Online Information 2007, day 3, Thurs 6 Dec

December 14, 2007

So, the final day of Online Information 2007 (you can read about day 1 here, and day 2 here). As is the way with conferences, by day 3 I was suffering from information overload a little bit. Luckily, there were some really interesting sessions that proved very relevant to my work.

The first session was on “The Facebook generation”, and was once again moderated by Ewan McIntosh. Sadly, I missed Roo Reynolds talking about Second Life, and most of Ewan’s presentation. The little I did see of the latter presentation seemed very interesting, and included some good examples of young people creating their own media, including a Bebo campaign to prevent the closure of a local school. The third speaker of the session was Mary Ellen Bates, who gave a fairly standard presentation on the opportunities presented by web 2.0.

Session number two was on marketing libraries in a web 2.0 world, and proved very interesting. The first speaker was Jane Dysart, who talked about using Youtube to promote library services. She recommended the service very strongly as a way to connect with users through semi-formal channels. Despite this air of informality, she emphasised the importance of ensuring that any video posted looks professional, with sound quality being a particular issue. She also flagged up a few useful resources, including the Infotubey awards, and LibVlogs, a good example of self-produced videos that reach out to users.

The next speaker was Marie Madeleine Salmon, talking about using advertising and branding techniques to promote library services. The final speaker for this session was Dave Pattern, of he University of Huddersfield.  Huddersfield have been at the forefront of creating a truly web 2.0 OPAC- you can see the results here. All sorts of things have been done with it, including RSS feeds for searches and other aspects of updated information, suggestions of similar reading materials on running a search, spelling suggestions on entering incorrectly spelt terms, and a plethora of other features. Huddersfield is definitely at the cutting edge for this kind of stuff, but it was a real indication of what can be done with sufficient will and the imagination.

The final session was an open discussion on the future of web 2.0, between Richard Dennison, Roo Reynolds, and Matt Locke. As such, it was all pretty discursive, but raised some very interesting points. I’ll flag up a couple of these here, both of which are in relation to the politics of web 2.0. The first was the idea of open standards and transparency as an antidote (but not a cure-all) for possible accusations of bias, and accusations of web 2.0 as mob rule. Essentially, the argument is along the lines of “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” (attribution), but this begs the question who are those providing the vigilance?

The second interesting idea was that of “declarative living“, or making all those aspects of one’s life, except those one holds to be strictly private, available via the web. This is a form of personal transparency, and a statement of intention (to quote the site linked to above) “this is what I am interested in, and if you want to play nice with the data then you can use the data.” Very interesting, but this brought to mind for me Foucault‘s ideas on the Panopticon, a prison in which prisoner behaviour is regulated by the mere fact that all prisoners know they are being monitored. The only difference here is that, with declarative living, one arguably becomes a willing prisoner of the Panopticon.

A philosophical way to end the conference. This was appropriate, since overall it was an interesting mix of fairly vague speculation on the meanings of web 2.0, along with some very practical hints and tips on exactly how web 2.0 can be harnessed.

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One Response to “Online Information 2007, day 3, Thurs 6 Dec”


  1. […] to do with the giddy world of Web 2.0? Well, it occurred to me during one of the sessions during day 3 of Online Information conference (on the future of web 2.0) that web 2.0 actually allows us, and perhaps even forces us, […]


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