition I hope that the extensive professional networks I have developed with provide useful in supporting and developing Cetis’s range of activities.

I will be working, as home worker, for four days a week. I’ll be looking forward to renewing my contacts with Jisc as well as making new contacts at Bolton University and across the e-learning community. I will also be looking for additional partnership and funding opportunities – so please get in touch (although I’ve still to finalise my preferred email address).

Since I was made redundant on 31 July I have spent my time improving the house and garden and, in particular, have converted one of the bedrooms into an office. The building work on the house included installation of network points in more of the rooms, so I will have a suitable working environment (although today’s induction at Bolton University will include a session on health and safety, so I will be interested to see if that includes issues of relevance for home workers) . I have also spent time over the summer on a number of professional development activities and some freelance work which has included participation in the Hyperlinked Libraries MOOC, the LinkedUp project booksprint, and facilitation of a day’s workshop on Future Technologies at the ILI 2013 conference. However today my new role as Innovation Advocate, Cetis, University of Bolton begins. I’m looking forward to it!


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Posted in General | Tagged: | 24 Comments »

Radical Librarians Supporting Staff Who Are Leaving the Institution

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 25 October 2013

Last week at the ILI 2013 conference I gave a talk on “Digital Life Beyond The Institution“. The talk was one of two given in a session on “Being smart with technology – creating something from nothing”. In my case the talk addressed the challenges of continuing to work as an information professional after leaving my host institution. I therefore needed to create an IT infrastructure out of nothing, as I know longer had access to the IT environment provided at Bath University.

In the talk I described how institutions appear to focus their training activities on newcomers to the institution, with seemingly little advice and support provided for those who may be leaving, for whatever reasons. The lack of support seems to be complemented with policies which appear to make life difficult for those who are about to leave their host institution. Since I had an interest in policies at the University of Bath, having worked there for almost 17 years, a few months ago I investigated the policies which would be relevant to me and my colleagues at UKOLN, who were about to be made redundant.

As illustrated the account closure policies are brief, stating, for those who leave the University in normal circumstances “Staff leaving the University – the account is closed on or shortly after the date of leave. It is expected the individual will arrange for appropriate data held under their account to be made accessible to others for business continuity“. There is no suggestion that training will be provided for staff who may wish to continue their professional activities after they leave the institution.

Account closure policies at Bath University

In the case of UKOLN staff, our funders agreed that we would have training opportunities and myself and my former colleagues appreciated the value of this. However when I asked for a show of hands during my talks for institutions which provide training in topics such as migrating services and content to Cloud services, only one person (tentatively) put up their hand. I was aware that people may have been reluctant to engage with my questions but felt I should ask a follow-up question: “Who feels that their institution should provide such training for staff (and researchers) who are about to leave the institution?”  there was a flurry of activity as a large proportion of the audience raised their hands.

This response echoed the experience I had when I gave a similar talk entitled “When Staff and Researchers Leave Their Host Institution” at the LILAC 2013 conference. It seems that this is an appreciation that this is a gap in the training and support services provided by those who find themselves in this position. This should be of concern as leaving one’s current job is not unusual – in the New Statesman (20-26 September 2013) Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, pointed out that “By 2015, there will be more Briton over 65 than under 15. We cannot afford to discard their expertise.” and went on to add “Studies show that on average each of us will have seven careers, two of which are yet to exist.

To a certain extent adoption of open services can help address licencing barriers to use and reuse of content and d services for members of the university after they leave. Use of open source software can avoid expensive licence costs for software, and use of open educational resources and research papers and research data which have Creative Commons licences means that such content created during one’s period of employment can legitimately be used after one leaves.

Perhaps the reasons for lack of training in this area is due to the legacy of use of licensed services and content, for which ongoing access would not be possible. But might there also be a view that training and development is intended to enhance the productivity of the host institution’s employees, and there is little to be gained by providing training as they are about to leave? I would hope that this is not the case, but I am at a loss to think of other reasons for the acknowledged gap in this area.

As I was preparing the talk I came across details of the Radical Library Camp. I a previous post in which i asked “Do We Want Radical Law-Breaking Librarians?” I commented on the session at the Radical Library Camp on “Professional ethics: copyright is broken, so why am I enforcing it?“. This inspired me to provide a similar manifesto which argued that librarians should ensure that access to training course which provide staff with the skills needed to make effective use of Cloud services are provided for when people are preparing to leave their institution:

Digital life is now primarily in the Cloud, so why are we ignoring this?

We seek to prepare our students with life-long learning skills for working in a digital environment after they graduate.

But members of staff and researchers are only given training in institutionally-approved & support technologies. We fail to provide training and support for staff for their digital life beyond the institution.

And yet everyone will leave the institution (unless they die in the job!)

Professional practices and institutions are in conflict here: on the one hand, I have a duty to my employer to support the needs of the institution; on the other hand, my profession, and the higher education sector, believes in the value of life-long learning.

How can this be resolved? I’m not sure that the digital literacies summary developed by SCONUL and promoted by Jisc, are sufficient, as this focusses only on teaching of digital literacies. Do we need a new, more agile approach that can deal with contemporary need for digital life beyond the institution? And if so, can we find this within existing professional frameworks or do we need to do this for ourselves?

Is this a reasonable request which institutions should be providing? What reasons may there be for the lack of such training? Might there be examples of institutions which are addressing these issues? I’d welcome your thoughts and comments.

Note that the slides I used in the talk are available on Slideshare and embedded below.


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Posted in openness | 3 Comments »

What Have You Noticed Recently?

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 22 October 2013

Techniques For Detecting Trends

Last week Tony Hirst and I facilitated a 1-day workshop at the ILI 2013 conferences which described approaches for detecting trends which could be used to help institutions exploit emerging technologies in a timely fashion, whilst minimising risks of investing significant resources in technologies, such as Second Life, which subsequently fail to live up to their hype.

Whilst I described methodologies which were used by UKOLN and CETIS in providing the JISC Observatory service Tony Hirst used a couple of techniques which were new to me. In particular I was impressed by the power of the seemingly simple question “What have you noticed recently?

What have you noticed recently?

This question was particularly useful at the workshop we facilitated as, as described in the report on the session, there were 21 participants from 11 countries and 6 continents: it can be particularly useful to observe differences when travelling, particularly if it leads to the question “Why don’t we do that?“, even more so if it results in decisions being made to implement the thing that you noticed.

I gave some thought to the question Tony posed during the workshop session and afterwards.  I think there may be a temptation to be competitive in responding to the question and try to suggest something particularly unusual which you feel others mightn’t suggest.  In my list I’ve therefore suggested a range of observations I’ve made recently. some of which may not be particularly innovative, but did catch my eye. In addition to describing the things I’ve observed I’ll also give some thoughts about the potential implications.

Getglue badgeBadges for gaming, social media, … I recently described by reaction on being awarded a number of badges for completing various activities on a MOOC. But I’ve now started to notice several other services which aware badges. A few weeks ago I noticed Michael Stephens’ Facebook page contained a badge he had received from GetGlue. I’ve not hear of this before. According to Wikipedia GetGlue is “a social networking website for television fans. Users “check into” the shows, movies and sports that they consume using a website, a mobile website, or a device-specific application“. The article goes on to inform us that

in January 2010, GetGlue reported 1.3 million check-ins. In January 2011, the service accumulated nearly 10 times that figure with 12.1 million check-ins and ratings. On February 27, 2011, GetGlue saw over 31,000 check-ins at the Oscars. In June 2011, the record for Most Check-Ins to a TV show was broken during the premiere of True Blood Season 4 on HBO. … During the 2013 Super Bowl, GetGlue had more than 200,000 check-ins and 400,000-plus total activities (likes, replies, votes, etc.). In addition, 15% of all Pepsi mentions on Twitter during the halftime show came from GetGlue.

A must-have app, clearly! And so I subscribed to the service and received my first badge, “Yeah, First Check-in” (as illustrated). My thoughts: being awarded badges for sitting in front of the TV? I’m sure my parents warned me of the dangers of that when I was young (“you’ll get square eyes!“)  Perhaps advocates of badges need to consider risks that they become perceived as rewarding unproductive behaviours. Or, if you gain many badges for watching TV programmes , playing social games and checking in to place you visit when you’re young, might you have become disillusioned with them when you arrive at university and are encouraged to spend time gaining badges for visiting the library and checking books out?

Digital activities in bed: At the Future Technologies workshop at ILI I asked the question “Who has made use of a mobile device for work-related purposes in bed?” The answer, it seems, are those from the UK and Scandinavia.  I first asked this question in March 2012 and, in a post entitled “Twitterers Do It In Bed!” described the responses I received when I asked this question on Twitter. Some of the responses I received are illustrated. I’ve repeated this question at a number of events since then and it seems that significant numbers of people at events I speak at do use mobile devices for work-related purposes. What are the implications? If you fail to provide tweets about your work, your papers, your ideas, you may miss out on an opportunity to engage with an audience.

WiFi on buses: First Bus company now provide free WiFi on their buses in Bath. As I no longer travel up and down the hill every day to Bath University I don’t know if the universities buses also have WiFi. But will we start to see significantly greater use being made of networked mobile devices on public transport, going beyond reading books on Kindles (or Kindle-like devices) and sending text messages?

Payments on my phone: A couple of weeks ago I receive an email from the Guardian with two weeks of vouchers for the Guardian and the Observer. For the first time I handed over my phone to the newsagent in order for the barcode on the coupon to be scanned. I wonder how soon it will be before I regularly use my phone for payments? I wonder about the trust issues of handing a phone to a shopkeepers (or will NFC be the killer app for mobile payments?) And how soon before we start read article highlights the privacy concerns over such payment mechanisms? After all I assume my voucher had been personalised so they will know who I am and where I shop.

Many thanks to Tony Hirst for suggesting this technique. Now over to you: what have you noticed recently?

Posted in jiscobs | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Do We Want Radical Law-Breaking Librarians?

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 21 October 2013

Defending Professionals Which Break the Law in the Public Interest

BBC News ItemOn Friday the BBC News published a story which described how “UK’s top prosecutor defends journalists who break law in public interest“. The story was about the role of journalists in making information publicly available. Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions insisted that it “would be very unhealthy if you had a situation where a journalist felt that they needed to go to their lawyer before they pursued any lead or asked any question“.

As today marks the start of Open Access Week 2013 it is appropriate to ask this question of those working in librarians. Should we encourage radical law-breaking librarians who are willing to break the law or challenges established practices in making information available?

This was an issues address recently at the Radical Library Camp event held in Bradford on 28 September 2013. The following proposal was submitted:

Professional ethics: copyright is broken, so why am I enforcing it?

Copyright law is broken. By criminalising citizens and creators in order to protect the profits of corporations, it harms the people that it should be empowering. Therefore I see it as an ethical imperative to break and/or subvert it; civil disobedience is a necessary part of a functioning democracy.

It is part of my job in a library to uphold and enforce copyright law.

Professional ethics are in conflict here: on the one hand, I have a duty to my employer and society to act in accordance with the law; on the other hand, when that law is wrong, it is unethical to force people to comply with it.

How can this be resolved? I’m not sure that the professional ethics espoused by our current professional organisation, CILIP, are enough to negotiate dilemmas like this. What does this mean? Do we need a new, more agile ethical approach that can deal with contemporary information ethics? And if so, can we find this within existing professional frameworks or do we need a new professional body?

Although I don’t know if the proposal was discussed I felt it would be worth revisiting this topic, in part due to a wish to raise the profile of activities which are taking place during Open Access Week but also as a follow-up to related discussions which took place last week at the ILI 2013 conference.

As I mentioned in a summary of a workshop on Future Technologies and Their Applications Workshop Tony Hirst’s story based on his observation that the rules and regulations for the University of Cambridge Library states that “Overcoats, raincoats, and other kinds of outdoor clothing, umbrellas, bags, cases, cameras, photocopying devices, and similar personal belongings shall normally be deposited in the locker-room adjacent to the entrance hall during each visit to the Library” (my emphasis) generated some debate.  Since most mobile phones these days will have cameras and can be used for scanning/photocopying they would appear to be banned from being brought into the library. This may no longer be the case (Tony’s post was published back in December 2009). But the general issue is still valid: “should libraries ban devices which have the capability of copyright infringement from being brought into the library?” I think libraries would be foolish if they tried to ban mobile phones from being brought into libraries; a more reasonable response to problems which mobile phones could cause in libraries would be to require that they are set to silent mode.

But to pose the question in a different way: “should libraries provide training and support for their users to help them maximise the potential of smartphones?” Such training might include use of library-specific applications (QR codes perhaps). But what of use of mobile applications which make use of a smart phone’s camera and OCR capabilities which could be used for copyright infringement?

Are any libraries running courses or providing advice and support in areas which may have the potential for copyright infringement? And in what other areas may we wish to encourage librarians, as journalists may be encouraged to do in some circumstances, to break the law in the public interest or for the benefit of society in general?

Posted in library2.0, openness | 7 Comments »

Twitter Archives for the #ILI2013 Conference

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 18 October 2013

The Value of Twitter Archives for Event Hashtags

Storify summary of the Futures workshop at the ILI 2013 conferenceYesterday I summarised the workshop on Future Technologies which Tony Hirst and myself facilitated at the ILI 2013 conference. But although the post provided details of the talks we gave and the exercises we set, we didn’t provide much information about the discussions which took place. Some of these discussions would have been general, with all 21 participants and 2 facilitators able to listen in and, if desired, participate. However other discussions will have taken place in the small groups and only the summary reports would be shared with the other participants. But in addition other discussions will have taken place virtually, with remote participants involved.

Twitter is the main tool used to support such discussions at conferences. And since such discussions normally take place in an open environment it is then possible to archive the discussions which can help to ensure that interesting issues are not forgotten.

I have therefore created a Storify summary of the discussions which took place during (and after) the workshop. As can be seen from the screenshot when you use Storify to curate tweets, tweets which contain links to an image will have the image embedded within the story. This can hep to provide richer context than would be possible using just the textual content of the tweets.

Looking at the archive I notice than one of the first tweets, in which Tony Hirst asked “does Summon limit access by IP range? Any way to open up offsite access? [Qn from -ws-future ]”  came from a question one of the participants raised during the introductory session. Since neither Tony nor myself knew the answer to this question I suggested that the questions was asked across our professional network. This illustrated the potential value of having an extensive network and the potential value of use of Twitter during an event. I should add that I say ‘potential’ since I don’t think we got an answer to the question!

During the morning session we discussed trends which we may have noticed. I asked for a show of hands for people who had made use of a ‘second screen’ – i.e. using a mobile phone or tablet to discuss a TV programme while watching the programme on the TV.  Following this show of hands @Krolofsson tweeted “Only a third of the workshop crowd do “The second screen” while, f.e. watching TV . I certainly do.”  Although I had asked for the show of hands, I had forgotten the numbers responding. This event tweeting therefore helped in providing a record of evidence gathered during the workshop. This was particularly useful at our workshop as, as described in the summary of the session, the participants “were from no fewer than eleven countries (UK, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, South Africa, Australia, India, Trinidad and Tobago and Qatar) and six continents (Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Australasia and Asia)“: this example provided a vivid example of the diversity of experiences and practices.

Reviewing the archive of the tweets can be useful in helping to identify the aspects of the workshop which people found useful. It was therefore useful to see comments such as “About inventions/improvements/innovations: what’s the difference? And how to measure success or failure? Nice roundup by @briankelly ” and “Another nice quote by @psychemedia at : “The future’s already here – it’s just not evenly distributed” (William Gibson)“.

But perhaps the must useful aspect of this particular archive was the record of the discussions (which involved several people including a number who weren’t physically present at the workshop) which arose from my summary of a observation made by Tony Hirst: “Since a smart phone can act as a scanner/photocopier do we need photocopiers in libraries asks @psychemedia at “. The background to this was an observation Tony made when he was working as part of a Cambridge University Library Arcadia Project Fellowship on “Rapid Innovation in the Library”.  As Tony described in a report on his work (PDF format):

Whilst trying to photograph UL signage for inclusion in this report, I was taken to charge for using a camera (that is, my phone) within the Library. For users of current generation smartphones, an increasing number of camera related applications are now available. From barcode scanners that capture book details and call up bibliographic information or full text search tools using Google Books, to “personal photocopying” and optical character recognition (personal text scanning), maintaining a policy that bars the use of cameras within the UL is likely to act as a brake on patron delivered library innovation (No Cameras in the Library…). Note also that the act of copying is not universally ruled against within the UL – a self-service scanning/photocopier service is already provided, albeit for a fee. The provision of the photocopier service might also be reconsidered in the light of the increasing availability of digital content. For example, if a patron scanned the barcode of an item before copying it, an advisory system might be able to direct the user to a digital version of the resource (this would also help track those items that were being copied).

Tony had discussed this topic in a blog post on “No Cameras in the Library…” which described (n December 2009) how:

One of the things that has got me in trouble a couple of times during my stint as Arcadia Fellow is using my phone as a camera within the confines of University Library (cameras, along with bags, are most definately not allowed inside the Library). As the Library rules puts it:

18. Overcoats, raincoats, and other kinds of outdoor clothing, umbrellas, bags, cases, cameras, photocopying devices, and similar personal belongings shall normally be deposited in the locker-room adjacent to the entrance hall during each visit to the Library.

Which is not to say that photocopying, per se is not allowed in the University Library, because it is… either using self-service machines or via Imaging Services (UL: Photocopying). So the problem is presumably guarding against Library users photographing/photocopying works that they shouldn’t? But from what I can tell, those works are accessible only in the Reading Rooms, so presumably a ban on photograph/copying works in those areas would suffice? (If the books that may not be copied can be taken out of those rooms, then they can easily be copied in the photopcopier room…)

The discussion this story generated, both in the workshop and online, illustrated that there are still diverse views as to whether use of smartphones should be banned from libraries (as they may be used to infringe copyright or, if photos of people are taken, privacy) or encouraged.  It was interesting to see how this discussion continued on Twitter which Owen Stephens described how:

[At] one library I worked an academic came in with 35mm SLR digital camera and tripod to take pictures of an item …
[The] item in question was on loan from BL but could only be used in library with no p/c allowed …
whether this was to do with rights or fragility of item I’m not sure

I would like to revisit the question of acceptable practices covering use of phones in libraries at a later date. The Twitter archive, and the contributions made by participants and the remote users, will be a useful resource for me.

Archives of #ILI2013 Conference Tweets

Storify archive for #ILI2013 tweetsI curated the tweets for the workshop session. This meant I inspected the archives, tried to add them to the archive in a logical structure, included relevant tweets which may not have contained the #ili2013 hashtag and omitted tweets which I felt didn’t any value.

In addition to the archive of the workshop tweets I also used Storify to create a complete archive of the #ILI2013 tweets. Due to the time it can take to curate a large event archive this time I simply accepted all tweets containing the hashtag and published them in reverse chronological order, as illustrated.

I hope this will provide a useful resource for other ILI 2013 speakers, organisers, participants or other interested parties who would like to see the discussions which took place on Twitter.

I should also add that I have also used the Twubs service to create a complementary archive of the tweets, which may provide a useful comparison of the two services.

Enjoy!

Posted in Events, Twitter | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

ILI 2013: The Future Technologies and Their Applications Workshop

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 17 October 2013

ILI – My Favourite Library Conference

I am now back home after spending a hugely enjoyable and stimulating three days at the ILI 2013 conference. This was the fifteenth in the annual Internet Librarian International conference series, As I have attended fourteen of the conferences (I had been invited to speak at a conference in the National Library of Singapore for the ILI conference I missed) it’s clear that I am a great fan of the event. This is for a number of reasons; in particular the international flavour of the event provides an opportunity to hear about developments in the library and online information world from a wide sector. It is also a very friendly event, which provides a valuable opportunity to develop and cultivate one’s professional network – as ever, the numbers of people I follow on Twitter has grown over the past few days; who needs business cards when swapping Twitter IDs can provide an ‘interactive business card’ – a suggestion I made back in 2008 which now seems to have become a mainstream approach.

The Future Technologies and Their Applications Workshop

The conference itself took place over two days. However on Monday three full-day workshops took place, on search, Libraries and MOOCs and future technologies. Myself and Tony Hirst facilitated the workshop on “Future Technologies and Their Applications“. As described in the abstract the workshop set out to ensure that participants were made aware of methodologies which could be used to detect new developments and gather evidence which could be used to justify investment n exploring the technologies in more detail and implementing the technologies:

Despite the uncertainties faced by librarians and information professionals, technology continues to develop at breakneck speed, offering many new opportunities for the sector. At the same time, technological developments can be distracting and may result in wasted time and effort (remember the excitement provided by Second Life?!).

This workshop session will help participants identify potentially relevant technological developments by learning about and making use of ‘Delphic’ processes. The workshop also provides insight into processes for spotting ‘weak signals’ which may indicate early use of technologies which could be important in the future.

But having identified potentially important technological developments, organisations need to decide how to respond. What will be the impact on existing technologies? What are the strategic implications and what are the implications for staff within the organisation?

The interactive workshop session will provide opportunities to address the challenges in understanding the implications of technological developments and making appropriate organisational interventions.

We highlighted Second Life as a technology which failed to live up to its expectations and demonstrated the need for more systematic approaches for detecting new technologies which could be embedded, However we also described the need for libraries to be willing to take risks and provided a risks and opportunities framework which could be used to assess risks and minimise or, perhaps, accept such risks.  Part of this framework was to assess the risks of doing nothing, and the missed opportunities this could entail.

A total of 21 participants booked for the workshop. They were from no fewer than eleven countries (UK, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, South Africa, Australia, India, Trinidad and Tobago and Qatar) and six continents (Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Australasia and Asia). This provided some challenges but also opportunities in learning from the differing experiences and challenges which the participants faced.

The Content

In the workshop we made use of processes which I described in a paper on What Next for Libraries? Making Sense of the Future which I presented at the EMTACL (Emerging Technologies in Academic Libraries ) conference held in Trondheim a year ago and a paper by myself and Paul Hollins (CETIS) on Reflecting on Yesterday, Understanding Today, Planning for Tomorrow which I presented at the Umbrella 2013 conference earlier this year. The Delphic processes described in the papers had been previously used by UKOLN and CETIS in our work for the JISC Observatory which, prior to the cessation of its funding was an “initiative to systematise the way in which the JISC anticipates and responds to projected future trends and scenarios in the context of the use of technology in Higher & Further Education in the UK“.

Following use of the Delphic process to identify and prioritise new developments we also used the risks and opportunities framework which has been described in papers on “Library 2.0: Balancing the Risks and Benefits to Maximise the Dividends” and “Empowering Users and Institutions: A Risks and Opportunities Framework for Exploiting the Social Web“.

Tony Hirst also provided some techniques which could be used to identify developments which may be taking place. “What have you noticed around you which may indicate changes which may be significant?”  he asked, which made we reflect on how WiFi in conferences is now starting to “just work”. In addition I subsequently told Tony how I had purchased a discounted copy of The Guardian using an electronic voucher Another technique which Tony suggested was to provide a question for which the answer might be “At the library”. For example during his talk in the Data Librarian session at the ILI conference itself Tony suggested that there could be opportunities for librarians to provide training and support for their users in developing skills in SQL and use of regular expressions. Could “At the library” be an answer to the question a researcher is asked by a colleague: “Where did you learn how to take the data from diverse sources and manipulate them prior to data visualisation?” for someone working in an institution in which library staff are developing new skills and moving into new areas?

The final part of the framework used in the workshop during which participants made a business case for exploring new technologies was an approach I have learnt recently from my participation in the Hyperlinked Library MOOC organized by Michael Stephens and Kyle Jones.

In the second assignment on the MOOC participants were asked to make plans for the deployment of emerging technologies using a planning checklist which included completion of the following statement:

Convince ______ that by _______ they will ________ which will ________ because _______.

Have identified key technological developments using the Delphic process the participants, working in three groups, where asked to provide a business case for their area which included the methodology from the Hyperlinked Library MOOC.

Feedback

How did the workshop go?  Unfortunately I missed the final afternoon of the ILI 2013 conference but Alison McNab tweeted this summary from the final session:

The @Philbradley session on Privacy, #LibraryCamp inspiration & @briankelly workshop on new technology all mentioned as highlights

The evaluation forms provided some useful feedback. We asked participants to summarise things which they would do as a result of the workshop when they return to work. The responses included:

  • Discuss Delphi with our IT development Team
  • Use the Delphic process and Action Brief Model to plan new tech projects as I brainstorm them
  • Discuss within the library if the hierarchy must be kept up for the use of social media and cannot everyone, in the name of the library, use social media with our users
  • Look at the [IFLA and NMC Horizon] Trend reports and Gartner report

We asked participants to List suggestions and recommendations you will make to your colleagues. The responses included:

  • Risk assess new technologies
  • Approaching potential new technologies and looking at evidence, case studies & asking about its application in a library context.
  • Take more risks, share disaster experience
  • The “have you asked the Library?” is quite an eye-opener. It forces one to rethink what they think they are doing.
  • Rethink the role of librarianship, current and future

We asked participants to What aspects of the workshop did you find most useful? The responses included:

  • Discussions and networking. Tony’s “Did you try the Library?” Horizon project Top 10.
  • The Scenario Planning process. Template for proposing tech/service. Loved the two morning presentations.
  • Share disaster experiences within library community, Take risks with new technologies.
  • Discussions with other people. Useful ‘recipes’.
  • The 3 short term and medium term technologies to look for. The Delphic process.
  • The discussions and group sessions. Overview of reports.
  • The international diversity of the participants.
  • I found it most useful to discuss library issues with fellow librarians/participants
  • The personal experience stories from librarians. Planning of new proposals for library.

We asked participants to Summarise aspects of the workshop which could be improved. The responses included:

  • Furniture layout in advance of the workshop
  • Would have liked more focus on emerging technologies (specific ones)
  • Warm up the room :-)
  • I would have preferred more practical examples relevant to the library even if they end up being Second Life.
  • Cooperative parts, participation parts.
  • Less talking, more doing.
  • It would be nice if new technologies had been presented. The only ones mentioned were Google, Wikipedia and Amazon. I already knew about them and did not need to hear about them again.

The general comments included:

  • Well done for working with such a mixed group
  • Loved the bit.ly interactive Doc notes idea – very helpful for attendees and makes it easier for me to share this info with my colleagues back home.
  • Well-organized. Group work was a but difficult because the group was too international, that means the problems in the different countries are too different.
  • I really enjoyed it!
  • Good workshop! Thanks
  • Liked it a lot!
  • I think it would have been useful if the presenters, at least one, was a librarian. The two presenters did not seem to know about the legal issues concerning library technologies. Several things they said were illegal.

Reflections

This was the fist time Tony and I had ran this workshop. We were pleased with the workshop and the active participation from the participants. We had said that the structure of the workshop may change in light of the feedback form the participants. This meant that three presentations, on digital badges, amplified events for professional development and hyperlinked libraries, were not given. Instead we responded to requests from a couple of the participants to address the broader issues of the future of libraries.  However these slides, together with all of the resources used in this workshop, have been made available and use of a Creative Commons CC-BY licence means that they can be reused by the participants (and others) in their own institution.

One of the discussion groups commented that the six participants were from six different countries. I suspect that wouldn’t have been the case for workshop sessions at the Internet Librarian conference which is held in the US and attracts primarily a North American audience. Despite the concerns Tony and I had when we first heard of the global diversity of the participants at the session we are pleased with the feedback we received. In retrospect, however, the title of the workshop did not correctly reflect the abstract. Rather than “Future Technologies and Their Applications” we should have called the workshop “Predicting  Future Technologies”.

Resources

The slides used in the workshop are available below.  Note that the slides hosted on Slideshare are the latest version. The Authorstream versions are provided as a backup copy.

Code Title Slides
A1 Workshop Introduction [Slideshare] – [Authorstream]
B1 Predicting Technology Trends: a Methodology [Slideshare] – [Authorstream]
CO Future Doodles [Slideshare]
C1 Amplified Events [Slideshare] – [Authorstream]
C2 Digital Badges [Slideshare] – [Authorstream]
C3 The Hyperlinked Library [Slideshare] – [Authorstream]
D1 Gathering Interests [Slideshare] – [Authorstream]
D2 Group Exercises [Slideshare] – [Authorstream]
E1 Scenario Planning For Libraries [Slideshare] – [Authorstream]
F1 Review and Next Steps [Slideshare] – [Authorstream]

Slides

A1: Workshop Introduction B1: Predicting Technology Trends: a Methodology CO: Future Doodles
C1: Amplified Events (not used) C2: Digital Badges  (not used)  C3: The Hyperlinked Library  (not used)
D1: Gathering Interests D2: Group Exercises
E1: Scenario Planning For Libraries F1: Review and Next Steps

NOTEJeroen de Boer has just published a report on the workshop (and a number of other events). Google Translate has been used to provide an English translation. This describes how “we opted for the development of mobile.  Because my group were mainly employed by university and research libraries was their focus very focused on issues relating to the accessibility of private collections and therefore problems of copyright etc. I said that it is right to look at how external sources very interesting for us including academic, can link to library collections“.

The group included the following summary. They would:

Convince management that by implementing mobile they will exploit Linked Open Data collections which will optimize the library collection in order to attract new and current users because they will keep our library relevant anywhere anytime.

I was pleased to see this approach, developed by Michael Stephens and Kyle Jones, being used by others.


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Posted in Events | Tagged: | 10 Comments »

“Your SlideShare account has been suspended”

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 1 October 2013

Loss of Access to Content Hosted on Slideshare

Slideshare account suspendedOn Wednesday 25 September 2013 I received an email message which informed me that my SlideShare account had been suspended.  The reason given for this was that:

SlideShare activity was flagged as inappropriate by our community. We looked into it and found at least one of your activities (i.e. uploads, comments, follows or favorites) to be in violation of SlideShare’s Terms of Service or Community Guidelines.

To make matters worse:

… your account lisbk has been suspended and marked for deletion.

I received the message at 9.50pm on Wednesday evening. The following morning I contacted the Slideshare Support Desk complaining about the loss of access to my slides (which meant that Web sites which had embedded the content contained a message saying the account had been suspended) and asking for the files to be restored. I received the following automated response:

Thank you for contacting SlideShare. This email is to confirm we have received your inquiry and will respond within one business day.

I failed to receive a reply so yesterday evening I submitted another message to the support desk. Twelve hours later I received a reply

Thank you for contacting us again about this issue. I sincerely apologize for the delay in getting back to you. It looks like the automated system has incorrectly marked your account. I have removed the suspension and your account should be working normally now. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

And now my Slideshare account has been restored. I was pleased when I found that not only had the 148 slidedecks had been restored, but the slides still had the usage statistics and my 315 followers.

Lessons Learnt

I’m pleased that my Slideshare account has been restored with seemingly no data lost. All that seems to have been lost is 5 days access to the 148 slide decks which I have uploaded to the service. But this incident also gives rise to some concerns. Why did this happen? Could it happen again? Did I make a mistake in setting up my Slideshare account almost 7 years ago (my oldest slides, entitled Web 2.0: Addressing Institutional Barriers, were used in a talk given at the ILI 2006 conference and uploaded to Slideshare on 13 October 2006)?

Back in 2008/9 I was the lead author of a paper entitled “Library 2.0: balancing the risks and benefits to maximise the dividends” . The abstract described how:

The paper acknowledges that there are a variety of risks associated with such approaches. The paper describes the different types of risks and outlines a risk assessment and risk management approach which is being developed to minimize the dangers whilst allowing the benefits of Library 2.0 to be realized.

The risks and opportunities frameworkThe risks and opportunities framework was subsequently developed further and later in 2009 in a paper entitled “Empowering Users and Institutions: A Risks and Opportunities Framework for Exploiting the Social Web” a diagram which depicted the framework was provided, as illustrated.

How might this have been applied in the specific context of use of Slideshare?

Intended use: Slideshare will be used to provide a copy of slides used in significant presentations so that (a) the slides can be embedded in blogs, web pages, etc; (b) comments on the slides can be given; (c) the slides can be accessed using a popular service in order to enhance access to the slides to help maximise the take-up of the ideas provided in the slides and (d) the slides can be ‘favourited’ in order to identify individuals with interests in the content.

Perceived benefits: Use of Slideshare  should help maximise access to the resources and provide commenting facilities which may be useful for reports on the impact of associated work.

Perceived risks: There may be risks that the Slideshare service is not sustainable and data lost. Spam comments may be made which would be time-consuming to delete. It was felt that the risks of loss of data was small since the Slideshare service appeared to be popular and sustainable.

Missed opportunities: Failing to use Slideshare would mean lost opportunities for reaching ou to a large number of users.

Costs: The free version of Slideshare has been used. The only additional costs have been the time taken in uploaded slides to the service and providing the relevant metadata.

Risk minimisation: The risks of data loss have been addressed by ensuring that the master copy of the slides is hosted on the UKOLN Web site.

Evidence base: The slide decks hosted on Slideshare have proved popular, with my three most popular slide decks having been viewed 24,536, 18,211 and 10,172 times. In addition a blog post entitled Evidence of Slideshare’s Impact highlighted the benefits of use of Slideshare for hosting slides for an event. It should be noted, however that a post on Understanding the Limits of Altmetrics: Slideshare Statistics did point out the need to treat these statistics with some caution.

I therefore feel that Slideshare has provided a valuable return on my investment. However just because Slideshare has proved useful in the past does not necessarily mean that this will continue to be true. Back in May 2012 TechCrunch announced that LinkedIn Acquires Professional Content Sharing Platform SlideShare For $119M. A concern might be that following the take-over there has been a lack of investment in the company, with asset-stripping of intellectual property, technical expertise, usage data  or other valuable assets taking place prior to the closure of the service or significant changes in its terms and conditions.

Quantcast stats for SlideshareHowever the usage figures provided by Quantast, available from the Techcrunch page about SlideShare, shows no cause for concerns. So perhaps my experience was a one-off glitch.  However the experience has led me to consider some additional risks which I hadn’t thought about previously:

Service makes mistakes: Although this mistake did not have any significant adverse affect, what would have happened if my account had been unavailable during a large event, such as IWMW events,  during which slides hosted on Slideshare are used during the event amplification?

Vexatious complaints: The automated email I received stated that my Slideshare content “was flagged as inappropriate by our community“. Could people submit anonymous complaints about content hosted on Slideshare, I wonder, leading to accounts being removed with an innocent Slideshare user having to make their case for the content to be be restored?

Contentious content: Slideshare’s Community Guidelines state: “Don’t post content or comments about issues like child exploitation, animal abuse, drug abuse, bomb making etc. They will be removed and your account will get suspended.” But what if a lecturer is giving a talk about, say, drug abuse? The guidelines do not seem to provide any scope for flexibility.

I’d welcome feedback on my experiences. I’d also like to invite Slideshare to respond to  the concerns I’ve raised. As I have said, I’ve been a longstanding fan of the service; I would hope that Slideshare’s support desk will be proactive in responding to concerns.


My Slideshare statisticsNOTE: Shortly after publishing this post I received an email from Slideshare containing a summary of the statistics of use of the service. As illustrated the figures provide an indication of significant levels of outreach for my slides (together with a small number of slides I have published on behalff of others). I hope that I can be reassured that Slideshare will continue to provide benefits for me and that I have my concerns addressed.

Posted in Repositories, Web2.0 | Tagged: | 13 Comments »