UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Your Views On Externally-Hosted Web 2.0 Services

Posted by Brian Kelly on 14 Sep 2007

I have found the My Questions Facebook application useful in getting focussed responses to questions I’ve raised. In the past few months I’ve asked for comments on Skype (most find it useful with only one person feeling it should be banned) and how institutions should respond to Facebook (almost everybody feels we should engage with it in some fashion, whilst being aware of possible dangers, and only one dissenting view from someone who feels it’s a fad).

My question for this month is:

Externally-hosted blogs, wikis, etc: (a) valuable solution for institutions which can save effort and resources; (b) to be avoided, as institutions need to be able to manage and tweak their own services or (c) an alternative view (please describe)?

I’ve already found that asking this question has proved valuable, as Chris Adie has included a link to a document on Guidelines for Using External Services produced by the University of Edinburgh. Barry Cornelius, incidentally used the JISCMail mailing list to inform me of a document on Checklist for assessing third-party IT services which addresses similar issues and some time ago I wrote a QA Focus briefing document on Risk Assessment For Use Of Third Party Web 2.0 Services.

What are your thoughts? If you can keep your responses down to 255 characters, you might wish to respond in Facebook; those who prefer to waffle on for longer than this may wish to respond to this blog post :-)

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8 Responses to “Your Views On Externally-Hosted Web 2.0 Services”

  1. Custard said

    As a student, I can’t see the problem with using external services for blogs and wikis etc, there is such a large range available, which is constantly evolving, so you learn to effectively work in the “real world” of t’internet, rather than the closed world of a university or institution website. Its like studying out in the wild on a field trip. As long as the culture amongst the students and lecturers is such where they discuss choices about these tools in a critical way, it will only enhance the educational experience gained through using these tools – which will be useful to students once they cease to be students and need to use such tools outside of the educational sphere.

  2. Valuable solution in the first instance, internal installations may be required as takeup increases and support is required. Also, how official do you want the message to be and do you want to aggregate the content from multiple external services to provide a blogging hub of your own? Again, once a tipping point is reached an internally-provided option might be good for this.

  3. Pete said

    (C) an alternative view. Use whatever service best fits the institution’s risk comfort level. Where internal solutions are preferred, in look and feel they should be compatible with other external tools.

  4. “in look and feel they should be compatible with other external tools”

    do you mean other *internal* tools?

  5. […] for using third party services such as Blogger and PBwiki?” In a recent blog posting, Brian Kelly has listed three documents that look at the issues involved in using externally hosted Web 2.0 […]

  6. Wendell said

    a) Very valuable for smaller, less ‘techy’ institutions. If you can find a good partner / host who will be responsive, you can just say “here’s what I need” or “here’s what needs to be changed” and it can get done.

    The drawback? Even with the best service (especially with the best service!) the organization’s staff are not pressed to expand their skills. In the adult literacy world, where basic literacy is beginning to include computer literacy, this ought to be a natural area for organizational learning and growth.

    Too, there’s the drawback of the external host suddenly disappearing with all your pics, contacts and on-line documentation.

    Still… A.

  7. Pete said

    Phil,
    yes and no :) Where possible tools should be consistent with eachother in HCI basics. For ease of use and as someone noted, for ease of transfer of those skills.

  8. […] on “Risk Management and Web 2.0″ would be popular. I’ve posted previously on Your Views On Externally-Hosted Web 2.0 Services back in September 2007. But, apart from the risk assessment document which have been produced […]

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