Web Idol 2006

Musings on the Institutional Web Management Workshop IWMW 2006 in Bath, UK

Friday, June 23, 2006

Tidying up ..

Well I've been back at work for a few weeks now since the workshop. Had a great time as always. This was the first time I've tried to blog an event more or less as it's happening. My inability to touch type really let me down as I suspected. I was only really just getting basic notes down and not really reflecting on things with a personal perspective as Owen manages to do with his blog which would make it more interesting for the reader. The original idea for doing it was to help me with the write up for Ariadne 'At the Event' article and I think it will do the job for that at least. Owen suggested that it would be tricky for non-attendees to get much from it and I guess he's probably right there.

Anyway - I suspect this will be the last post for this blog so hopefully see you at York Univ for IWMW 2007.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Reflections on 10 years of the Institutional Web: Andy Powell

Much of the early stuff on the web gone … andy making many excuses about why haven’t got slides printed off … mentioned the jisc mail discussions … andy telling us about his history at UKOLN .. some things haven’t changed – Brian still around … Credit to the man for building a web community … beginning to have discussions about children’s perceptions as well as our own … Webmaster’s time line – starts 1969 first ERPANET, 1977 TCP/IP, 1990 HTTP invented, 1993 first GUI browser. Brian wrote what became the uk web bible in 1994 … we-support jiscmail list set up set up … 2001 RSS invented … blog 2002 … RSS re-appears reinvented 2000-2003 …Web 2.0 and AJAX 2005 … webmaster job title out of favour … now no common job description … Andre Cox paper coming out – study of how web people in HE see their role … andy met tim berner-lee and ukoln set up web server for him … andy then removed it and deleted his account – hadn’t heard of him – installed ncsa over it – embaressed by this now … in 1993 could list the number of webservers – could browse the whole web in afternoon … coloured books mentioned [no idea what this is myself] … web notice board – typically for sale 1997 5-6 per day … 2005 100+ per day .. manually approved by andy at the time … few cases of abuse … email and web form driven .. then went to no approval except for email address checking ... trend: move from from static to xml and dynamic interfaces and better quality and more accessible html … the portal phase for a little while but seems to have gone … control of content current topic – institutions used to worry about control but era of blogging has relaxed this … development of external services, web services etc … WebTechs story – lost the domain to a porn site … andy differs with brian about giving access to external services such as a gif on ukoln page … brian’s bible for webmasters – presentation at loughborough .. ran through some interesting web systems over the years … 1993- Follett report pivotal for andy – led directly to eLib programme and JISC strategy – very significant doc but words missing … pivotal diagram shown … open access – making research output available free on the web and self archiving … associating explicit open access licensing … all about the preservation of the scholarly record … mentioned e-Framework mentioned – about unbundling the VLE and service orientated approach … now a major activity in JISC … builds on Information Environment … jisc agenda is a digital library but the term not popular … little talk on web-support and web-info-mgt about e-learning .. surprisingly little talk or interest in this considering it is key activity of our sector education … metadata and semantic web hasn’t had impact and could almost say is an irrelevance …metadata talk at second iwmw – they got it wrong on this – didn’t see the role of automated processes … iwmw covers the real world activities and not as enmeshed with jisc view as could and should. Interesting as I’ve felt this myself - I remember very little interest in the elearning discussion group at Canterbury

CMS: Challenging the Consensus Chair: Miles Banbery

Very very tired this morning. It's been a very busy conference. I really ran out of steam after the SMIL session. I think it went well and I enjoyed doing it but it's always a relief to have done it. I really enjoyed the social last night and inevitably stayed at The Star pub in Bath with Marieke, Brian and the IWMW bunch including Steve Richardson and Joel Porter from the North West posse. Great night but just couldn't get up for the first session so no notes m'fraid.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sector Statistics: Ranjit Sidhu

About benchmarking the sector … where is education sector compared to other institutions and other services … 22 institutions for all of May and will do every 6 months … what should we measure? … need to think who are the clients … new technologies – are they worth the spend? … how do nedstats measure – use a single pixel measure … visitor cookie for returning vistors … visitors accepting cookies 96% - more or less the same as for all nedstat customers … how is a site found – 3 ways – direct entry (57%), external referred (21%)and search engines (29%) … Most searching directly for the name of the univ … some search for .ac.uk … Geography – 77.3% from UK, USA, then India … 30-50% of web traffic is internal … Average of 7 mins on the site ... Some quite tricky scatter diagrams that were tricky to understand but I think I got the general idea. Most results seemed to be what you would expect.

What Does Openness Mean to the Web Manager? Speaker: Randy Metcalfe and Brian Kelly


What does oss mean for web managers … most people use oss but no-one forced to … pragmatism a good thing but maybe not all the time … osswatch focuses on strategic decision makers … osswatch don’t ‘sell’ oss – is an awareness raising outfit … mentioned various licences e.g gpl and apache characteristics of oss – free distribution, source code, etc… oss about freedoms – four freedoms … oss might require programmer commitment … characterized by rapid change … issue of submitting developments back to the oss project – need to be able to do this legally … policy issues – UK gov’t has an oss policy - only 4 people in room knew this … success of moodle – 56% of FE colleges using moodle – no one told them to use moodle – went from from 0 to 56% - why? Ans: market forces – gap between policy and reality … massive discrepancy between policy and practice … community aspect of moodle positive … and openness is a warm puppy.

Sebastian couldn’t resist saying Open Source 2.0


Open standards don’t always work … rss is a great standard – but is it a standard? .. several authors possibly wrote rss … have to recognize the complexities of adopting oss … can’t mandate html standard – most pages don’t meet the standard … creative commons is used for ukoln slides - not just being nice – want to promote use and impact of using the materials … MIT has with opencourseware and open university is about to … we can all contribute – if say everyone in room added a couple of pages to a wiki or wikipedia – this is what openness is all about … Univ Northumbria adopted Google maps mash-up … need to be responsive and user focsussed … some challenges - must own mission critical IT Services? …. Should use OSS? .. Brian thinks we moved on from this … outsourcing no longer a sin … risk management – charles oppenheim copyright formula (check brian’s slides for this) … need to take a risk management to adopting oss .. brian working on these risk assessments .. there is the risk of continuing to do what we’re doing … beware the fundamentalists – vendor, legal, accessibility (we know who they are) ... need to move on from this attitude

Web 2.0: Behind the Hype: Chair: Lawrie Phipps - Paul Miller, Scott Wilson and Brian Kelly

Paul Miller - Library 2.0
Paul referred to a study by the OCLC on users perceptions of libraries and info resources - concluded that they trust them - 89% - highest os all resources ... Noted that keyword seraching fairly new ... Talis have paper coming out about Library 2.0 about opening the library up ... Plymouth State Univ have blog over the library opac- has been successful ... mentioned Greasmonkey Amazon plugin - shows whether the book your searcg for is in the library within the Amazon page .. Ann Arbour library shows online library records on a old fashioned style library that can be annotated by users ... showed Google Maps mash-up that can search directly into the library from Google Maps ... Encouraged all to add their libraries to the Talis directory.

Scott Wilson - Web 2.0: A Learning and Teaching Viewpoint
2 way read/write web ... XCRI - RSS for prospectuses = formal learning ... 43 Things, mecanbe, = informal learning ... What are the implications for institutions of these informal networks? ... Most VLEs don't allow students to create their own groups outside of course and institional boundaries (Moodle does to some degree) ...

Brian Kelly - Being Web 2.0 in 30 Minutes
'No web 2.0 without responsibility' according to Andy Clarke ... Grazr OPML viewer ...mentioned Superglu ... Gabbly Chat ... Skpe ... Microformats. Owen Stephens (the other blogger) asked how we can rely on these services. Brian repsonded that have to accespt the risk and things being good enough, alternatives etc.

[I think my impending SMIL session was on my mind at this point so these notes are even more sketchy than the others]

Delivering Information: Document vs. Content: Kate Forbes-Pitt

Persitance of paper – why? … users ask for docs all the time – why? … they trust docs … they’re efficient … we don’t initially ‘read’ a letter – take in structural layout elements – date, who it’s to etc… doesn’t actually have to have words in it … paper docs have smell, touch, feel … content is only one of the layers of a doc … can this be captured online? … ‘old’ social rules masked by ‘new’ online rules … social context not automatable (done electronically) … a bit of philosophy [fine with me] – normative reading is e.g. letters, pragmatic reading is e.g. poster about the world cup … online pragmatic access is lost for many … the social knowledge required by the web is not the same as for paper … impossible to write these down and automate … docs require local and social rules … natural language translation not possible on the web … computer destroys pragmatic accesss ... computer environment has it's own set of expectations and masks document rules ... nautural language translation not possible electronically ... discussion over the notion of a record as opposed to a document - Kate suggests web pages are records and need to rework content for the web [I think this has been quite clear for some time]

Managing Standards - Delivering a Quality Assured Web Environment: John Gilbey

Brief history of quality … comes from Egyptians and the military … using ISO 9000 – need to for £6 million funding … A4 paper good example of standard widely used (not in usa) … standard for A4 paper costs £70 – why? … ISO 9000 a generic standard for managing organizations … based on key ideas: customer focus, leadership (unity of purpose), involvement of people, systems approach to management, continual improvement, factual approach to decision making (perhaps not happening in HE?) … Documents key to QA were only found on the intranet … just needed a bit of tweaking to meet ISO … have to think about risk management, governance, compliance … not doing right if it’s getting overly bureaucratic … have to do internally – external consultants won’t be able to do

Developing a Web 2.0 Strategy: Michael Webb

What VLE? – wrong question … looked at user req’s first – nice one … identified main use is putting course materials on the web so built a portal - My Learning Essentials … the portal used for distributing course materials, discussion, remote access to docs, news … added a for sale board … thought web 2.0 may be important strategically – went for blogs and wikis … thinking about the ‘digital native’ – those only known digital era … future students are … 7 years old using think.com … they don’t use email at all … another mention of bebo.com ... current students already using these freely available web apps that uni has no control over … students want sms (64%), IM (45%), discussion (40%), blog (33%) … no demand for web space. Conclusions … students already web 2.0 savvy … lack of control whether like or not … issue of whether to out source or not … decided not to support blog (bebo does it already) … or social networking stuff … have embraced the web 2.0 beta world … exit strategies – register users or remove altogether … concerns about sms as may be costly if very popular

Real World Emerging Technologies - Chris Scott

Target audience 17 – 25 ... SMS, iPod, skeptical and astute … Used to Flickr, delicious etc. Chris not sure about delicious but impressed with Flickr … Common factors of web 2.0 are: language – informal and friendly, design – fashion matters - large type, rounded corners … CSS/web standards allow for re-skiining … AJAX desktop like responsivess expected …Culture of openness p2p more trusted … about not controlling the message … blogging can sell the institution – see Warwick blogs .. but moderation very resource intensive … Hurdles – loss of control, moderation. . Conclusions – employ language, design, openness, eliminate controls. . . Questions – bebo.com mentioned.

Perpetual beta

Day er...2.

Struggled to get wifi working yesterday so not so timely but got thru eventually.

Blimey, guess I misjudged here how much time’s needed to do all this – specially as never did touch type but here we go. Suspect it’ll be brief…

Marieke’s first introduction – guess she must be nervous following Mr K. It’s about quality this year.

Monday, June 05, 2006

El Vino Cheapo guesto spotto

Pic of El Vino CheapoIn a move I may live to regret I suggested doing a tune or two with the band playing on the wednesday night at the workshop, El Vino Cheapo as part of the social events. Perhaps foolishly, Marieke and the band also thought this was a good idea so it looks like it will happen. I saw Song 2 by Blur and a few other tracks I'm familiar with listed as part of their set so hopefully it'll be a good one.

I usually take a guitar along if I'm away at an event for a few days so it seemed like a good idea. I used to play guitar professionally a few years back before I got into this web stuff and still play regularly at various jam nights in Manchester such as All That Jazz at The Arch Bar near the University so I ought to be able to make a decent job of it. Reviews after the gig below please.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Workshop wiki

Just got an email from Marieke about a wiki for this years workshop. Better add something to my SMIL bit.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Keep SMILing

Pic of American idol winnerFeeling very sluggish today. Just got back from holiday in California and still suffering from jet lag. The final of American Idol was being filmed when we stayed in LA just around the corner from our Hollywood hotel. It gave me the idea for the name of this blog. Seemed like a good idea at the time anyway. Maybe I can make it work with some idea of a final at the conference. I'm not sure about it so it may change.

I agreed to write an 'At The Event' article for Ariadne magazine this year so thought it would make sense to write a blog as well so here we are.

'Keep SMILing' - that's the name of my parallel session for the workshop this year - better get working on it I guess. The SMIL presentation of Stephen Emmotts plenary talk from last year seem to go down pretty well so I was asked to do this workshop. Should be OK I think but will rely on computers working on the day - never a good idea.