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How Recent Web Developments Offer Low-cost Opportunities for Service Development


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Talk given at the London Museums Librarians and Archivists Group Biennial One Day Conference held at the British Museum, London on 26 April 2007.

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How Recent Web Developments Offer Low-cost Opportunities for Service Development

  1. 1. How Recent Web Developments Offer Low-cost Opportunities for Service Development Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath Email [email_address] UKOLN is supported by: About This Talk You may have heard about Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, RSS,, Flickr, etc.). But how can they be exploited by cultural heritage organisations with limited funds and technical expertise? This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat) Resources bookmarked using ‘ lmlag-2007-04 ' tag
  2. 2. About Me / About UKOLN <ul><li>Brian Kelly: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UK Web Focus: a Web advisory post based at UKOLN </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Funded by JISC and MLA to advise HE/FE and cultural heritage sectors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web enthusiast since Jan 1993 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attended & spoke at MW 2007 conference </li></ul></ul><ul><li>UKOLN: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National centre of expertise in digital information management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Located at the University of Bath </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. So… What is Web 2.0? <ul><li>Marketing term (derived from observing 'patterns') rather than technical standards – “an attitude not technology” </li></ul>Web2MemeMap, Tim O’Reilly, 2005 <ul><li>Characteristics Of Web 2.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Network as platform </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Always beta </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remix and mash-ups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Syndication (RSS) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Architecture of participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs & Wikis </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social networking </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social tagging (folksonomies) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trust and openness </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Web 2.0 Summary <ul><li>Blogs (Weblogs) : online diary service (and much more) </li></ul><ul><li>Wikis : easy-to-use collaborative Web-based authoring tools, e.g. Wikipedia </li></ul><ul><li>Syndication : RSS/Atom formats allow content to be reused elsewhere </li></ul><ul><li>Mashups : syndicated content & applications e.g. Google Maps </li></ul><ul><li>Social Networks (1) : sharing services (photos, bookmarks, etc.) such as Flickr, del.ici.ious, … which ‘get better the more people use them’ </li></ul><ul><li>Social Networks (2) : services for communities such as MySpace, Facebook, etc. which are widely used, especially by young people </li></ul><ul><li>Creative Commons : supporting openness </li></ul><ul><li>Real-time comms : IM, SMS, Gabbly, Skype, … </li></ul>
  5. 5. Enough Talking! <ul><li>How long would it take to a realtime chat service for your organisation? How much would it cost? </li></ul> <ul><li>How about less than 60 seconds (and free)! </li></ul><ul><li>Issues: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The technologies are there now  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many people are using them – are you being left behind? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The challenges are primarily social & organisational, not technical </li></ul></ul>Cost: £0
  6. 6. Library Fundamentalist <ul><li>Beware the library fundamentalists who: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think they know better than the user e.g. they don't like people using Google Scholar; they should use Web of Knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think users should be forced to learn boolean searching & other formal search techniques because this is good for them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don't want the users to search for themselves (folksonomies) because they won't get it right </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Want to classify the entire Web - despite the fact that users don't use their lists of Web links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Want services to be perfect before they release them. Are uneasy with the concept of 'forever beta' (they don't believe that users can figure things out themselves) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>And also beware the museums, archives & IT fundamentalists! </li></ul>Web 2.0: Building the New Library , P Miller, Ariadne, issue 45 “ Users will bypass processes and institutions that they perceive to be slow, unresponsive, unappealing and irrelevant in favour of a more direct approach to services offered by others that just might be 'good enough' for what they need to do.”
  7. 7. There are Barriers … Barriers Technical User Organisational Cultural Legal Performance, security, accessibility, maturity, IT services, interoperability… Assessment, quality, resources, feeling threatened, AUP, e-gov, public perception, … Ownership, control, inertia, hype, power, threats, … User needs, millennials & non-millennials, training, trust; information literacy, … Data protection, copyright, FoI, IPR, protection of minors… So what do you do?
  8. 8. Library 2.0 on a Shoestring <ul><li>The good news: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deploying Web 2.0 in your organisation need not be difficult </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lots of useful services can be deployed for free  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Here’s how we might go about addressing the barriers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage the enthusiast </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Go for low hanging fruit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learn from others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get senior management on board </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Address the Barriers <ul><li>How do we address such barriers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A change in culture – are the assumptions we have still valid? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Being more open (surely a key aspects of what the public sector is about?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Listening to the concerns, and addressing them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revisiting AUPs - ensure existing guidelines and interpretations in these areas are flexible enough to take into account technological developments, emerging usage patterns etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing more sophisticated models for standards, accessibility, open source, … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing key principles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ongoing debate and discussion </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Low Hanging Fruit <ul><li>Some suggestions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start off by considering resource implications, impact assessment and value for money </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Address areas you feel comfortable with (wikis and blogs?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Look at your business needs, what isn’t working, what needs rethinking and think about a deployment strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage the enthusiasts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gain experience of the browser tools (Firefox extensions!) – and see what you’re missing! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide staff training and development - this is a useful opportunity for re-skilling staff (keeping up with their children!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have a risk assessment and management strategy </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. What Are They Saying About Us? <ul><li>Blogs are very interconnected with each other (bloggers discuss other’s blog postings). </li></ul><ul><li>This can help to provide feedback; measure impact; engage in discussions; etc. </li></ul><ul><li>You can also monitor what they are saying about your Web site. </li></ul>Web 2.0 Find out what bloggers have been saying about your blog or your Web site – possibly minutes after they’ve said it. You can then take the praise – or issue a rebuttal in a timely fashion Cost: £0
  12. 12. Finding Resources <ul><li>Technorati can help find Blog articles, RSS feeds, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Technorati search for “ Archives Hub &quot; finds a posting about posted 2 day ago (have found 10 minute old postings!) </li></ul>Web 2.0 What do users want: the home page and what people are saying today. Google & Technorati are valuable tools, so organisations should ensure that their Web site can be found in both. Note in FireFox you can add a Technorati search to the built-in search box %22archives+hub%22 Cost: £0
  13. 13. Blogs - Reading <ul><li>How do you keep informed of developments? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you use a dedicated blog reader? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are you alerted of changes to key blogs? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you focus on the content, and avoid the distractions of ads, etc. </li></ul></ul>Web 2.0 Bloglines – a Web-based Blog reader. You are informed of changes since you last viewed the page. Cost: £0 BlogBridge – a desktop blog reader. You are informed of changes since you last viewed the page.
  14. 14. Library Blogs <ul><li>“ I can do that!” </li></ul><ul><li>Why leave it to others to dominate the discussions? </li></ul><ul><li>Consider how blogs can be used: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To engage with your users (cf. Bath Science Library News Blog) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To discuss issues with your peers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To engage with the gurus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul> 2007/02/27/upcoming-library-training-sessions/ Cost: £0 the_pragmatic_biblioblogger.html
  15. 15. Staff Development <ul><li>There's a need for your staff to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand what Web 2.0 is about </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learn how to make use of Web 2.0 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This is all subject to constraints of lack of time; resources; etc. </li></ul><ul><li>The Library 2.0 Podcasts Web sites provides a useful resources for learning about new tools, techniques, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>May be especially useful for those who spend time on public transport! </li></ul> _archives/2006/4/12/1881517.html Cost: £0
  16. 16. Wikis <ul><li>Wikipedia – best know example of a Wiki </li></ul> Cost: £0 Having an entry in Wikipedia – can generate traffic to your Web site Or use the Museums Wikia – dedicated for the Museum’s sector Amersham_Museum_photographs
  17. 17. Risk Management <ul><li>Take risk management approach to evaluation of Web 2.0 technologies (as UKOLN did with IWMW 2006) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish agreements: e.g. in the case of the Chatbot </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use well-established services: Google & are well-established and have financial security </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Notification: warnings that services could be lost. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engagement: with the user community for evaluation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provision of alternatives: multiple OPML tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use in non-mission critical areas: not for bookings! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pragmatic approach to legal issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Long term experiences of services: usage stats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Availability of alternative sources of data: e.g. standard Web server log files. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data export and aggregation: RSS feeds, aggregated in Suprglu, OPML viewers, etc. </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Senior Management <ul><li>Approaches you could take: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Just do it anyway – much of this is fairly small scale stuff management don’t need to know about </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explain the benefits of Web 2.0, introduce enthusiasts, demonstrate great sites, make sure what you do supports your Institutional aims </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explain what it will cost you to not get involved (and the risks of in-house solutions, projects, government initiatives, etc) </li></ul></ul>Library 2.0 Theory: Web 2.0 and Its Implications for Libraries “ the Web will continue to change rapidly for some time. Web 2.0 is an early one of many. Libraries must adapt to it, much as they did the Web originally, and must continually adapt for the foreseeable future. In this &quot;perpetual beta&quot;, any stability other than the acceptance of instability is insufficient.”
  19. 19. A Deployment Strategy <ul><li>Some suggestions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use blog reading tools to find out what’s happening in your area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use RSS for news items (and syndication) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explore Wikipedia – and see if there are entries which you can improve </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experiment with blogs (one-off activities, internal use, …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Upload photos of your organisation to Flickr and allow others to reuse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluate, reflect, and plan for more substantive uses </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Engage <ul><li>Feel free to engage in discussions on the UK Web Focus blog at <> </li></ul>Cost: £0
  21. 21. Conclusions <ul><li>Web 2.0 can provide real benefits for your organisation and your users </li></ul><ul><li>However organisations tend to be conservative </li></ul><ul><li>We therefore need: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To listen to users' concerns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To address users' concerns e.g. risk management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A change of culture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We can all benefit by adopting Web 2.0 principles of openness and sharing. So let us: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Share our advocacy resources, risk management techniques, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop your own social network based on openness, trust, collaboration, … </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Any Questions?