UK Web Focus

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

What Could Data Journalism Tell Us About Events?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 6 June 2013

Background

Location of plenary speakers at IWMW eventsOne of the sessions at the forthcoming IWMW 2013 event is entitled “IWMW: The Digital Story“. The 90 minute-long session will provide an opportunity for participants to share their stories, anecdotes and digital resources for IWMW events since it was launched in 1997. The aim will be to provide a series of stories about the event including some of the key moments, the ways in which the event has influenced participants over the years and the role the event has had in supporting a thriving community of practice for those with responsibilities for providing large-scale institutional Web services.

What Can the Data Tell Us?

But beyond the recollections of the community and the memories which may be triggered by photographs and video clips, what stories could be told by use of data associated with the event?

Due to long-standing interest in the value of data (and particularly open data) we have been providing a series of data sets about the IWMW series of events for a number of years. In particular we have RSS files available for:

  • Locations for the 17 IWMW events
  • Biographical details of the plenary speakers at the IWMW events.
  • Biographical details of workshop facilitators at the IWMW events.
  • Abstracts of the plenary talks and workshop sessions at IWMW events.

The biographical details includes the location of the host institution of the plenary speakers and workshop facilitators (normally where they are based in a university). These geo-located RSS files can be viewed in services such as Google Maps, Yuan.cc and Acme.com (for example see the location of plenary speakers using Google Maps and the location of workshop facilitators using Yuan.cc).

facilitators-all RSS fileThe RSS files ensure that the information is provided in a format which can be used by a number of freely-available applications. An example of a fragment of one of the RSS files is illustrated, which shows how the file contains the biographical information supplied by the speakers, the geo-location of their host institution, the date  of their session and a link to their biography on the IWMW Web site.

The following caveats should be noted:

  • The location of the host institution is normally available only for people who are based at a University (although on a number of occasions, the location of people based in organisation such as Eduserv hasd been provided).
  • The coordinates has been obtained from Google Maps and may differ slightly over the years in different buildings representing the institution have been found.
  • The date of the talk or session will only apply to the first session, if multiple talks have been given.
  • The date has not been used for all years.
  • The date may not take into account British Summer Time.
  • The semantics of the have been subverted, as the date does not give the date the item was published (this field was used as it is processed by some timeline applications.
  • There may be errors in the data.

But what stories could be told using such data? My thoughts are:

  • The range of institutions which have contributed to the series of events is depicted by the location map.
  • Connecting the institutions with institutional profiling information e.g. size of institution and grouping (e.g. Russell Group) might tell us if large institutions or research-led institutions showed a greater tendency to share their expertise and activities (or boast about it!) across the sector.
  • Tag clouds of the session titles and abstracts might tell provide a visualisation of the topics covered.
  • Applying a timeline across the data could provide an indication of the changes in topics of interest over 17 years.

Such stories may emerge from consideration of the data which is available. But what about the stories which the gaps could tell us? These might include:

  • Institutions which have never provided a speaker or facilitator.
  • Topics which might be expected to have been covered in the past 17 years but which have not been included in session titles or abstracts.

A page containing links to the various RSS feeds is available. Anyone have suggestions for other stories which could be told? And would anybody like to provide a visualisation, an infographic or a story based on this data? Finally, I’d welcome suggestions on how analysis of the data associated with well-established events (such as Jisc, UCISA, SCONUL, ALT-C, etc. events, for example) might provide fresh insights into such events.


View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy] | View Twitter statistics from: [TweetReach] – [Bit.ly]

Posted in Events | 1 Comment »

This Year’s Experiment at #IWMW13 – the Bizzabo Mobile Event App

Posted by Brian Kelly on 30 May 2013

Experiments With Online Technologies at IWMW Events

Bizzabo mobile app

The mobile app for the IWMW 2013 event

A video summary entitled Use of Social Media at IWMW Events is available on YouTube. The brief video (which lasts for just over one minute) explains how since 2005 we have tried to make use of a new online technologies at UKOLN’s IWMW (Institutional Web Management Workshop) events. The video clip describes how the availability of a WiFi network at the University of Manchester, the venue for the IWMW 2005 event, provided our first opportunity to explore the benefits which use of communications technologies could provide at an event. Back then we were using IRC, which was available to a small number of people (about 18) who had brought along a laptop with WiFi capabilities.

I was one of those 18 people, and was therefore one of the first to hear the news of the London bombings. It was a strange experience to be aware of the news, but not the full extent of the news, whilst most people in the audience were listening to the speaker. I waited until the speaker had finished before announcing the news, with many of the London based participants then using the coffee break to ring home.

The incident brought home to me the importance of online communications at events, not only for significant incidents but also for more mundane occurrences such as missing keys, speakers delays and problems with public transport.

In addition to the need for event organisers to be able to communicate with speakers and delegates, the experiments a few years ago demonstrated the value of peer-to-peer communications using popular technologies such as Twitter for enriching the experience of events by allowing open discussions and questions to take place.

This Year’s Experiment: The Bizzabo Mobile App

Since mobile technologies are now mainstream, especially amongst Web professionals, this key we are experimenting with Bizzabo, a mobile app we are using to provide access to the IWMW 2013 timetable together with the event’s Twitter stream, as well as providing a communication channel for IWMW 2013 participants and other interested parties.

As can be seen from the screenshot, the opening page for the event shows its name and location, people who have signed up to the community, and recent tweets with the event hashtag.

The agenda for the three-day event is also available and you can bookmark your favourite sessions and add details to your mobile device.

One limitation I have found with the Bizzabo app is that the number of parallel sessions if limited to ten. As the IWMW 2013 event has eleven parallel sessions on Wednesday 26 June and ten on Thursday 27 June this causes a slight problem as one of the slots has to be allocated to the main plenary sessions.

Timetable shown in Bizzabo

The IWMW 2013 timetable for day 2 shown in Bizzabo

However this isn’t an insurmountable problems, and won’t be relevant for events which have fewer parallel sessions.

For me the success of apps such as this is whether they will be actively used by sufficient numbers of people. As described on the Bizzabo blog:

The community is the most important part of Bizzabo and what we’re all about. Once you join the community, you’ll be able to see all other members, go through their profiles, discover mutual connections and interact with the people you want to connect with. 

Note that the Bizzabo app is available for the iPhone and Android environments. The event organiser’s interface is available using a Web browser, which enables the event organiser to provide details about the event (name, location, programmes, times, etc.) as well as information about the speakers. It should be noted that speaker profiles can include details of the speaker’s Web site, blog, Twitter account and LinkedIn profile.

The programme for the IWMW 2013 event is also available on Lanyrd, which also provides a mobile interface. It will be interesting to see how Bizzabo compares with Lanyrd. The latter, to be fair, is more of a social directory for events, allowing you to see participants at events via their Twitter ID. However it will also be interesting to make a comparison between a responsive Web site (Lanyrd) and a dedicated mobile app (Bizzabo). From a provider’s perspective it can be advantageous to provide a single source of information which is available for both desktop and mobile browsers. However might users prefer a solution which could exploit a mobile phone’s characteristics more effectively and, arguably, is more easily found via the phone providers’ app store?

Bizzabo provides a simple way of ensuring that an event programme is available in a format suitable for viewing on a mobile device for free. However for me the important thing is whether the community aspect of Bizzabo takes off. I’m willing to give it a go. If you are attending the IWMW 2013 event, or are simply interested in the event, why not download the app and give it a go. Your feedback would be welcomed, including comments on the mobile app versus mobile web approach to providing information about events.

As mentioned above a brief video summary of the history of use of social media tools at IWMW events is available on YouTube and embedded below.


View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy] | View Twitter statistics from: [TweetReach] – [Bit.ly]

Posted in Events, Web2.0 | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Promoting IWMW 2013: the Video Summary

Posted by Brian Kelly on 28 May 2013

Back in the late 1990s publicising an event was quite simple – the main activity was simply sending messages to relevant email lists. A message I sent to the web-support JISCMail list on Wednesday, 2 September 1998 illustrates this (and I’m pleased that the JISCMail service has continued to provide an archive of messages over this period of time).

Nowadays, of course, there are many more communications channels available, and many users (in the case of events, potential participants) will expect to receive information of relevance to them in their preferred environment. Indeed, to use the visitors and residents metaphor, if they are ‘residents’ of the online environment they will expect the modern equivalent of the town cryer to make the announcements close to their residence, whereas ‘visitors’ may well expect to receive information only if they track down relevant information kiosks.

In addition to using tweets, blog posts, RSS feeds and LinkedIn announcements it is now possible to use video sharing tools, such as YouTube. Such popular services, which will be readily available on mobile devices, may be particularly useful in reaching out to people on the move, who may find it easier to view a brief video clip rather than read text on a small screen.

For this reason I have created a brief video clip, lasting just over 2 minutes, which summarises the IWMW 2013 event, which will be held at the University of Bath on 26-28 June. The video clip is available on YouTube and is embedded below. I should add that the questions were asked by Kirsty Pitkin and the video was taken by Rich Pitkin, who also edited the video. Kirsty and Rich are running a session on Creating a Multimedia CV or Project Summary at the IWMW 2013 event, so if you would like a brief video made about yourself or some aspect of your work, feel free to sign up for the session! Remember that the 3-day event costs only £350, which includes 2 nights’ accommodation.


View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy] | View Twitter statistics from: [TweetReach] – [Bit.ly]

Posted in Events | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Students Complain of ‘poor value’ Courses! How Should we Respond?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 15 May 2013

Students Complain of ‘poor value’ Courses

@Students complain' item on BBC NewsEarlier this morning I came across a news item on the BBC News which summarised a report commissioned by Which and the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) on how “Students complain of ‘poor value for money’ courses“.

The opening paragraph provided a blunt summary:

Almost one in three first year students at UK universities say their courses are not good value, suggests a study.

The report was based on a large-scale survey of over 17,000 students, with 29% feeling that their courses were not good value for money, compared with only 16% when the study was carried out in 2006 (when the fees were only £1,oo0 per year).

What Is To Be Done?

What is to be done? The government response focussed on the presentational aspects:

A spokesman for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills agreed that “people must be able to make informed decisions about what and where to study.

“Institutions should explain to prospective students how their course will be delivered in order to help them make the right decisions.”

Yes, it seems the official response is to provide prospective students with a combination of factual information about the courses together with feedback from student satisfaction surveys. The good universities will, it seems, appeal to prospective students but those with poor rating will, presumably, simply fade away. This is how the market economy is now being applied to the higher education sector!

The Importance of the Online and Networked Environment

Other Relevant Factors Besides Contact Time

The news items focuses on a single aspect of the student experience, face-to-face contact time: “Students who received less contact time with tutors in the form of lectures, seminars and tutorials were three times more likely to say they did not think their course was value for money“.

I wonder, though, whether this emphasis is based on the experiences of those who commissioned the report and interpretted the findings. Looking at the Executive Summary of the report (PDF format) I can find no mention of the IT infrastructure which is used to enrich student learning experiences. Perhaps an awareness of the importance of e-learning was not appreciated by those who commissioned this report. And perhaps the student discontent isn’t primarily due to the changes in face-to-face contact time (perhaps students are happy to be able to develop their skills in using IT) but is based on other factors – such as the increase in student fees from £1,000 to £9.000 per annum!

Improving the Online and Networked Environment

The Institutional Web Management Workshop series, IWMW, was launched in 1997 to provide an environment for those with responsibilities for managing large-scale institutional Web services to share best practices and to develop their services in light of, initially, the rapidly changing technical environment and, over the past few years, the changing political and economic environment. This year’s event, IWMW 2013, will be held at the University of Bath on 26-28 June. The theme of this year’s event, “What next?” was chosen to provide an opportunity to hear about how institutions are responding to these uncertain times:

There are the ‘known knowns’ (such as, for example, the student fees which are now being levied and the growth in use of mobile devices), the ‘known unknowns’ (the implications of the increases in student fees and the implications of the patent wars taking place between vendors of mobile devices) and the ‘unknown unknowns’ which, by definition, are difficult to illustrate!

It would therefore be timely to summarise how the sector is making use of the online and networked environment in order to enhance the student experience and other key institutional activities.

Marketing and Communications

The news item emphasises the importance of student awareness of the University environment. I would agree that this is important. This is a reason why we invited Tim Kaner, Director of Marketing & Communications at the University of Bath to give a plenary talk on “Marketing 2.0” at the event. Another angle on such issues will be given by Dai Griffiths, Professor at the Institute for Educational Cybernetics at the University of Bolton. In his talk on “The University in a Bind” Professor Griffiths will describe how Universities are finding themselves subject to increasing financial, regulatory and marketplace pressures which are pushing them in a number of different directions. Consequently institutions are constrained in their ability to adapt or reinvent their identity. Dai will explore these contradictions at multiple levels and discusses the practical implications for the future of universities, and particularly for those with the profile of the Million+ Group.

At the IWMW 2012 event, held at the University of Edinburgh, Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Robert Gordon University gave a controversial talk in which he asked “Do Universities Really Understand the Internet?“. In the talk Professor von Prondzynski argued that many University home pages were dull and unappealing to potential students, and even went on to name and shame a number of guilty institutions (a video recording of the talk is available for those who would like to find out more!). This talk generated much discussion, with an acknowledgement by some of the truth of these remarks, but the defence being that senior managers and conservative policy groups were responsible for barriers to the development of more engaging institutional Web sites. At this year’s event Paul Boag, co-founder of the digital agency Headscape, will be developing this discussion in a talk entitled “Institutional Culture Is Crippling Your Web Strategy!“. As described in the abstract:

Most internal web teams in higher education agree their web strategy is being held back by the culture and organisation of the institution. Internal politics, devolved leadership and committee structures are incompatible with the fast moving nature of the web.

Unfortunately most web teams feel unable to bring about change. They feel like a small cog in a very big machine. In this talk Paul will challenge those pre-conceptions and point out that if you don’t change things nobody else will.

In another provocative talk, Ranjit Sidhu, founder of statistics into Decisions (SiD) will reflect on “9am, 16th August, 2012: ‘What the fcuk just happened then?‘”. The talk describes how universities around the country got a shock on the morning of 16th August 2012 when the A level results came out. “The education market in the UK had significantly changed in nature and purpose” argues Ranjit, and he will explain the important of the Web in this changed environment.

It should be noted that the IWMW 2013 event isn’t just a series of plenary talks: amongst approximately 20 parallel workshop sessions there will be one on “Institutional Use of Social Media Services” which will provide an opportunity for Web managers to discuss how social media can be used to engage with students, share best practices and address the challenges posed by use of the Web as a communications channel.

The Changing Learning Environment

Beyond use of online technologies to enhance institutional marketing and communications activities and the need for appropriate institutional strategies to support their use, other talks at the IWMW 2013 will address developments which are particularly relevant for the learning experience.

In the opening plenary talk on “Open Education: The Business & Policy Case for OER” Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons will provide examples where institution, provinces / states and nations have built effective business cases for OERs (Open Educational Resources). He will explore how to build effective teams for institution / system-wide OER projects in a way that both builds high quality OER and takes institutions through the cultural shift to open.

In a talk entitled “Et tu MOOC? Massive Online Considerations” Kyriaki Anagnostopoulou, Head of e-Learning at the University of Bath, will explore some of the opportunities and challenges MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) pose to educational institutions wanting to partake in such developments.

What Else?

I have highlighted five of the 13 plenary talks which will be given at IWMW 2013 and one of the 19 parallel sessions. Beyond the talks related to teaching and learning there are talks on use of the Web to support and enhance research activitiesthe User Experiencethe Changing Technical Landscape and What Does the Future Hold?

The event costs just £350 which includes two night’s accommodation, lunch and a conference dinner and a wine reception at the Roman Baths. Bookings are open. I hope to see you in Bath next month where you can learn how to respond to accusations that higher education is failing to provide value for money!


View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy] | View Twitter statistics from: [TweetReach] – [Bit.ly]

Posted in Events | 1 Comment »

IWMW 2013: Open For Booking

Posted by Brian Kelly on 16 April 2013

IWMW 2013

IWMW 2013 programme

IWMW 2013 programme

Bookings are now open for this year’s Institutional Web Management Workshop, IWMW 2013. This year’s event takes place at the University of Bath on 26-28 June. Due to the number of submissions we received we decided to extend the programme so that this year will, I think, have the largest number of plenary talks in the 17 years the event has been running. In addition to the 13 plenary talks there are also 17 parallel workshop sessions each of which lasts for 90 minutes and provides an opportunity for delegates to address a particular topic in depth.

Since we appreciate the pressures which those who have responsibilities for providing institutional Web services face, this year we are providing opportunities for participants to enhance their skills and knowledge across a range of areas relevant for those who support online services.

Day 1, 26 June 2013

The opening session has the theme Opportunities and Openness. I’m pleased to announce that the opening talk will be given by Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons who will talk on Open Education: The Business & Policy Case for OER,

The theme of the new opportunities which can be provided by embracing open practices is further developed by Doug Belshaw, formerly of JISC infoNet and now working for the non-profit Mozilla Foundation who will talk about Mozilla, Open Badges and a Learning Standard for Web Literacy.

The importance of the Web in Supporting Key Institutional Drivers will be addressed in the session on the afternoon of the first day of the event. The need for people with a variety of skills in the provision, support and development of online services will underpin the talks on E tu MOOC? Massive Online Considerations by Kyriaki Anagnostopoulou, head of the e-leaning team at the University of Bath and Amber Thomas manages the academic technologies team at the University of Warwick who will describe how her team is Turning our Attention to Supporting Research.

Day 2, 27 June 2013

The second day of the event begins by hearing about The User Experience. Jonathan Hassell, lead author of the BS 8878, the British Web Accessibility Standard that help organisations to embed accessibility competence within their workforce, culture and business-as-usual processes will describe how those involved in providing institutional Web service should Stop Trying to Avoid Losing & Start Winning: How BS 8878 Reframes the Accessibility Question. This talk is followed by David Cornforth, Jisc infoNet who will describe his experience in Adapting to Responsive Web Design.

The Changing Technical Landscape is the focus of the next strand with Martin Hamilton, Head of Internet Services at Loughborough University, explaining the move to being “open by default” in what might be described as The Inside-Out University. My colleague Paul Walk, in a talk entitled Working With Developers, argues that “If institutional web managers are to stay on top of their game, they need to be able get the most out of the software and systems they rely on” and to do this there is a need “to learn how to work well with the developers who build and maintain them“.

Judging by the titles of the talks in the session on The View From Outside the two speakers from commercial companies are likely to stimulate lively discussion and debate. Ranjit Sidhu, founder of Statistics into Decisions, will ask 9am, 16th August, 2012: “What the fcuk just happened then?”. This is followed by Paul Boag, co-founder of Headscape who feels that Institutional Culture Is Crippling Your Web Strategy!

After this busy day, delegates will have the opportunity to unwind at the wine reception which will be held at the Roman Baths.

Day 3, 28 June 2013

The final day begins with two Institutional Case Studies. Tim Kaner, Director of Marketing & Communications at the University of Bath, will discuss the implications of a changing marketing model for HE institutions and reflect on the challenges and opportunities ahead in a talk entitled Marketing 2.0. Dai Griffiths, Professor at the Institute for Educational Cybernetics, University of Bolton, in a talk on The University in a Bind, will argue that as Universities are finding themselves subject to increasing financial, regulatory and marketplace pressures which are pushing them in a number of different directions, institutions are constrained in their ability to adapt or reinvent their identity. Dai will explore these contradictions at multiple levels, and discuss the practical implications for the future of universities.

Finally in a session which asks What Does The Future Hold? Neil Denny will describe The Delicious Discomfort Of Not Knowing: How to Lead Effectively Through Uncertainty. The abstract for this talk describes how:

These are times of rampant uncertainty heralded by technological, financial and social pressures. Occupying such a space can feel disorientating. We might be bewildered, afraid, excited or overwhelmed. What will it take to enable you to continue to move forward when you are no longer even sure which way you are facing?

This talk will be followed by the Conclusions from IWMW 2013, which will reflect on the issues raised during the 3 days and explore ways in which the institutional Web management community can develop in the future. Uncertain times, certainly, but also times of new opportunities.

I hope to see you in Bath in June. The three-day event costs only £360 which includes two nights’ accommodation. Can you afford to miss it?


View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy] | View Twitter statistics from: [TweetReach] – [Bit.ly]

Posted in Events | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Reflections on the UKSG 2013 Conference (#uksglive)

Posted by Brian Kelly on 11 April 2013

About the #uksglive Conference

I’m now back from an enjoyable and informative 3 days in Bournemouth where I attended the UKSG 2013 conference. I have spoken at this annual conference organised by the UK Serials Group on two previous occasions: in 2005 I ran a briefing session on “Providing And Using News Feeds: How RSS Can Help” and in 2001 I gave a talk on The Latest Web Developments both of which took place at Heriot-Watt University.

funfairThis year’s event, the 36th in the series, was the largest, attracting over 900 participants. I’d like to give my thanks to Ross MacIntyre, Karen Sadler, Alison Whitehorn and colleagues for successfully rising to the challenge of providing a programme of plenary talks, breakout sessions, lightning talks and various other meetings, as well as ensuring that the participants’ social needs were also addressed – and yes, there really was a funfair inside the conference venue!

In addition to successful organising such a large event I should also say how pleasing it was to see the speakers’ slides and video recording of the talks being uploaded to Slideshare and YouTube within about 24 hours of the talks being delivered. At the time of writing there are over 50 slides from talks given at the conference available on Slideshare and 25 videos available on YouTube.

Conference Highlights

For me the highlights were:

  • Phil Sykes opening keynote talk on “Open Access Gets Tough” – see video and slides.
  • Jenny Delasalle’s talk on “Research Evaluation: Why is it Relevant to Librarians?” – see video and slides.
  • Laurel Haak’s talk on “Connecting Research and Researchers: ORCID” – see video and slides.
  • Lynn Silipigni Connaway’s talk on “The new digital students, or, “I don’t think I have ever picked up a book out of the library to do any research — all I have used is my computer”” – see video and slides.
  • Joshua James Harding’s talk on “The student-information relationship:>a perspective of its evolution” – see video and slides.
  • The breakout session on “Altmetrics: Understanding New Ways to Measure Academic Impact using the Web” – see video and slides by Mark Taylor and Paul Groth.

I should add that I left early on the third day and so did not attend any of the sessions. However from the feedback on Twitter (using the #uksglive event hashtag) it seems that I should watch the video of the talk on “The Twenty-year Butterflies: Which Web Cookies Have Stuck to the Internet’s Pan? as this plenary talk on the final morning was highly regarded.

The altmetrics Breakout Session

Storify summary of UKSG summary altmetrics sessionThe altmetrics breakout session (which was held on Monday and repeated the following day) was the one most closely aligned with my interests. But in addition to the content delivered by the speakers (i.e. the slides on “altmetrics and the Publisher” and “altmetrics: What Are They Good For?“) I was also interested in the reactions to the points made and the people in the audience who had similar interests.

Since access to a free WiFi network was available at the conference and large numbers of people had a mobile device I was able to engage in see the thoughts and comments made during the session. Since the session was of particular interest to me I have curated the tweets using Storify, since I am sure that this will be of interest to others besides myself.

It was pleasing to note that the two session speakers both encouraged tweets at the start of the session (this, incidentally, provided a useful bookmark which helped me identify the start of the tweets associated with the session). Some of the comments which summarised points beiung made by the speakers included:

In addition we saw some examples of those on Twitter responding to questions such as:Twitter

for which the following response was given:

Thoughts on Best Practices for Event Amplification

Although the event appeared to be a successful for the 950 participants, no longer need the talks and associated resources given at such conferences be restricted to the live audience. The event organisers did a great job in ensuring that video recordings of many of the talks were made publicly available, together with their slides. I’ve some suggestions on how this might be enhanced for next year’s event. But responsibilities for enhancing the sharing of ideas presented at conferences is not solely the remit of event organisers. Here are some suggestions for ways in which speakers and participants as well as event organisers can enhance the amplification of talks at events

Slideshare use for uksg2013For large events with parallel sessions, provide a session Twitter hashtag which can be useful in diffentiating tweets posted about parallel sessions (I’ve used the format #A1 to #A9 and #B1 to #B9 for the two parallel sessions for events I have organised (this should be included together with the main event hashtag).

Participants at sessions, especially parallel sessions, can help to signify their interest in an area by simply tweeting that they are attending the session (e.g. Here we go: Mike Taylor from Elsevier Labs on #altmetrics#uksglive)

The subsequent cuartion of tweets from a session can be carried out by participants who have a particular interest in the session (as I did for the altmetrics session).

The archive of slides and videos on services such as Slideshare and YouTube needs to be carefully labelled to ensure that others can easily correctly find and reuse appropriate resources.

Slides and videos should be tagged so they can be referenced as a collection of event-related resources. Note that although the #uksglive hashtag was used on Twitter (to avoid a clash with another event which was using the #uksg13 tag) the resources held on YouTube and Slideshare should include the year in any tag so they can be distinguished from resources from other years.

Note in order to illustrate how curated resources from a conference can be reused, the slides and video recording from the session on “Altmetrics: Understanding New Ways to Measure Academic Impact using the Web” are given below.


View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy] | View Twitter statistics from: [TweetReach] – [Bit.ly]

Posted in Events | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Announcing IWMW 2013

Posted by Brian Kelly on 28 November 2012

I’m pleased to announce that next year’s Institutional Web Management Workshop, IWMW 2013, will be held at the University of Bath on 26-28 June 2013.

The Roman Baths. From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Baths_(Bath)

The annual IWMW event has taken place in Bath previously: IWMW 2000 and IWMW 2006. We know that participants welcome the opportunity to visit our beautiful city, which has been a World Heritage Site since 1987. The combination of Georgian architecture and Roman remains make Bath a city well-worth revisiting. We have already booked the Roman Baths for the IWMW 2013 reception which promises to provide a memorable occasion for all participants.

The theme of IWMW 2013 is “What next?“. This will provide participants with an opportunity to consider the challenges facing the higher education sector in light of the economic downturn, and also the opportunities provided by the continuing technical developments we see in our online networked environment. The final session at the event will provide an opportunity to reflect on the challenges which lie ahead and strategies for addressing those challenges.

The call for submissions is now open. We welcome proposals for plenary talks, workshop sessions and other ideas you may have (for example, it might be timely to revisit the debates which took place in 2002, 2003 and 2006).

If you are unfamiliar with the IWMW event and the format, it would be useful to visit the IWMW 2012 Web site to see the timetable and view the abstracts for the plenary talks and workshop sessions.

If you would like to discuss ideas for a proposal, feel free to contact me, the IWMW 2013 chair. In addition I would welcome the opportunity to make contact with potential sponsors for the event.


View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy]

Posted in Events | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Disappearing Conference Web Sites: Learning From the EUNIS Experience

Posted by Brian Kelly on 27 November 2012

EUNIS Conference Resources

Back in June 2005 I presented peer-reviewed papers on Let’s Free IT Support Materials!, IT Services – Help Or Hindrance To National IT Development Programmes? and Using Networked Technologies to Support Conferences. I also, I’ve just noticed, facilitated a half-day workshop session on Supporting Technology-Facilitated Learning In The Conference Environment – this was, I think, the first time I gave a workshop on what subsequently became better known as ‘amplified events’.

But what of the context of this work? The papers were presented at the EUNIS 2005 conference, with the workshop being one of several pre-conference sessions. The conference was held at the EUNIS 2005 conference at the University of Manchester on 20-25 June 2005. But recently I noticed that the conference Web site, which was hosted at http://www.mc.manchester.ac.uk/eunis2005/, was no longer available.

Does this matter? The conference, which is organised annually by the European University Information Systems Organization, took place over 7 years ago. Might it not be argued that the sharing of best practices and innovation across IT support services departments across Europe does not need a record of best practices dating back to the mid 1990s?

EUNIS does provide information about its previous conferences, as illustrated. This shows that conferences were held in Düsseldorf in 1995 and Manchester in 1996. However the EUNIS 1997 conference, held in Grenoble, is the oldest EUNIS event for which Web resources are still available.

From the list of papers presented at EUNIS 1997 (which is hosted on the main EUNIS Web site) I discovered a paper on Information Services – the Convergence Agenda by M Clark, IT Services Director at the University of Salford, about mergers at Salford University.

The other papers with authors from UK institutions were Preservation of the Electronic Assets of a University by Alex Reid, University of Oxford; “Applying Risk Analysis Methods to University Systems” by W R Chisnall, University of Manchester; Managing Information for Management by John Townsend, Edge Hill University College and Information Strategy – a Tool for Institutional Change by Andrew Rothery, Worcester College of Higher Education and Ann Hughes, University of Nottingham.

Ironically all of these papers have some relevance to the disappearance of the EUNIS 2005 Web site. The conference took place shortly after a merger of the University of Manchester and UMIST, which led to the integration of the IT Service departments from both of these institutions, with subsequent changes in staffing, departmental names and responsibilities. It seems that Manchester Computing no longer exists, with the http://www.mc.manchester.ac.uk/ URL now being redirected to Research Computing at http://www.rcs.manchester.ac.uk/

It would appear that there is still a need for the sector to be able to develop strategic responses and use of risk analysis methods to held ensure the preservation of digital resources arising from mergers. It would seem that all of the papers from the EUNIS 1997 conference still have some relevance!

Preserving Conference Resources

If, as had been suggested, old conference Web sites have value, how should one respond to the disappearance of sites such as the EUNIS 2005 Web site?

For me the first port of call is the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. It seems that the EUNIS 2005 Web site has been crawled 52 times, going all the way back to November 19, 2004.

The earliest archive contains a record of the call for papers and therefore does not contain any of the papers. It is therefore the latest archive, which was carried out on 5 May 2008, which should be of the most relevance. However in order to ensure that this archive contained relevant information I ensured that it contained a copy of the final programme. As illustrated, the final programme is available in the archive, but I noticed that this page had been archived on 8 October 2007; there had been 14 captures of this paper between 3 March 2006 and 8 October 2007.

I also found that my papers on Using Networked Technologies To Support ConferencesLet’s Free IT Support Materials! and IT Services – Help Or Hindrance To National IT Development Programmes? were also available in the archive. It was interesting to note that the archive included the PDF versions of the papers as well as the HTML resources for the conference Web site.

The Internet Archive appears to have been successful in keeping a copy of the key resources on the conference Web site. However when I followed a link to “Photographs from the Conference: (registration staffsessionsconference dinner)” I found that the archive appeared to simply contain a copy of an error message, as shown below.

This may have been a failing by the Internet Archive’s software but, looking at the path name, I suspect the crawler simply captured an error message generated by the EUNIS 2005 Web server software.

Next Steps

When I noticed that the EUNIS 2005 Web site had vanished I informed the EUNIS organisers and suggested that they may wish to provide a link to the Internet Archive’s copy. This has now been done. I have also updated the links to the conference Web site from my list of papers and presentations.

There are clearly operational decisions which need to be take in order to minimise the risk of loss of content (and context) when intellectual content is deposited on conference Web sites. But what are the implications as we look to the future? For my content, I had previously ensured that the papers were deposited in the University of Bath repository so, for me, it was the loss of context which had the greatest significance. But what is likely to be the more sustainable resource in the future: the conference Web site hosted on an established, viable and trusted University Web site or the Internet Archive? I can’t help but feel that I should be looking to ensure that the Internet Archive contains a working copy of content currently hosted on areas of institutional Web sites which may not be sustained in light of policy or organisational changes. And what of EUNIS? Might they find it useful to provide links to the copies of previous EUNIS conferences held on Internet Archive, in addition to the existing conference Web sites?


View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy]

Posted in Events, preservation | 3 Comments »

Reflections on Event Amplification and the #SOLO12 Conference

Posted by Brian Kelly on 14 November 2012

About the #SOLO12 Conference

On Monday evening I returned home, tired but feeling exhilarated after a great #SOLO12 (Spot On 2012) conference. This two-day conference, formerly known as Science Online, is part of “a series of community events for the discussion of how science is carried out and communicated online“. After the two opening plenary talks delegates could then attend one of three parallel sessions covering (1) science communication and outreach; (2) online tools and digital publishing or (3) science policy. In total there were 27 parallel sessions, with participants being able to attend up to 9 sessions, in any of the three tracks.

In reality we could also eavesdrop on sessions we weren’t attending as participants made extensive use of Twitter over the two days which helped the participants renew old connections, establish new ones, share resources and engage in discussions. I have been informed that there are were 6,900 distinct tweets for the event (and over 10,000 if you include retweets). The conference organisers will shortly be providing access to the archive of tweets, together with a range of visualisations.

Since I have an interest in archiving and analysis of tweets, especially at events, I made use of a couple of freely available tools in order to illustrate approaches which others may find useful.

I set up an Epilogger archive of the conference tweets on the afternoon of the second day of the conference and therefore this does not provide complete coverage. However, as shown below, that there have been 1,977 tweets to date posted using one of the ~28 conference hashtags (the #solo12 hashtags was for the conference in general, with separate hashtags, such as #solo12open, being used for the parallel sessions.

Epilogger statistics for Twitter usage at the Spot On 12 conference (10-14 Nov 2012)

It should be noted I set up the Epilogger archive halfway though the conference after realising that it could be used to provided an aggregation of the session hashtags. This was a feature of Epilogger I was previously unaware of. The service is one I would recommend to others, particularly if they wish to make use of multiple hashtags at an event.

Using Social Media at Conferences and Other Events (#solo12SMC)

Background

In addition to participating in the workshop sessions, Tony Hirst (@psychemedia) and myself facilitated a session on Using Social Media at Conferences and Other Events: Backchannel, Amplification, Remote Participation and Legacy.

This was a very relevant topic for Tony and I to facilitate: back in 2005 I was the lead author of a paper on “Using Networked Technologies to Support Conferences” which described approaches to exploiting what later became known as ‘Amplified conferences’ – and after Lorcan Dempsey coined this phrase I set up the corresponding Wikipedia entry. Since 2005 UKOLN’s annual IWMW (Institutional Web Management Workshop) has been amplified, through video-streaming of plenary talks and support for discussions, initially using IRC and later Twitter. Our experiences in providing amplified events, and advising others on best practices, led to joint work with ILRT, University of Bristol for the JISC-funded Greening Events II project. Our key deliverable (illustrated) was the Greening Events II: Event Amplification Report (available in PDF and MS Word formats). The report, which provided case studies from a number of amplified events organised by UKOLN, was written by Kirsty Pitkin, who runs the Event Amplifier blog, together with Paul Shabajee, ILRT, University of Bristol.

Tony Hirst has been active in analysing and visualising Twitter discussions on events, as well as providing broader observations on the relevance of technologies to support events, which he has described on his OUseful blog. This has included posts on So What Do Simple Hashtag Community Visualisations Tell Us?Structural Differences in Hashtag Communities: Highly Interconnected or Not?Small World? A Snapshot of How My Twitter “Friends” Follow Each Other…, Visualising Twitter User Timeline Activity in RBlogging Academic LecturesTwitter Powered Subtitles for Conference Audio/Videos on Youtube and Searching the Backchannel – Martin Bean, OU VC, Twitter Captioned at JISC10.

Reflections on the Session

I had produced some slides and uploaded them to Slideshare in advance of the workshop but, since the conference organisers had asked the workshop facilitators to keep the presentations to a minimum, I didn’t make significant use of the slides. Instead I asked the participants to address the questions “What is an Event?“, “What are the main purposes of an event?” and “How can technologies enhance these purposes?“.

As the session was being live-streamed we were able to engage a remote audience in these discussions. And since there was a local and remote audience we encouraged people to ensure that discussions taking place in the room were also shared on Twitter.

I had previously set up an Epilogger archive for the #solo12smc tweets. The service reports that there were 384 tweets, with 80 links and 4 photographs shared. In addition to the Epilogger archive, as a backup I also created a Twubs archive. Shortly after the workshop was over I manually curated the tweets using Storify. I also manually curated the tweets using Chirpstory in order to be able to compare these two manual curation Twitter tools.

Reading the archive of the tweets posted during the session was very valuable in being able to have a broader view of the discussions than was possible through participation in the smaller discussion groups. The resource is also useful not just for the workshop participants but also others with an interest in the evolving best practices for the provision of amplified events.

I will therefore summarise some of the key points made in the Twitter discussion and give my thoughts.

Key Points

At the start of the workshop Tony Hirst tweeted “If you’re in the #solo12smc session, please send a tweet using the tag.” There was a purpose for this request: to provide an identifier (the Twitter user’s ID) which, used in conjunction with the session hashtag, will enable Twitter analysis tools to identify those who participated. It should be added that such ‘checking in’ will also be helpful for others who see the tweet as this can be useful in building new connections or restablishing existing ones (along the lines of “Are you in the same room? We’ve only met on Twuitter – fancy coffee later?“).

I have found that having people summarised what I have said can provide useful insights which may not have occurred to me previously. I therefore found the following observation from @nailest useful:

@BrianKelly in #solo12smc trying to get away from idea of “one to many” plenary talk and get us all sharing opinions & expertise. 

It was also useful to get feedback on the decision to move away from the planned structure for the session and let the participants help set the agenda:

“I had planned a structure but decided to throw it away” Yay!! #solo12smc

I then asked people to describe why they were attending the session and what they hoped to gain. The responses included:

#solo12smc here to find out how to optimise @SfAMtweets effectiveness online at conferences – how to get critical mass “talking”

In the #solo12smc session to find out how to boost the SM activities of @britsciassociat and it’s various events and programmes

#solo12SMC Social media use creates a parallel, virtual conference which frees content to the world. How do you measure conference impact?

Why are we at #solo12SMC ? I want to understand best practice to help when planning/attending future conferences #solo12

I find it interesting why some conference have a lot of twitter activity and others none. I wonder why this is. #solo12SMC
As an occasional conference organiser, I’d like to know how to maximise social media use and my responsibilities re archiving. #solo12smc

We also received comments from remote participants:

Watching @briankelly talk about soc media and conferences at #solo12SMC http://t.co/H8P5ezqF ‘Tis lovely to feel involved from my bathroom.

which led to some discussion in the room which was relayed to Twitter:

Are people who listen to events on twitter freeloading by virtually lurking? #solo12SMC

A number of other concerns about event amplification were raised:

#solo12SMC Is using twitter at conferences more alienating than helpful? Not everyone has a device to tweet from!

If you have gone to the trouble to get everyone in one place at one time, they should talk to each other, not tweet in isolation #solo12SMC

I have to admit that since I was the session facilitator, I was not able to engage with this Twitter discussion at the time. The use of Twitter seems to provide a higher bandwidth at such events, in which discussions would normally have to be mediated by the facilitator or speaker. An advantage of having an archive of tweets, rather than regarding tweets as disposal and not to be viewed after they have been posted, is being able to see the issues raised, reflect on them and respond to them.

Responding to the Issues

The amplified event ‘free-loaders’

Are those who participate in amplified events ‘free-loaders’? Does the time and energy spent in setting up an amplified event environment detract from effort which could be spent in supporting the local audience, especially if the local participants have had to pay to attend? This topic was addressed earlier this year in a post entitled Streaming of IWMW 2012 Plenary Talks – But Who Pays?

The post gave an example of how one former attendee at IWMW events was unable to attend last year’s event as she was away on maternity leave. However since a live video stream was available she was able to keep up-to-date with developments and engage in discussions on Twitter whilst, as shown, still holding her baby. Rather than free-loading, this provides an example of how amplification of an event can help members of the community to maintain their links with the community. This example was for someone on maternity leave, but it could equally apply for those may may be too ill to attend or even those who do not have the finances to pay the event fee or the associated travel

Equality of access?

Is using Twitter at conferences more alienating than helpful, since not everyone has a device to tweet from? I suspect this may have been a rhetorical response to my request for examples of possible barriers to event amplification. Should we ban people using laptops at conferences as not everyone will have a laptop?

Lack of Engagement?

A more relevant concern relates to the dangers that participants at an event will fail to engage with others if they spend their time looking at the screen of the mobile devices. This issue was commented on by @MCeeP in his Notes on my brief time at SpotOn 12:

At one sessions (Assessing social media impact) I was standing right at the back, because it was so popular, and I could see the entire audience (and their many screens) throughout. At a conservative estimate I would say that around 75% of the audience were simultaneously tweeting/facebooking and at one point 2/3 of the presenters were tweeting as well! Now I am all for social interaction and communication but I did think that it was a little bizarre, presenting anything to a room full of people staring at screens is not the best experience and I am not convinced that they were all discussing/live tweeting the actual talk.

As can be seen from the accompanying photograph (taken from a IWMW event), this does provide an accurate description of technology-focussed events which take place in the sector.

This was a topic addressed in a recent post on Sharing (or Over-Sharing?) at #ILI2012 under the heading Does Sharing on Mobile Devices Hinder Real World Discussions? The sentiment expressed in the comments reflects my feelings – tweeting at events can help develop and strengthen connections. And just because people are looking at their screens or typing comments doesn’t mean they aren’t concentrating.

Perhaps the differing views simply reflect differences in our personal styles of working. I’ve expressed my thoughts in this post. However I’d be very interested in the opinions of others, as such feedback may help shape the plans for future Spot On events.

NOTE: Shortly after publishing this post I noticed that a video-recording of the session has been published on the Spot On 2012 Conference Web site. The video is also available on YouTube and is embedded below.


View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy]

Posted in Events, Twitter | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Using Social Media at Conferences and Other Events: Backchannel, Amplification, Remote Participation and Legacy

Posted by Brian Kelly on 9 November 2012

The #solo12SMC at the SpotOn London (SOLO) Conference

On Monday 12 November 2012 Tony Hirst and myself are facilitating an hour-long session on “Using Social Media at Conferences and Other Events: Backchannel, Amplification, Remote Participation and Legacy” at the SpotOn 2012 London conference (formerly known as Science Online London).

The guidelines for session organisers encourage “community-led discussion sessions. The aim of these sessions is to create an engaging forum for open and dynamic conversation“. We are also encouraged to blog about the session in advance, encourage use of the session hashtag (#solo12SMC) to make it easier to create an archive of the discussions using tools such as Storify as well as exploring ways of crowd-sourcing ideas and sharing of relevant resources.

We has also been asked to avoid use of PowerPoint in order to maximise the contributions form the participants. However since our session is about event amplification we may have the need to have an online resource which describes the session, the structure and the objectives available for a remote audience to access.

“The notepad is a silo”

The workshop session is very timely since it follows on from a talk I gave at the University of Dundee on Wednesday on “Being a ‘connected educator': the Role of Social Media in Facilitating Collaboration and Enhancing Impact“.

During the talk I encouraged participants to make use of the seminar’s hashtag and suggested that “the notepad is a silo“. After the event I used Storify to keep a record of the tweets posted about the talk. As can be seen this suggestion resonated for a couple of the participants at least.

After I had given the talk I had a number of useful conversations. Normally this would result in an exchange of business cards but (dare I admit this?) shortly after the event I would have forgotten the details of such chats. Nowadays, however, rather than exchanging business cards after talking to people with similar interests I tend to follow them on Twitter, so our discussions can continue in an lightweight fashion. For example, when I arrived at Edinburgh airport on my way home I noticed the tweet:

would you mind reminding me the title of the London conference you mentioned earlier at #inspired12? :)

and was able to give the response:

@nlafferty @AnnalisaManca @notanna1 It’s the Future of Academic Impacts conference -blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsoc… #inspired12

Email, I feel, would have felt too heavy-weight for asking such questions.

Amplification of WWW 2003

My first experience of what we now refer to as ‘event amplification’ occurred at the WWW 2003 conference. As described in an article entitled ‘Hot’ or Not? Welcome to real-time peer review written by Paul Shabajee, ILRT, University of Bristol we saw an example of how the experience at a research conference was enhanced by what Paul referred to as ‘real-time peer-reviewing’. The article highlighted some of the concerns the audience may have when experiencing use of networked technologies at a conference:

about 10 per cent of the audience had laptops – one person was heard to say that the noise of tapping keyboards drowned the speaker out at the back of the room. … it can be very distracting having someone typing quickly and reading beside you, rather than watching the speaker

 and concerns for the speaker:

It is probable that the speakers will find it hardest to adjust. It may be disconcerting to know that members of your audience are, as you speak, using the web to look at your CV, past work and checking any data that seems a bit dubious

But Paul concluded on an optimistic note (emphasis added):

The added possibilities for collective learning and analysis, comprehensive notes with insights and links, often far more extensive than the speaker might have, are advantages previously unimaginable.

Perhaps the richest potential lies in the interaction between members of the audience, particularly if you believe that learning and the generation of knowledge are active, engaging and social processes.

Paul’s article showed great insight. I felt, into ways in which the amplification of events would start to transform conferences.

Plans for our #soloSMC Session

Tony and I plans for the session are based on the following structure:

  • Exploring what is meant by an ‘event’ and what the purposes of an ‘event’ are.
  • Discussing how technologies can enhance the purposes.
  • Understanding how data analysis can provide a richer understanding of the effectiveness of use of technologies.
  • Discussing potential barriers to the provision of amplified events and how such barriers can be addressed.

However since we wish the session to be responsive to the interests of the participants, we may not follow this plan! But in order to make the most effective use of the sixty minutes we have for the session we’ll be inviting participants to summary their interest in the session and what they hope to gain from the session on the Google Document which has been created (with the URL http://bit.ly/solo12SMC-notes). Since the workshop itself will be amplified we welcome comments from people who may not be physically present.

Posted in Events | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Understanding the Limits of Altmetrics: Slideshare Statistics

Posted by Brian Kelly on 8 November 2012

About AltMetrics

Cricketers like statistics, as we know from the long-standing popularity of Wisden, the cricketing almanack which was first published in 1854. Researchers have similar interests with, in many cases, their profession reputation being strongly influenced by statistics. For researchers the importance of citation data is now being complemented by a new range of metrics which are felt to be more relevant to today’s fat-moving digital environment, which are know as altmetrics. The altmetrics manifesto explains how:

Peer-review has served scholarship well, but is beginning to show its age. It is slow, encourages conventionality, and fails to hold reviewers accountable. 

and goes on to describe how:

Altmetrics expand our view of what impact looks like, but also of what’s making the impact. 

However the manifesto concludes with a note of caution:

Researchers must ask if altmetrics really reflect impact, or just empty buzz. Work should correlate between altmetrics and existing measures, predict citations from altmetrics, and compare altmetrics with expert evaluation. Application designers should continue to build systems to display altmetrics,  develop methods to detect and repair gaming, and create metrics for use and reuse of data. Ultimately, our tools should use the rich semantic data from altmetrics to ask “how and why?” as well as “how many?”

Altmetrics are in their early stages; many questions are unanswered. But given the crisis facing existing filters and the rapid evolution of scholarly communication, the speed, richness, and breadth of altmetrics make them worth investing in.

As I described in a post on “What Can Web Accessibility Metrics Learn From Alt.Metrics?” there can be a danger in uncritical acceptance of metrics. I therefore welcome this recognition of the need to explore the approaches which are currently being developed. In particular I am looking forward to the sessions on Altmetrics beyond the Numbers and Assessing social media impact which will be held at the Spot On London 2012 conference to be held in London on 11-12 November.  In a blog post entitled Altmetrics everywhere – but what are we missing? #solo12impact Alan Cann touches on the strengths and weaknesses of some of the well-known social analytics tools:

It astounds me that Klout continues to attract so much attention when it has been so thoroughly discredited – Gink is a more useful tool in my opinion ;-)

The best of this bunch is probably Kred, which at least has a transparent public algorithm. In reality, the only tool in this class I use is CrowdBooster, which has a number of useful functions.

But beyond Twitter analytics, what of metrics associated with the delivery of talks about one’s research activities? This is an area of interest to the Altmetrics community as can be seen from the development of the Impactstory service which “aggregates altmetrics: diverse impacts from your articles, datasets, blog posts, and more“. As described in the FAQ:

The system aggregates impact data from many sources and displays it in a single report, which is given a permaurl for dissemination and can be updated any time.

The service is intended for:

  • researchers who want to know how many times their work has been downloaded, bookmarked, and blogged
  • research groups who want to look at the broad impact of their work and see what has demonstrated interest
  • funders who want to see what sort of impact they may be missing when only considering citations to papers
  • repositories who want to report on how their research artifacts are being discussed
  • all of us who believe that people should be rewarded when their work (no matter what the format) makes a positive impact (no matter what the venue). Aggregating evidence of impact will facilitate appropriate rewards, thereby encouraging additional openness of useful forms of research output.

In addition to analysis of published articles, datasets, Web sites and software the service also aggregates slides hosted on Slideshare.

Metrics for Slideshare

Metrics for Slide Usage at Events

In May 2011 a post entitled Evidence of Slideshare’s Impact summarised use of slides hosted on Slideshare for talks which have been presented at UKOLN’s IWMW events from IWMW 2006 to IWMW 2010.

A year later, following a tweet in which @MattMay asked “Why does everybody ask for slides during/after a presentation? What do you do with them? I’m genuinely curious” I published an updated post on Trends in Slideshare Views for IWMW Events. In the post I suggested the following reasons for why speakers and event organisers may wish to host slides on Slideshare:

  • To enable a remote audience to view slides for a presentation they may be watching on a live video stream, on an audio stream or even simply listening to the tweets (and a provide a slide number on the slides to make it easier for people tweeting to identify the slide being used.
  • To enable the slides to be viewed in conjunction with a video recording of the presentation.
  • To enable my slides to be embedded elsewhere, so that the content can be reused in a blog post or on a web page.
  • To enable the content of the slides to be reused, if it is felt to be useful to others. Note that I provide a Creative Commons licence for the text of my slide, try to provide links to screenshots and give the origin of images which I may have obtained from others.
  • To enable slides to be viewed easily on a mobile device.
  • To provide a commentable facility for the slides.
  • To enable my slides to be related, via tags, to related slideshows.

The usage statistics for talks given at IWMW events in order to demonstrate the interest and accessing such slides in order to encourage speakers and workshop facilitators to make their slides available.  But beyond the motivations for event organisers, what of the individual speaker?

Metrics for Individuals

My interest in metrics for Slideshare date back to December 2010 when I published a post which asked What’s the Value of Using Slideshare? In August 2010  Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) tweeted that:

Ironically there were 15 people in my audience for this Web 3.0 slideshow but >12,000 people have since viewed it http://bit.ly/cPfjjP

As can be seen, there have now been over 58,000 views of Steve’s slides on Web 3.0: The Way Forward?

In light of Steve’s experiences and the growing relevance of metrics for Slideshare suggested by the development of the Impactstory service, where a paper by myself, Martyn Cooper, David Sloan and Sarah Lewthwaite on “A Challenge to Web Accessibility Metrics and Guidelines: Putting People and Processes First” was accepted for the W4A 2012 conference earlier this year the co-authors agreed to ensure that our professional networks were made aware of the paper and the accompanying slides in order to maximise the numbers of downloads which, we hoped, would increase the numbers of citations in the future,  but also facilitate discussion around the ideas presented in the paper.

We monitored usage statistics for the slides and found that during the week of the conference there had been 1,391 views, compared with 3 and 351 views for other slides which used the #W4A2012 conference hashtag.  To date, as illustrated, there have been 7,603 views.

I used this example in a talk on Using Social Media to Promote ‘Good News’  which I gave at a one-day event organised by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) which took place at the same time as the W4A 2012 conference. I was therefore able to observe how interest in the slides developed, which included use of the Topsy service. This service highlighted the following tweets:

stcaccess STC AccessAbilitySIG Influential
Enjoyed “Challenge to Web Accessibility Metrics & Guidelines” slides from @sloandr & Co. http://t.co/XOoQNnlo #w4a12 #a11y #metrics
04/17/2012 Reply Retweet Favorite 7 similar tweets
nethermind Elle Waters
We need more of this = #W4A slides by @martyncooper @briankelly @sloandr @slewth – Learner analytics & #a11y metrics: http://t.co/GHHfhLcv
04/19/2012 Reply Retweet Favorite 2 similar tweets
crpdisabilities Bill Shackleton Influential
A Challenge to Web #Accessibility Metrics & Guidelines: Putting People & Processes First #A11y #Presentation http://t.co/fehzsbDR
04/16/2012 Reply Retweet Favorite 2 similar tweets

I’ve used this example to illustrate how analysis of use of Twitter at conferences can help to see how people are engaging with talks. In this example the Twitter IDs STCAccess and CRPDisabilities indicated that those working in accessibility were engaging without paper and spreading the ideas across their networks.

Do the Numbers Add Up?

In a series of talks given during Open Access 2012 week I described the importance of social media in raising the visibility of research papers, including papers hosted on institutional repositories. However when I examined the statistics in more detail I realised that the numbers didn’t add up. According to Slideshare there have been 2,881 views of the slides from the post on A Challenge to Web Accessibility Metrics and Guidelines: Enhancing Access to Slides in which they had been embedded.However, as shown, there have only been 472 views of the blog post itself. Strange!

I subsequently realised that a Slideshare view will be recorded when the post is accessed, even if the individual slides are not viewed. And since the blog post will continue to be shown on the blog’s home page (ukwebfocus.wordpress.com) until 30 subsequent posts have been published, each time someone visited the home page between the 19 April (when the post was published) and 5 July 2012 (30 posts later) this would have seemingly have registered as a view of the slides- even though most users will not have scrolled down and seen even the title slide!
What, then, do Slideshare usage statistics tell us? Clearly if the slides have been embedded in a blog they don’t tell us how many people have viewed the slides – although if slides are not embedded elsewhere or have been embedded in a static Web page they may provide more indicative statistics. If the slides have been embedded in blog posts or other curated environments this might give an indication of the popularity of the containing blog or similar environment. In Steve Wheeler’s case the popularity of his slides provide evidence of the popularity of Steve’s Learning with E’s’ blog, the Damn Digital Chinese language blog, the Building e-Capability blog and the Scoop.it and paper.li curation services – together with a spam farm.

Lies, Damned Lies and Altmetrics?

Where does this leave services such as Impactstory? Looking at the Impactstory findings for my resources I can see that the slides for on a paper on “Accessibility 2.0: People, Policies and Processes” seem to be the most highly-ranked, with 73 downloads and 2,989 views.

But how many of those views were views of the slides, rather than the containing resources? And how many views way have taken as the result of views from a spam farm?

I don’t have answers to these questions or the bigger question of “Will the value of Altmetrics be undermined by the complex ways in which resources may be reused, misused or the systems gamed?

This is a question I hope will be addressed at the Spot On London 2012 conference.


View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy]

Posted in Events, Evidence | Tagged: , , | 10 Comments »

Sharing (or Over-Sharing?) at #ILI2012

Posted by Brian Kelly on 2 November 2012

Sharing and Online Discussions at ILI 2012

On Tuesday and Wednesday I had a stimulating 2 days at ILI 2012, the Internet Librarian International conference. The 14th in the series got off to a great start with the invited plenary talk on “Stop Lending and Start Sharing” by R. David Lankes, Syracuse University School of Information Studies Director, Information Institute of Syracuse. Although David Lankes was not able to be physically present at the event due to ill health, his pre-recorded video, inm which he argued that the future of libraries is not in our collections or a building, but in our relationships with those we serve, provided a stimulating start to the conference.

David argued that librarians should start sharing. But to a great extent that call simply describes what many librarians who attended the ILI 2012 event are  already doing. It was possible to see the importance placed on such sharing activities at the event by looking at how the event’s hashtag, #ILI2012, was used to support sharing activities.

The Epilogger service currently shows that 106 photographs and 825 links were shared on the conference hashtag in over 4,000 links.

Another Twitter archiving and analysis service, Eventifier, provides similar statistics: the service informs us that to date there have been 100 photographs and 10 videos shared in 4,248 links provided by 548 contributors.

In addition to these two services Martin Hawksey’s TAGS (Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet) service and the accompanying TAGSExplorer tool also provide fascinating analyses of use of twitter at the event. The TAGS service tells us that there were 4,041 tweets containing 782 links, with @infointuitive and @AlisonMcNab posting the largest number of tweets by a significant margin: with 288 and 269 tweets respectively. The visualisation of the network connections provided by TAGSExplorer, together with the top conversationalists, is shown below.

It should also be noted that the TAGS search interface also enables the tweets posted by individuals to be examined. The example below shows all tweets posted by @infointuitive during the period of the ILI 2012 event.

 

I should also add that in addition to the discussions and sharing which took place on Twitter, additional sharing of resources was also provided by many of the speakers who made their slides available on Slideshare or provided links to their slides and related resources on the event’s Lanyrd page.

Does Sharing on Mobile Devices Hinder Real World Discussions?

But did too much sharing take place at the event? Were the ILI 2012 participants spending so much time on their mobile devices that they failed to talk to each other over coffee and at the lunch break?  A suggestion along these lines was made during the concluding session at ILI 2012 in which people were asked “What horrified you?”. Funnily enough I had made a similar, although tongue-in-cheek, suggestion when I tweeted the following which contained the accompanying photograph:

#ILi2012 – it’s all about meeting new people: http://ow.ly/i/14PvG 

I should add that I asked permission to publish the photograph, having explained that I wanted to make a joke about participants at the conference seemingly not being willing to talk to others, according to the evidence of the photograph.

In reality, I would argue that use of Twitter at conferences helps to develop new links and strengthen existing connections.  As an example, having noticed, via a tweet, that @MSPhelps (Bianca Kramer) had given “an impromptu presentation on @UniUtrechtLib Twitterbot at#ili2012 workshop” I put her in touch with Gary Green (@ggnewed), who was giving a talk on use of IFTTT:

@MsPhelps Have you met @ggnewed ? Your use of IFTTT seems similar to things Gary has been doing? 

They subsequently exchanged tweets and met.

I have also made use of Twitter whilst giving a presentation. During the talk on “What Does The Evidence Tell Us About Institutional Repositories?” given by myself and Jenny Delasalle I noticed, while Jenny was talking, a tweet from @archelina (Rachel P) which commented:

Struggling here as still have @jamiefreeman‘s Ignite talk about SEO being as effective as homeopathy in my mind… @briankelly #ili2012

I immediately responded:

@archelina let’s chat about that later

and, after the talk was over, we met and I provided further examples of the benefits of ‘white hat SEO’ for raising the visibility of research publications.

On the train home from the conference I saw a tweet from @archelina in which she provided a link to her reflections on the ILI 2012 conference and, in particular, her thoughts on tweeting at conferences. I’ll leave the last significant comment to her:

Speaking of Twitter, there was an interesting comment in the closing plenary today about the fact that so many of us were glued to our mobile devices, even in breaks, rather than interacting with those around us. I agreed with the commenter that sitting in silence round a lunch table all absorbed in our separate online worlds is not exactly healthy, but at the same time I can’t imagine a conference without Twitter. It’s partly the way it extends the reach of the conference itself by letting people follow without attending in person. It’s partly the lively backchannel that it provides in parallel to (and sometimes in opposition to, or spiralling out from) the live conference. But it’s mainly because I’m shy, and Twitter is like a sandbox for social/professional interaction that lets me build relationships (whether based around gin, dresses, The Archers, repositories, cataloguing or all of the above) before actually taking the plunge and introducing myself to someone in real life. In other words, I’m more likely to speak to people at conferences if I’ve ‘met’ them online already, and my professional life is much better now I have this option. (I’d probably never have take the step of actually *presenting* at a conference if it wasn’t for Twitter and my connections and support there.) It works the other way too, with real life events and networking enriching my Twitter life; by the end of today I had a dozen new followers who’d been at the conference. So yes, I’ll still be packing my trusty tablet next time I go to an event. But no ‘tweating’ (tweeting with one hand while having lunch with other), I promise…

These views were echoed by others:

#ili2012 Someone suggest that social interaction in the conference was inhibited by mobile devices. I don’t agree- the networking was great.

although one person suggested that perhaps a compromise could be reached:

Our message to david – we are sharing and building through twitter and online but maybe next year we say no tweeting over dinner? #ili2012

I’d be interested in thoughts from others on this issue.


View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy]

Posted in Events, Twitter | Tagged: | 9 Comments »

“Making Sense of the Future” – A Talk at #ILI2012

Posted by Brian Kelly on 30 October 2012

Later today I’ll be giving a talk entitled “Making Sense of the Future” at the ILI 2012 (Internet Librarian International) conference which takes place in Olympia, London.

The talk is based on the work of the JISC Observatory and a paper entitled “What Next for Libraries? Making Sense of the Future” (available in PDF and MS Word formats)” which was presented recently at the EMTCAL12 (Emerging Technologies in Academic Libraries) conference held in Trondheim, Norway.

The talk highlights dangers that our expectations of future developments might be based on views of the importance of our profession. In reality technological developments may challenge the profession, as those work work in the music industry are aware. We therefore need to have an evidence-based approach for detecting ‘weak signals’ of developments, and complement this with an open discussion for validating the evidence-gathering methodologies, interpreting the implications of such signals and making plans for appropriate actions.

The slides are available on Slideshare and embedded below. In addition if you’d prefer a visual summary of the presentation, the context is provided above and the conclusions below.

Posted in Events | 2 Comments »

Librarians, Change or be Irrelevant!

Posted by Brian Kelly on 16 October 2012

“Change or be Irrelevant!”

Change or be Irrelevant” was the title of Lukas Koster’s blog post in which he gave his reflections on the EMTACL12 (Emerging Technologies in Academic Libraries) conference which was held recently in Trondheim.

The need to be able to adapt to the requirements of the rapidly changing technical and economic contexts faced by those working in higher education was highlighted by Karen Coyle in her invited plenary talk entitled “Think ‘Different’“. Lukas provided a useful summary of the talk:

Think “different”’ is what Karen Coyle told us, using the famous Steve Jobs quote. And yes, the quotes around “different” are there for a reason, it’s not the grammatically correct “think differently”, because that’s too easy.  What is meant here is: you have to have the term “different” in your mind all the time. Karen Coyle confronted us with a number of ingrained obsolete practices in libraries.

But what are the technological developments which may have an impact on the academic library sector? In the closing talk at the conference I presented a paper on “What Next for Libraries? Making Sense of the Future” (available in PDF and MS Word formats) in which I described the evidence-based methodology used by the JISC Observatory team which aims to help organisations wishing to identify signals of technological developments which may have a significant impact on working practices.

In my talk (which is available on Slideshare) I reminded the audience of the inventions from the days of our youth which failed to live up to our expectations, including the monorail (which we’d use to travel to work, lunar bases (where we’d go for our holidays) and the jetpack. Patrick Hochstenbach picked up on my suggestion of the relevance of jetpacks for librarians in a cartoon in which he depicted a “super shush librarian” who makes sure that patrons aren’t making unnecessary noises in a distributed library environment :-)

Although some may be critical of the stereotype, I felt this provided a useful depiction of the way in which we expect inventions to simple automate existing practices, rather than transform such practices. This, therefore, illustrated the point I made about space travel: we may have expected the lunar landing which took place in 1969 to lead to further space exploration, including bases on the moon and possible Mars. In reality, however, manned space exploration ceased with the last manned mission to the moon taking place as long ago as December 1972. Rather than the manned space exploration we may have expected, we sent unmanned rockets to Mars, the moon and around the solar system (indeed last week we heard the news that the deep space probe Voyager 1 had left the solar system).

Preparing For Change; Preparing to be Relevant

Recently the JISC Observatory has published a report on Preparing for Data-driven Infrastructure and the final version of a report on Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of eBooks in Education, is due to be published in a few weeks time. These are two of the areas which JISC Observatory team members have identified as likely to be significant for the higher education sector. I would also add that these are areas which will be relevant for those working in academic libraries. There should be no need to mention the importance of the Mobile Web which was another area addressed in a JISC Observatory report on Delivering Web to Mobile.

The theme of preparing for change and preparing to be relevant is also being addressed at ILI 2012, the Internet Librarian International conference which takes place in London on 30-31 October. This year the event has the byline “Re-imagine, Renew, Reboot: Innovating for Success“. I’ll be giving a talk on “Making Sense of the Future” which will explore the ideas described in this post and the paper presented at the EMTACL12 conference. For those who can’t attend, I’ve summarised the presentation in the following cartoon :-)

Twitter conversation from: [Topsy]

Posted in Events | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

What Next for Libraries? Making Sense of the Future

Posted by Brian Kelly on 2 October 2012

Tomorrow I’ll be giving an invited talk on “What Next for Libraries? Making Sense of the Future” at the Emerging Technologies in Academic Libraries 2012 Conference (emtacl12) which is being held at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology University Library in Trondheim, Norway.

The slides for the talk are available on Slideshare and are embedded below. In addition an accompanying paper is available on Opus, the University of Bath repository, in MS Word and PDF formats.

Twitter conversation from: [Topsy]

Posted in Events | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Further Reflections on IWMW 2012

Posted by Brian Kelly on 21 September 2012

Networking at Our Dynamic Earth at the IWMW 2012 event.

We are currently in the process of finalising a venue for UKOLN’s IWMW 2013 event. Next year’s event will be the 17th in the series of annual events which, as described in the newcomer’s session at IWMW 2012, aims to “keep web managers up-to-date with developments and best practices in order that institutions can exploit the Web to its full potential“.

But before becoming too immersed in the detailed planning it would be useful to look back at the IWMW 2012 event which took place in June at the University of Edinburgh. I have previously summarised the participants’ feedback from the event. When I received an email from the Scottish Web Folk mailing list about a regional meeting taking place which would review the IWMW 2012 event I realised that this would provide an opportunity for further feedback. After the meeting the following summary was sent to the list:

All agreed that it was a great conference.

  • All happy with the range of subjects covered. Many felt that the quality and relevance of talks were excellent. Trends around responsive websites and content as data and data as content appealed.
  • Some were pleasantly surprised that there was little on social media.
  • XCRI-CAP information very useful and all agreed that it would be important to monitor progress on this in England to prepare for impact on Scotland

Some ideas for next year’s conference:

More on content strategy, responsive design, multi-platform strategies.

We also agreed that it might be interesting to consider trying to get a big international name from the Web industry to provide a keynote and possibly controversial talk.

It was very pleasing to hear how well the event was received by Web managers across Scottish Universities. It was also good to see that the two main content areas – addressing the challenges of supporting mobile devices and understanding the opportunities provided by the growth in importance of data – were relevant to the sector.

In addition to the feedback provided from a meeting of Scottish Web Folk during the event itself we asked a small number of participants for their thoughts on the event. This feedback was provided as brief video interviews. There were a total of nine interviews, each of which lasted from 1.5 to 3 minutes. Four of the interviews, from Marieke Guy, David Sloan, John Kelly and Claire Gibbons, were given by workshop facilitators and typically summarised their sessions. The other five interviews were given by participants, three of whom were attending an IWMW event for the first time. These five interviews are available below.

Tracey Milnes
In this interview, lasting 2 minutes, Tracey Milnes, Website Officer at York St John University explains the reasons why she decided to attend an IWMW event for the first time. Tracey works for a small university with a small team Web team. Her main interest is content management and she was looking forward to meeting other people with similar interests – this was the most valuable aspect of the event. She has a particular interest in designing a responsive web site suitable for access to mobile devices. Tracey concluded by telling the interviewer that she’ll be looking forward to attending further IWMW events.
Jess Hobbs
In this interview, lasting 1 minute 55 seconds, Jess Hobbs, Content Manager at the Quality Assurance Agency, summarises her reasons for attending IWMW 2012 for the first time and describes how she learnt about the importance of data, the importance of openness and the importance of applying policies and processes to enhance web accessibility. Every talk and workshop has provided Jess with useful links and resources to investigate when she returns to work.
Sarah Williams
In this interview, lasting 1 minute 50 seconds, Sarah Williams, University of Exeter describes her reasons for attending IWMW 2012 for the first time. Her colleagues had attended previous IWMW event and had said how valuable the event was. She described it as “inspiring”, especially for learning from others and appreciated the willingness of her peers to share their approaches and solutions. She was particularly inspired by the session on Web accessibility and will be looking to apply the approaches used at the University of Southampton at her institution.
Kevin Mears
In this interview, lasting 1 minute 55 seconds, Kevin Mears, Web developer at the University of Glamorgan, describes his doodling activities at the IWMW 2012 event which he shared with other delegates. He highlighted Responsive Design and Data as the two key topics areas of interest and described his intentions to make use of Google Refine for data cleaning purposes.
Tom Knight-Markiegi
In this interview, lasting 1 minute 34 seconds, Tom Knight-Markiegi, Sheffield Hallam University, describes the importance of the networking opportunities provided by the IWMW 2012 event. He has a particular interest in the mobile sessions at the IWMW 2012 event. He has picked up lots of useful resources and tips at the event. He will be suggesting approaches to use of the mobile web to his colleagues and will be sharing details of resources he found, especially a number of relevant JISC resources.

What are the key messages from these interviews? It seems clear that networking opportunities provided at the event is particularly important as is the willingness of participants to share their experiences and share tips and resources. It was also interesting to note how the event can inspire participants. In recent years we have sought to invite inspirational speakers in order to provide such inspiration. Judging by the feedback received for IWMW 2010 and IWMW 2011, Paul Boag and Ranjit Sidhu successfully fulfilled this role in recent years. In light of the suggestion from the Scottish Web Folk that we should “consider trying to get a big international name from the Web industry to provide a keynote and possibly controversial talk” it seems that we should be looking to find an inspirational speaker for next year’s event. Whether the speaker should be encouraged to be controversial is an interesting question; Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski in his talk which asked “Going Online – Do Universities Really Understand the Internet?” was certainly controversial in his views of the limitations of the home page design for a number of prestigious UK Universities. The reaction to the talk was very mixed with feedback ranging from:

  • “I didn’t agree with everything he said but it was by far the most entertaining and lively talk we saw. Controversy is good“,
  • “He was excellent, even though most of what he said was complete rubbish! Very entertaining.
  • Very useful to get the executive perspective – really helped to understand why the execs don’t get it.

through to:

  • Really shouldn’t have been let in. Waste of a session. Ill informed at best. I can point to user research that contradicts some of his ‘facts’.
  • Abysmal, and to think the day was 30mins longer because of this…

Beyond the style of presenting to the content itself, it seemed that the decision to address the mobile environment and data in a number of sessions was appropriate. It was also pleasing that two of the video interviews highlighted the value of the plenary talk and workshop session on Web accessibility. These sessions, which highlighted the BS 8878 Code of Practice and its relevance in higher education, reflected work I have been involved with over the years with the two speakers, EA Draffan and David Sloan. It does seem that the sector is interested in hearing more about approaches to Web accessibility which go beyond advocacy for WCAG guidelines.

Finally it was interesting to note the value which was given in a number of the video interviews to sharing resources. We have encouraged workshop facilitators to make their slides available on Slideshare using the IWMW12 tag so that the slides can be more easily found by others and the IWMW 2012 Slideshare Presentation Pack currently contains 20 slideshows, including those given in plenary talks and workshop sessions. But beyond the slides we should look at additional approaches we can take to facilitate such sharing of resources. Since one of the interviews mentioned the value of JISC resources to support institutional Web development activities it will, I think, be useful to explore ways in which the range of resources developed through JISC funding can be highlighted across this community. The Scottish Web Folk report also pointed out that the “XCRI-CAP information very useful“. Since the session on “The Xcri-cap Files” given by Claire Gibbons and Rob Englebright was based on the JISC Coursedata programme it would appear desirable to ensure that relevant JISC-funded projects make use of engagement and dissemination opportunities at future IWMW events.

In brief, therefore, these reflections have led me to conclude:

  • IWMW attendees place great importance on the networking and sharing opportunities provided at the event. We should therefore ensure that presentation time (e.g. the plenary talks) does not intrude on networking events. In addition since live video streaming of plenary talks does not encourage such networking opportunities, we should not be concerned that live streaming will significantly reduce the numbers of attendees at the event.
  • We should ensure that relevant JISC programmes and projects are made aware of the opportunities for engagement and dissemination which IWMW events can provide.
  • We should explore additional ways in which resources can be shared.

I’d welcome comments on these reflections.

Acknowledgement: Photograph of Networking at Our Dynamic Earth at the IWMW 2012 event taken by Sharon Steeples and available on Flickr under a CC BY-NC-SA licence.

Posted in Events | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Lanyrd Gets Even Better – But Can It Provide The Main Event Web Site?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 8 August 2012

 

Updates to Lanyrd

Back in May 2012 I asked Why Would You Not Use #Lanyrd For Your Event? On 23 July the Lanyrd blog announced new developments to the Lanyrd social event directory service which means the service is getting even better:

We’re now inviting event organisers to claim their event listings on Lanyrd. Claiming an event is free and claimed events gain access to useful additional features including event descriptions, advanced schedule editing and the ability to embed schedule and speaker information on another website.

Once you have claimed an event you will be able to:

  • Add a description of events. As illustrated, the Lanyrd entry for the IWMW 2012 event has been updated to include brief details of the event together with hypertext links to related resources.
  • Display of grid view of events with multiple sessions, including parallel sessions, as we have done for the timetable for the IWMW 2012 event.
  • Provide access control for editors of the content.
  • Embed ticket sales using Eventbrite.
  • Syndicate content hosted in Lanyrd to other web sites. An example of such syndication can be seen on the page listing the speakers at the IWMW 2012 event.

When I asked Why Would You Not Use #Lanyrd For Your Event? I was conscious that one potential barrier to use of the service was the Wikipedia-style approach the service had taken to creating content, which meant that any registered user could update the content. As illustrated below once an event has been claimed you can now restrict edits to approved users.

I have now claimed over 20 events which I set up on Lanyrd and have changed access permissions so that only a number of colleagues at UKOLN can change the content for event which have already taken place although, as shown below, speakers still have the rights to update session information in case there were changes to the sessions which I was unaware of.

Reflections on Lanyrd

Back in May 2012 when I asked Why Would You Not Use #Lanyrd For Your Event? I suggested that creating Lanyrd entries for previous events could be useful for several reasons including:

  • Providing a better understanding of the speakers and facilitators who have contributed to the event over the years.
  • Helping to raise the profile of the speakers and facilitators.
  • Enhancing participants’ memories of the events.
by:
  • Decoupling the content from the host Web site (which provides primarily a HTML view of the content).
  • Avoiding the need for local development.

In light of the recent developments I am now wondering whether Lanyrd could be used to provide the prime entry point for new events. In August 2010 I asked Should Event Web Sites Be The First To Be Outsourced? This post reflected on the decision to host the FAM10 (Federated Access Management) event web site using Google Sites. Nicole Harris, the event organiser, had decided to outsource the IT infrastructure for the event: “we will do all the event management in-house … using Google for booking forms, document management, presentation publication and event information“.

The blog post generated interesting discussions. In response to concerns that use of such third party services meant a loss of control of branding and visual identity for an event web site Martin Hawksey commented that:

Google sites do allow you to create your own custom template so it is easy to add logos change colours. The biggest cost in this area is probably staff time and whilst you might be saving money on hosting, you loose it in time required to set the site up.

Chris Gutteridge highlighted another concern:

Conference websites are part of the academic record and it is very important to maintain at least some of the content. Most conference webmasters don’t even shift the front page to be past-tense once it’s over but part of the design should be how it’s left long term.

Chris is right to raise this concern. Back in 2005 I spoke at the Accessible Design in the Digital World conference. But if I visit the ADDW05 web site I now get a parking domain, as illustrated.

I suspect there will be many conference web sites which are now difficult to find. For example looking at the IW3C2’s list of the international WWW conferences although the web site for the First International Conference on the World-Wide Web still exists, the web site for The Second International WWW Conference is only available via the Internet Archive whilst The Third International WWW Conference no longer appears to exist.

Although there are clearly risks in reliance on third party services for providing web sites it also needs to be recognised that there are also risks in attempting to simply use in-house services.

Many high profile conferences will wish to have their own domain name, so there will be a need to manage ownership of the domain for an extended period – as Chris Gutteridge suggested ten years might be regarded as the minimum period for a registering a conference domain.

But in addition to the management of an event’s domain, there is also the need to consider the risks associated with failing to exploit developments which may not be available if only in-house resources are used.

A compromise approach would be to continue to host content locally but to make use of services, such as Lanyrd to provide value-added functionality which may not be appropriate to provide in-house. This has been the approach taken to support recent IWMW events.

However such considerations do not necessarily mean that an external service can never be used to deliver an event web site. The FAM10 web site continues to be available on Google Site. In this case the issues related to the long-term sustainability of the event web site would be (a) is the service likely to be sustainable; (b) is provider of the service likely to change the terms and conditions; (c) can the content be easily exported; (d) is there a need for the content to be accessible and (e) can the costs in migrating the content be justified?

We can reasonably expect Google to continue and might reasonably expect any changes to the availability and terms and conditions for Google Sites to be notified to users of the service, as they have done for the iGoogle and Google Video services. But what of Lanyrd?

From the Lanyrd entry on Crunchbase we learn that Lanryd was launched on 31 August 2010 and received $1.4M funding. There appear to be only two people listed as being involved with the company: the co-founders Simon Willison and Natalie Downe (both of whom, incidentally, are from the UK and Natalie obtained her degree in Computer Science here at the University of Bath).

Using Lanyrd you can find out about other events speakers have spoken at and their forthcoming events.

Although I am a fan of the service, in light of the apparent lack of additional funding and uncertainty of the service’s business model I do not feel that Lanyrd can currently be used to provide the master source of content for a large-scale event, especially if access to the content for several years after the event is needed.

However I do feel that Lanyrd does have a valuable role to play in providing additional access to the content for an event as well as providing a social dimension to an event though use of the Twitter IDs for speakers and participants at events listed on Lanyrd, as illustrated in the accompanying image.

This social dimension is the Lanyrd’s key feature and this is the reason why I felt useful to create Lanyrd entries for previous IWMW events. But will Lanyrd not only continue to develop additional features which can support the needs of event organisers and participants and, perhaps more importantly, be able to demonstrate that the service will continue to be available for a period of 5 to 10 years?

I’d be interested in others’ views on the role which people feel Lanyrd can play in supporting events.


Twitter conversation from Topsy: [View]

Posted in Events | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Eventifier: Aggregating Amplified Event Content

Posted by Brian Kelly on 6 August 2012

 

Aggregating IWMW 2012 Content

After UKOLN’s IWMW 2012 event was over there was a need for various the post-event activities. As described in a recent post the evaluation forms were processed and summaries of the various talks and workshop sessions were sent to plenary speakers and workshop facilitators. In addition to activities which will be required for most events, since IWMW 2012 was an amplified event which sought to exploit a variety of online tools to enhance the discussions and sharing of ideas, there was also a need to provide links to the various services to make it easier for people writing report about the event (such as the Ariadne article about the event which has been published recently) as well as providing an easily-found set of resources for speakers, facilitators, participants and other interested parties.

The Slideshare Presentation Pack widget aggregation of slides from the IWMW 2012 event

The main way of aggregating content is through use of tags. The #iwmw12 tag on Flickr, for example, enables photographs relating to the event taken by the participants to be aggregated. There are currently 851 slides with this tag. These images can also be embedded in other Web pages through use of a Flickr badge.

The #iwmw12 tag was also used on Slideshare to bring together slides used at the event – although in this case it should be noted that since LinkedIn’s purchase of Slideshare, tagging seems to being deprecated and the interface for creating tags and viewing tagged content is not easy to find. Slideshare does, however, enabled tagged slides to be aggregated in a ‘presentation pack‘ which can be embedded elsewhere. A screen shot of the IWMW12 Presentation Pack is illustrated.

Aggregation of event tweets is also importance. For the IWMW 2012 event tweets tagged with the #iwmw12 event hashtag were captured using Martin Hawkesey’s TAGS service. In addition, after the event the Twubs service was used to provide an additional archive of event tweets.

The Lanyrd service was also used to support the event. The IWMW 2012 Lanyrd entry contains details of the various talks and workshop sessions, including the times and abstract. In addition where possible we have embedded the speakers’ slides (if these have been hosted in Slideshare) and video recordings of the plenary talks. Lanyrd also provides a wiki-style approach which enables other users to add coverage of the event and the specific sessions at the event. We are pleased that a number of participants have added on links to additional content, such as blog posts about the event.

These various aggregations are linked to from a Key Resources page on the IWMW 2012 web site.

Eventifier: Aggregating Amplified Event Content

It would be nice if aggregation of content provided on a diverse range of services could be carried out in an automated fashion. Last week I was alerted to a service which appears to provide this functionality: Eventifier.

Eventifier has the strapline: “Smarter way to archive all your event photos, videos, slides, tweets, conversations and much more from the entire Web.

Using Eventifier is simple: you just have to supply an event name and its hashtag and provide an email address. I did this for the IWMW 2012. As can be seen the IWMW 2012 Eventifier archive has archived 11 photos, 14 videos, 34 tweets and 26 slides from 5 contributors.

This is, of course, only a small proportion of the content. After the content had been harvested I received an email notification with the URL of the archive which informed me that:

We have archived the event IWMW here, have a look at http://eventifier.co/event/iwmw12

As the event took place a month ago in the mid of July we couldn’t gather much data as twitter dumps the tweets for a hashtag after certain amount of time, nevertheless we have created the event page for both of the events.

This was no unexpected. But what might an Eventifier archive look like for a large event if the tag has been registered in a more timely fashion? Looking at the archive for the 140Edu conference, which has the byline:

The changes in the way we live our lives must create change in the way we teach and learn. The real-time web should create profound changes in the way we think about what, how and why students and teachers can do, create and communicate. The very nature of what we consider “school” should be radically different given the powerful reach of the communicate tools our students have at their disposal. #140edu is dedicated to exploring and expanding that change.

we find the service has archived 225 photos, 16 videos and 5,333 tweets from 1,266 contributors.

Discussion

The experiences of the 140Edu archive suggest that Eventifier does appear to provide a simple and easy-to-use solution to aggregation of a range of content associated with an amplified event. However it should be pointed out that there can be no guarantee that the service will be sustainable, and it is not clear who provides the service, where it is hosted or whether they have a sustainable business model. Having said that since it can take less than a minute to set up an Eventifier archive, I would argue that there is no harm in doing so and, if the service does prove successful, event organisers can benefit from this type of service.

Of course, some people may argue that third party services have no role to play in the amplification of events, and the functionality needed should be provided by a managed event systems hosted within the institution. My view is that this scenario is not realistic and, in the near future, we will see useful services being developed by small companies. If event organisers wish to exploit such services in the short term they need to accept the risks that the services may not be sustainable together with the need, possibly, to spend some time in aggregating content from across the services. If this is a scenario which you agree with you may find Eventifier provides a useful role in the support of your amplified event.


Twitter conversation from Topsy: [View]

Posted in Events | Tagged: | 7 Comments »

Does Eduroam Work?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 6 July 2012

Importance of WiFi at Events

Use of mobile devices (and note pads!) at IWMW 2012 (photo taken by Sharon Steeples)

A few months ago I came across a Twitter discussion about Eduroam – “It doesn’t work” complained one of my followers who was unable to access WiFi while away from his office at a conference. As at the time we were in the process of organising the IWMW 2012 event, I was concerned that participants would not be able to engage in discussions at the event using the #IWMW12 Twitter hashtag if they were unable to access WiFi. I therefore ensured that we provided advice on how to connect to Eduroam:

As described on the edroam Web site “eduroam (education roaming) is the secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community.

Use of eduroam for visitors to the University of Edinburgh is described in the advice for visitors provided by the Information Services department at the University of Edinburgh.

You should note the following:

    • Your home institution must be a member of the JANET Roaming service, or one of the other global eduroam federations.
    • You must be registered to use the eduroam service at your home institution.

You should note the following advice:

Before you visit the University of Edinburgh, make sure you configure your device to work with the eduroam wireless network at your home institution.

since:

If your device can successfully connect to eduroam at your home institution you should not need to make any changes to use your device at the University of Edinburgh, or any other institution which supports eduroam.

But wince we were suspected people would be bringing along a diverse range of mobile devices and may have a variety of different eduroam configurations at their own institution we realised that the UIWMW 2012 event, which attracted 172 participants from across the UK, would provide a valuable opportunity to see how reliable access to eduroam was and, if difficulties were experienced, see if we could identify the problem areas.

A Surveymonkey form was set up and, in the IWMW 2012 conclusions, we encouraged participants to complete the survey form if they have tried to connect to the WiFi network using Eduroam. A summary of the responses is given below.

Survey of Use of Eduroam at IWMW 2012

A total of 33 responses were received, with 27 providing their names, 24 providing an email address and all 33 giving details of their host institution.

As can be seen from the diagram 25 (75.8%) of the respondents had used Eduroam successfully away from their host institution before attending the IWMW 2012 event and a further 2 people (6.1%) had tested Eduroam at their host institution with only 3 people (9.1%) having never used Eduroam prior to attending the event.

But how successful were they in using Eduroam at the event? From the second diagram we can see that 21 users (63.6%) successfully connected to Eduroam, but 7 people (21.2%) had some initial difficulties, before connecting to the service.

It seems that 3 people (9.1%) were unsuccessful in their attempts in connecting to Eduroam and 4 (12.1%) used a guest username and password to connect to the WiFi (we had reserved a small number of guest accounts in case people did not have Eduroam access or encountered difficulties in connecting to the service).

In response to the question which asked for a summary of “Experiences of using Eduroam at IWMW 2012″ we received 10 additional comments:

Generally Eduroam coverage was good, but disappointingly almost non-existent in the accommodation block. However inter-access point handover did not seem effective, meaning that it was often necessary to reconnect after any change of room in the Appleton Tower.

I couldn’t get Eduroam to work at all on the Monday, so resorted to getting a temporary login to the University of Edinburgh network on Tuesday, which I used successfully from then on. I used 3G from my smartphone on the Monday, but sparingly.

On most occasions it took two attempts to get a working connection. The worst was on the last morning when I probably tried about 10 times before finally getting a connection. It kept prompting me for my login details, and despite providing them (correctly) it wouldn’t connect. I was on the verge of giving up completely before it finally connected. A very frustrating experience!

Connection problematic with Android 2.3 – had to forget and then reconfigure the connection each time I reconnected, but find the same at my home institution, No problems with Android 4

Seemed to consistently take two attempts to connect with iPad. Works fine at Cardiff, so may just have been a network thing at Edinburgh

Using my HTC Evo 3D I managed to connect successfully every time I went online at IWMW 2012. However using a Dell Inspiron Mini 1018 (Windows 7 Starter) the ease of connecting to Eduroam was inconsistent. Generally once the connection was established it held for the period I was using the netbook for, but resuming from standby/hibernate the connection has to re-establish which caused issues.

my iPhone would connect about 50% of the time, my iPad kept prompting me for my Eduroam password and when I entered it it rejected it. I checked my password was correct when I returned to Oxford, it was and it _still_ won’t connect to Eduroam.

I used the Central wifi at Edinburgh (details provided by Natasha and her team).

I used 3G connection on my Windows Mobile 6.5 phone and Eduroam on my laptop.

Connected fine from my laptop but had problems connecting from my HTC android device (although this sometimes happens with other wifi connections) it would work after several attempts.

Lost the connection very occasionally (2 in 2 days of use), but a minor inconvenience

I used the University of Edinburgh WiFi, using the username and passwd provided by the organisers of the conference on a notebook.

My user login needed changing from [username] to [username@sheffield.ac.uk] to get it working in Edinburgh

My devices both had been set up with just my username as the ‘identifier’ – which works in Sheffield. Here, I had to change this to [username]@shef.ac.uk.

There was very patchy access to Eduroam Wifi in the accommodation halls.

I also used Edinburgh WiFi successfully, although not in my room at the halls which was a pain.

However, I was not able to connect via Eduroam in Pollock halls of residence, and had to pay £10 for access. I was a bit disappointed with that.

Mostly the connections to my iPad & iPhone were OK.But the signal strength wasn’t often that high. There were also a couple of occasions where I lost connectivity all together.

iPhone worked great from home institution and connected straight away when away. Windows 7 laptop could never connect at home and still failed here.

used laptop and phone

The most popular device used at IWMW 2012, as reported in the survey, was an Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch (used by 75.8% of respondents),; a laptop running MS Windows (used by 30.3%), an Android phone or tablet (24.2%), an Apple Macintosh laptop (18.2%), another type of phone or tablet (6.1%) or another type of laptop (3%). The additional devices including laptops running Linux and Windows 7 and Blackberry smartphones.

The majority of respondents (60%) were familiar with Eduroam and felt no need to read the advice provided on the IWMW 2012 or University of Edinburgh Web sites. 21.7% read the advice provided by their local institution; 9.1% provided on the IWMW 2012 web site and 3% provided by the University of Edinburgh. Three additional comments were made on the provision of online help accessed in advance of the event:

I needed to reinstall the Eduroam client from St Andrews on my newly installed Windows 8 laptop. It worked successfully in the office so I was confident of it working in Edinburgh.

I followed the advice on the IWMW2012 site and also checked the advice of my own institution. Eduroam was working fine on my laptop at my home institution before I left for Edinburgh.

Tried to use eduroam info from Janet. Entirely useless.

The following responses were given to the question “Please give a description of any problems in accessing or using Eduroam which you encountered during the event”:

No problems at all. Very disappointing that Eduroam was not available in the accommodation, however.

I basically couldn’t connect to Eduroam, even though I can when I’ve used the laptop at work in London.

Didn’t have any problems.

On my smartphone, Eduroam was being picked up but the network disconnected all the time after initially connecting and I couldn’t get it to connect again. Same problem on my laptop, despite the fact it was working at my home institution and I checked I had done all I should to get it to work away from home. Just kept getting a ‘eduroam is disconnected’ message on both devices.

no problem on using eduroam, the connection was flaky for a very short period at the start of the second day

None. Worked fine. Only issue was not having Eduroam access in the halls of residence (Pollock).

Sometimes it didn’t work and required me to forget the network and reconnect – but it did this with no trouble.

See my answer to question 6. Once connected, I had no problems at all.

same as question 6: my iPhone would connect about 50% of the time, my iPad kept prompting me for my Eduroam password and when I entered it it rejected it. I checked my password was correct when I returned to Oxford, it was and it _still_ won’t connect to Eduroam.

Using my HTC Evo 3D I managed to connect successfully every time I went online at IWMW 2012. However using a Dell Inspiron Mini 1018 (Windows 7 Starter) the ease of connecting to Eduroam was inconsistent. Generally once the connection was established it held for the period I was using the netbook for, but resuming from standy/hibernate the connection has to re-establish which caused issues.

Crappy Windown error.

The final question asked “Please give any suggestions on how you feel online access at events can be improved”. The following responses were given:

Web access in the accommodation — I had planned on blogging about the event and uploading photos to Flickr from the accommodation but wasn’t able to get online.

Would of liked WiFi in my room in halls but I just ventured down to the main entrance instead so not really that bad.

Maybe access to more specific help, although I was able to connect successfully to the Uni of Edinburgh network – I didn’t discover we could do this until Tuesday morning, though, so it would have helped to have this on the general advice available.

edinburgh and sheffield have the correct implementation of eduroam, if other institutions all went by the book the world would be a better place :)

Make the connectivity for Eduroam more reliable! And/or always provide an alternative using the local wifi network(s).

How can you improve on magic? It just connected, that’s all I needed.

WiFi in the accommodation rooms would have made things perfect.

Fellow attendees mentioned that wireless coverage in Pollock Halls was patchy. Fortunately I had a room with a good wireless reception for working before and after the conference.

Slightly surprised not to have eduroam access at the Halls, but I suppose this is where they make their money! Would be good though…

Conclusions

This post was introduced by reporting on concerns on arriving at a conference and finding that Eduroam doesn’t work. It was therefore pleasing to receive the comment:

 How can you improve on magic? It just connected, that’s all I needed.

Some of the teething problems which had been experienced seemed to be due to the need to provide a username and domain name (e.g. foo@bath.ac.uk) rather than just a username (e.g. foo) which may work locally but not when one travels to another institution. However other problems do seem more difficult to solve, such as:

However using a Dell Inspiron Mini 1018 (Windows 7 Starter) the ease of connecting to Eduroam was inconsistent. Generally once the connection was established it held for the period I was using the netbook for, but resuming from standy/hibernate the connection has to re-establish which caused issues.

In light of the feedback we received I would make the following recommendations:

Event organisers should:

  • Ensure that they advise participants on how to configure their mobile devices prior to leaving for the event.
  • Provide links to local advice on use of Eduroam at the host institution.
  • Have a number of guest usernames available for people who may not be authorised to access Eduroam or whose devices fail to connect to the Eduroam service.

In addition since in some quarters there is a perception that Eduroam is unreliable it would also be useful to attempt to identify problems across a number of events, especially IT-related events in which people experiencing problems would be able to provide relevant detailed information about the device, OS environment, error messages, etc. Perhaps a forthcoming JANET event might provide an ideal opportunity? If anyone would like to build on this initial survey, I would be happy to share information on the questions I asked and suggestions for improving the design – in particular a number of responses were related to the unavailability of Eduroam in the halls of residence. It was useful to see this confirmation of the popularity of WiFi access in halls, but this was strictly outside the scope of the survey, which aimed to understand problems in connected to Eduroam when it was visible.

Posted in Events | 3 Comments »

IWMW 2012: The Feedback

Posted by Brian Kelly on 2 July 2012

“Thank you to all the organisers – another great IWMW!”

Over the 16 years of UKOLN’s annual IWMW event we have always valued the importance of user feedback for the event and this year is no exception.  When the rain stopped on the opening morning of the IWMW 2012 event I had the feeling that this year’s event would be special – and the analysis of the evaluation forms confirms my suspicion.

There were a total of 172 participants at this year’s event and we received 64 completed evaluation forms. As can be seen from the accompanying histograms, no fewer than 73% rated the organisation of the event as Excellent, with 41% regarding the content as excellent and 50% regarding the content as Very Good.

The highest ranked plenary speaker was Rob Borley.  His talk which asked “Do I Need an App for That?” scored 4.42 (on a scale of 1=Poor to 5=Excellent).

The other highly ranked plenary speakers were Keith Doyle and Paddy Callaghan, whose talk on “Serve Two Masters: Creating Large-Scale Responsive Websites” received a score of 4.32; Stephen Emmott whose talk on “Measuring Impact”  received a score of 4.32 and Dawn Ellis whose talk on “What Do You Really Want?” received a score of 4.24.  It was also pleasing that all of the plenary speakers received scores of Very Good or Excellent.

The general comments received on the content included:

  • Very good range of speakers in plenaries and interesting parallel sessions.
  • First time at IWMW – excellent conference, great speakers.
  • Was a bit scared that, as a learning technologist, the content would go completely over my head. Was pleasantly surprised that I understood much of the content so kudos to the presenters for putting their ideas over in a simple way.
  • Great topics, well presented.
  • Generally the content was well considered for the audience type and there were some interesting topics of discussion

The comments on the event organisation included:

  • Very well organised event, working like clockwork!
  • Well organised. Kudos.
  • Really well organised and a big shout out to the catering staff who rustled up some lovely gluten and dairy-free lunch for me!
  • Very efficient.
  • very smooth, under 1 roof, the technology worked well.

Comments made about the plenary talks included:

  • really good overview, hopefully his talk will be online and i can get colleagues to watch it“; “i fully intend to implement some ideas at my own institution” and “Some humour helped the drier “medicine” about data, go down very well. And I will definitely be trying out that Tag Galaxy which was demoed” – talk on “Data and the Web Manager” by Kevin Ashley
  • This talk in particular has driven me to open up our data where safe“; “Good to see Edinburgh Council embracing open data and the possibilities it gives for developers” and “Excellent presentation by a very dynamic expert who is always willing to share her knowledge, experiences and to learn.  Sally is a great ambassador for Edin City council. Suraj and Sally are a well rehearsed act. ” – talk on “Open Data Development in the City of Edinburgh Council” by Sally Kerr and Suraj Kika
  • Really thought provoking. Visualisation is cool!“; “Interesting to see the different ways to visualise data” and “Great innovative ways to present data and information” – talk on “Data Visualisation: A Taster” by Tony Hirst and Martin Hawksey
  • I already know A LOT about KIS as I am on the University’s KIS Project Board but it was good to get everyone up to speed with the KIS.  Generated some healthy debate and discussion later.  Andrew explained it very well and was very ‘human’ about the whole thing!” and “For me, this talk was the star of the whole event. A great speaker, who got stuck in and really told us the good, the bad, and the ugly about KIS and how it was going to affect us. Now all I have to do is worry about that widget….” – talk 0n “Key Information Sets Data” by Andrew Oakley
  • Excellent presentation skills and very informative“; “Well polished presentation and speaker outlying the pitfalls and benefits nicely. Well paced with good content” and “really comprehensively argued case that reinforced views that i didn’t realise i had” – talk on “Do I Need an App for That?” by Rob Borley
  • Interesting and useful. Have shared with colleagues back at the Uni and will reflect further with them“; “I knew a lot about this but it was a very good talk and brought together the area very well. She did very well when there was an incident in the audience – obviously an old hand” and “Very good to have this included, as I think Web Accessibility was one of the issues which we used to all worry about a lot, and in recent years has been pushed aside. Particlarly liked the speaker’s approach of showing practical solutions eg the AT Bar.” –  talk on “Beyond WCAG: Experiences in Implementing BS 8878” by EA Draffan
  • “I didn’t agree with everything he said but it was by far the most entertaining and lively talk we saw. Controversy is good”; “He was excellent, even though most of what he said was complete rubbish! Very entertaining.” and “Good speaker and probably the session that we’ll all remember from the conference. Some very good points, but I think it highlighted more the problem of senior managers imposing their somewhat selfish views on university web sites. ” – talk on “Going Online – Do Universities Really Understand the Internet?” by Ferdinand von Prondzynski
  • “This is what IWMW does best – inform about emerging trends and demonstrate approaches that other universities have taken.“; “Very useful, great to have the theory paired with practical implementation and expert voices on both” and “Was completely right to have a plenary on RWD, as it has become so important in the last 18months or so”  – talk on “Serve Two Masters: Creating Large-Scale Responsive Websites” by Keith Doyle and Paddy Callaghan
  • Dynamic busy individual would works with a mix of in-house and outsourced services which might well be the future for better or for worse“; “Great presentation and interesting to see the range of solutions and strategies been employed” and “Something of a twist in the tail from Stephen. I had expected a possible approach to measuring impact so to have Stephen eloquently and logically argue that it’s not our job was thought-provoking and refreshing. One of my favourite IWMW presenters over the years.” – talk on “Measuring Impact” by Stephen Emmott
  • Interesting to see the direction they’ve taken with their website which I think goes against the grain of what everyone else is doing. Also fantastic to hear about open source technologies that are being used.” – talk on “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Two Years of Running a Content Management Service” by Helen Sargan

But although the plenary speakers and facilitators of the parallel sessions provide the content for the event, it always seems that the sum of greater than the individual parts.  Here are some aspects of the IWMW 2012 event which were particularly liked:

  • Very well organised event, working like clockwork!
  • Well organised. Kudos.
  • Really well organised and a big shout out to the catering staff who rustled up some lovely gluten and dairy-free lunch for me!
  • “Spectacularly organised as ever. Everything seemed to run really smoothly from meeting up with everyone on the Sunday to getting bits and bats for our session to lunches and so on.
  • Well done all!”
  • Spot on
  • I liked the central venue which was easy to find and get to by public transport.
  • Generally very good.
  • The venue this year was excellent. The space available (both accommodation and conference space) were of a high standard. The food should get a special mention. The only slight downside was the distance between the accommodation and the conference.
  • It was nice to see a mix of old and new attendees and I know from talking to some “”newbies”” they really saw the value of the community.

And to conclude:

P.S. To whom it may concern:
Please, please, please. please, please keep funding this event. It is a lifeline to HE institutions and their hard-working web-related staff. It is the only event on the calendar which really gets to the heart of the issues we are all looking at, at the time we are looking at them

Posted in Events | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

IWMW 2012: The Image

Posted by Brian Kelly on 28 June 2012

Photos of IWMW 2012

A recent post on IWMW 2012: The Movie described how the accessibility of individual resources, such as  a set of slides and a video recording of a talk, can be enhancing by bringing together such related resources, rather than having to implement WCAG guidelines on the individual resources.

A related approach to enhancing accessibility by focussing beyond the digital resource could be images of an event. The IWMW 2012 photographs hosted on Flickr, for example, can enhance one’s long-term memory of an event by triggering memories of iconic aspects of an event. For me, the trip to Our Dynamic Earth was a highlight, and I’m pleased that Sharon Steeples took such a great photo of it, one of her many great photos of IWMW 2012, as illustrated at the top of this post.

But would it be possible to have a single image which depicted the three-day IWMW 2012 event? Well Kevin Mears (@mearso) has risen to that challenge!

During the event Kevin tweeted links to a series of cartoons he had produced which gave his visual impressions of a number of the plenary talks and parallel sessions he attended. During the event the following tweets were widely retweeted, favourited and images viewed:

For anyone who’s interested I did some visual notes for @usabilityed ‘s session.#iwmw12 pic.twitter.com/8GWmtgTr

I did a drawing of Brian’s welcome talk @iwmw  #iwmw12   pic.twitter.com/Apb6AFJo

Today’s doodle from the talk about data visualisation. So many interesting visualisations. #iwmw12 pic.twitter.com/gIK3LOpy

This getting hard work now. Plenty of info in the KIS talk. #iwmw12   pic.twitter.com/ozeqPl4k

I did a sketch note from B4 : big and small data. #iwmw12  pic.twitter.com/gWZET01i

Quick turnaround of the notes this time. Easy with such good sessions. #iwmw12 pic.twitter.com/G3achZvL

My doodle of the controversial session this afternoon. Hard for the drawing to be as dramatic as the talk! #iwmw12  pic.twitter.com/rUUKcrZL

Forgot to post last night’s drawing from the ‘Do I need an app?”. #iwmw12  pic.twitter.com/DRQrm7sE

Last doodle from immw12. Had to wait til I got home cos I’m too cheap to pay for mobile. #iwmw12. Had great time. pic.twitter.com/QdLRNF4W

But most interesting of all was the tweet:

I collated my sketch notes from #iwmw12 into one big poster. Any demand out there for printed ones? http://t.co/E3CdplbH

This image is embedded at the bottom of this post – and note that it can be viewed on Flickr at a number of sizes including 1600×1132. I suspect that looking at the details of the sketch will bring back memories which would not have been the case from a factual summary of the talk – the drawing (shown) of the line printer paper in the sketch of Ferdinand von Prondzynski‘s somewhat controversial plenary talk brought home the point about the somewhat rather protracted introduction in which the speaker sought to establish his credentials as an experienced user of IT.

Or to put it another way, images can be a valuable way of enhancing one’s understanding and recollections of things that happen in the physical world.  And to think that some people would ban such images unless they were accompanied by a comprehensive textual summary of every element of the sketches!


 

Twitter conversation from Topsy: [View]

Posted in Accessibility, Events | Leave a Comment »

IWMW 2012: The Movie

Posted by Brian Kelly on 27 June 2012

Importance of Networking

The Wilson Review states that “Networking between universities & the business community is a critical component of an efficient innovation ecosystem” (point 7 in the Executive Summary). This is equally true for networking across institutions for those with responsibilities for the provision of institutional Web services across the sector. As I highlighted in the Welcome talk at UKOLN’s IWMW 2012 event senior managers in institutions are quite capable of using Google to search for “outsourcing web management and looking for alternative providers of such services. But rather than pretend that this couldn’t happen at the event we explored how sharing of expertise, knowledge, advice and support can help to provide cost-effective approaches to the management and development of web services across the sector.

“Work in More Open Ways”

Yesterday an article on the BBC News on TEDGlobal: Net opens up era of radical openness described a “call-to-arms for corporations to work in more open ways” . In the context of conferences, workshops and other events in the higher education sector such openness is being seen in the provision of amplified events in which, as described in a recent post the sharing of resources at conferences and other events need no longer be restricted to those who were able to be physically present.

Accessing Slides and Videos of IWMW 2012 Plenary Talks

The ideas shared, criticisms expressed and visions for the future made by plenary speakers at the IWMW 2012 event can now be seen by those who did not happen to be physically in a lecture theatre in the Appleton Tower at the University of Edinburgh during 18-20 June 2012: the videos of the plenary talks have now been processed and uploaded to the UKOLN Vimeo account. In addition a page on the IWMW 2012 Web site provides access to the embedded videos together with the accompanying slides.

As illustrated in the screenshot shown below the page on the IWMW 2012 web site allows you to view a video recording of a talk whilst simultaneously scrolling through the speakers slides. This provides an interesting aspect on accessibility: the slides and the video recording in isolation will have limitations in maximising one’s understanding of the individual resources, but brought together it can be easier to understand the points the speaker is making of the text and images displayed on a slide. It is. of course, not coincidental that the image I have used to illustrate this point is taken from the talk on “Beyond WCAG: Implementing BS 8878” given by EA Draffan. And for those in the audience who were distracted by the person fainting during the talk, the slides and video recording provide an opportunity to revisit the presentation.

Posted in Accessibility, Events | 2 Comments »

“Conferences don’t end at the end anymore”: What IWMW 2012 Still Offers

Posted by Brian Kelly on 25 June 2012

IWMW 2012 Is Over: Long Live IWMW 2012!

Conferences don’t end at the end anymoretweeted @markpower two days after IWMW 2012 delegates had left Edinburgh and returned home.  This has always been the case: conferences organisers will have evaluation forms to analyse and invoices to chase.  But the point Mark was making related to the continuing discussions about the ideas discussed at an event and the accompanying resources, resources which increasingly these days may have been created during the event and support for the participants, which can help to ensure that an event is not just an collection of individuals who are co-located for a few days but, as I described in a recent post, a sustainable and thriving community of practice.  A related point was made recently in a post on “#mLearnCon 2012 Backchannel – Curated Resources” in which David Kelly described how “The backchannel is an excellent resource for learning from a conference or event that you are unable to attend in-person” and went on to add that he finds “collecting and reviewing backchannel resources to be a valuable learning experience …, even when [he is] attending a conference in person. Sharing these collections on this blog has shown that others find value in the collections as well.” But what are the resources from the IWMW 2012 which may be of interest to others, where can they be found and what value may they provide?

Key Resources

Slideshare

The slides used by the plenary speakers were uploaded to Slideshare in advance of the talks in order to allow the slides to be embedded in relevant Web pages and enable a remote audience to view the slides.  It should also be added that this also allowed participants at the event to view the slides if they were not able to view the main display of the slides. The slides have been tagged with the “iwmw12″ tag on Slideshare.  This enables the collection of slides to be accessed by a search for this string or by  browsing slideshows which use this tag.  Note that in previous years an event tag had been used, but this service was discontinued recently, after Slideshare had been bought by LinkedIn.

Creating a collection of slides used at the event enables a Slideshare presentation pack to be created, as illustrated, thus making it easy to access all slides used at the event which have been made available. As can be seen from the IWMW 2012 web site, the presentation pack can be embedded in Web pages. This service is being used since participants at IWMW have frequently asked to be able to access slides, including slides used in parallel sessions which they were not able to attend. Using Slideshare makes it easy to respond to this user need. In addition it helps to raise the profile  and visibility of speakers at the event.

Lanyrd

The IWMW 2012 Lanyrd page was set up in advance to provide a social directory for participants at the event so they could see who else was attending. The value of this grows as Lanyrd is used across a number of events: from my Lanyrd, profile, for example, I can see that I have appeared at events on 12 occasions with my colleagues Marieke Guy and on 5 occasions with Paul Boag, Tony Hirst, Andy Powell, Keith Doyle and  Mike Nolan. In addition to the social dimension. Lanyrd also provides calendar entries for sessions at events. The date and time of sessions at IWMW 2012 has been provided together with links to the main page on the IWMW 2012 web site have been added, together with slideshows and links to reports on the sessions which we are aware of. It should be noted that, as illustrated, a Lanyrd has a Wiki-style environment for uploading resources which avoids the single-curator bottleneck. As the person who set up the IWMW 2012 Laynrd entry, together with the IWMW guide for all IWMW events, it should be noted that I receive an email alert when new entries are added to the coverage, such as:

<http://lanyrd.com/2012/iwmw12/?t=c955d8172reV> (In guide IWMW) [22nd Jun 2012 07:52] *
@sheilmcn added coverage “Developing Digital Literacies and the role  of institutional support services” (http://www.slideshare.net/sheilamac/developing-digital-literacies-and-the-role-of-institutional-support-services  type:slides)
to session  “B2: Developing Digital Literacies and the Role of Institutional  Support Services” http://lanyrd.com/sqwtp

This can help to spot if inappropriate entries are being added.

Vimeo

As described in a post on Streaming of IWMW 2012 Plenary Talks – But Who Pays? we used the ustream.tv service for the live video stream. The videos are currently being processed and will be made available via UKOLN’s Vimeo account shortly. This service will be used to wider access to the plenary talks so that they are available for those who were not present at the event – although, of course, they can also be viewed by people who were at the event and wish to watch the talks again. In addition to the video recordings of the talks we have also taken a number of short interviews with participants at the event which will enable their thoughts on the event to be shared with a wider audience.

Flickr

With so many delegates now having digital cameras and smartphones there are a large number of photographs which have been uploaded to Flickr with the IWMW12 tag which can help to provide a collective memory of the event.

Having a large number of photographs, rather than a small set of selected ones taken  by an official photographer, provides a much broader perspective on the event. It also means that images browsing interface services, such as Tag Galaxy, are more useful by having a more diverse range of content.

The two images show a display of a Tag Galaxy search for photographs on Flickr with the “iwmw12″ tag and one of the many photographs taken by Sharon Steeples of the final conclusions session during which I showed an image of the video stream, captured earlier that morning when Dawn Ellis gave a summary of Web developments at the University of Edinburgh, subverting normal conference-style approaches to case studies by telling this as a fairy tale. The video recording of this talk will be particularly worth watching.

Twitter

As can be seen from the image shown above, the lecture theatre also has a large blackboard.  The opportunity to use a blackboard during the final session provided too much temptation to ignore –  so in the summing up a tweet posted on the backboard was displayed, as a reminder that not everyone necessarily has a mobile device they could use for tweeting. However many people did use Twitter during the event. As is widely known, content posted on the Twitter stream becomes unavailable available a short period. There is therefore a need to analyse event tweets shortly after an event – or archive the tweets to allow them to be analysed subsequently.

Topsy

As can be seen from the image of the Topsy search for #IWMW12 tweets posted over a period of the past 7 days (click for a larger display) there were 666 mentions on 18 June and 574 on 19 June.  The most highly tweeted link was to the IWMW 2012 video page, which was mentioned in 43 tweetsduring the week on 17-24 June 2012. In total Topsy reported that there were 748 tweets during the week on 17-24 June 2012, 808 in the month from 24 May-24 June and an overall total of 846 tweets to date.

Other Commercial Twitter Analytics Tools

It should be noted that a large number of Twitter analytics tools are available which be used to analyse how Twitter has been used. The Tweetreach service, for example, reports that tweets containing the #iwmw12 hashtag have reached 7,553 Twitter accounts. However, as is often the case with usage statistics, such figures need to be treated with a pinch of salt.

Beyond Commercial Twitter Analysis Tools

Topsy, Tweetreach and other Twitter analytics tools can provide a useful summary of use of Twitter hashtags. However  in the UK higher education development community we are fortunate to have the expertise of developers such as Martin Hawksey and Tony Hirst who have a well-established track record in the development of value Twitter analysis tools and who can continually develop their tools based on particular needs and interests of the community.

As Martin described in a post entitled IWMW12 Data Hacks for the IWMW 2012 event he was  “collecting an archive of tweets which already gives you the TAGSExplorer view“.

Looking at Martin’s Twitter archive of #iwmw12 tweets, provided by the TAGS v.40 service, we can see that the top five Twitterers were @iwmwlive (281 tweets), @PlanetClaire (149 tweets), @sharonsteeples (103 tweets), @mariekeguy (100 tweets) and @jessica_hobbs (81 tweets). Since the @iwmwlive Twitter account was managed by Kirsty Pitkin it seems that the top twitters at the event were all female: this seems particularly interesting in light of the fact that only about a quarter of the participants were female.

It should also be noted that this tool also provides a display of the tweets over time.  It can also be seen (right) that tweeting peaked at 2pm on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 with 229 tweets.

Finally I should mention Martin’s most recent development:  a filterable/searchable archive of IWMW12 tweets. As illustrated below, this provides a clickable word cloud of the content of the tweets, together with a search box and browse interface for the tweets.  It was while browsing the tweets that I came across a comment from @JohnGreenway who, during the conclusions, tweeted:

As someone from a commercial background, #iwmw12 has been excellent – hope everyone in HE realises how rare this is in other industries!

Such live tweeting helped in providing useful real time feedback not only to the event organisers but also the plenary speakers.  Other comments received during the event included:

  •  Excellent talk by Stephen Emmott – always a reliable IWMW speaker! #iwmw12 from @adriant
  • First time at #iwmw12 and had a brilliant time. Great ideas, great people, great weather, who could ask for more. from @millaraj
  • First time at IWMW: great speakers, interesting topics, fantastic Ceilidh. Many thanks to organisers and presenters. #IWMW12 #new #social from@seajays
  • Great summary by @sloands on how to build accessibility into project management processes using BS8878 #iwmw12 from @chistabel6

Further examples of tools which Martin Hawksey developed at the IWMW 2012 event can be accessed from his Delicious IWMW12 Hacks set of bookmarks.

The paper.li Daily newspaper

Finally I should mentioned the IWMW12 paper.li daily newspaper, which had been set up in advance of the event. This automated newspaper consisted of articles based on links which had been tweeted  containing the event hashtag.

Reflections

Conferences have never ended immediately after the final talk has been given – this is always the paperwork to be processed, the evaluation forms to be analysed and feedback given to the speakers and local event organisers. What is different nowadays is that event resources and discussions are no longer ‘trapped in space and time’.  If an event has value, it should surely have value for those who may not have been able to attend.

It was therefore appropriate that during my opening talk I was able to announce the launch of the JISC-funded Greening Events II; Event Amplification report. We hope that the report will be useful for others who are planning amplified events.  As Mark Power put it: “Conferences don’t end at the end anymore” – you need to make plans for managing the resources after the conference is over. We hope the report will be useful for those planning amplified events.


NOTE: Shortly after this post was published a post entitled “But who is going to read 12,000 tweets?!” How researchers can collect and share relevant social media content at conferences was posted on the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog which echoed the approaches described in this post.

Posted in Events, Evidence, preservation, Twitter, Web2.0 | 3 Comments »

Twitter Analysis: Can #bathopenday Learn from #IWMW12?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 21 June 2012

In the final session at UKOLN’s IWMW 2012 event which finished yesterday I suggested that the community analysis techniques which Tony Hirst and Martin Hawksey were applying to the #IWMW12 tweets might be useful in institutional contexts. “Suppose your University is having an Open Day” I suggested “and you promoted a Twitter hashtag which could be used by visitors to your institution who, it seems, are now making greater use of Twitter. You might be able to apply the tools developed by Tony and Martin to help develop a better understanding of that important community – 17 year old students who may choose your University next year“.

After the IWMW 2012 had finished, whilst unwinding in a pub opposite the Appleton Tower in Edinburgh I checked my email and spotted an email which announced “Over 5,000 visitors expected on campus tomorrow!” and went on to add:

As with any Open Day the campus will be busy, especially the car parks. As usual we have plans in place for overflow parking but if you can car share to help ease the pressure then please do so. Buses are also likely to be very busy, so please take this into account when making your travel arrangements.

On arrival at the University I spotted posters around the campus signposting the various departments – all of which contained the Twitter hashtag for today’s Open Day: #bathopenday So whilst tweets from staff at the University could well be full of complaints about travelling up the hill to the University, it does seem that there may be an opportunity to analyse the #bathopenday tweets.

Yesterday Tony Hirst (@psychemedia) tweeted “Visualising folk commonly followed by recent users of the #iwmw12 hashtag flic.kr/p/chxGAu” which is illustrated.

In addition Martin Hawksey (@mkawskey) has provided a timeline view of #IWMW12 tweets.

Might it be possible to apply these approaches to Bath’s #bathopenday tweets, I wonder? And is anybody else taking similar approach to their Open Days?

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

Streaming of IWMW 2012 Plenary Talks – But Who Pays?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 18 June 2012

 

The sixteenth in the series of annual Institutional Web Management Workshops, IWMW 2012, is now underway. As we were concerned last year that Web team budgets and pressures of work would make it difficult for people to attend a 3-day event, the IWMW 2011 took place over two days. However the feedback we received in the final session last year made it clear that there was demand for the event to revert to its traditional 3 day format.

Since the concerns about budgets and workloads will probably be even more valid this year we were still concerned about the number of delegates. However, following an influx of last minutes bookings, the final numbers are even larger than last year with 170 registered delegates.

We also have a number of sponsors again this year, with Jadu sponsoring the badges and lanyards, TERMINALFOUR are sponsoring a parallel session and Siteimprove providing inserts in the delegate pack. In addition Statistics into Decisions and Gas Mark 8 are co-sponsoring the event amplification and video-streaming of the plenary talks.

Since the University of Edinburgh video-streaming service has other commitments this week, TConsult, who have provided event amplification at IWMW events in the past, will this year also be providing the video-streaming service. The ustream.tv service is being used to deliver the live video stream. However since we are aware that viewers will probably not appreciate the adverts include in the free version of the service, we will be using Watershed, the premium version of the service. The charging for this service is based on viewer hours. Looking at the pricing options it seems that we can pay $49 for a month’s subscription, which gives us 500 viewer hours, with an additional $0.49 per additional viewer hour. This seems reasonable – unless the plenary talks attract a large audience. Since there are 8.5 hours of plenary talks we will be able to cater for 60 people watching all the plenary talks. Based on previous year’s experiences the expected numbers should fall within the standard allowance. However if some of the talks become unexpectedly popular – and the popularity which can be generated by viral social networks such as Twitter – we could be hit with a large bill. We have therefore put a cap on the total number of users. In order to ensure that people who wish to watch a plenary talk do not have access blocked we ask that people watching the live video stream switch off the live stream when the talks they are interested in has finished.

These considerations lead to the question: who should pay for live streams at conferences? At recent IWMW events the live video streaming was provided as part of the service by the host institution. However this year we have had to address the question of the business model for the provision on the service for the first time.

Although we are providing access to an ad-free video-streaming service we cannot commit to doing this in the future. One alternative will be to make use of the free ad-supported version of the service. As illustrated, when you join a stream an advert will be displayed, for about 20 seconds, it would seem.

Adverts which are used to fund a video service which is free at the point of delivery is, of course, something we are all familiar with – ITV have been doing this for many years and we are all willing to watch programmes on commercial channels, provided the content is of interest to us.

I would be interested to hear from people who would not be willing to watch video streaming of content of interest to them on how the costs of the service should be provided. I would, of course, expect such suggestions to be reasonable and feasible: saying that we should simply be getting more money to provide such services is not realistic in the current environment.

A similar question could be asked about the accessibility of recordings of the videos. We do not intend to provide captions for the recordings and, since legislation talks about ‘reasonable measures’ we do not feel there is a legal requirement to do this. We feel that the provision of the live video stream itself enhances the accessibility of the event – a point brought how to me last year when Janet McKnight uploaded a photo of herself watching the live video stream, with her baby in her lap (as illustrated). Put simply, the provision of the live video stream itself enhances access to the content for people who can’t attend the event for a variety of reasons. Having to spend additional money from an undetermined source to caption the videos would potentially undermine the provision of the live video stream itself, forcing us back to the world of siloed conferences in which only paying delegates could participate.

Unless, of course, we could make use of the textual summaries of the plenary talks provided by the official event amplifier on her Twitter account. We did this at IWMW 2010, as can be seen from the accompanying image of the Twitter captions of the talk by Ranjit Sidhu. This will be an approach we will explore again at this year’s event.

I‘ll conclude this post by summarising the policy for video streaming and access to video recording of talks at IWMW events.

In order to maximise the impact of the ideas presented in talks at IWMW events we will seek to support event amplification to enable members of the sector who aren’t physically present to engage in the discussions and sharing of ideas. We will also seek to provide a live video stream of plenary talks and access to recordings of the talks after the event.

We will aim to provide these services in a sustainable fashion. We will be transparent about the ways in which these services are being funded.

Is that a reasonable policy?

Posted in Accessibility, Events | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Tools to Support a Community of Practice

Posted by Brian Kelly on 14 June 2012

The Web Management Community of Practice

On Monday 18 June I will be co-facilitating a session on “New to the Sector? New to Web Management? New to IWMW?” at UKOLN’s annual IWMW 2012 event. Mike Nolan, Head of the Web Services team at Edge Hill University and Amber Thomas, programme manager at the JISC, will also be contributing to the session, with Mike giving his thoughts from the perspective of a Web manager who has had both technical and managerial responsibilities and Amber describing the ways in which JISC supports the needs of those working in institutional Web management teams.

In my talk on the role of the Innovation Support Centre at UKOLN I will focus on our involvement in the development of the Web management Community of Practice (CoP) through 16 years of the IWMW event and, in the early years, engagement on mailing lists. As described previously the two main lists used by this community have declined significantly since 2002, and now are used primarily for announcements of events, calls for papers and job advertisements. This decline is not surprising in light of the growth of a wide range of communications and collaborative tools during that time.  The challenge, however, is identifying the tools which can support the community and understanding how they can be used.  Or to put in in more concrete terms:
  • What tools are available which can support the professional interests of web managers?
  • What patterns of use of such tools are emerging?
  • Web managers are busy people – can use of such tools provide a positive ROI?
We will now try to address these questions, with a focus on use of such tools across the community rather than within an institution or team.

Engaging with the Web Management Community on Twitter

Sceptics will point out that Twitter is full of trivia, and use of Twitter can be time-consuming. Established Twitter users will agree that Twitter is full of trivia – and James Clay’s regular #thisiswhattwitterwascreatedfor tweets seem to confirm such views. But we should also remember that mailing lists and the Web itself are also full of information which are of no interest and are time-consuming to read – indeed it is also worth pointing out that libraries are full of books which are of no interest to individual readers!  The issue is not the tool itself, but the way in which the tool (or the library) is used. And surprisingly for some, Twitter’s apparent simplicity provides a diverse way in which it can be used, beyond telling people what you had for breakfast.

Twitter lists

When Twitter lists first came out it was unclear as to what benefits they would provide. However a number of applications now make use of Twitter lists. I have created a list for IWMW 2012 attendees who have provided a Twitter ID on their registration form. Viewing the  Twitter stream doesn’t provide much value (at the time of writing people are tweeting about a Euro12 football match and what they’re having for tea). However this list can be used in application such as Flipboard enable a personalised newspaper to be created based on content from a variety of sources including RSS feeds, Facebook and Twitter. Further examples can be seen in the post on  Who Needs Murdoch – I’ve Got Smartr, My Own Personalised Daily Newspaper! – although the Smartr app is no longer available the post illustrates the concept of how a Twitter list can be used as a filter for links to resources posted in Twitter.

Bottlenose

A post entitled How Bottlenose Can Help Turn Twitter into a High Signal Channel illustrated how various tools developed around the Twitter environment can provide ease of access to quality content.

The accompanying screenshot shows a search for the hashtag #eucookielaw.  As can be seen, this enables you to focus in on tweets with other hashtags (such as #iwmw12) or keywords (such as ICO).

The point of these two examples is to illustrate how Twitter can be useful in finding content of interest. However the main purpose of this post is to illustrate how Twitter can be used in the support of a community. We will now explore examples of such uses.

Twitter as an Identity Provider

You do not have to post tweets in order to gain benefits from having a Twitter account.  If you are a speaker at events you can include your Twitter ID on your title slide, along with your email address. This can help you find what people were saying about your talk afterwards e.g. a tweet saying “Great talk by @johnsmith” will arrive in @johnsmith’s incoming messages whereas “Great talk by john smith” will be more difficult to find.

Lanyrd

The Lanyrd service enables a user with a Twitter account to link their attendance at an event (as a speaker, delegate or organiser)  with your Twitter account.  As can be seen for the Lanyrd entry for the IWMW 2012 event you can see the 56 people who have currently associated their Twitter ID with the event.  Selecting a user, such as my colleague @MariekeGuy, you can view the other events she has been involved with, as well as the other users she has appeared with at other events.

Social Ties

The Social Ties app, available for the iPhone and Android platforms:

…  shows you which friends are present and list everyone else by our ‘shared interests index’. Anyone you don’t know becomes a ‘discovery’, the highest ranked are those who talk about the same things as you.

This is an example which seems to provide the ability to help develop one’s community of people with shared interests, based on attendance at forthcoming events. As described by the developers:

Social Ties is an iPhone app that utilises advanced AI algorithms to mine Social Network data to provide you with detailed profiles of people at the conference or event that you are attending, and orders the results according to how interesting we think you will find them.

It should be noted that Social Ties gets its event data from Lanyrd.

Shhmooze

Unlike the other examples given so far, Shhmooze is not part of the Twitter infrastructure. Rather, as I described last year, Shhmooze  is designed to facilitate networking at an event. We have set up a Shhmooze entry for the IWMW 2012 event and will be inviting delegates to try out the tool during the three day event.

Conclusions

The session on New to the Sector? New to Web Management? New to IWMW? which will be held next Monday “will provide orientation for those who have not attended the event previously or are new to the sector or the community“.  I will give an overview of the IWMW event and suggest that it is not the skills of members of institutional Web teams or the services provided by the teams which have the potential to be the key aspect of a sustainable institutional Web team.  After all, policy makers within the institution are capable of carrying out this search query and looking for alternative providers of Web services. But what members of web teams within the institutions should have is the strength of their community.  Let’s continue to build and develop this community!

Posted in Events, Social Networking | 3 Comments »

What Can schema.org Offer the Web Manager?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 1 June 2012

I’m pleased to say that we will be running an additional parallel session at the IWMW 2012 event in Edinburgh in just over two weeks’ time. Phil Barker will be facilitating a session which will seek answers to the question What Can schema.org Offer the Web Manager? The session, which will take place on Monday 18 June from 14.00-15.30, will explore ideas Phil described in a recent post which asked Will using schema.org metadata improve my Google rank?

As described in the abstract for the session:

Schema.org is a major new initiative supported by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Bing and Yandex with the aim of “making it easier for people to find the right web pages”. It is a simplified profile of microdata, a means of embedding metadata in web pages that is aligned with HTML5. It differs significantly from previous attempts at providing resource descriptions for web pages to aid discovery, such as various metadata schema, microformats and RDFa in that it has support from the major search engines plus W3C, making it both standards-based and with vendor support.

As can be seen from his guest post on the Creative Commons blog on the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative Phil has a particular interest is in the potential which schema.org may have in enhancing the discovery of educational resources. However when we discussed his proposal we realised that the issues he would be covering in the session would be of general interest: How can one provide structured metadata in Web pages to facilitate discovery? What is different to use of schema.org to previous metadata proposals such as simply embedding Dublin Core in HTML resources? A common example of use of schema.org is for recipes (as illustrated) – how might one develop a vocabulary relevant to the needs of the higher education sector and, equally important, ensure that search engine vendors understand and process such vocabularies?

Phil’s session on a metadata standard for resource discovery complements the session which Alex Bilbie will be facilitating on the following day (Tuesday 19 June) on Linking You (session C5). As described in the abstract for that session:

This workshop will provide an introduction to the JISC-funded Linking You toolkit. We’ll reflect on the project’s recommendations, dig into the sector-wide review of HEI’s use of identifiers and discuss the resulting draft data model for institutions and possible ways forward for implementation.

At the end of this session, participants should have a better understanding of how identifiers are being used across UK university websites, had a chance to respond to the proposed data model and influence future work in this area.

These two sessions would seem to provide an ideal opportunity for those who have an interest in exploring approaches to enhancing the discovery of a range of resources hosted on the Web.

If you have already booked a place at the IWMW 2012 event and this session is of interest you can change your selected parallel sessions using the username and password you were given when you registered (note that the session has code B7). If you haven’t booked a place for the event which takes place at the University of Edinburgh on 18-20 June, the bookings are still open. And note that although bookings were originally due to close later today, in light of the extended Bank Holiday weekend, which means that the event organisers will not be in the office until later next week, we have decided to keep the online booking system open until Friday 8 June.

Posted in Events | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Trends in Slideshare Views for IWMW Events

Posted by Brian Kelly on 31 May 2012

“Why does everybody ask for slides during/after a presentation?”

Why does everybody ask for slides during/after a presentation? What do you do with them? I’m genuinely curious.asked @MattMay last night. I use Slideshare for a number of reasons:

  • To enable a remote audience to view slides for a presentation they may be watching on a live video stream, on an audio stream or even simply listening to the tweets (and a provide a slide number on the slides to make it easier for people tweeting to identify the slide being used.
  • To enable the slides to be viewed in conjunction with a video recording of the presentation.
  • To enable my slides to be embedded elsewhere, so that the content can be reused in a blog post or on a web page.
  • To enable the content of the slides to be reused, if it is felt to be useful to others. Note that I provide a Creative Commons licence for the text of my slide, try to provide links to screenshots and give the origin of images which I may have obtained from others.
  • To enable my slides to be viewed easily on a mobile device.
  • To provide a commentable facility for the slides.
  • To enable my slides to be related, via tags, to related slideshows.

It seems that I am not alone in wishing to share my slides in this way. Slideshare, the market leader in this area, was recently acquired by LinkedIn. As described in a TechCrunch article published on 3 May 2012: “LinkedIn has just acquired professional content sharing platform SlideShare for $119 million in cash and stock“.  The article went on to state that: “SlideShare users have uploaded more than nine million presentations, and according to comScore, in March SlideShare had nearly 29 million unique visitors”.

Slideshare is also widely used in higher education. But how is it being used, especially in the context of annual events for those involved in web management and web development activities?

Use of Slideshare at IWMW Events

A year ago today, on 31 May 2011, in a post entitled Evidence of Slideshare’s Impact I reported on the number of views on slides of talks which had been given at UKOLN’s IWMW event since 2006.  hosted on Slideshare. It is timely to update that survey.

The slideshows for each year are available in the following Slideshow event groups: IWMW-2006IWMW-2007IWMW2008IWMW2009 and IWMW2010 (note we changed the naming convention in 2008 once Twitter started to gain in popularity).  Note that since not all of the slideshows have been added to the event groups the analysis also made use of the Slideshare tags: IWMW2006,IWMW2007IWMW2008IWMW2009, IWMW10 and IWMW11. It should also be noted that on 20 May Slideshare discontinued event groups so we will not be able to use this approach for grouping slides used at IWMW 2012.

The numbers of views for each slide are available on Slideshare.  A Google Spreadsheet has been created which summarises the figures. The overall totals are given below.

Year Nos. of views
(May 2011)
Nos. of views
(May 2012)
Total nos.
of slides
Nos. of
plenary slides
Nos. of slides from
parallel sessions
Comments
2006 48,360  51,535 11 11  0 Slides added retrospectively.
In May 2012 most popular plenary: 12,216 views.
In May 2011 most popular plenary: 10,190 views.
2007 44,495  61,739 7 5  2 Slides from 2 w/shop sessions included.
In May 2012 most popular plenary: 27,814 views; w/shop: 12,267 views.
In May 2011 most popular plenary: 21,679 views; w/shop: 9,838 views
2008 94,629 109,055 17 8  9 W/shop facilitators encouraged to use Slideshare.
In May 2012 most popular plenary: 33,656 views; w/shop: 18,369 views.
In May 2011 most popular plenary: 26,005 views; w/shop: 22,525 views.
2009 38,877  46,238 29 10 19 In May 2012 most popular plenary: 2,489 views; barcamp: 2,839 views.
In May 2011 most popular plenary: 3,313 views; barcamp: 4,023 views.
2010 11,833 18,758 18 10  8 In May 2012 most popular plenary: 1,896 views; w/shop: 1,601 views.
In May 2011 most popular plenary: 2,816 views; w/shop: 2,599 views.
2011 -   6,393  11  5  6 In May 2012 most popular plenary: 1,119 views; w/shop: 944 views.
TOTAL 238,259 297,741  88  44  44 Growth: 2011 to 2012 = 25%

Note that these figures were mostly collected on 25 May 2012, but a small number of changes were made on 30 May. Also note that two different slideshows used in workshop session at IWMW 2012 had the largest numbers of views in May 21011 and 2012.

Discussion

A paper on “Who are we talking about?: the validity of online metrics for commenting on science [v0]” presented at the Altmetrics11 Tracking scholarly impact on the social Web workshop described how:

… we are not searching in online bibliographic databases for evidence of publications but that we are isolating the existence of online activity on the social web including: blogs; micro-blogging (Twitter); activity on social platforms – LinkedIn, and Mendeley; and sharing of presentations through Slideshare. 

The potential importance of Slideshare metrics was also highlighted yesterday in an article entitled Scientists: your number is up published in  Nature:

Herbert Van de Sompel at the Research Library of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, who is a long-standing proponent of author identifiers, hopes that the [ORCID] system might be used to generate alternative metrics by linking authors to their outputs in “less traditional venues of scholarly communication, such as tweets, blog posts, presentations on Slideshare and videos on SciTV”.

To illustrate the possible benefits of using Slideshare to host a slideshow consider Kristen Fisher Ratan’s slides on “Metrics: The New Black?“. From this I can view Kristen’s other slideshows and discover that she is the Product Director at PloS (Public Library of Science) and that her Twitter ID is @kristenratan. I can also find related slides hosted on Slideshare with the tags almsmetricspublishing and altmetrics.  This can be useful and I haven’t even looked at the slides yet! Slide 18 (illustrated) states that “Powerpoint download feature inadvertently tracked sub-article usage” which suggests that links to a PowerPoint presentation from a paper might provide usage information about the paper which might be difficult to find in other ways. I’m please that this slideshow has been uploaded to Slideshare!

But if Slideshare have a role to play in a portfolio of online metrics which may help to provide a better understanding of the impact of scientific research, what can be learnt from these metrics taken over a period of six years? Although the IWMW event is aimed at practitioners rather than researchers, it did occur to me that the experiences gained in collating these statistics might be of interest to those who are considering use of Slideshare statistics in an alt.metrics context.  Some thoughts that occurred to me:

  • Fragmented statistics: A number of speakers uploaded slides to their own Slideshare account. In cases where this was done after the slides had been uploaded to our main IWMW Slideshare account, we did not always know about the alternative location, which could result in difficulties in aggregating the usage statistics.
  • Reuse of slides at other events: On a couple of occasions, slides used for presentations at IWMW event were also subsequently used at another event.

However there are clearly more significant things to consider when looking at Slideshare metrics: namely, what is it that is being measured?  In this post I will not attempt to answer that question.  Instead I will simply conclude by providing a simple answer to Matt May’s question: “Why does everybody ask for slides during/after a presentation? What do you do with them? I’m genuinely curious.” by pointing out what the evidence tells us “They ask for them because they wish to view them. Why, therefore, would you not provide access to the slides?“. Even if the slides don’t provide significant textual content, they may be useful by letting others see how you have designed your slides and structured your ideas.

As I concluded in last year’s post:

Martin Weller made [the] point in his post on The Slideshare Lessons when he said: “by sharing good Slideshare presentations you are sharing ideas, and people will react to these. It can be in the form of comments on your blog post which features the presentation, on the Slideshare site itself, or through other social media such as twitter“.  Why, I wonder, are people still hosting their slides in the silo of an institutional Web site when the slides can easily be made available as a social object?

Or to put it another way, why would you not publish your slides on Slideshare?

Posted in Events, Evidence, Web2.0 | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

“Big Data, Big Deal?” – It’s the Interpretation of the Evidence That’s Important

Posted by Brian Kelly on 16 May 2012

On Thursday, 10 May I attended the Eduserv Symposium 2012 on “Big Data, Big Deal?“. The Symposium Web site introduced the topic by focussing on the excitement which currently surrounds the phase “Big Data”:

The hot IT buzzword of 2012, big data has become viable as cost-effective approaches have emerged to tame the volume, velocity and variability of massive data” – Edd Dumbill, O’Reilly Radar.

In the opening to the event, Andy Powell, the Eduserv Symposium chair, suggested that claiming 2012 as the year of Big Data probably means that the term will be over-hyped. Rather than revisiting suggestions as to what Big Data could do, Andy explained that the aim of the Symposium would be primarily to provide an opportunity to hear about what practitioners are actually doing.

This approach meant that many of the talks went into either technical details relation to software and systems (Hadoop, DB Couch, NoSQL, etc.) or of the application area (e.g. Genome sequencing). Due to my lack of expertise I will not attempt to summarise the details of the talks. If you do have an interest in the details of the presentations which were given you will be pleased to hear that recordings of the talks are available via the Eduserv Web site together with the speakers’ slides can also be accessed.

For those who are new to the area, my colleague Marieke Guy has summarised what is meant by Big Data:

Big data is considered to be data sets that have grown so large and complex that they present challenges to work with using traditional database management tools. The key factors are seen to be the “volume, velocity and variability” of the data.

Several of the talks addressed the relevance of Big Data in areas of scientific research. Although this is clearly of interest to the higher education sector, I felt that it was unfortunate that there were no talks on learning analytics. The popularity of the Learning Analytics and Knowledge 2012 conference, held in Vancouver on 29 April – 2 May 2012, indicates the importance of this area and as a number of people from JISC and JISC services attended the conference, I felt it would have been particularly useful if the symposium has addressed this topic – as I suggested at the event after hearing about how large retailers are gaining competitive advantages from analysis of purchasing patterns, although it may be interested to analyse electronics and cans of beans, analysis of data associated with student learning raises many interesting ethical issues which the sector needs to address.

The opening speaker who pointed out that the aggregation and analysis of large volumes of data would support evidence-based policy decisions. This is an approach I support, and over the past few years I have gathered small data in order to inform policy-making processes. For me the role of the data scientists and data journalists who can help to interpret, understand and communicate findings provided by data, big or small, will be important. For scientists the interpretation of the Big Data might inform the development of scientific understanding (as is the case in the Big Data being gathered by the Large Hadron Collider) whereas as we can be seen from the abstract for the talk on Making data a way of life for public servants given by Max Wind-Cowie Head, Progressive Conservatism Project Demos:

The data agenda has made great progress under this Government – particularly in the area of transparency. But public servants too often feel left out of the equation or, worse, see transparency as a threat. Too often the public sector looks at big data as a risk, a problem waiting to happen and a potential tool for undermining its work. If Britain is to truly reap the benefits of big data we need to make data – its collection and its use – a boon to public servants, not a burden.

The interest in Big Data in informing policy decisions by the Government clearly makes the subjectivity of the interpretation of the analysis of Big Data clearly an important issue!

My colleague Marieke Guy summarised some of the key themes in her report on the event, which included:

We don’t need to get hung up on the ‘big’ word. Many of the benefits of evidence-based policy decisions can be gained by analysis of data which may be regarded as Big based on the characteristics of ” volume, velocity and variability”.

The tools are now available. Marieke highlighted Hadoop, DB Couch, NoSQL which all allow people to work easily with data sets – and may address the issues of tools which can be used for managing Big Data in her session on “Big and Small Web Data” which will be held at the IWMW 2012 event. I should also mention that a post on “Analytics Reconnoitre: Notes on Open Solutions in Big Data from #esym12” by Martin Hawksey of JISC CETIS also highlights a range of tools and provides a useful set of links to further sources of information.

We don’t yet know what data to get rid of. The issue of preservation of Big Data was of particular interest to me in light of my involvement in Web preservation issues. Preservation experts often point out the importance of selection criteria to define resources which should be preserved. However, as we heard at the symposium, such selection criteria is based on an understanding of what should be regarded as important. For the preservation of scientific data the decisions will be based on an understanding of a particular model – but what if the model is found to be incorrect? Donald Rumsfeld famously suggested that:

[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know.

To paraphrase this:

[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know we know are of value and worth preserving.
We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know whether they are worth preserving.
But there are also incorrect unknowns – there are things we thought we knew we were mistaken.

Martin Hawksey concludes his report on the event by encouraging readers to:

watch some of the videos from the Data Scientist Summit 2011 (I’m still working my way through but there are some inspirational presentations).

I agree with Martin – there were some excellent talks at the event. I would also thank Andy Powell and his Eduserv colleagues for the live-streaming and for making the videos available shortly after the event was over. I was also pleased when I discovered that the videos have been made available on Eduserv’s YouTube channel, which means that I can now embed the Opening keynote – Big Data and implications for storage: Rob Anderson at Eduserv Symposium 2012 in this post:

Posted in Events | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Why Would You Not Use #Lanyrd For Your Event?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 15 May 2012

 

Lanyrd: a Conference Directory Website

I’m a fan of Lanyrd, which is described in Wikipedia as “a conference directory website created by Simon Willison and Natalie Downe and launched in 2010“. The article goes on to add that “The site compiles blog posts, photos and other coverage from events and keeps it organised by session and speaker. Users on the site are identified through the Twitter API and events are shown to users based on their contacts on Twitter“.

Lanyrd was released in September 2010 and I started to make use of it shortly after its launch and have been a fan ever since.

The IWMW 2012 Lanyrd Entry

Speakers at IWMW 2012

We have set up a Lanyrd entry for UKOLN’s forthcoming IWMW 2012 event. This provides a calendar view of the programme (which can be exported in various calendar formats), But perhaps of most interest is the social dimension to the service. As can be seen you can view the speakers at the event. Since the speakers are identified by their Twitter ID, once you have signed in to the service you can quickly see the speakers who you follow on Twitter or, if you aren’t currently following them, you can choose to extend your professional network by following them.

The service isn’t just for speakers, facilitators and organisers at an event, however. If you are attending an event you can register as a participant. If you are merely interested in the event you can also register your interest in the event by tracking the event.

Lanyrd has developed since its launch, and there are now dedicated Lanyrd apps available for the iPhone/iPad and Android devices. In addition there is also a mobile interface to the web site available which can be used if you haven’t installed an app or an app is not available for your mobile device.

Reflecting on Previous Events

But in addition to Lanyrd’s potential for forthcoming events, it can also help to provide a better understanding of an event over the years, including the speakers, participants and the content.

A Lanyrd guide (a collection of related events) has been set up called IWMW which provides details of all 16 IWMW events since its launch in 1997. The entries for the early years (currently) provide details of the title of the event, the location and the dates. But in addition, the abstracts for plenary talks and workshop sessions together with speaker details for events held since 2006 are also available.

Speakers at IWMW 2006

As can be seen we have provided speaker details going back to IWMW 2006, which, as you will see if you view the list of sessions held on Lanyrd, was the start of interest in Web 2.0 across the UK higher and further education sector.

We also made use of Slideshare for many of the plenary talks given at the IWMW 206 event (although these may have been uploaded after the event was held). And since Lanyrd supports embedded objects includes slides and videos, we have been any to facilitate access to the slides (and, in one cases, accompanying videos) for the plenary talks.

What benefits might this provide? I would suggest that use of Lanyrd in this way can:

  • Provide a better understanding of the speakers and facilitators who have contributed to the event over the years.
  • Help to raise the profile of the speakers and facilitators.
  • Enhance participants’ memories of the events.
by
  • Decoupling the content from the host Web site (which provides primarily a HTML view of the content).
  • Avoiding the need for local development.

But what else might use of Lanyrd provide? A question on Lanyrd’s FAQ asks I want to play with your data. Will there be an API? and we find a positive response:

Yes, an API is in the pipeline. If you are interested in receiving announcements and updates about the API, you can join our API discussion mailing list.

As a conference organiser I’ve an interest in developing the APIs for Lanyrd guides. For the 16 IWMW events it would be useful to be able to display information on the numbers of speakers across all events, the numbers of times they have spoken. In light of the recent post which asked Are There Too Many Male Speakers at Events? it might also be useful to be able to provide statistics on gender balances, although I appreciate there are sensitivities with such questions.

But perhaps the most useful aspect of Lanyrd would be gained if participants at previous events used Lanyrd to list the events they have attended. This would help to give an understanding of the participation at events, beyond the speakers. Such information is clearly personal and would be covered by Data Protection Legislation. But if individuals were to provide such information for themselves that would overcome privacy concerns.

We tend to focus on using technologies to enhance forthcoming events. I wonder whether there may be value to be gained in data-mining the wide range of events held in the higher education sector over, say, the past ten years. Any thoughts?


Twitter conversation from Topsy: [View]

Posted in Events | 5 Comments »

Are There Too Many Male Speakers at Events?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 12 April 2012

Are Conferences Dominated By Male Speakers?

Yesterday I announced that UKOLN’s annual IWMW 2012 event is now open for bookings. But is the event, aimed at those responsible for managing institutional Web services, dominated by male speakers? In a recent Twitter discussion Nicole Harris revisited this topic which she has commented on previously:

… more lack of female presenters i moan about. % of female speakers at UKSG plenaries even, not just tech

As we run many events at UKOLN I wondered whether we too tended to fail to give female speakers an opportunity to talk. In order to base subsequent discussion on evidence I looked at the numbers of male and female plenary speakers at IWMW events and also included the figures for the forthcoming IWMW 2012 event. The figures are summarised in the following table.

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Total Total %
Male 7  9  11 10 9 7 11 8 6 10  7 7 9 9 7 9  135 86.5%
Female  1 1 1  1 0 2  2 1 0   1 1 3 0 2 1 4    21 13.5%
Link  Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link  Link

It seems then that there have been only 13.5% female plenary speakers at the 16 IWMW events, with the IWMW 2005 and IWMW 2009 events held at Manchester and Essex seemingly being men-only events from a speaker’s perspective. A post about a Gendered Conference Campaign on the Feminist Philosophers blog”aims to raise awareness of the prevalence of all-male conferences … of the harm that they do“. Is the IWMW event guilty of “All-male events and volumes help to perpetuate the stereotyping of [web technologies] as male” as is highlighted on the blog in the field of philosophy?

Although the IWMW event hosts a number of plenary talks, the main focus is on the parallel workshop sessions which aim to provide a more interactive and participative approach to learning and staff development.  What are the gender balances for the workshop facilitators? The figures are given in the following table.

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Total Total %
Male -  8 6  8 18 17 13 15 15 23  24 17  16  21 12  14  219 74.5%
Female -  1 1  0   7  9 14   8   6   6    4   3    6   3   3    4    75 25.5%
Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link  Link

Note:

  • A record of the facilitators of the sessions held at the first IWMW event was not kept.
  • The numbers given in the two tables may contain small inaccuracies due to people running multiple sessions, late replacements, etc.

From these figures we can see that there are almost twice proportionately as many female facilitators as plenary speakers. We can conclude that the event is not based on only men leading talks and sessions, although we are far from parity. But does this simply reflect the gender disparity across the institutional web management community? One way of finding an answer to this would be to look at the gender split across the participants at IWMW events.

Since we do not record gender information we made use of the Status field (Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms). This approach does mean that the gender of attendees who are Doctors or Professors may be mis-recorded but for the IWMW event, these numbers are likely to be small. The figures for recent years are given below.

2009 2010 2011 Total Total %
Male 113 132 116 361 71.5%
Female   60  37   47 144 28.5%

We can thus conclude that the overall numbers for plenary speakers and facilitators (354 males and 96 females or 78% and 21%) are not significantly different from the overall gender split at the event.

Do We Need to Gather Gender Statistics?

Dr Chris Sexton

In order to be able to analyse gender information for both participant as well as speakers at future events we have started to have a discussion as to whether we should explicitly ask for such information on registration forms. We had to manually identify whether participants were male or female and are aware that in some circumstances, such as ambiguous or unfamiliar first names, such as Dr Chris Sexton, mistakes may we made.

When we raised this question on Twitter, the responses were mixed. Some people felt that it was inappropriate, perhaps because we should be minimising personal questions which are asked but also, it seems, because of a feeling that gender issues aren’t a simple binary split. But others felt that it would be appropriate to ask such questions, especially if the purpose of asking the question was provided.

This specific issue does raise a more general question regarding gathering of information. Some people feel that information on booking forms should only be used if the information will be used in some concrete fashion. For the IWMW 2012 event we ask about the mobile devices which people are likely bring to the event partly to be able to ensure that any technologies we intend to use at the event can be used on popular devices, but also so that we can identify trends in the numbers of devices people are taking to the IWMW events and the types of devices themselves. We are unlikely to make use of gender information in any specific ways, but we are wondering whether the information about the speakers and facilitators should inform our policies for future events. Should we, for example, actively solicit more contributions from women? On the other hand, if the number of female speakers correlates with the numbers of female attendees, might the imbalance be a larger societal issue for which we, as event organisations, are not in a position to address? Or maybe you feel that such suggesting there should be some form of quotas for female speakers is ‘political correctness gone mad’?

We have now opened up bookings for IWMW 2012, without asking for gender information. In addition Sally Kerr, EA Draffan, Dawn Ellis and Helen Sargan will be giving plenary talks, with Katherine Pickles and Marieke Guy chairing sessions and Claire Gibbons, Sheila MacNeill and Marie Salter, together with Marieke Guy facilitating workshop sessions.

But what about other UKOLN events? And what about other events held across the sector? How does the gender split for participants and speakers at IWMW events compare with, say, ALT-C, UCISA and JISC conferences? And do such organisations have policies which seek to ensure appropriate levels of representation from women? Alternatively, if you run a library event with female participants in the majority, do you face these issues in reverse?

I should add that after the first few years of running successful IWMW event the programme committee pro-actively sought female speakers and workshop facilitators, which resulted in 28% of the workshop facilitators in 2001 and 2002 and 52% in 2003 being female. However in subsequent years gender issues seem to have been forgotten about, with no plenary speakers giving talks in 2005 and 2009.

Your views would be welcome. Feel free to leave a comment on this post. Alternatively you may wish to resp0nd to the survey forms which ask for your views on asking for gender information on event booking forms and policies on seeking larger numbers of female speakers.

 

Posted in Events | 13 Comments »