UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Archive for Nov 12th, 2006

Web 2.0: How Should IT Services and the Library Respond?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 12 Nov 2006

I’ve been invited to facilitate a meeting on Thursday16 Nov 2006 on “Web 2.0: How Should IT Services and the Library Respond?“which is being hosted IT Service managers in East Midlands Universities.  As well as the IT Service contingent, a number of library and e-learning staff have been invited.

I’ve prepared some materials, but I’m also  going to suggest  that there’s a need for  such staff to engage with use of Web 2.0  services and to participate in social networks.

I’d appreciate feedback and suggestions from readers of this postiong who have been through the process of embedding Web 2.0 services.   It would be great to have some suggestions which I could show at the meeting.

I’ll post a report on the meeting.


Posted in Events, Web2.0 | 3 Comments »


Posted by Brian Kelly on 12 Nov 2006

Michael Webb has recently posted an article on LibraryThing. I have also recently signed up for this service and catalogues about 100 of my (many!) books. The interface is very slick, and I particularly appreciate its thriving community, as can be seen by the statistics page.

Initially I started to use it to catalogue my novels. However it has occurred to me that this might be a useful service for cataloguing books in small departments (like UKOLN, perhaps). This might provide a simple way of getting departments started in exploring use of a Web 2.0 service. And, if you are worried about potential loss of your data, there is an export function.

Technorai tags: librarything”

Posted in Web2.0 | 1 Comment »

“Seek forgiveness, not permission”

Posted by Brian Kelly on 12 Nov 2006

As described in Tom Roper’s Blog, the main theme of the ILI 2006 conference was Web 2.0. I spoke to a number of people who would like to deploy services such as Blogs and Wikis to support their user community, but encountered inertia and resistance within their organisation. It may have been Michael Stephens who proposed an approach based on “seek forgiveness, not permission”, suggesting that it may be better to take a bottom-up approach to such services, rather than wait for approval from on-high, which may take time in slow-moving, conservative organisations. And it seems that this phrase was also popular at the Internet Librarian conference two weeks later.

This approach is nothing new, of course: the Web became popular within the University sector in 1993-4 due, in part, to the innovations of researchers in academic departments, with central services within institutions often being committed to either proprietary CWISs (Campus Wide Information Systems) or Gopher .

An example of this approach can be seen in the Library at the University of Bath, where Kara Jones has set up not only a Bath Library Science News Blog and a Wiki for discussin and planning a Podcast service for the library.

An advantage of this approach is that the intended user community for the applications will be better informed of not only the technical requirements, but also issues such as usability, functional requirements and training implications.

Clearly there are also limitations with this approach. If things go wrong, there may be a need to seek forgiveness! What is the preferred approach – leadership set by central service departments, as described in my previous post, or a bottom-up approach? Or is there a third way?

Posted in Blog | 2 Comments »

Blogs published by IT Service Departments

Posted by Brian Kelly on 12 Nov 2006

I’ve added to my Blogroll links to two Blogs published by senior managers of IT Service department in UK higher educational institutions. These are by:

I have met both John and Michael. John, head of development at e-lab, University of Warwick, gave a talk on “Being Agile” at a UKOLN workshop on Initiatives & Innovation: Managing Disruptive Technologies. And Michael gave a plenary talk on “Developing a Web 2.0 Strategy” at the Institutional Web Management Workshop 2006 (where, incidentally, Michael mentioned that Newport College was inspired to develop a Web 2.0 strategy following my talk on “What Can Internet Technologies Offer?” at the UCISA Management Conference in 2004).

John and Michael have successful Blogs, covering both strategic issues and more technical ones, with the occasional reflections on a wider range of issues. John’s Blog is also very successful in providing an area for discussion and debate with his user community. As can be seen, John is willing to share examples of best practices and invite encourage others to provide other examples, which John might not be aware of.

I think this example provides an illustration of a deployment strategy for Web 2.0 technologies such as Blogs which could usefully be adopted more widely with the community: senior managers setting a lead and demonstrating examples of best practices, such as engaging with the user community.

Are there other examples of Blogs published by other senior managers in IT Service departments? Or, indeed, within Libraries?

Posted in Blog | 2 Comments »

Blog statistics – 2006-11-11

Posted by Brian Kelly on 12 Nov 2006

In my “I’ve a Blog – What Next?” posting I described how I had created this Blog and included it in Technorati. I deliberately did not post details of the Blog on any email lists or inform anyone in order to investigate how the Technorati entry, followed by word of mouth (and, do we have an expression for this, word of Blog) would generate traffic.

Blog statistics The statistics for the Blog on 11 November 2006, 5 days after the first visits to the Blog, are shown.

So what has happened so far? A couple of people (whom I didn’t know) commented on the “I’ve a Blog – What Next?” posting. So there’s a clear advantage in posting an open question and inviting feedback and help.

My former colleague Paul Miller then spotted the Blog (possibly through Technorati? – Paul, can you tell me how you found it?) and emailed Michael Stevens and Phil Bradley, my fellow speakers at the ILI 2006 conference. Phil has commented on this Blog about my Blog as well as (as commented on in an earlier post) Michael in his Tame The Web Blog. Both of these are high profile Blogs – so it will be interesting to see how these posting affect the traffic to my Blog.
Incidentally the Blog is now number two in a Technorati search for ‘UKOLN’, as shown below.

technorati statistics for 11 11 2006

I’ll report on the statistics and comment on possible reasons for changes to the usage pattern in the future postings.

Posted in Blog | 11 Comments »