All posts by Brian Kelly

Brian Kelly's job title is an independent consultant.

Assignment 6: The Director’s Brief – Library Use of Wikipedia and Other Wikimedia Projects

About the Final Assignment in the Hyperlinked Library MOOC

The final assignment for the Hyperlinked Library MOOC requires participants to produce a Director’s Brief. The Director’s Brief provides participants with:

the opportunity to hone in on a technology-enhanced service that was mentioned through the course content or lectures, or perhaps you encountered it in conversations with your peers. Situated as a report-of-sorts for a library director, you’ll be crafting a brief that informs your administrator of its origins, related terminologies, uses for LIS environments, and addresses its potential pitfalls.

The requirements for this assignment are to:

write an examination of an emerging technology of your choice. Craft the report as though you are sending it to your library director, a technology planning group, or the recipient of your choice (to fit your career goals). The brief should be structured in logical fashion following these points:

  • What is the technology? Define any terms or related vocabulary.
  • What should the recipient understand about the technology? Affordances? Negative issues?
  • How do user populations use it?
  • What research or studies can inform the decision to plan and implement?
  • How can libraries successfully implement it?

The report should be 800 to 1000 words and can include graphic elements and screenshots to enhance this type of report depending on the technology chosen.

The Context for this Director’s Brief


The scenario for this director’s brief is as follows:

The Library at the (fictitious) University of Poppleton has decided to embrace Open Educational Practices in order to (a) enhance the quality of the learning experiences and employment prospects for its students; (b) enhance the visibility of its research activities and (c) support its engagement with the local community.

In order to implement these aims the Library, IT Services department, Student Enhancement Unit, Research Support Unit and the Centre for Widening Participation have been asked to describe plans which will ensure that these key strategic goals are being addressed. The university’s senior management teams has made it clear that only very limited additional funding is available; preference will be given to proposals which require little or no additional funding. In order to minimise risks that inappropriate proposals are accepted, proposals should clearly document associated risks.

The Library has decided to focus on use of Wikipedia since the community encyclopedia and related services are felt to be able to support these goals with relatively little investment of effort.

The university has asked Cetis, the Centre for Educational technologies and Interoperability Standards, a national centre for the UK’s higher and further education communities to provide a report on ways in which the library can make use of Wikipedia services as a key aspect of its Open Educational Practices.

I should add that although the University of Poppleton does not exist, Cetis does! Since 28 October 2013 I have been employed at Cetis as an Innovation Advocate.

In the planning for the Director’s Brief I have used the planning process for the HyperLinked Libraries Emerging Technology Planning assignment which suggested that students should use the following structure to assist planning of technological developments:

Convince ______ that by _______ they will ________ which will ________ because _______.

In my case I will aim to:

Convince the senior management team in the Library that by promoting creation and maintenance of content using Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons they will provide a cost-effective way of providing access to quality content and provide students with valuable skills which will enhance the employability of students and raise the profile of the institution within the local town because of the popularity of the service and its growing importance within the educational and cultural heritage sectors.

The Director’s Brief should be 800 to 1,000 words long. The document which follow, is 998 words long.

Director’s Brief: Library Use of Wikipedia and Other Wikimedia Projects

About Wikipedia and Wikimedia

Wikipedia is a global encyclopedia which can be edited by anyone. Wikipedia is managed by the Wikimedia Foundation which supports  other projects including Wikimedia Commons, a database of over 19 million freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute.

Using Wikipedia as a Consumer

Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has grown into one of the largest reference websites; in February 2012 it attracted 470 million unique visitors monthly.

Despite such popularity its radical openly editable model was initially met with ridicule and scepticism. However in 2005 the BBC reported on a study which concluded that Wikipedia is about as accurate on science as the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Despite such findings, in a recent keynote talk at the EduWiki 2013 conference which asked “What’s left to teach now that Wikipedia has done everyone’s homework?“ Dave White, University of Oxford, reported that although students feel that lecturers do not approve of use of Wikipedia, the students will make use Wikipedia and use references obtained for Wikipedia articles – although they don’t necessarily read the references. There is an ‘elearning black market’ based on content from Wikipedia which students use but are not willing to admit to using.

The first part of Library’s use of Wikipedia is to ensure that Library staff provide training in use of Wikipedia, which includes when it is appropriate to make use of encyclopedia’s such as Wikipedia and how to assess content in Wikipedia, using tools such as the history of article updates.

Editing and Creating Wikipedia Articles

Providing digital literacy skills relevant for use of Wikipedia for staff and students is part of the Library’s remit; it is being mentioned to emphasise the point of the value the Library sees in the service.

This main focus of this proposal, however, is on the support the Library will provide for staff and students in maintaining and creating Wikipedia articles across the following areas.


We have been inspired by the vision of “the student as producer“. We wish to encourage students to create and develop digital resources. We feel that creation of Wikipedia articles will be particularly valuable since the public visibility of the resources can help to raise student confidence levels. Expertise in Wikipedia editing should also be a skill potential employers may regard as valuable, not only for the technical knowledge but also for the skills in collaborative working across distributed contributors which successful content creation will entail.


In the Wikimedia UK Annual review 2012-13 (PDF format) Cameron Neylon argues that:

If you’re serious about ensuring public engagement in your research then you need to make damn sure your work can be incorporated into Wikipedia. Wikipedia is the most important engagement channel for your research.

Since the University of Poppleton’s research strategy states our intention to “produce integrated external engagement strategies to underpin and ensure the reach of our wide-ranging activities, focusing on public engagement with research and engagement through our economic, social and cultural impact’ we feel that use of Wikipedia will help achieve these aims.

Additional uses

As part of our institutional desire to strengthen links between “town and gown” we intend to make archives of the history of the institution (which includes our long-standing connections with the town dating back to our establishment as a college almost 100 years ago) freely available, with images being uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

We intend to run Wikipedia Editing courses which will be hosted by the Continuing Education department. In addition a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon day will be organised in conjunction with the local press or the council, which will provide an opportunity to create Wikipedia articles about the institution and its links with the town.

Understanding and Addressing the Risks

The risks in engaging with Wikipedia are summarised below.

Risk Further information Response
Wikipedia service is not sustainable Wikipedia does not have funding to continue to operate and so the service is discontinued. As described in a comment on the UK Web Focus blog: “Each year Wikimedia reaches its fundraising target in a shorter time: the strategy of relying on many thousands of tiny donations from people around the world has advantages, and could be said to be more sustainable than the funding for a lot of educational projects, or even for education institutions.
Wikipedia content is not trusted. Wikipedia content is regarded as untrustworthy by academic staff, potential employers, etc. Recent initiatives, such as the Wikimedia residency posts at the Jiscthe University of Bristol and the National Library of Scotland demonstrates that key national educational and cultural heritage organisations see the value of engagement with Wikipedia.
Wikipedia content changes. Content published in Wikipedia articles is updated and significant changes made. The volatility of Wikipedia articles should be regarded as a key strength! It should be noted that at times of rapid change (e.g. the demise of the Iron Curtain, the Arab Spring, etc.) much information provided in text books was clearly out-of-date. Wikipedia now provides a channel for rapid peer-reviewing and dissemination for newsworthy topics.
Content provided by staff and students is rejected. The Wikipedia community rejects updates since they are felt not to be note-worthy or are provided by contributors who do not have a neutral point of view. This is a legitimate concern. It will be addressed by ensuring training on Wikipedia’s fundamental principles are provided. In addition senior management will be made aware of the dangers of involvement in content updates by the university’s marketing department.
Library staff do not have the necessary technical skills and awareness of Wikipedia culture. Library staff will require skills in Wikipedia markup in order to provide training and support. In addition there will be a need for staff to understand Wikipedia principles and the Wikipedia culture. This concern will be addressed by engaging with Wikimedia UK and Wikipedia ambassadors who have provided support across the public sector. Use will be made of freely available training and support resources.

Next Steps

The next steps for this director’s brief would be to describe a project plan if the proposal were accepted by the University of Poppleton’s senior management team. However since the University of Poppleton does not exist an implementation plan will not be provided!

However I would be interested in feedback on whether this proposal would be of interest to real universities and libraries. Feel free to leave a comment on this blog or get in touch with me on Twitter (@briankelly) or by email.


Assignment 5: Virtual Symposium

MOOC cartoon

About Assignment 5

Assignment 5 of the Hyperlinked Library MOOC provides three options. The one I have chosen is “Utilize your blog, video, audio, slides, or any media-based online tool to create a 3-5 minute presentation about your learning and assignments. Highlight your work and your own critical thinking“. The assignment should be submitted during Monday, 18th November to Sunday, 24th November.

Assignment 5: Planning Development of an Online Professional Learning Network

The title of my assignment is “Planning Development of an Online Professional Learning Network”.

A Slidecast (slides with audio track) of my assignment is available on Slideshare and embedded below (note it appears that in order to play the audio you have to go to the resource hosted on Slideshare – this may be a limitation of the HyperLinked Library blog environment).

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But whilst this submission should satisfy the MOOC requirements, I am also providing some additional information and resources which may be of interest to other participants on the MOOC.

Preparing the Final Version

My first version of the presentation was too long (it lasted for about 10 minutes) so I recorded another version, which was also too long (7 minutes). I decided to reuse the original sound track, but to delete some of the slides and remove the corresponding audio. I have decided to publish the alternative takes, in part because the additional content may be of interest. In addition, as described in a recent post about the tools I used to create this submission, the outputs of the tools I used (Slideshare, Audacity and Screen-o-matic) may be of interest.

The original longer version of the presentation is available on Slideshare as a Slidecast (slides with audio track) and is embedded below.

A video of the second take of presentation (6 mins 24 second long, created using Screen-o-matic) is available on YouTube and embedded below.

[iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]

In addition a Slidecast of an earlier version and slightly longer version of this presentation is available on Slideshare as a Slidecast (slides with audio track) and is embedded below.

[iframe src=”″ width=”427″ height=”356″ frameborder=”0″ marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” style=”border:1px solid #CCC;border-width:1px 1px 0;margin-bottom:5px” allowfullscreen]

The Script

Note that I prepared a script for this presentation. The script used in the longer presentation is included below (although note that I did not stick to this script).

Slide 1: My name is Brian Kelly and this is my submission for the Hyperlinked Library MOOC Virtual Symposium assignment. The title  is “Developing My Online Professional Learning Network”.
Slide 2: For the assignment we were asked to provide an answer to the question “What are you taking away from the Hyperlinked Library MOOC?
For me the most important tangible aspect of the MOOC has been the assignment which asked participants to document plans for their development of an Online Professional Learning Network, or OPLN. I will summarise my plans and provide the context which made this assignment particularly relevant to me.
Slide 3:Looking at my personal professional network this mosaic, created by the Frintr service, comprises the avatars of my Twitter community. It provides a powerful illustration of the notion that “You Are Not Alone – You Do Not Live In A Vacuum!”
Slide 4: This depiction of my Twitter connections illustrates my diverse communities. It was created by Tony Hirst, a friend of mine. Tony annotated clusters of related online connections. As can be seen as well as the Web management community, there are also large clusters of professional contacts who work in libraries, in educational technologies and the museums sector as well as a more niche regional community.
Slide 5: In October 2013 I started a new job as Innovation Advocate at Cetis, at the University of Bolton. This is an exciting role working for a well-established and highly regarded national body with an international reputation in elearning, standards and related areas.
Slide 6: I also face some new challenges. I need to:
  • Build links with new colleagues
  • Respond to the challenge of working from home (everyone is normally an online contact!)
  • Develop connections relevant to my new role
Slide 7: The Hyperlinked Library MOOC has been useful in my new job, with several of the assignments being of particular interest to me.
The MOOC also provided the motivation to write several blog posts and create digital artifacts that are relevant for my new post.
Slide 8: The fourth assignment, to write plans for the development of my Online Professional Learning Network was particularly useful.
Slide 9: I published this assignment on 6 November. This was two weeks before it was due. However I decided to publish it early as I hoped that it might be of use to other students and that their feedback might also be of use to me.
Slide 10: The first requirement was to produce a goals statement.
I hope my goals statement provides a meaningful summary of how I regard my online learning professional network and the benefits I hope it will provide.
Slide 11: The second requirement was to define the scope of my network. There were two main areas: clearly identifiable groups of people, such as my new colleagues, and people who are working for key organisation. For this group, I will be able to name names. The second group related to people who are working in areas which will be important in my new role, such as those working in elearning, learning analytics, etc. For this group there will be people I do not know & will only be able to find by engaging in social media services.
Slide 12The third requirement was to describe my Resource Network: the resources which will satisfy my goals and scope. The mainstream resources are easy to identify; Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Slideshare, mailing lists, etc. Other tools, such as Skype, led to re-acquaintance with a former colleague and an invitation to speak at a conference in Australia (although my using networked technologies!) This made me realise the potential value of serendipitous contacts: not everything has to be planned in advance.
Slide 13: Also, not everything has to be done online. The social aspects of professional relationships can also be important. In the case of my new job at Cetis, I’m looking forward to meeting my colleagues in the Old Man and Scythe, an amazing pub in Bolton which is one of the tenth oldest pubs in Britain.
Slide 14: The final requirement was to document plans for the maintenance of my network. This is very relevant for me, as I have strong network connections from my previous job. I will have a need to prune the network, as otherwise I may find myself inundated with too diverse a range of tweets, blog posts, mail messages, etc.
Slide 15: I am looking at tools such as Justunfollow and ManageFlitter which can help me to understand my network better. The next step is to make use of such tools. I currently follow over 1400 Twitter accounts. Can I prune it to 1,000, I wonder?
Slide 16: I’ve summarised my key communities in the blog post for my assignment. However I recently came across the tool which I have used to provide a visualisation of my OPLN.
Slide 17: For this assignment the MOOC participants were asked to provide the key learning points they’ve gained from the MOOC.
My takeaways are:
  • The value of planning for an Online Professional Learning Network.
  • The need to maintain the network – and even delete contacts in the network (though, as I’ve mentioned, this may be painful).
  • But we mustn’t forget the face-to-face contacts.

The Tools I’m Using for the Virtual Assignment

Preparing for the Virtual Assignment

The submissions for the nments/virtual-symposium/”>virtual symposium assignment of the Hyperlinked Library MOOC need to be published between 18-24 November 2013. The requirements of this assignment are to:

  • Utilize your blog, video, audio, slides, or any media-based online tool to create a 3-5 minute presentation about your learning and assignments. Highlight your work and your own critical thinking.
  • Highlight your top blog reflections in a “best of” post and synthesize your critical thinking over the course
  • Create any digital artifact that explores your learning and the Hyperlinked Library: your own graphic of the model, an “info-graphic” style presentation, a song, etc.

Since the initial deadline is less than a week away I have begun work on creating a multimedia presentation. In this post I will summarise the tools I’ve used.

Creating a Slidecast

My aim is to provide a PowerPoint presentation with an audio soundtrack. The presentation will include examples of various tools which I have found useful and I will include links to the tools so that others who find them useful can easily access them.

In order to create the presentation with an audio soundtrack I first used the open source Audacity tool to record my presentation and exported it as an MP3 audio file. I then uploaded the slides to Slideshare and used the edit option to include an audio track with the presentation: a Slidecast, as this is referred to. Once the audio had been uploaded I then had to sync the audio, so that my talk was associated with the specific slides. Note that as I have created Slidecasts previously I knew that it was advisable to leave a pause when speaking, which can make it easier to identify the audio portion for a new slide.

The interface for doing this is shown below.

Slidecast for the MOOC symposium

Note than in order to minimise the number of “umms” and “errs” in the talk, I had previously created a script which I used while giving the presentation. This script will also be useful in providing a transcript, as requested by the MOOC organisers.

I had observed that my talk was too long, lasting for about 10 minutes. Rather than remaking a shorter Slidecast I decided to use another tool, and to make the Slidecast available when I submit my assignment for those who may feel that the slightly longer version provides additional information which is useful.

Creating a Screencast

A fellow participant on the MOOC recently suggested the Screencast-o-matic tool which can be used for capturing screen sessions, with the free version able to make a recording of up to 5 15 minutes.

Since the presentation had to be shorter I deleted a couple of slides and adjusted the script accordingly. I then launched Screencast-o-matic, positioned the recording window over the PowerPoint slides and began recording.

This second presentation is still slightly too long. I may submit this version in any case. However if anyone has any suggestions for other tools which I could use, I’d be grateful.

I hope these notes on the tools I’ve used will be useful for other MOOC participants who have not yet got found to selecting the tools they’ll use for the assignment.

The Screen-o-matic recording

Assignment 4: My Online Professional Learning Network

About The Assignment

This assignment for the Hyperlinked Library MOOC requires MOOC participants to develop plans for use of an Online Professional Learning Network (OPLN) which will “stimulate you to begin curating online professional resources that will continue your learning outside of your formal learning experiences here an elsewhere. We define an OPLN in the broadest way possible: If a resource is online and it helps you to achieve your learning goals, it is a part of your learning network.” The specific requirements are to produce:

A Goals Statement: which will clearly indicate what you hope to accomplish in your OPLN.

A Defined Scope: brief narrative that can help define the scope of where you will be culling your resources.

A Resource Network: essentially, lists of resources that meet your goals and scope. The network should be diverse, comprehensive, and include from a wide range of types of resources, from e-mail listservs, to Facebook groups, to Twitter hashtags, websites, etc.

A Network Maintenance Plan: This will provide answers to questions such as: How will you maintain your online professional learning network? When will you adjust it? At what points will you actively add to it or delete from it? Is there a particular type of technology that you will employ to make the best use of your network? Will there ever be a point where you would create a new plan from scratch?

The deadline for the assignment is Sunday 17 November 2013.

My Online Professional Learning Network


When I first registered my interest in participating in this MOOC I was working at UKOLN, a national centre of expertise in digital information management based at the University of Bath. However JISC. our funders, had announced the cessation of our funding and so I would be redundant from 1 August 2013. By the time the MOOC was launched, in September, I regarded the MOOC as providing an opportunity for professional development and for gaining greater understanding of MOOCs which would, I hope, prove useful in a new job, if I was successful in finding a new job.

I’m pleased to say that I was successful in finding a new job and started work at Cetis, University of Bolton on 28 October. Cetis is a national centre which was also funded by JISC but was more successful than UKOLN in obtaining further funding for the organisation. My job title is Innovation Advocate, and I will have responsibilities for encouraging takeup on innovative technologies and approaches, especially those relevant for the support of teaching and learning. I will therefore for a requirement to further develop my online professional network. This will be particularly relevant as I will be a home worker and will not have the regular stimulation which the physical proximity in working with one’s colleagues can provide.

This assignment is therefore very relevant to me and comes at a timely moment!

My Goals Statement

What do I hope to accomplish in my OPLN? In brief I would say:

My online professional network will provide a soundboard for my ideas, a way of finding out about what my user communities may want and what they find interesting, a means of helping to identify new funding opportunities and, last but not least, a way of having fun in my professional activities and ensuring that my work is interesting and stimulating.

I’d welcome feedback on this goals statement.

The Scope of my Online Professional Learning Network

The Cetis web site explains how: 

Cetis is the Centre for Educational Technology, Interoperability and Standards. Our staff are globally recognised as leading experts on education technology innovation, interoperability and technology standards. For over a decade Cetis has provided strategic, technical and pedagogical advice on educational technology and standards to funding bodies, standards agencies, government, institutions and commercial partners.

I am looking forward to working in the area of education technology innovation, interoperability and technology standards and exploring ways in which my skills, expertise and professional networks can be used to support and enhance Cetis’s activities. In addition to my work in these areas I will also be looking for new funding opportunities which may include exploring new areas of work.

In order to put some flesh to this broad summary I have identified the following groups which I will need to engage with in order to support my work at Cetis.

  • Staff at Cetis and the University of Bolton: I have already made contact with a number of my new colleagues. In addition I have been in touch with the IT services director and a professor at the University of Bolton who I have met briefly previously. In addition to strengthening these links I will look for other key contacts within the university.
  • Key national event organisers and committees such as ALT (e-learning) and UCISA (IT Services) and SCONUL (libraries).
  • Funding bodies, which will primarily involve engage with staff at Jisc but may also include the EU.

I will need to enhance my connections in specific subject areas which will be relevant to my work. This will include:

  • The e-learning community: my Cetis colleagues will be able to advise me on key contacts, organisations and channels.
  • The standards community: I have links with the W3C community. My Cetis colleagues will be able to advise me on key contacts, organisations and channels for other relevant areas including learning standards.
  • The accessibility community: I have strong links with web accessibility researchers and practitioners across the UK and additional contacts in Australia.
  • The learning analytics community: this is a new community for me.
  • The openness community: this will include those working in the areas of OER (open Educational Resources), OEP (Open Educational Practices) and Open Data.

In addition it will be beneficial to maintain links with established communities, in particular:

  • Members of institutional Web management teams.

It would also be useful to cultivate links with members of the media, ranging from broadsheets, such as the Guardian, sectoral newspapers such as the Times Higher Education and professional journals. I appreciate that such contacts could be regarded as being part of a professional dissemination rather than learning network. However I have found that discussions with journalists, writing articles for the mass media and giving interviews of the radio can be helpful in ensuring that you have a good understanding of the subject you are talking about and can respond to concerns about limitations in a way which is easily understood by non-experts. I therefore feel that it is legimate to include the media in my Online Professional Learning Network.

The Resource Networks

Having identified some of the communities I will be looking to engage with there is a need to identify how these links will be made.

Ye Olde Man & Scythe, one of the ten oldest pubs in Britain.

Some of the connections will be by face-to-face meetings, both formal and informal. This will be particularly important in getting to know my new colleagues within Cetis, Although I have already arranged a number of Skype meetings it will be important to have face-to-face meetings in order to get to know my colleagues better. I have already found a good pub in Bolton (the Ye Olde Man & Scythe which, according to Wikipediawas first recorded by name in 1251 making it one of the ten oldest public houses in Britain“) which is popular with some of my new colleagues – this could well form the basis of my DPLN (Drinking Professional Learning Network!).

But this assignment requires details of one’s focus Online Professional Learning Network. I will therefore summarise some of the key network resources and services.

I will start by mentioning Skype. Skype is used by Cetis staff for online meetings and so will be part of the repertoire of tools I use to support my work. It occurs to me that I should investigate whether there are aspects of Skype which I may have limited expertise of (e.g. sharing desktop applications) or Skype extensions which may provide useful (and should I get a Skype phone number so that I on’t have to divulge my home phone number?), However I’m mentioning Skype first because as I was writing this post I noticed one of my Australian Skype contacts had appeared online. I had not previously configured Skype so that notifications were displayed when they came online. However this option appeared to be the default when I installed Skype on my new PC. When I noticed my contact I sent a Skype message and had a brief chat on what we’ve both being doing since we were last in touch. This led to an invitation to give a talk at the OZeWAI conference in Australia next month! However the presentation will be given online, so I won’t be travelling to Australia. This fortuitous event made me realise that (a) alerts when contacts are online on Skype can provide an opportunity for making contact and (b) starting a new job provides an ideal opportunity to instigate a conversation.

Twitter will for an important channel for engaging with my OPLN. However as illustrated in the example of Skype there is a need not just to identify a tool but also to document how the tool may be used. In the case of Twitter I intend to create relevant Twitter groups (e.g. CETIS-staff) so that I can easily view all tweets from the group.I will also follow relevant Twitter event hashtags which cover events of interest to me.

I subscribe to many blogs. However I should use the start of my new job as an opportunity to revisit the blogs I subscribe to and the way I classify them. The process of identifying key individuals, groups and organisations will also provide an opportunity to discover and subscribe to associated blogs.

I use LinkedIn as my interactive address book: as well as enabling me to have a list of contacts details for members of my professional network, my LinkedIn stream enables me to see details of changes, such as new jobs, responsibilities or endorsements as well as status updates, new slides uploaded or blog posts, if these have been added to my contacts’ profile.

I will follow the Slideshare accounts for professional contacts who use the service.

I will invite contacts with whom there is some level of personal social connections to my Facebook account.

I will identify relevant mailing lists to subscribe to.

In addition to these resources I will also explore tagging strategies which will make my resources and my presence on social media services easier to find and therefore easier for others to include me in their online professional learning networks. There do seem to be some name clashes for my organisation, Cetis, (e.g. the Centro de Estudios Tecnologicos Industriales y de Servicio and the Cetis, Graphic and Documentation Services, d.d.). However Cetis in Englash language resources appears to relate to my employer, so perhaps that should be the the tag I use with my resources.

My Network Maintenance Plan

My new job will provide an opportunity to prune my professional network, removing Twitter accounts, blog feeds, etc. which are no longer relevant to my new role (unless, for example, I still gain value for the personal connections).

Visualising My OPLN

The final instruction in the assignment is to “Post your OPLN to your blog as a post using images and media where applicable“.

I recently came across a link posted by Beth Kanter, one of my Facebook contacts, to a post she had written on Celebrating Beth’s Five Years As Visiting Scholar at the Packard Foundation, The post included an image depicting her “reach as a visiting scholar at the Packard Foundation from 2008-2013”. In addition to the static image it was also possible to access an interactive image, which had been created using the service.

I felt the publication of this post would provide an opportunity to try this tool which was new to me. The visualisation of the online professional learning network is now available and a static representation is shown below.

My Online Professional Learning Network (20131031)

I’d welcome feedback on my plans for the development of my online professional learning network in my new post.


Assignment 3: Review of ‘Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything”

Wikinomics coverWhen I glanced through the list of publications to be reviewed for the third assignment on the Hyperlinked Library MOOC I realized that Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony D Williams was already in my bookshelves, but I hadn’t got around to reading it. The assignment therefore provided the motivation to take it down from the shelf and put my feet up while I skimmed through the book.

The notes I made were written seven years after the book was published. And as the book has had a significant impact I feel that I am familiar with the core concepts without having opened the book. The book’s sub-title “How mass collaboration changes everything” provides a summary of my expectations of the content of the book. It will, I felt, provide a variety of anecdotes of how exploitation of social media and associated principles (such as the Web 2.0 ideas of ‘always beta‘ and ‘trust the users‘) will be shown to have had beneficial effects.

By page 2 the rhetoric, however, was beginning to grate. The statement “this new economic model extends beyond software, music, publishing, pharmaceuticals, and other bellwethers to virtually every part of the global economy” was followed by an admission that “many managers have concluded that the new mass collaboration is far from benign“. And yet in the following paragraph such concerns are dismissed: “Yes, there are examples of pain and suffering in industries that have so far failed to grasp the new economic logic. But the forthcoming pages are filled with many tales of how ordinary people and forms are linking up in imagine ways to drive innovation and success“. The concerns that exploitation of new social technologies may not always have beneficial effects is dismissed with the comments that those who may have such reservations simply “fail to grasp the new economic logic“. However there is no need to be too concerned about such clearly flawed views as the holders of such views have only “so far” failed to accept the new reality. I wonder what fate will await those who continue to hold views which are less than gushing about the new environment!

What companies are helping to build this ‘brave new world’? I’m still reading page 2 and I’m hearing how “a number of the stories revolve around the explosive growth of phenomena such as MySpace, InnoCentive, flickr, Second Life, YouTube and the Human Genome Project“. MySpace, Second Life? Looking at TechCrunch articles on MySpace I find posts which describe how “Obviously MySpace has very few friends left to alienate — Tom has long since moved on — but that hasn’t stopped it annoying the hell out of its few remaining fans by forcing through an update to its shiny new music discovery platform that’s swallowed their old blog content, with no guarantee it’s ever going to be retrievable” (12 June 2013) and “MySpace Squandered the Only Thing It Had Left” (2 Feb 2013).

But since the authors’ arguments were based on the role of mass collaboration to stimulate innovation, creativity and growth it would be inappropriate to place too much emphasis on the failures of specific companies. By page three the authors had described how they had carried out large-scale surveys which “explored how new technology and collaborative models change business designs and competitive dynamics“. Of course the authors expressed no reservations in summarizing the reports: “The conclusion from all of this work is striking and enormously positive. Billions of connected individuals can now actively participate in innovation, wealth creation, and social development in ways we once only dreamed of.

So the large numbers who update their Facebook profile with their views on the contestants on X-Factor on a Saturday night or engage in discussions on Twitter about Strictly Come Dancing will, I assume, be classed as actively participating in ‘social development’. But whilst it may be inappropriate to be dismissive of popular culture (after all, I watched Coronation Street and listened to The Archers for many years) what of the bullying, racial abuse and similar ways in which social media is being used? Where does this fit in with Tapscott and Williams’ utopian views?

They are, however, on safer ground when they point out the innovation and wealth creation surrounding popular social media services. Clearly companies such as Google and Facebook (who, incidentally, aren’t mentioned in the book) have developed innovative services and do make lots of money. But how do they make their money? From advertising and monetized the attention data from the large numbers of users who access their services. We do not seem to be seeing a sharing of the wealth creation but rather centralization. You may welcome this (‘it’s what capitalism is about’) or be critical (‘technological developments should provide benefits to all’). But you won’t find such issues being addressed in the book.

The book was published in 2006, before the economic crash. I wonder if there was another book written at the same time which described the wealth creation which marketing of sub-prime mortgages was responsible for?!

The book concludes with the question “Is your mind wired for wikinomics?” Perhaps it is; after all I am happy to make use of social media to support my professional activities and share approaches with my user communities. But this doesn’t mean I’m right. Or that what works for me necessarily works for others and in different circumstances.

To summarise the book in a tweet “Wikinomics: optimistic view of social media from 2006. It is now time to revisit benefits of mass collaboration with a critical perspective.“.


Implementing Ideas I’ve Gained From The Hyperlinked Library MOOC

Earlier this week I attended the Internet Librarian Conference, ILI 2013. This is my favourite library conference and I’ve attended (and spoken at) 14 of the 15 conferences. It is also the conference were I often meet Michael Stephens, a regular inspirational speaker at the event.

This year I ran a day-long workshop on “Future Technologies and Their Applications“. As I described in a blog post about the workshop I used the planning for the deployment of emerging technologies which formed the basis of the Emerging Technology Planning assignment on this MOOC.

The slides I used for this particular exercise are available on Slideshare and embedded below. Many thanks to Michael and Kyle for showing me this approach which helped me in the preparation and delivery of the workshop. Note that the slides I used in the workshop are available with a Creative Commons licence and I invite others who may have responsibilities for delivering such workshop to make use of these resources.

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Assignment 2: Emerging Technology Planning

Remit For The Second Assignment

The remit for the second assignment in the Hyperlinked Library MOOC is to “craft a  plan for incorporating an emerging technology or participatory service into a library setting of your choice“.

Selecting an Emerging Technological Area

The page about this second assignment suggested that topics might include blogs, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, commenting on library catalog items or a mobile app. However since I am familiar with use of Twitter and Facebook and have some experience in using mobile apps I felt that I would go beyond my comfort zone and explore use of a technology which I have little expertise in. I have designed to chose the creation of badges for my community not only because of my lack of experience in this area but also because of the doubts of the benefits of badges which I described in a post entitled “The Pros and Cons of MOOC Badges“.

Importance of Planning

In the early days of the social web the doubts and concerns expressed by those who felt social media had little or no relevance for those working in libraries tended to be rejected by the early adopters and evangelists. I myself published a paper entitled “Web 2.0: How to Stop Thinking and Start Doing: Addressing Organisational Barriers” in which I argued that organisations should stop simply taking about barriers to use of social media, embrace the technologies and base further developments on the experiences gained. Such approaches were probably relevant in 2007 when the paper was published. However six years later we have gained a broad range of experiences in use of social media and the benefits they can provide are now more widely appreciated. However we are also in a better position to appreciate the limitations of social media and the resource implications which their use will entail. In 2009 I wrote a follow-up paper entitled “Time To Stop Doing and Start Thinking: A Framework For Exploiting Web 2.0 Services” which acknowledged that there were risks associated with use of social media, but these risks should be acknowledged, understood, risks minimisation strategies adopted and organisations and individuals should be prepared to accept certain levels of risks – after all getting out of bed and travelling to work may entail risks, but we are prepared to accept such risks!

My plans for use of badges will therefore be based not just on the methodology outlined in the assignment details but also on the risks and opportunities framework described in the paper given above and further developed in a paper on “Empowering Users and Institutions: A Risks and Opportunities Framework for Exploiting the Social Web“.

It should be noted that the plans given below are being published in an open fashion and comments and feedback are welcomed; such open and transparent approaches can help provide benefits which have been described in the module on Transparency and Privacy.

Badges for the IWMW Event

In this post I have used the checklist provided in the post which outlined the requirements of this assignment.

Planning Checklist

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:
The main objective of the “IWMW badges service” is to provide participants at IWMW events with a visible indication of their involvement in IMW events.

An important secondary objective is to provide the community with an opportunity to gain experiences of badges, which may be valuable in an institutional context.

Action Brief Statement:
The assignment suggests that an action brief is provided by filling in the blanks in the following statement:

Convince ______ that by _______ they will ________ which will ________ because _______.

Since there are two key objectives for this service I have produced the following two action brief statements:

Convince IWMW participants that by claiming an appropriate IWMW badge they will demonstrate their involvement in IWMW events which (a) will provide a visible indication of their involvement in the event which may be useful in sharing of expertise and interests beyond their host institution because of their shared participation with other attendees and (b) will demonstrate active engagement in Web development activities because of their willingness to carry out Web activities beyond their host institution.

Convince IWMW participants that by claiming an IWMW badge and engaging in discussions about the pros and cons of badges they will be better able to engage in discussions about the value of badges within their institution make which will provide benefits to the institution and the individual because they have personal experiences of the processes.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:
The following resources will be used:

Mission, Guidelines and Policy related to Technology or Service:
A small group (say 3-5 people) will be established which will provide advice and suggestions on (a)  information to be
published on the purpose of the IWMW badges service; (b) the number and types of badges to be provided; (c) the design of the badges and (d) an FAQ about the IWMW badges service.

Since the badges are for participation at events, similar examples will be sought.

The FAQ will include details of guidelines for use of the badges; sustainability of the badge services; risks of use of fraudulent badges; etc.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service:
Sponsorship of the badges for the IWMW 2014 event will be sought.

Action Steps & Timeline:
The service will be prototyped for participants at the IWMW 2013 event. This event featured a plenary talk on “Mozilla, Open Badges and  a Learning Standard for Web Literacy” given by Doug Belshaw of the Mozilla Foundation, which generated interest in further evaluation of badges. The aim will be to make a prototype available in January 2014. There should be no additional dependencies, apart from the time needed for the work

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:
I will do this work.

Training for this Technology or Service:
I will read relevant resources and explore participation ij a badges MOOC.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service:
The service will be marketed to IWMW participants and those with responsibilities for managing institutional Web service within the UK.

The numbers of badges claimed will provide an important performance metrics. In addition associated discussions about the pros and cons of such badges will be equally important.

If there is sufficient take-up of the badges, advice and support may be provided for other national bodies which organise large-scale events.

Risks and Opportunities Checklist

The risks and opportunities frameworkIn addition to the planning checklist provided by the MOOC organisers, the “Risks and Opportunities Framework for Exploiting the Social Web” mentioned previously is also being used to ensure that possible risks which may hinder the effective take-up of the services have been considered and appropriate risks minimisation approaches used.

  • Intended purpose: Covered above.
  • Benefits: Covered above.
  • Risks: Possible risks include:
    (a) There may be a lack of interest in claiming badges;
    (b) It may be time-consuming to learn about badge-making and deployment; use the tools and engage in discussions about the pros and cons of the creation and use of badges.
    (c) Due to lack of experience in this are mistakes may be may in selecting the number and granularity of the badges; the design of the badges; selection and use of badge-creation services.
  • Missed opportunities: Not engaging in this work could lead to Web managers missing out on opportunities to gain expertise in this area.
  • Costs: Felt to be little (see above)
  • Risk minimisation: Seeking feedback from other participants in the Hyperlinked Library MOOC should help in getting feedback from others with similar interests. It should be possible to make contact with key members of the IWMW community in order to discuss the development of the IWMW badges service with those who have a direct interest.
  • Evidence base: The interest in the Badges at the Library tribe on the Hyperlinked Library MOOC indicates the interest in this area.
  • Biases and subjective factors: As previously mentioned in a post which gave my Initial Reflections on The Hyperlinked Library MOOC and the Badges I Have Acquired I have some scepticism as to whether experienced Web managers would be interested in claiming badges.


I’ve found completing this assignment helpful in focusing my thoughts on the planning processes for use of badges for an event I’ve been involved with for 17 years. I’d welcome feedback on the plans, especially from those whom may be making similar plans or who have experiences (whether good or bad) in the creation of badges.