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Content Creation: Web 2.0 Is Providing The Solution!


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Presentation given at an online Webinar on 1 May 2007. …

Presentation given at an online Webinar on 1 May 2007.

Published in: Economy & Finance, Technology

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  • 1. Content Creation: Web 2.0 Is Providing The Solution! Brian Kelly, UKOLN, University of Bath Bath Email [email_address] UKOLN is supported by: About This Talk This talk argues that Web 2.0 services are providing solutions to many of the requirements we are currently facing in delivering services for our users. Thanks to Paul Walk for ideas originally presented at the recent Shock of the Social conference. This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat) Resources bookmarked using ‘ web-2.0-200705 ' tag
  • 2. Third Party Web 2.0 Services: The Future? (1)
    • Our users are using them anyway - at least, we think they are! (Note more data is needed)
    • They can be more cost-effective (& greener?)
      • Always difficult to measure
      • Energy cost of hosting servers locally is increasingly a concern
    • They can benefit from network effects unavailable to local services because they can become global in scale
      • Can an institution build a local system with a social network large enough to be useful?
    Web 2.0
  • 3. Third Party Web 2.0 Services: The Future? (2)
    • They develop more rapidly - perpetual beta & massive feedback
      • Can our locally developed services compete with this?
    • There is so much already available - e.g. Office 2.0 Database at
      • Demonstrates viability of working with only a web browser and a network connection
      • Itself is built on a Web 2.0 database, Dabble DB (
    Why aren’t we doing this to a much greater extent? Web 2.0
  • 4. But What if the Service is Removed?
    • This is a real risk, in the sense that it can happen. Locally installed software can have its own peculiar problems, but sudden removal is unusual....
    • Addressing the problem:
      • Migration: make sure you can export your data in a format which allows service to be re-deploying (e.g. tools exist for extracting bookmarks)
      • Identify alternatives which can import your data and provide a comparable service
      • Do the business research - you do do this anyway for locally installed software, don’t you....?
    • A radical thought: perhaps this is simply a new reality - the downside of a new, generally better way of deploying services? Maybe our users will come to expect this and be able to deal with it?
  • 5. We’ve Been Here Before! (1)
    • So what’s new:
      • Transition from mainframes
      • Transition from mini-computers
      • Transition from BBC, Acorn, PET, …
    • Similarly for the software:
      • dBase, Lotus, …
    We just need to be able to be more agile. Objections
  • 6. We’ve Been Here Before! (2)
    • “ But Google may go out of business!”
    • Yer, right.
    • Software & services do disappear:
      • Home-grown stuff (the developer leaves, loses interest, …)
      • Project-funded deliverables (what happened to ROADS?)
      • National services e.g. Mailbase
      • Licensed application (what happened to WebCT?)
  • 7. What if Service Suddenly Changes ?
    • “ Always beta makes me nervous!”:
      • A good, commercial service will not threaten customer base by making sudden, significant changes, or removing important features
      • However, unlike locally installed software (where you can at least choose not to upgrade), hosted services will tend to be upgraded steadily (this might be seen as a good thing)
      • The notion of perpetual beta is being explored and argued about
      • The customer needs to maintain an awareness of the service’s roadmap for future development
      • Good IT support services will already be doing this for their locally installed software - they need to apply the same strategy to hosted services
  • 8. What about Support, Security, FOI, SLAs ....?
    • We can’t be responsible if you decide to use Gmail:
      • Is this why we still issue an email address to our students?
    • Security & FOI issues
      • May be issues of where the data is held , rather than who supplies the service
    • Service maintenance
      • SLAs - difficult to arrange in a distributed world
      • Diagnostics are difficult if service relies on others outside your control: “ You know you have a distributed system, when a company you didn't know you had a relationship [with] changes their business plan and your application stops working”
      • Do you actually have an SLA with your local service? How often does one of your institutional services go offline unexpectedly?
  • 9. What About Our Brand, Domain Name....?
    • Challenge:
      • If we encourage our students to use Fflickr, for example, for uploading their work, can we advertise ourselves as providing this facility?
    • Service providers are aware of this issue:
      • Google have launched Google Apps for Domains
      • If a remote service can be utilised in a machine-machine way, then it can possibly be ‘wrapped’ in a local look-and-feel
  • 10. Development: In-house Developers
    • What will developers do if there are no local systems?
      • There will always be some locally developed systems - concentrate on developing solutions to problems where local/domain knowledge is crucial
      • Integration - mashups! Leverage work which has gone into external services and add value locally
      • Added-value work, rather than core services
      • Experimental, evaluation, research, …
      • The last mile - the presentation layer for the institution (portals, personalisation)
      • Customisation via APIs
      • Consultation for colleagues - helping them to use available services, even outside the institution
    “ IT services should be an enabling service, not a barrier, but this requires a transformation in the way IT personnel see themselves in the organisation Objections
  • 11. New Opportunities for Non-Developers
    • Does Web 2.0 offer the possibility of ‘development’ to more institutional players - not just the ‘developers’?
      • Yahoo’s Pipes - drag and drop RSS mashups for everyone
      • Free hosted portals - NetVibes , Pageflakes
      • Elgg spaces - DIY social networking in an educational context
      • There is a (non-web) precedent: spreadsheets are the most widely deployed and used development tool of all - almost anyone can develop useful functions with this technology
  • 12. Yahoo Pipes - Development Tool for the rest of us Opportunities
  • 13. Hosting, Deploying, Developing: a Spectrum Opportunities
  • 14. Yes Things Can Go Wrong!
    • Case study:
      • RSS-> HTML conversion service used for UKOLN event
      • On 21 Oct 2006 email received saying page had been hacked
      • Service removed (and service restored later same day)
      • Following day discovered service had admin problem in paying subscription for domain
    • Reflections:
      • Problems fixed quickly (thanks to peers).
      • A records management problem (has happened to MS!)
      • A problem we could experience ourselves
      • Learnt about use of whois for checking domain records
  • 15. Do It!
    • I use Slideshare for hosting many of my slides:
      • Annotation service
      • Maximising impact
      • Resource discovery through like-minded people
    • Master copy managed at UKOLN
    • Why don’t we do more of this? content-creation-web-20-is-providing-the-solution/
  • 16. Further Discussions
    • UK Web Focus blog discusses many related issues:
      • New services
      • Risk assessment
      • Deployment strategies
      • “ Web 2.0 Readiness Rating”
    • Note also UKOLN’s 11 th Institutional Web Management Workshop 16-18 th July at the University of York (Google ‘ IWMW 2007 ’)
  • 17. Thoughts
      • When considering new service developments, look carefully at what existing Web services have to offer
      • Third party services may provide evaluation and prototyping and proof-of-concepts and not just final service delivery
      • Consider management & deployment costs
      • Devise an exit strategy when using external services
      • Manage , rather than avoid, the risk of using external services
      • Have a risk management strategy – and apply it to conventional approaches and doing nothing
  • 18. Questions
    • Any questions?