Second Life use in UK HE/FE establishments

Friday, 30 May 2008

This report which was originally reported on the Tame the Web Blog may be of interest to any BIALL members working in Higher Education or Further Education establishments.

Posted by James Mullan at 17:00 0 comments  

Has the FT Licence Strategy come good?

There have been a lot of reports recently, including a report on the Information World Review Blog of the FT Licence Strategy being a "success"

According to the reports So far"280 organisations have entered into direct customer agreements. The FT has also made separate agreements with 12 news aggregators, which are licensed to provide unlimited access to FT content for organisations with a direct agreement"

Caspar De Bono B2B managing director of the FT is quoted as saying " he was pleased with the takeup of the licences: “Sales that come as a result of these new licences are equal to what we used to get under the direct model; from a financial point of view the transition is working. One of the reasons we made the change is we felt we weren’t getting fair value for our content.”

Posted by James Mullan at 16:46 0 comments  

Are you following a yellow brick road?

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

In a slight change to the BIALL Conference programme Parallel Session 3/4 is now called "Web 2.0: the Yellow Brick Road or Fool's Gold? An Interactive Panel Discussion" ever the opportunist the BIALL Blogger contacted the speakers (Sue Hill (SH) and Martin de Saulles (MS) for their thoughts on Web 2.0 and its impact on Legal Information Professionals:

First off, Web 2.0, does it really exist or is it a meaningless term? On the basis that it does exist, how would you describe it?

SH - I certainly hope so - as I have paid for lots of courses/seminars/etc for staff to go and learn more about it! I dont think it is meaningless in that is says it is web - moved on. Web 2.0 is a bit overkill - Web 2 probably w ould have done!

MS - Although it is an over-used term I think it is useful as it provides a hook to hang some of the most important Web developments from the last several years. I would describe it as Web-based services that offer a level of interactivity for information sharing and collaboration that we did not see in the early Web.

How is Web 2.0 different from Web 1.0?

SH - I would call Web 1.0 flat or static (which is funny - when we all thought hyperlinked data was the be all and end all) and Web 2.0 more 'interactive', flowing. Web 1.0 was 'theirs' (whoever 'they' are) and Web 2.0 is 'ours'.

MS - It allows users to interact with the Web and with others via the Web rather than the less dynamic and more static Web 1.0. One way to think about Web 2.0 is that the Web is becoming a platform for delivering applications and services rather than just information.

As Information Professionals if our users are using Web 2.0 applications, shouldn't we also be using them and offering them to our users?

SH - Without doubt, but this is where the huge question mark starts. I think often the responsibility goes far beyond that info pro - - although they should be advising the higher ups...... a lot of large orgs with heritage systems (and perhaps not much £££s) are finding it hard to adapt and go with Web 2.0 and wouldn't listen to their info people anyway. The IT and Security people will be standing there wagging their fingers.

MS - If Web 2.0 applications allow us to better serve our users and our users are comfortable with them then yes we should be using them. Ignoring them would be like trying to pretend the Web was not important in the late 1990s.

Are Web 2.0 applications making the Web more open or less secure?

SH - I am astounded how carelessly people will fill in 'stuff' that you need to be Facebooked - Linked-In, Myspaced etc....(My solution is to have a fake DoB, fake Place of Birth, Fake mother and an email that is for those things only - not to mention a heavily re-touched photograph - but it isnt fool proof)

MS - This requires a longer and more complex answer than I can give here but I would say that one of the hottest topics for the near future will be security in terms of knowing who has access to personal data about us and what we do on the Web. There is a lot of ignorance about the trails of personal data we are leaving on sites such as Facebook, Linkedin etc

What are some of the challenges associated with using Web 2.0 and what do you see as the biggest opportunity?

SH - I think one of the challenges is finding the ability to step back, see the big picture and then plan, design, implement as it develops rather than trying to play catch up or stay static

MS - One of the key challenges is knowing which new services/technologies have a future and are worth using. Most of us are too busy to spend much time evaluating the latest developments and there is a need for more guidance as to what services are best for specific purposes. One of the biggest opportunities is in the area of data combining/ mashups. XML, RSS, open APIs and other common formats are allowing the development of exciting new services and the barriers to entry are relatively low (at the moment).

Web 2.0 can only make us more productive or can it! What are your thoughts on Web 2.0 tools being disruptive rather then productive?

SH - I saw an excellent presentation at the Perfect Information Conference by two Cisco employees and they showed how in practical use within their organisation they had gone from top down percolation and rigid implementation to upward and parallel flowing usage. Initially a source of concern re potential disruption they had gone past that barrier and were now finding it an immense time and £££s saver. It fitted in with a lot of their strategy to be more co-operative, green, etc.

MS - This is a good question – following my previous point I think they can be disruptive when people spend too much time experimenting with them rather than getting on with their day job (I sometimes fall into that trap). I think this will change over the coming years as certain services/platforms start to dominate and organisations and individuals learn to get the most from them. A suitable analogy may be the dominance of Microsoft Office in the PC application sector. In the early 1990s several competing word processing applications dominated the market and I remember seeing adverts for Wordstar operators that offered quite high salaries. Now it is taken for granted that anyone working in an administrative role will have MS Office skills and can use a Web browser.

What do you see being the next "big thing" will Web 2.0 really take off? or will something else take its place?

SH - Web 3.0/4.0/5.0 potentially will just be faster, smarter more of the same.....
Web 2.0 is here potentially because of the momentum of Web 1.0
I bit like 'google' I find it hard to think that anything outside of the box will come and along and take over.....

MS - I think the term Web 2.0 will disappear over the next 12 months. Some people talk about Web 3.0 but it sounds a bit clichéd even before it has even gone mainstream. However, I do think the basics of what Web 2.0 is about will take off in the sense that many of the services we think of as innovative now will be used by the masses within several years. Applications are moving to the Internet cloud and it will soon seem rather old fashioned to have a PC with applications such as MS Office loaded on to it. You only have to look at services such as Google Docs and Google Sites to see where it is going.

Finally do you Web 2.0?

SH - Yes in a quiet way on a personal basis and we are looking at ways in which it can securely be implemented into recruitment processes. Hog tied by legislation and new but none the less legacy software.

MS - Yes. As a lot of my teaching and research is centred around this area, I need to play around with it to see what works and what doesn’t. Over the last several years I have been incorporating more Web 2.0 services into my daily work.

Thanks to both Sue and Martin in preparing answers to our questions in advance of their session, it sounds like it should be a very interesting discussion.

Posted by James Mullan at 13:29 0 comments  

New Blogs on the Block

Friday, 23 May 2008

Two new Blogs have recently found their way into our RSS Reader, which BIALL Members might be interested in, they are:

  • The Scottish Libraries Blog From the About section "The blog is intended to complement our existing electronic content and services on the SLAINTE website and our Pagecast. We aim to stimulate discussion and debate within the Scottish library and information community so please contribute by adding comments to our posts."
  • The second blog is a news blog from the Legal Action Group

Both blogs are well worth having a look at.

Posted by James Mullan at 14:01 0 comments  

Super speedy Bailii search

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Bailii is a wonderful resource, but sometimes searching it can be a little time-consuming. One enterprising individual has created a super fast simplified search page for Bailii, for those times that the normal Bailii just isn't fast enough.

Great example of someone making the most of free resources to help them get their job done more efficiently!

Posted by Jennifer at 13:09 1 comments  

Interested in Scottish Legislation...

Monday, 19 May 2008

...then you'll definitely want to take a look at the newly created archive of the proceedings of the Scottish Parliament. The site contains Acts from 1235 to 1707.

[Thanks to Jennie Law for spotting this]

Posted by James Mullan at 17:38 0 comments  

Outsourcing your information?

Nobody likes to think about let alone talk about Outsourcing information services or roles, but this was one of the issues discussed at the recent Perfect Information Conference. The IWR Blog has report from the session.

Posted by James Mullan at 17:32 0 comments  

Bills before Parliament

Friday, 16 May 2008

The web team responsible for the Bills before Parliament site have started the next stage of development work on these pages. If you use these pages regularly then they would love to hear from you, particularly around:

  • What tasks you are trying to carry out when using these pages?
  • Where do you currently have to go to find additional information not easily presented through these pages?
  • Is there anything you would like to find but can't?

Following earlier user feedback they are already looking to develop:

  • Email alerts & RSS feeds at the individual Bill level and alerts for multiple bills.
  • Improved search so that you can find bills by subject, as well as the ability to be able to list all bills on the environment, all bills on health etc.

Posted by James Mullan at 10:56 0 comments  

Four events in four weeks

Thursday, 15 May 2008

With only fours weeks to go until the start of the BIALL Conference some of you may be thinking what else is happening in Dublin, well the BIALL Blog has done some research and is pleased to say there are some notable events happening which BIALL members might be interested in.

First off is the Dublin's Writers Festival, this takes place from the 11th to the 15th of June, so if you're a budding writer or interested in writing then they have a full programme of events running.

If you're feeling peckish the Taste of Dublin Festival is taking place in Iveagh Gardens this is an opportunity to taste lots of restaurants menu's, including dishes from Gordon Ramsay's Dublin restaurant.

Fancy a bit of Rock & Roll? Leonard Cohen is playing live at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and finally just in case anybody had forgotten the European Football Championships take place this year from the 7th to the 29th of June, not in Dublin and there are no home countries represented but that wont stop people watching matches like Switzerland v Turkey on the 11th and Austria v Poland on the 12th, goals guaranteed!

Posted by James Mullan at 15:55 0 comments  

LACA wants more!

Monday, 12 May 2008

The first round of consultation on recommendations in Andrew Gowers ‘ December 2006 report on intellectual property law (including copyright) has concluded with the Libraries and Copyright Alliance (LACA) arguing that there should be wider exceptions.

LACA argued that the following exceptions should be introduced:

  • For extension of educational exceptions to permit the copying of materials for distance learning and the copying of all kinds of copyright work for educational purposes.
  • For extension of fair dealing for the purposes of non commercial research and private study to cover all kinds of work
  • That exceptions should apply, wherever possible , equally in the digital and analogue environments
  • For extension of the preservation exception, which permits libraries and archives to make preservation copies

LACA's full response is available online.

Posted by James Mullan at 10:01 0 comments  

Still time to Have Your Say...!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Have a look at the original post (link above) about Have Your Say at Dublin. Does anything else spring to mind? What's that question you have always wanted to ask about BIALL, its committees, publications, services, membership...?

Don't be shy! You can post anonymously here, and questions posed will be discussed during Conference. So whether you are attending or not, you have the chance to Have Your Say...!

Posted by Sara Batts at 17:47 0 comments  

Dublin Buddies

Don't forget that if you are a new delegate at this year's Conference, you can sign up to the Buddy scheme.

This will pair you up with another new delegate to help you find your feet quickly at the event.

If you didn't opt for this at the time of booking, it's not too late - contact Helen Williams to opt in.

If you have questions about Conference, there are FAQs for delegates on the BIALL website at

Posted by Sara Batts at 17:37 0 comments