UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Archive for July 12th, 2007

A Timeline For All IWMW Events

Posted by Brian Kelly on 12 July 2007

In response to a post in which I announced that Data Available For IWMW 2007 Competition I received a comment from Tim Beadle (a Web developer in Bath) who suggested I look at Timeline from MIT. So I did and started to put together a timeline of IWMW events. However after the 30 minutes I allocated to this task I found that after I’d added my data the script wouldn’t run. I then sought help on the web-support JISCMail list and Owen Stevens not only quickly spotted the problem (an error in the dates) but also enhanced the interface.

A good example of collaborative work, I feel, and an example of use of a lightweight technology. I suspect there will be growing interest in use of timeline interfaces. Whether the Simile Timeline software is the tool to use is uncertain (there are problems with integrating the data with the JavaScript software, I feel). However at least we now have something which enables us to engage with our user community – and explore whether this is an approach which may be of interest or not.

Further information on this submission is available on the Submissions page of the IWMW 2007 Web site.

(Note this post is one of a series which describes submissions to the Innovation Competition at the IWMW 2007 event, to be held at the University of York on 16-18 July 2007. Further information about the series of posts is available in a post published previously.)

Use of the SImile Timeline software for IWMW events

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Submissions to the IWMW 2007 Competition

Posted by Brian Kelly on 12 July 2007

I have commented previously that one of the innovations at this year’s Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW 2007) is the innovation competition.

The aim of the innovation competition is to provide an environment for participants (and other interested parties) to provide examples of lightweight innovations which may be of interest to workshop participants. We hope this will provide an opportunity for those who submit examples to benefit from the staff development his may provide and the feedback which may be received. We also hope that the examples which are provided will provide a context to stimulate discussion about the relevance of such work within an institutional context. Will the examples be sustainable, for example, and will they scale up to large scale usage? And what about the implications of copyright, data protection, etc.?

I’m pleased to say that, to date, we have received eleven submissions. In order to gain feedback from a wide audience and open up the discussions I will be posting a series of articles will a brief summary of the submissions and invite your comments.

Note also that we are still accepted submissions, so if you have something to contribute, please view the submission template and provide the relevant details (I suggest as a comment to this post in the master UK Web Focus blog). Please, though, do not simply submit an example of work you have already completed – this is unlikely to pass the “cool’ criteria! You should also note that the title is “innovation competition”. You do not necessarily have to submit a mashup, or even an IT solution. A witty solution, a joke, etc. might work – how about, for example, a pastiche of last year’s social event (featuring your’s truly).

Posted in iwmw2007 | 5 Comments »

Clever Spam Comment

Posted by Brian Kelly on 12 July 2007

There have been over 22,000 spam comments which have been submitted to this blog since it was launched in November 2006. Most have been filtered automatically by the Akismet spam filter, but a small number do get through and require me to delete them manually. This is normally not a problem, as they can be spotted easily. However yesterday I noticed a comment which appeared to be legitimate – it mentioned Roddy MacLeod (a regular contributor to the blog) and appeared to give acknowledgments to some references which had been provided). However closer inspection revealed that the reference to Roddy was spurious and the submitter’s details included a link advertising Toyota cars.

I assume this is a clever form of automated spam ( taking the name details of someone who has commented previously and using this in a message containing some bland comments). Sadly it seems that even closer inspection of comments will be needed in future :-(

Spam comment sent to blog

Posted in Blog, Web2.0 | 1 Comment »

Transliteracy – Breaking Down Barriers

Posted by Brian Kelly on 12 July 2007

On Tuesday (10 July 2007) I was a co-faciliator of an ‘unconference’ session at a JISC Emerge meeting which aimed at helping to consolidate the Emerge community of practice.

Until a few weeks ago the term ‘unconference’ was new to me – indeed, as I joked at the event, I thought myself and Graham Atwell, my co-facilitator, had been invited to facilitate a UN-style conference, acting as peace-keepers between warring projects :-) Fortunately this turned out not to me the case. Wikipedia was my friend and helped to provide a definition of an unconference: “An unconference is a conference where the content of the sessions is driven and created by the participants, generally day-by-day during the course of the event, rather than by a single organizer, or small group of organizers, in advance.

So Graham and I had to prepare for an event driven by the participants and not by ourselves. The approach we took was to prepare for a number of ways of stimulating discussion, if this was needed. However on the day it turned out that this was not needed as two interesting discussions took place in our two sessions: one on transliteracy and one on the ethical aspects of use of social networks (a topic I’ll revisit in the future).

Professor Sue Thomas of De Montford University introduced the ‘transliteracy’ topic. Again looking at Wikipedia I find the definition of Transliteracy given as “The ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.“. (This has been taken from the PART (Production and Research in Transliteracy) Group Web site).

Although the term was new to me, it struck a cord chord with many of my interests, such as papers I’ve written on blended / holistic accessibility, in which myself and my co-authors have argued that, in the context of e-learning accessibility, the important aspect is the accessibility of the learning outcomes, rather than the accessibility of the digital resources.

I was thinking some more about transliteracy when I came across a recent blog post on “Battle lines” on the SINTO blog. This post suggests there’s a “battle raging for the hearts and minds of the library profession” between the “the Webbed [advocates] featuring General Phil Bradley and Karen Blakeman” who march under the slogan “Just do it” and “the web sceptics gathered around Field Marshall Tim Coates. Their battle cry is ‘Libraries are synonymous with books and reading. They always have been and they always will be’.

I would agree with the SINTO comment that “On reflection however, I feel that this image of a direct conflict is misleading. On the whole the webbed are not anti-book … Similarly the web sceptics are not all anti-computer“.

It is possible to engage with both the analogue and digital worlds – and anyone who has seen my collection of books, LPs and CDs will know that I am comfortable in living in both of these universes :-)

And this holistic approach reflects many aspects of our lives, I feel. For example, when I travel I might walk, take the bus, car, train or fly. I do not class myself as a ‘driver’ to the exclusion of other forms of transport. Many of us will have a broad view of issues – although in the context of this example, Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson would be an exception. And maybe the are times or contexts in which we will take a narrowly focussed approach to issues. As someone who has worked in IT for many tears years :-) I am familiar with 7-layer models and the benefits of clear separation of functions when developing software. But don’t we now need to take a more holistic approach to development work, I wonder? And what are the implications of this?

I’m now pleased at having participated in the Unconference session and that Sue introduced me to ‘transliteracy’ – without the unconference, I suspect I would not have had the opportunity to hear this term and discuss its implications.

And returning to the tensions discussed in the SINTO blog post, perhaps the transliteracy community can give their thoughts on the arguments of the”Web 2.0: Just do it” and”Libraries are about books and reading (just read it?)” camps.

Technorati Tags: transliteracy

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