UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

SAOIM 2014: Understanding the Past; Being Honest about the Present; Planning for the Future

Title: Understanding the Past; Being Honest about the Present; Planning for the Future

Speaker: Brian Kelly

Event details: Invited plenary talk lasting for one hour at the 12th SAOIM (Southern African Online Information Meeting) conference to be held in Pretoria, South Africa on 3-6 June 2014.

Date and time: 08:30- 09:30 on Wednesday, 4th June 2014  (35 minute presentation with 5 minutes for questions)

Venue:  CSIR International Convention Centre


How should libraries predict and plan for technological developments? When it comes to future planning, how can libraries identify the ‘weak signals’ which may indicate possible significant changes?

If we look back to the past to our childhood we may have had over-optimistic views on benefits which technological developments would provide: robotic vacuum cleaners, jet packs and holidays to the moon have failed to arrive. In other respects, however, visions of the future have been surpassed, with the Communicator  used by Captain Kirk on Star Trek being inferior to the Android and iPhone smart devices many people now use regularly.

This talk describes a methodology used by Cetis in their work with Jisc to systematise the prediction of technological developments.

However there are dangers that predicting the future can simply provide an echo chamber which seek to reinforce established expectations of what the future may hold. Such prediction activities can therefore be of little value unless they are accompanied by interpretation and analysis which leads to appropriate actions. The talk will describes ways in which the implications of evidence-based emerging patterns of usage can be interpretted and analysed and appropriate plans formulated.

Biographical Details

Brian Kelly is the Innovation Advocate at Cetis, the Centre for Educational Technology, Interoperability and Standards based at the University of Bolton. He has responsibilities for supporting the use of innovative technologies and practices in higher education. He has interests in open educational practices, including use of services such as Wikipedia. He has taken part in a number of Wikipedia editing events, aimed particularly at use of Wikipedia for librarians and researchers. Brian is also an accredited Wikipedia trainer.

Brian has long-standing interests in Web technologies, having helped establish in 1993 the first institutional web service in the UK higher education sector. For 16 years Brian was UK Web Focus, a national Web advisory role based at UKOLN. Brian is an active blogger on the UK Web Focus blog and user of other social media services.

Brian has published per-reviewed paper in a range of areas including web accessibility, web standards, web preservation and social media. Brian has made use of social media in engaging with his peers and disseminating his research outputs. The success of this work can be gauged from an award-winning paper which was co-authored by a fellow researcher Brian met on Twitter and the popularity of Brian’s papers, which are the most-downloaded from the University of Bath institutional repository.

Outside of work Brian’s interests include rapper sword dancing,  traditional miner’s dance from the north-east of England. For a number of years Brian played the ‘Betty‘ figure in the dance and has been a prize-winning comic character in the DERT competition on several occasions.


The slides are available on Slideshare and embedded below.

In addition a backup copy of the slides are available on Authorstream.

2 Responses to “SAOIM 2014: Understanding the Past; Being Honest about the Present; Planning for the Future”

  1. […] will be giving the opening talk on the second day of the conference. The title of my talk is “Understanding the Past; Being Honest about the Present; Planning for the Future“. In addition to this talk I will also be facilitating a half-day workshop on “Let’s […]

  2. […] my participation at the two events: at the SAOIM conference I gave a plenary talk on “Understanding the Past; Being Honest about the Present; Planning for the Future” and facilitated a half-day workshop on “Let’s Predict the Future!” and at the […]

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