UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Archive for August, 2013

Initial Reflections on The Hyperlinked Library MOOC and the Badges I Have Acquired

Posted by Brian Kelly on 31 August 2013

An Opportunity For Professional Development

It’s now been a month since I was made redundant from UKOLN. Since then I have had two weeks holiday in Northumberland and had a few days at Whitby Folk Festival. In addition I have been exploring new opportunities which has included submitting an application for the post of Community Engagement Manager at the Open Data Institute. After having recharged my batteries I am now looking to enhance my skills and expertise and further develop my professional connections.

The Hyperlinked Library MOOC

The Hyperlinked Library MOOC has therefore arrived at a timely moment for me. As described by Michal Stephens one of the two facilitators of the MOOC the MOOC is based on a course he has taught at San Jose State University which has been adapted to a larger scale. Michael goes on to explain how the concept of “The Hyperlinked Organization” which was described by David Weinberge in The Cluetrain Manifesto could be applied in a library context:

The Hyperlinked Library is an open, participatory institution that welcomes user input and creativity. It is built on human connections and conversations. The organizational chart is flatter and team-based. The collections grow and thrive via user involvement. Librarians are tapped in to user spaces and places online to interact, have presence, and point the way. The hyperlinked library is human. Communication, externally and internally, is in a human voice. The librarians speak to users via open, transparent conversation.

The MOOC is based on a number of weekly modules which include The Hyperlinked Library Model & Participatory Service; Hyperlinked Library Communities; Engaging Hyperlinked Communities; Planning for Hyperlinked Libraries; Transparency & Privacy; User Experience; Mobile & Geo-social Environments; Creation Culture and Learning & New Literacies; Reflective Practice.

As the MOOC begins on Monday I am not yet in a position to comment on the content on the MOOC. However As I have registered on the MOOC I am in a position to give my initial thoughts on the MOOC environment,

MOOC badgesAfter joined the MOOC I subscribed to a number of discussion fora or, to use the terminology of the MOOC, joined number of tribes. I looked at details of others who have subscribed to the MOOC and sent friendship requests to people I knew and accepted a number of requests which I have received. I then updated my details and uploaded a portrait and created a blog for use on the course.

For each of these actions I was awarded a badge: a Join a Tribe badge; a Send a Friendship Request badge; an Accept a Friendship Request badge and an Update your MOOC avatar badge. I also received an Update your MOOC avatar badge for collecting five badges!

As illustrated, I now have eight badges. It seems that there are still many other badges which I can acquire, including checkpoint badge, master badges, blogging badges, peer review badges, personal learning network badges and À  la carte badges.

Thoughts on Badges

I have to admit that I found this rather cheesy; I felt the system was patronizing me. I found my initial reaction somewhat strange. After all, I had invited Doug Belshaw, Badges & Skills Lead for the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, to give a plenary talk at the IWMW 2013 event on “Mozilla, Open Badges and a Learning Standard for Web Literacy“. The Storify summary of the open session at the IWMW 2013 event described how:

Doug Belshaw gave an introduction to the Open Badges infrastructure and how these could be used to communicate a wide range of skills that are not currently communicated by traditional degree certificates.  He explained the different levels to which institutions can integrate Open Badges into their accreditation, and outline how web managers can get involved both with Open Badges and a new web literacy standard.

As I subsequently reported “gauging from the comments on Twitter, an audience which is intrigued by open badges and their potential relevance for both personal use and to support departmental activities“. Indeed I recall suggesting at the event that I should consider whether open badges should be provided for speakers and participants at IWMW events. But having been a fan a few months ago, why was I skeptical when I received my first badges on the Hyperlinked Library MOOC last week?

My skepticism was compounded after I deleted the default blog post which had been created when I set up the blog and received a Post Trasher badge! I felt patronized: “Congratulations, you now know hoe to delete a blog post. Have a badge“. It seems as though the MOOC is awarding badges after every distinct action: registering; updating one’s avatar, joining a group, creating a blog; publishing a post;, etc. There is no notion of quality associated with such badges. But perhaps that is to come, as badges are awarded based on assessment and peer review.

Post on unlocking badgesIs there, then, a point to badges for completion of simple tasks? In a recent post Michael Stephens suggested that “Happiness is unlocking a badge!” and one fellow student responded: “I’ve always been an intrinsically motivated kinda person, but this having little nuggets to ’win’ is stepping it up a notch!”.

So perhaps my cynicism is inappropriate. Alternatively, there may be cultural differences based on nationality, area of work, gender, etc.

The question of differing perspectives and approaches for a global MOOC audience occurred to me after befriending other participants on the MOOC. I responded to friendship requests from the MOOC organisers (one of whom, Michael Stephens, I know) and then befriended a small number of people whom I am in contact with on Twitter. However I have not befriended any ‘strangers’ although I number of people I do not know have befriended me (and I have accepted such requests). Will we see differences in participants willingness to initiate and respond to friendship requests, I wonder. It should be noted that at the time of writing the Google Map of participants’ locations shows only three British and one Irish participants. As can be seen from the map below which shows the location of participants from the northern hemisphere (note bone participant from China is omitted) the MOOC has attracted participants from North America and Europe. Other participants are from Australia and New Zealand, with one participants from South America.

It will be interesting to see if the global audience (although predominantly from the western world)  engages with the online MOOC environment in ways which reflect cultural differences. The map itself may reveal some clues, as participants have been invited to add their own information. Will participants from North America be more willing to provide geo-location information, I wonder? I’d welcome your thoughts.

Map of hyperlinked library MOOC participants




Posted in openness | Tagged: | 9 Comments »

Wanted By The ODI: Conclusions

Posted by Brian Kelly on 19 August 2013

On Monday I described how the ODI (Open Data Institute) had advertised a post for a Community Engagement Manager. The job advert described how:

This isn’t a normal job; we’re not just asking you to email a CV. We want you to demonstrate your ability to understand, reach and engage an audience. So, by 12 noon on Monday 19 August please use whatever (legal) means you have at your disposal to reach our Head of Research, Tom Heath, and convince him that your CV is worth reading. The more creative your approach, and the more it demonstrates your passion for the transformative power of open data, the greater your chances of getting to interview.

Quite a challenge! But it does seem appropriate that an application for a post at the Open Data Institute should be published in an open fashion. This approach also helped the Open Data Institute to raise its visibility: I expect potential applicants will have been demonstrating their expertise in engaging with audiences in a variety of ways –  have there been any high-profile ‘flashmobs’ over the past few days, I wonder? I had intended to demonstrate my suitability for their job by publishing a series of blog posts containing infographics which would illustrate various aspects of my work. However as I am currently on holiday in Northumberland I decided that visits to castles would take priority! So instead this final post (which I hope won’t be penalised for missing the 12 noon deadline!) provides a summary of the reasons why I feel I am well-suited for the post together with an accompanying poster display which is embedded in this post and is also available on Slideshare:

A commitment to open practices:
I started to make use of Creative Commons licences for the JISC-funded QA Focus project shortly before Creative Commons licences were formally recognised in UK legislation. I have used a Creative Commons licence for posts on this blog and for the slides I use in my presentations. I also ensure that my research papers are openly available with a Creative Commons licence from the University of Bath repository. I also make use of open practices in my work, such as this blog which acts as an ‘open notebook’ in which I share my ideas and invite feedback and discussion.
A pro-active approach to sharing and engagement:
I have been pro-active in sharing my experiences across a wide audience, including Web practitioners in UK Universities, the cultural sector in the UK together with the wider research community. As can be seen from the accompanying timeline I have been involved in such open practices for a significant period.
An experienced speaker:
I am an experienced speaker: I have given a total of 429 presentations between November 1996 and July 2013.
An experienced event organiser:
I am an experienced event organiser, having established the annual IWMW event seventeen years ago.
A willingness to evaluate new tools, techniques and services:
I am willing to evaluate new tools and services in order to be able to exploit potential benefits of innovative practices. An example has been the use of event amplification technologies at IWMW since 2005 (which was described in a paper entitled “Using Networked Technologies To Support Conferences” presented at the EUNIS 2005 conference.
An experienced writer:
I have written over 60 peer-reviewed or invited papers at local, national and international events. I have also published over 1,200 posts on this blog.
Strong professional networks:
I have strong professional networks on services such as Twitter and LinkedIn as well as across the Web accessibility research community and the educational technology community.
Knowledgeable of the importance of metrics (and their limitations):
I am aware of the importance of metrics associated with use of social media, but am also aware that metrics can be ‘gamed’ and will often need to be used in conjunction with complementary sources of evidence.

I should add that an advantage of publishing an open application for a job is that other organisations can also see what I have to offer. If my skills and expertise are of interest to you please get in touch. After all, I may not get the job – or if I do, I might still be interested in other options!

open practices timeline

Posted in openness | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Supporting Open Data and Open Content

Posted by Brian Kelly on 18 August 2013

Following on from a couple of posts last week which summarised reasons why I may be  and an explanation of What is Open Data, Why the Interest and What Are the Barriers? in today’s post I summarise some of the ways in which I have made use of open content and encouraged others to do likewise.

IWMW event and open dataDuring my 16 years at UKOLN I have given over 400 talks throughout the UK and Europe, as well as in North America, Australia and Asia. I have made many of the slides available with Creative Commons licences as well as using services such as Slideshare which permit reuse, downloading, modifications and embedding.

But in addition to a personal commitment to openness I have also sought to ensure that others in the higher education sector are aware of the potential benefits of open practices.

The annual Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) series has provided an opportunity to make use of open practices and ensure that those with responsibilities for managing institutional Web services in UK universities are aware of moves towards openness.

The IWMW 2013 event, for example, opened with a keynote talk on “Open Education: The Business & Policy Case for OER” which was given by Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons. This was followed by Doug Belshaw’s talk on “Mozilla, Open Badges and a Learning Standard for Web Literacy“. In addition to such keynote talks, workshop sessions on “Open Up: Open Data in the Public Sector” and “Save Money and Make Things Better with Linked Open Data” provided an opportunity for participants to explore issues about data and openness in more detail.

iwmw speaker mapBut in addition to the talks and workshop sessions which address various aspects of openness, information about the 17 years of IWMW events has been made available as open data, This has included information on the location of the IWMW events, details of the plenary talks and workshop sessions and biographical details of the speakers and facilitators.

This information has been provided in RSS format, a lightweight and extensible syndication format which has proved suitable for this task.

The extensibility of RSS has enabled geo-located information to be provided.  In addition to the location of the IWMW events themselves, the biographical information includes the location of the host institution of the speakers and workshop facilitators.

Use of open data in this way has enabled maps to be provided, as illustrated, showing the extent of active participation at 17 years of events from across the sector. It should be noted that this work focussed on the creation of the data and associated data modelling, rather than the use of an application. The initial applications which provided location maps of the data have subsequently been superceded by Google Maps which provides a more robust service. The data could potentially be used for other purposes, such as providing estimates of the carbon costs of speakers and facilitators in travelling from their host institution to the IWMW event.

The data modelling led to an awareness of the importance of definition of the data items and the need for documentation – it was decided to provide geo-location information for the speakers’ host institution (and not, for example, where they live) and this information was primarily provided only for people who were based in universities and not for consultants of those  working for the commercial sector.

It does seem to me that given the importance of events as a channel for sharing ideas there would be benefits from providing open data associated with events themselves, which can build on access access to the talks given at events. The Lanyrd service can be used to provide information about speakers at events, as can be seen from my Lanyrd profile. I’d be interested to hear of further examples of the ways in which open event data is being used, especially examples of the aggregation of event data.

Posted in Events, openness | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

What is Open Data, Why the Interest and What Are the Barriers?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 13 August 2013

Open data posterIn a post entitled Wanted For The ODI! which I published yesterday I described the Open Data Institute’s (ODI) Community Engagement Manager post. 

Tom Heath, the Head of Research at the ODI explained how he wanted potential applicants for the post to “demonstrate your ability to understand, reach and engage an audience” in order to support “collaborative projects [which] will bring together teams of researchers and companies from across Europe to explore the latest challenges in the field of open data and create technology platforms to help policy makers, developers and startup companies understand the open data landscape and build new applications/businesses“.

But what is open data and why the interest in open data?  There is a need, I feel, to be able to provide answers to these questions to those who may not be currently engaged in work involving use of open data.

A definition of the term ‘open data’ is available from Wikipedia: “Open data is the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control”. This is a useful definition as Wikipedia is a popular reference source for people looking to find definitions of new concepts – indeed there have been 32,739 views of this article in the last 90 days.

But although this definition states that “certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish” it does not explain why data should be freely available. In the area of open source software, Richard Stallman has argued that  software should be “free as in speech” rather “than free as in beer“. I don’t agree with this view; rather I feel that open source software can provide business benefits by enabling others to view, use and adapt software.

I take the same view for open data. In the case of data provided by, analysed by and commented on by researchers there can be benefits in making the data open so that other researchers can validate the data and verify the analyses made of the data.

But is this also the case for institutional data? And what barriers might institutions put in place which restricts the use of others to “use and republish [data] as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control“. A significant barrier will be concerns that the provision of open data will result in the loss of revenue streams for the institution. Often such issues are raised within the context of commercial organisations which may make money from data, such as publishers who licence researcher’s data, usage data, etc. But it would be a mistake to regard such barriers as being imposed only by the commercial sector.  Back in December 2010 in a post entitled “Impact, Openness and Libraries” I described how:

SCONUL [the UK academic library organisation] has been collecting and publishing statistics from university libraries for over twelve years, with the aim of providing sound information on which policy decisions can be based.

I went on to point out that:

The SCONUL data is not publicly available. It seems that the SCONUL Annual Library Statistics is published yearly – and copies cost £80.

and added that:

Perhaps more importantly in today’s climes, the closed nature of the report and the underlying data (which is closed by its price, closed by being available only to member organisations and closed by being available in PDF format) is how perceptions of secrecy goes against  expectations that public sector organisation should be open and transparent.

One approach to obtaining access to such closed data is to submit a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request. Shortly after I published by blog post, following discussions at the ILI conference Tony Hirst submitted an FOI request:

Please could you supply me with a copy of the annual statistical report made to SCONUL from the University of Bath Library for the period 2008-9

which provided access to the SCONUL data for one institution although, being in PDF format it was not well-suited for further analysis.

This example illustrates, I feel, some of the difficulties which will need to be addressed in enhancing the availability of open data in the public sector. And whilst there are technical challenges (the formats used; the metadata which describes the data sources and the workflow processes for providing access to the data) ; resourcing issues (who pays for the additional work needed); skills issues (do organisations have the technical expertise and systems needed to provide open data) and business model issues (will there be sufficient interest by others in consuming open data to justify the costs) there is also the need to consider some of the underlying political considerations regarding the growth in interest in open content. In 2005 Bill Gates described free culture advocates as a “modern-day sort of communists”. But from today’s political and economic environment might not the pressures on public sector bodies to provide open data about their activities be regarded as a neo-conservative plot aimed at the privatisation of the public sector be providing opportunities for the commercial sector to exploit business intelligence? And are we seeing examples of this in the moves from open educational resources to MOOCS, in which learning analytics seems to be becoming a valuable digital commodity?

I’d welcome responses to these concerns!

Posted in openness | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

Wanted For The ODI!

Posted by Brian Kelly on 12 August 2013

Wanted for the ODIA recent tweet from Matt Jukes alerted me to a job opportunity:

Great job at the Open Data Institute -Community Engagement Manager – apart from @tommyh as a line manager ;)

The job description began:

In this role you’ll be instrumental in strengthening the ODI’s relationship with the open data community, from developers to policy makers, researchers and executives. You’ll be based at the ODI’s offices in Shoreditch, at the heart of the London startup scene, but connected to the latest developments in open data across Europe and beyond.

and went on to describe how:

Reporting to the Head of Research, the main focus of your efforts will be managing the dissemination and outreach activities of EU-funded research projects. These collaborative projects will bring together teams of researchers and companies from across Europe to explore the latest challenges in the field of open data and create technology platforms to help policy makers, developers and startup companies understand the open data landscape and build new applications/businesses. The ability of these projects to reach and engage their target audiences will be central to their success, giving you a prime opportunity to demonstrate and develop your community engagement skills.

This job is of interest to me, in light of my belief in open practices and in use of open data, especially to inform policy decisions and practices.  However the most intriguing aspect is given in the final paragraph:

This isn’t a normal job so we’re not just asking you to email a CV. We want you to demonstrate your ability to understand, reach and engage an audience. So, by 12 noon on Monday 19th August 2013 please use whatever (legal) means you have at your disposal to reach our Head of Research, Tom Heath, and convince him that your CV is worth reading. The more creative your approach, and the more it demonstrates your passion for the transformative power of open data, the greater your chances of getting to interview.

My challenge, then, is to make Tom aware of the value I could provide for this role in creative ways which demonstrate my passion for open data!

As I am away on holiday this week, up in the “desolate north” of England I will have to be creative in communicating with Tom – perhaps I should get myself a whippet while I’m in the north east and attach a postcard to it in an attempt to provide a creative alternative to sending tweets to Tom!

But in case I find that the Internet does extend as far as Northumberland  I’ll respond to Tom my publishing an open CV on this blog – an appropriate response for a job at the Open Data Institute, I feel.

But in case Tom isn’t listening, you could help by tweeting links to my post with the #wantedbytheODI tag. And if you have any further evidence to support the accusation that I have been making data and other content freely available please leave details in the comments field. Sheriff Tom Heath would like to know more!

Posted in openness | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

Rediscovering Missing Conference Web Sites

Posted by Brian Kelly on 5 August 2013

Revisiting Lanyrd

lanyrd entry for Brian KellyI’m a big fan of the Lanyrd service. As described in Wikipedia Lanyrd is  “a conference directory website created by Simon Willison and Natalie Downe and launched in 2010“.  In November 2010, shortly after Lanyrd’s launch I described Developments to the Lanyrd Service and gave some Further Thoughts on Lanyrd. In May 2012 I asked Why Would You Not Use #Lanyrd For Your Event?, and then in August 2012 I described how Lanyrd Gets Even Better – But Can It Provide The Main Event Web Site?

Last week a post on the Lanyrd blog entitled Find speakers for your events with Lanyrd’s new speaker directory described further developments to the service:

At Lanyrd, we’re building the definitive database of professional events, conferences, talks and speakers. We want to help organisers run better events, speakers get more exposure and attendees find the events that are right for them.

Our brand new speaker directory provides a powerful new way to explore the 70,000+ speaker profiles already on Lanyrd, and helps organisers connect with new talent to help make their events even better.

Since I am experienced speaker I have a professional interest in making use of Lanyrd’s speaker directory in order to provide an online record of my previous speaking activities which may be useful in finding new opportunities in my post-UKOLN career.

Lanyrd Entries For Past Events

In order to ensure that my Lanyrd speaker profile contained a suitable record of my main speaking appearances I wanted to ensure that details of significant international conferences were included.

Back in October 2008 I presented a paper on “Library 2.0: balancing the risks and benefits to maximise the dividends” at the Bridging Worlds 2008 conference which was organised by the National Library of Singapore. This was a particularly memorable conference for me, not only due to the location but also because I had a couple of weeks holiday afterwards, visiting Malaysia and Thailand. In addition the paper, which was subsequently published in a special edition of the Program journal which featured papers from the conference, is also the most downloaded paper by UKON staff hosted in the University of Bath repository. I was therefore keen on ensuring that this event was included n my Lanyrd speaker profile.

Bridging Worlds 2008 Web Site In Internet ArchiveSince there wasn’t a Lanyrd entry for the Bridging Worlds 2008 conference I had to create one. As I was a speaker but not an organiser of the event, there is a question as to who should take responsibility for the creation of an entry. However this is addressed in the Lanyrd FAQ:

I’ve noticed anyone can edit an event and add and remove speakers — is that really a good idea?
Lanyrd works a bit like Wikipedia — we keep track of all changes made to an event (we don’t yet expose that information in the UI) and any vandalism can be quickly reverted.

I therefore decided to create a Lanyrd entry for the Bridging Worlds 2008 conference. However although I had details of my session on the UKOLN Web site I found that the conference Web site, which was at, no longer existed. It was therefore not clear how I would recreate details of all of the talks given at the conference. Such information was needed if the Lanyrd entry for the conference was to have a role to play in providing information on thee talks, the speakers and links to information about the conference.

Digital Archeology Using the Internet Archive and Slideshare

My first port of call in looking for the conference programme was the Internet Archive. Fortunately there had been nine captures of the Bridging Worlds 2008 conference homepage, two captures of the programme for the first day and three for the second day. As illustrated there was sufficient information to find the title, times and speaker information for the talks. This information was used to recreate the conference timetable on Lanyrd.

In addition to the Internet Archive I also discovered that there was a Bridgingworlds2008 Slideshare account which contained the slides used for 18 of the talks together with copies of the papers in three cases. Since Slideshare resources can be embedded within Lanyrd I was therefore able to provide access to the slides used for many of the talks.

However the Internet Archive’s copy of the conference Web site only included a couple of the abstracts so I was not able to reproduce this information for all of the talks.

Since several of the speakers were known to me or could easily be found I was able to find their Twitter ID and use this as an identifier in the Bridging Worlds 2008 speaker directory, as illustrated. It should be noted that in a couple of cases, the information for speakers for whom I do not know their Twitter ID is replicated.

Lanyrd Entry for Bridging Worlds 2008 conferenceDiscussion

Although this work began in order to provide an entry in my Lanyrd speaker profile, the demise of the conference Web site led to an interesting exercise in ‘excavating’ Web resources in order to reproduce the past and reproduce the information which was discovered in order to provide a resource which may be of use for others.

It does seem that conference Web sites are regarded as displosable, which can be deleted after the conference is over. This is the case for CILIP’s recent Umbrella 2013 conference, held at the University of Manchester on 2-3 July 2013.

If you visit the CILIP Web site you will find that most of the information about the conference, including the dates and location, has vanished. All that remains are links to the presentations (in PDF format). As shown the links provide speaker information but nothing about the timings, the strand they were in, the room locations, etc. More importantly this information is not interoperable with the Social Web: there is no way of providing associations with the talks and commentary about the talks (such as tweets and blog posts) or for the speakers (e.g. their talks at other events; their connections with other speakers and participants at the event).

Umbrella conferenceIt does seem that Internet archeology will be needed already for this recent conference. There is a Lanyrd entry for the Umbrella 2013 conference. However this currently has very little information, beyond the conference dates and location. Perhaps motivated individual or individuals from the CILIP community might be willing to recreate the conference timetable (which was previously published in a large PDF file) within the Lanyrd environment, enabling additional information, such as the slides, reports on the talks, links to Twitter archives, etc, to be included as part of the conference record.

But shouldn’t conference organisers take a more pro-active approach in ensuring that (a) conference information is replicated beyond the institutional environment to minimise potential that such information due to in-house decisions and (b) conference information can be integrated with other information sources hosted outside the institution? This has been the approach taken for the IWMW series of events. Wouldn’t it be sensible for other organisations, such as CILIP, Jisc and UCISA, to provide information for many years of high-profile events in this fashion? Of is there still a reluctance to make use of third-party services?


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Lest We Forget: The UKOLN (and CETIS) Diaspora

Posted by Brian Kelly on 1 August 2013

Supporting CETIS Colleagues Formerly at the University of Strathclyde

A few days ago Lorna Campbell published a post in which she described how “The Cetis Memorandum of Understanding has been terminated and all Cetis staff at the university have been made redundant“. Sheila MacNeill posted a similar story in which she described how “my contract (like my colleagues Lorna and Martin) is terminating on Wednesday 31 July“.

As Sheila described “this has nothing to do with the change of funding between Jisc and Cetis, and that Cetis is going to be continuing after 31 July“. But although CETIS, which is primarily based at Bolton University, seem to have been successful in attracting new funding to replace the lost Jisc core funding, Lorna, Sheila and Martin Hawksey have suffered from the decision at the University of Strathclyde to “no longer continue its relationship with Cetis“.

I’ve known Lorna. Sheila and Martin for many years and have always been impressed by the quality of their work and the strong emphasis they place on community engagement and dissemination. I was therefore happy to provide testimonials on the LinkedIn profiles for Lorna Campbell, Sheila MacNeill and Martin Hawksey. But what of my former colleagues from UKOLN?

Supporting the UKOLN Diaspora

UKOLN DiasporaWikipedia defines diaspora as “a scattered population with a common origin in a smaller geographic area“.  From the list of former UKOLN staff it seems there have been no fewer than 76 former members of staff, with just five people remaining (and only two working fulltime).

But how will people find former UKOLN employees? Since the UKOLN Web site was set up in the early days of the Web before AltaVista became a popular search engine!)  and has a large amount of content related to management of digital information, the UKOLN Web site has a lot of ‘Google juice’. This may mean that it will be difficult to find information about former UKOLN employees.

In order to ensure that potential new employers or business partners are able to find information about former members of staff the UKOLN Diaspora site has been set up. I

This provides a brief profile page for former UKOLN staff who have chosen to provide their information. The aim will be that a search for, say, “Rosemary Russell UKOLN” or “Natasha Bishop UKOLN” will find their up-to-date information on the UKOLN Diaspora site, rather than the work they were doing at UKOLN ten years ago!

Although aimed initially at staff who have been made redundant, the site will be extended shortly to enable everyone who used to work at UKOLN to provide information on their work at UKOLN, together with their current professional activities and interests.

In addition to widening the scope of the Web site I am currently in discussions with a designer in order to provide a more appealing user interface, which will provide the flexibility needed as the site grows.

If you have worked at UKOLN and would like to provide content on the Web site please get in touch.

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