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Crowd-sourcing Ideas for IWMW 2009

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 25 February 2009

In a trip report on the Institutional Web Managers Workshop 2008 Andy Stewart was full of praise for the event: “it was absolutely fantastic“. Andy went on to say that although “The plenaries, parallel sessions, discussion groups and social events are all extremely useful in their own right” for him “it’s the inspiration and sense of belonging that one feels during and after the conference I think makes the difference“.

We’re currently inviting proposals for this year’s event, IWMW 2009, which will be held at the University of Essex on 28-30th July 2009. Last year we providing an innovation competition and encouraged developers to make use of the data provided by the university of Aberdeen, Bath and Edge Hill University. This encouragement for openness within the community was welcomed by Andy:

One theme which stuck out above all, to me, was that of transparency through initiatives to open up our information allowing others to do what they feel with it“.

We are looking to build on this culture of openness. So this year rather than simply inviting submissions for talks and workshop sessions to be sent to the chair of the event (my colleague Marieke Guy) we are using the Ideascale service in order to crowd-source suggestions for content at the workshop.
We’re doing this to allow potential participants and other interested parties to provide suggestions on topics they’ve like to see covered at the address (as well as provide other more general suggests for the event – such as what type of social event we should provide). Doing this in this open fashion, as illustrated below, enables participants to become more active participants in the processes of putting together the programme for the event.

Ideascale ideas for IWMW 2009

Now we have to be honest and admit that we can’t guarantee that the most popular options will necessarily be provided or that seemingly unpopular topics won’t be covered. But at least everybody will have had the opportunity to participate in this process. And this is also a learning process for ourselves – in retrospect we realise that the suggested titles should have been neutral in tone, rather than the provocative title which could be suited for a session itself (we don’t know if people are voting on the sentiment expressed in the title or on whether the topic should be addressed at the workshop).

Use of Ideascale or IWMW 2009And I’m not sure what the usage statistics are meant to be saying. It doesn’t seem likely that 16 users have cast 1018 votes!

But if you have views on topics which members of institutional Web management teams should be discussing feel free to provude your suggestion. Now this won’t be regarded as a submission to the event, but if you would like to give a talk or run a session at this year’s event details of how to submit proposals are available on the IWMW 2009 Web site.

Posted in iwmw2008, iwmw2009 | 1 Comment »

Usage Statistics for the IWMW 2008 Live Video Stream

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 14 August 2008

The first live streaming of talks at a IWMW event took place at IWMW 2006, when we experimented with an in-house streaming service and use of the Access Grid.  The following year live streaming of the plenary talks was provided by staff at the University of York, and recordings of most of the talks were subsequently made available on Google Video.

On both occasions the numbers of people watching the live streaming video was low, with the maximum numbers of viewers being less than 20 at each of the events. Despite the low numbers we felt the service was valuable as it provided us with an opportunity to gain experience of not only various streaming technologies but also, and more importantly, the non-technical aspects of live streaming at events such as privacy, copyright, accessibility, etc.

This year’s IWMW 2008 event was held in the King’s Conference Centre at the University of Aberdeen.  I was not the only delegate who was impressed by the King’s Auditorium – as one person commented on the event evaluation form “Conference hall had great facilities and microphones meant that you could hear delegates questions“.

The venue also had an excellent AV facilities, and we were pleased that, once again, we were able to stream the plenary talks. The quality of the video was excellent, as you can see if you watch any of the videos of the talks.

But perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the live streaming was the numbers of people who watching the talks. As can be seen from the accompanying diagram there were 160 people watching the videos on the final day of the event. As IWMW 2008 attracted 180 participants, with a number of them having to leave before the event finished I suspect we can say that there were more remote people watching Ewan McIntosh’s closing plenary talk on “Unleashing the Tribe” that there were in the King’s Auditorium. When I mentioned this to my director, Liz Lyon, she wondered whether we will soon reach a ‘tipping point’ in which live streaming of talks at large conferences in the digital library environment will be expected as a mainstream offering.

For that to happen, though, there will be a need to establish the business case for providing the streaming service, ensure that it is easy to use and ensure that the risks are being addressed.

The business case is interesting. Who should pay for the costs of providing a video streaming service for an event? Should the costs be taken from the participants who attend the event? Or should remote viewers who wish to access the video stream have to pay? Or perhaps event organisers should be looking for commercial sponsorship to cover the costs (although in light of the current economic turbulence, now is probably not a good time to suggest this).   I wonder, though, whether the costs be covered by the host institution. Once the AV equipment has been installed, can the support costs be included i the rental of the facilities – just as we are now starting to expect access to WiFi network being provided as standard.

Once the business case has been sorted, there will be a need to ensure that the service is easy to use (back at IWMW 2006 people wishing to view the streaming video service needed to install “Real Player and the Xiph Player Plugin or Windows Media Player with the illiminable Ogg Directshow Filters for Speex, Vorbis, Theora and FLAC, with Linux users needing MPlayer with Ogg Theora“). Nowadays users shouldn’t need to concern themselves with details of the technologies, as use of Flash seems to provide the interface to streaming services (although there may be issues about versions of Flash). However I suspect there will be a need to provide a back channel, to enable the remote participants to discuss the talks. There will also be a need for the remote participants to join in discussions with the local audience, especially if a WiFi network is available. There will be a need, therefore, to ensure that the back channel is not tightly coupled to the video streaming service.

Finally there will be a need to address the risks. This will include addressing issues such as privacy, copyright and data protection. In addition there will be a need to consider the quality of service and reliability of the streaming service, especially if the costs in providing the service have been made transparent.

And the more I think about such issues the more I wonder whether live streaming at conferences has reached a tipping point. Might it simply be too much effort to provide on a regular basis?

Posted in iwmw2008 | 5 Comments »

IWMW 2008 Bar Camps

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 7 August 2008

The main change to the IWMW 2008 timetable this year was the introduction of a barcamp session.  As described on the IWMW 2008 Web site:

Wikipedia defines BarCamp as an international network of user generated conferences, open, participatory workshop events, whose content is provided by participants. A BarCamp is typically one or two full days held at a weekend attended by people with an interest in technology. The day is split into a number of sessions typically of around 30 minutes each. Depending on the number of participants, size of venue, etc. there may be several sessions running simultaneously.

For the IWMW 2008 event we still had the conventional plenary talks and parallel sessions which had been planned in advance. But in addition:

A board [was] provided at IWMW 2008 for people to post up ideas for slots, rooms will then be allocated. Screen projectors will be available in rooms for people to use. During the 45 minute allocated slot there will be time for up to 18 sessions and each session will be 20 minutes long.

This innovation was introduced by my colleague and IWMW 2008 co-chair Marieke Guy, with suggestions from Michael Nolan, Edge Hill University, who shared his experiences of barcamps: “One of the best presentations I’ve seen was titled “stuff I know” and was a guy drawing shapes, arrows and random words on a flip chart while telling us what we should know…“.

And having just had my first glance at the IWMW 2008 feedback forms it seems that the Barcamp idea was a great success.

The Overall views for the event included the comments “Bar camp was an excellent idea that should be utilised more in the future” and “Bit disappointed by the main session but the parallel/barcamp sessions were much better“.

Comments on the Most Valuable Aspects of the Event included
Barcamp and discussion with others and seeing how successfully people have implemented successful change over the last year“, “Barcamp sessions“, “Barcamp” and “Barcamp” :-)

We were also keen to get feedback on Aspects Which Could Be Improved. Even the responses to this question were all positive about the barcamps: “Bar camps a bit rushed. The session were not too long but changeover times took too much out of 20 mins, More barcamp stuff please-lets build stuff!“, “Barcamps not long enough” and “Not enough time left between barcamp sessions to get from one room to the next“.

The Barcamp Topics

The barcamps were clearly a success. But what topics were covered? A list of the topics is provided on the IWMW 2008 Web site and is also given below. And note that a page has been created on the IWMW 2008 Ning social network which will enable the barcamp facilitators (and, indeed, the participants) to provide a summary of the session, notes on the discussions and links to relevant resources.

Session1: Wednesday 23rd July 2008 from 14.15-14.35

  1. Sex, Lies and Microsites [see Ning page]
  2. So What Is A Good Open Source CMS?  [see Ning page]
  3. Stuff You Need To Know About iTunesU [see Ning page]
  4. How Can A WCMS Save £3.4 Million In 12 Months? [see Ning page]
  5. Tenish 5-Minute Ways To Improve Your Website [see Ning page]
  6. Web Analytics Guiding Web Development [see Ning page]
  7. Web 2.0 In Student Activism: What We Can Learn From Anonymous [see Ning page]
  8. How Qualified Do You Have To Be To Manage A Website? [see Ning page]

Session 2: Wednesday 23rd July 2008 from 14.40-15.00

  1. Canadian View On Life, Dearth and Social Software [see Ning page]
  2. DIY CMS – Building A Low Budget System, Getting People To ‘Buy-In’ [see Ning page]
  3. Immediacy WCMS In Action [see Ning page]
  4. T4 CMS / Sitestat / Redesign / Rambling Q&A / Discussion [see Ning page]
  5. Barriers To Making Things Work On Second Life [see Ning page]
  6. Simple Scriptaculuous [see Ning page]
  7. Forum: Feedback on Nedstat [see Ning page]
  8. Migrating Into A CMS – What Is Your Experience? [see Ning page]
  9. Live@EDU [see Ning page]

Of course, as the barcamps were fairly informal and may have been provided on an ad hoc basis, there is no requirement for the facilitators to provide such resources, but I think it is useful to have a record of the sessions which were held and to provide an opportunity for those who may wish to have a summary of the session to do so, without myself or Marieke acting as a bottleneck to the creation of such resources.

Posted in iwmw2008 | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

The ‘Chat’ Infrastructure At IWMW 2008

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 5 August 2008

The First Use Of Realtime Chat An IWMW Event

The IWMW 2005 event held at the University of Manchester on 6-8th July 2005 was the first time that a WiFi network was used at UKOLN’s IWMW annual event. I had attended the EUNIS 2005 conference a few week’s prior to this and presented a paper on Using Networked Technologies To Support Conferences. This paper described the potential benefits which networked applications could provide to what Lorcan Dempsey subsequently described as Amplified Conferences. As described in that paper we ensured that we described the technologies which would be available at the IWMW 2005 event and provided an AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) covering use of the technologies.

I think there were less than 20 participants who made use of the event ‘chat’ infrastructure, which was provided by IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and those taking part were mainly Web managers ho had a very technical focus, as can be seen from the IRC archives. The nature of the discussions changed, however, on the second day of the event, the 7th July 2005 or, as it became known 7/7 – a date that (fortunately) is not as globally significant as 9/11 but, especially for those with London connections, a date which will be associated with the London Bombings.

It was a very surreal experience following a message on the IRC channel about was was initially reported as a train crash on the London Underground, and the subsequent discussion.

Jul 07 10:08:02 <Tim>explosion on london underground. entire network closed!!
Jul 07 10:09:04 <–DavidBailey has quit (Quit: CGI:IRC (EOF))
Jul 07 10:10:06 <JeremySpellerUCL>explosion where?
Jul 07 10:10:15 <Tim>liverpool street
Jul 07 10:10:35 <JeremySpellerUCL>Grief
Jul 07 10:10:40 <Tim>metropolitan line, two trains collided, several wounded
Jul 07 10:10:58 <Stuart_Steele_Aston>Tthe bbc site is grinding?
Jul 07 10:11:02 <JMHarmer>bbc news site not responding – u saw the news report? prrsumably everyone else is trying to now.

The launch of a WiFi-enabled IWMW event will be one that will be remembered for a long time  by those who took part in the discussions on that day.

The ‘Back Channel’ At IWMW 2008

Moving forward to IWMW 2008 we knew that many of the participants would expect a real time communications infrastructure to be provided, as this has been the norm at IWMW and many other UKOLN events since 2005. And as we were video streaming the plenary talks we expected to have remote participants joining in the discussions, too.

Over time the terms used to refer this technology has developed. Use of the term ‘chat’ has decreased, in part due to its derogatory connotations but also due to a move away from IRC to move native Web-based communications technologies. I have heard the term ‘back channel’ being used, and this term works when it is used if (as was the case with Ewan McIntosh, the final plenary speaker at IWMW 2008) it is used to provide realtime feedback to a speaker.  But more commonly the realtime communications technology is used by the audience (both those physically present, those watching a video stream and also, in some cases, those who may only have access to an audio stream or are viewing the PowerPoint slides). The term ‘micro blog’ has also been used (indeed this is how I described the service on the IWMW 2008 Web site) but that suggests a official commentary on an event, rather than the discussion forum which was how the service was actually used). I don’t think there is yet a widely agreed term to describe this, so for now I’ll use the term ‘back channel’.

Since IWMW 2007 Twitter has become very popular in certain circles, and most IWMW 2008 participants will have heard of it, even if they weren’t Twitter users. However we decided not to suggest use of Twitter as the event back channel, as, when I’ve tried this previously, I’ve found it is too intrusive those who follow me on Twitter who aren’t at the event or aren’t interested in the event.

There was a need for a tool, I felt, similar to Twitter, but which was less intrusive. I had some experience of Coveritlive (at events such as the eFoundations Symposia – although I haven’t been able to find the archive of the discussions). However I found a number of niggles with that software, including the need to (normally) approve comments.   In response to a tweet for alternative suggestions I decided to make use of Scribbeitlive.

This did have some advantage, but also some weaknesses. As Andy Powell commented on the eFoundations blog:

My feeling is that ScribbleLive makes better use of screen real-estate.  On the other hand, Coveritlive has better bells and whistles and more facilities around moderation (which can be good or bad depending on what you want to do).  In particular (and somewhat surprisingly), Coveritlive handles embedded URLs much better than ScribbleLive.  Overall, my preference is slightly twoards Coveritlive – though I could be swayed either way.

In response to Andy’s post Matt Jukes and Phil Wilson suggested that neither tool was ideal for the job. I would agree with this – I think we will see much development in this area, not only in enhancing the usability of the tools but also in allowing the data to be more easily integrated with other tools. I would like, for example, to be able to have tools to allow me to export the data to other environments (I have migrated the content to the IWMW 2008 Web site, but I had to do that manually). It would also be useful to be able to link comments with particular presneter’s slides or the video – without having the disucssion having to be tightly-coupled with the multimedia experience (as seems to be the case with, for example, the Elluminate service).

Another comment Andy made was “the importance of having someone in the venue dedicated to supporting remote participants “. Again I would agree with this. This was an area I had responsibility for – but found that I was not able to do this at the start of the second afternoon due to difficulties in connecting to the WiFi network. I also found myself failing to support the remote participants during Ewan McInitosh’s talk because I found it so interesting! But if we do need dedicated support for remote participants there will clearly be a cost in providing this support. Does this mean we should start to charge remote participants, I wonder?

Posted in iwmw2008 | 3 Comments »

Popular IWMW 2008 Presentations

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 31 July 2008

We encouraged presenters and workshop facilitators at IWMW 2008 to make their slides available on Slideshare using the IWMW2008 tag. And I’m pleased to say that not only have a number of the slides have been uploaded, but that they getting large numbers of views.

The most watched slide is Ewan McIntosh’s Unleasing The Tribe closing keynote talk. However the figures are somewhat misleading, as the slides were uploaded a month ago, after Ewan gave a similar talk at a conference in Ireland. Discounting this the most popular slides and from the workshop session on “Mind Mapping for Effective Content Management” given by Gareth Saunders and Stephen Evans (University of St Andrews) following by Michael Nolan’s slides on “Stuff What we’re doing at Edge Hill University“.

I am pleased that the resources which were delivered to about 20-30 people at each of the two sessions I’ve mentioned have been shared with, and used by, a much larger community. Let’s do more of this, I say.

And if you are wondering why Gareth and Stephen’s slides are so popular, why now view them for yourself, or read Gareth’s blog post about his session.

Posted in iwmw2008 | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Use of Twitter to Support IWMW Events

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 30 July 2008

Twitter has been used at a number of events recently, often as a discussion channel for participants and, on occasions when a live video stream is available, as a channel to facilitate discussions and questions with remote participants.

However there are potential problems with use of Twitter in this way. If, for example, only a small number of one’s Twitter followers are at the event (or interested in the event) the tweets can be annoying – as I found when I used Twitter to comment on a conference I was attending in Taiwan back in April.

There are other micro-blogging tools which may be better suited for use at events, which I’ll comment on in a forthcoming post. In this post I’d like to comment on the approach taken to use of Twitter to support the recent IWMW 2008 event.

For this event an ‘official’ IWMW Twitter account was set up. This was intended to provide a channel for the event organisers to deliver messages to participants who chose to follow the IWMW Twitter account.  A particular benefit of use of Twitter is that you can configure your Twitter account so that posted from selected Twitter accounts can be delivered as SMS text messages to your mobile phone free-of-charge.

The need for a communications channel for event organisers first occurred to me several years ago, when travel was being disrupted by floods. I asked participants at an event I was attended if they would be willing to give details of their mobile phone number to an organiser of an event, for use in emergencies.  The majority indicated that they would be happy with this and we became aware of the need to have the mobile phone numbers of speakers at our events when a bus failed to turn up to take delegates (including one of the speakers) to the lecture theatre at IWMW 2004.

So we updated our IWMW booking form back in 2005 in order to record mobile phone numbers.  The event organisers had this data available on a spreadsheet, but this could only be used to contact individuals – we didn’t have the backend processes to send bulk text messages to the delegates, and we were not keen on spending additional time and effort on evaluating and deploying software to allow us to do this. But as the middle day of the IWMW 2006 event took place on the 7/7 (the day of the London bombings) we felt this was something we would need to explore at some point.

After gaining experience in use of Twitter over the past year it struck me that this might provide a communications channel between the IWMW event organisers and the participants. And as the participants simply need to sign up for a free Twitter account and can then choose to have posts delivered to their mobile phone it avoids the need for us to store and manage the mobile phone numbers and to establish a service for sending text messages.  Perhaps best of all, the users are in control of whether or not they wish to receive text messages.

Twitter was used to send a small number of posts.  One of these was sent (automatically, using the Easy Tweets service which can be used to schedule posts) at 12.30, at the start of the event, reminding people to send their mobile phones to silent mode.

And we did have one example which demonstrated the potential benefits of this service – I was handed a set of keys belonging to one of the delegates. I sent a message out on Twitter and within a few minutes someone came up to me telling me that he had misplaced his keys. A great example of the benefits of Twitter? Well, not quite, as he wasn’t using Twitter and he came to see me as I was one of the conference organisers :-)

It should also be noted that if Twitter followers sent a message to the IWMW account this could also be delivered to a mobile phone, thus providing a 2-way SMS communications link, without the need to divulge a mobile phone number to conference delegates or organisers – the trusted party, in this case, is Twitter.

Twitter, it seems to me, has great potential in the support of events. Prior to encouraging its use we created a page describing Twitter and how it could be used.  I guess one issue we will need to address is what would happen if Twitter was unavailable during an event? This has been happening a lot recently, and some may argue that you shouldn’t rely on third party services which have proven reliability problems. I don’t agree with this – I regard this use of Twitter as a value-added service and if Twitter is not available we will use the communication channels we used previously. But what do you think?

Posted in iwmw2008, Twitter, Web2.0 | 8 Comments »

Social Networks Can Be Just For Christmas

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 29 July 2008

Due to one of the speaker’s not being able to attend, we had to find, at the last moment, a couple of speakers to take part in the opening session at IWMW 2008. I was pleased that Claire Gibbons, University of Bradford and Mike Ellis, Eduserv, were able to provide brief presentations which helped to engage with the IWMW 2008 theme of The Great Debate.

I videoed Claire’s talk, in which she described why the University of Bradford had set up a social network using Ning. I have previously commented on institutional use of Ning, including Bradford’s service, but it was good to hear why this social network was established (to support newly arrived students) and how it is envisaged that the social network is expected to have an impact only during the first term of the new academic year. Such social networks, according to Claire, don’t always have to have long term sustainability – and maybe a social network can be for just until Christmas.

Please note that this video is available on YouTube (and further details of Claire’s talk are available on the IWMW 2008 Web site).

Posted in iwmw2008, Social Networking | 3 Comments »

IWMW 2008 Innovation Competition

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 28 July 2008

The Innovation Competition held at this year’s IWMW 2008 event probably differentiates itself from other mashup events, hackfests, etc. in welcoming not only examples of technical innovations, but also submissions which do not require technical expertise. So it was pleasing that the most popular submission was the IWMW theme song, performed by Debbie Nicholson (University of Essex), Claire Gibbons (University of Bradford), Miles Banbery (University of Kent) and David White (Sheffield Hallam University), which received 117 votes on the electronic voting system (and is available on YouTube).

However although this submission (entitled A collaborative cross-institutional user-generated interactive mashup thing) may have been a clear crowd-pleaser a number of the more technical submissions could have more significant impact on the sector.

The Live Train Departures info submission by Dawn Petherick, University of Birmingham gathered 92 votes for, I think, two main reasons: it is user-focussed (we all have an interest in knowing when the trains we are planning to catch will arrive) and Debbie stated that the code used to develop this service can be freely used by others. I am sure, incidentally, that Debbie’s comment that it was her birthday did not influence the voting :-) An image of the interface within the University of Birmingham portal is shown. You can also view the full portal page, a more complete view of train information, and a diagram of the technical architecture of the service.

The first submission to the contest, Mashing Points of Interest for your Institutionreceived 87 votes. This submission, by David Mackland, University of Abertay display points of interest on a Google map without the need for any HTML or coding knowledge and allows the management of multiple maps for various audiences from a single source. This submission was popular with Mike McConnell, one of the local organisers for IWMW 2008, as he had used the service to support the IWMW 2008 event – a clear example of a mashup service developed for the use of one institution which provided a valuable service to another.

Tony Hirst’s submission: Steps towards a media release tracking/effectiveness dashboard widget received 84 votes. As Tony has described in his blog post, this application uses Yahoo Pipes and the Yahoo Search term extractor to explore the impact of institutional press releases, with a visualisation of the output being provided using a Dipty timeline. And in response to a question from Paul Walk, this demonstrator only took about a couple of hours to produce (the additional time taken in cleaning the data and learning the tools traditional doesn’t count in a developer’s man month :-)

Finally I should mention Mike Ellis’s StudentViews submission which received 72 votes. The Studentviews application is based on the premise that students (in fact most users) aren’t likely to be particularly interested in “the corporate, preened and sanitised view of an HE institution. Instead, peer viewpoints, reviews, alumni pictures, video and Facebook comments are likely to be the first port of call for most freshers when considering which HE institution to apply for.” The StudentViews application aimed to mash HE data with Flickr pictures of the institution and surrounding area within a quick, intuitive interface. Because the build involves the gathering of institution data which should be freely and easily available to all, this data will also be exposed via a simple Web API. However Mike’s plans were thwarted by the University of Aberdeen firewall which restricted access to devices on the WiFi network. But Mike did successfully build a very simple “API” which lets you query institution name (see example) with queryable RSS output. In addition Mike also produced a KML file of locations of UK HEIs (for use with the Google Earth application), a simple IM (Instant messaging) application for accessing institutional information and finally a Google Custom Search Engine which spiders all 190 UK HE sites.

Posted in iwmw2008 | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Innovation Competition at IWMW 2008

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 3 June 2008

The Innovation Competition was introduced at the Institutional Web Management Workshop 2007, held at the University of York. This provided an opportunity for developers (and, it should be added, non-developers) to submit examples of lightweight examples of innovation which provided valuable services to a user community and/or were, in some way, ‘cool’, provoking a reaction of “Wow, we should be doing that” to IWMW 2007 participants.

The competition, which was sponsored by Amazon, was a great success, with four prize-winners receiving Amazon vouchers:

This year we will be repeating the Innovation Competition. This time, rather than relying on a commercial sponsor, the Universities of Aberdeen and Bath and Edge Hill University are the sponsors. These three institutions have recognised the potential benefits of opening up their data and APIs to the community, and invite members of the community to demonstrate what can be done with their RSS and Atom feeds, their XCRI data, their microformats, their OpenSearch APIs and other data on their Web site.

And although we welcome submissions based on data from the sponsoring institutions, we also invite other submissions as well (perhaps use of multimedia or Second Life). One change we have made from last year’s competition, however, is that we would not expect submissions to be based on mainstream institutional development work. You may choose, however, to submit a proposal which brings together content from a number of institutions, perhaps on a regional basis or using data provided by organisations outside the HE/FE sector.

Further details are provided on the IWMW 2008 Web site. There will be prizes for the winning submissions and, depending on the numbers of submissions, we may even, as we did last year, also provide prizes to runner’s-up or for special categories (the funniest submissions and perhaps even submissions created during the event).

We look forward to receiving your submissions.

Posted in iwmw2008 | 6 Comments »

IWMW and Innovation

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 28 May 2008

UKOLN is now one of JISC’s Innovations Centres. But how does UKOLN participate in innovation? An approach we have taken during my time at UKOLN has been to make use of our annual Institutional Web Management Workshops (the IWMW series of events which have been running since 1997) to deploy a variety of innovative approaches. Doing this at a popular annual event (which is often fully-subscribed, attracting from 150-200 participants from throughout the HE sector) can help to maximise awareness of and, potentially, the impact of such innovation.

A number of examples of innovations were made available for the IWMW 2005 event, held at the University of Manchester:

The use of RSS for news alerts has become embedded at subsequent IWMW events, as has pro-active use of the venue’s WiFi network. At IWMW 2006 we introduced use of wikis to support note-taking and sharing at the discussion group sessions – again an approach which has become standard at IWMW events. IWMW 2006 was also the year in which tagging (using the IWMW2006) tag became popular, allowing bookmarks and photographs to be easily pulled together. And our initial experiments with the use of social networking services to support an event began that year, with the establishment of a Frappr community.

As might be expected innovation does not always necessarily lead to the deployment of a sustainable service. At IWMW 2006 we also tested use of a chatbot and provided access to a remote audience for a number of the plenary talks using the Access Grid. And as well as the ACcess Grid we also had a live Web stream of the plenary talks, with Michael Webb’s talk on Developing a Web 2.0 Strategy subsequently being made available on Google Video. We also experimented with another approach to use of a chat facility at the event – this year using the Gabbly service, instead of an IRC service we had used at IWMW 2005.

At last year’s event, IWMW 2007, we continued to provide an RSS feed (not only of news, but also syndication of the key content areas of the Web site – details of the sessions and the speakers) and a wiki service. And in addition we launched IWMW’s first innovation competition- which provided the participants with an opportunity to demonstrate to their peers examples of their approaches to innovation. Again the plenary talks were streamed on the Web and this time all of the talks were subsequently made available on Google Video.

We have evaluated the innovations – and we’re pleased to see that other services, such as JISC with its use of Crowdvine at this year’s JISC 2008 conference on Enabling Innovation, are now beginning to implement similar ideas.

But what do you feel we should do next? Should we seek to consolidate on these experiments? Or, alternatively, are there other areas in which the community would encourage UKOLN to continue innovation – so that if we encounter problems, institutions will benefit from knowing what not to do :-)

Posted in iwmw2008, Web2.0 | Tagged: , | 10 Comments »

IWMW 2008 Now Open For Bookings

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 15 May 2008

This year’s Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW 2008 ) will be held at the University of Aberdeen on 22-24th July. The theme of this year’s event is “The Great Debate” and during the 3 days participants will have the opportunity to listen to a number of plenary talks which describe various examples of innovation and best practices which are taking place across the community. But more importantly the participants will be encouraged to contribute to a debate on the future of the institutional Web services – active participation in the parallel workshop sessions, discussion groups and during the social activities will be encouraged!

The event opens with a session on A Vision For The Future which features a talk by Cameron Neylon on “Science in the You Tube Age: How Web Based Tools are Enabling Open Research Practice” followed by one on “Web 2.0 and Brand: Theory and Practice” by Helen Aspell. And this year, for the first time, as well as opening with two high profile talks, the event will conclude with a talk on “Unleashing the Tribe” by Ewan McIntosh, a speaker of international renown who will be known to many through his edu.blogs blog.

The timetable for the event is available, together with details of the plenary talk and the 16 parallel sessions. The Web site is now open for bookings – and we encourage early bookings as the places on the parallel sessions will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Regular updates on the event will be provided on an RSS feed. This information will also be available on the IWMW 2008 news page.

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IWMW 2007 – Call For Proposals

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 28 January 2008

This year’s Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW 2008) will be held at the University of Aberdeen on 22-24th July 2008.

The theme of this year’s event is “The Great Debate“. The event will provide an opportunity for members of the institutional Web management community to engage in discussions regarding the future of institutional Web services, particularly in a Web 2.0 environment. Can externally hosted services, as some suggest, replace some of the services currently provided in-house or is such out-sourcing dangerous for institutions, placing a reliance on unproven technologies and unsustainable business models?

As well as the lively debates on the role of Web 2.0, the IWMW 2008 event will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the formative years of the institutional Web management community and to discuss how the community sees itself developing during its teenage years.

The call for speakers and workshop facilitators for IWMW 2008 is now open. We encourage submissions which will contribute to the debates of the future of our Web services, including plenary talks (perhaps providing institutional case studies which describe changing approaches to the provision of Web services) and workshop sessions which provide an opportunity for more interactive and participative activities. And, as always, we also welcome proposals on other topics which may be of interest to or relevant to members of institutional Web management teams and facilitate sharing of best practices.

Details of the call are available on the IWMW 2008 Web site. Note that the deadline for submissions is 29th February 2008.

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