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UK Web Focus Blog


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Slides for talk on "The Web Focus Blog" to be given at a UCISA event on 14 Feb 2008.


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UK Web Focus Blog

  1. 1. Brian Kelly, UKOLN Communicating With Users Case Study: The UK Web Focus Blog IWR Information Professional of the Year Resources bookmarked using ‘ ucisa-2008-02 ' tag UKOLN is supported by: This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat) About This Talk This talk describes the approaches taken in setting up the UK Web Focus blog and describes strategies for IT Service departments in using blogs for engaging with their user communities.
  2. 2. Contents <ul><ul><li>About Me </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The UK Web Focus Blog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Setting Up The Blog </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blog Policies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Delivering The Blog </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs For IT Service Departments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Who’s Doing It? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A Vision </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. About My Past <ul><li>Employment History </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Initially employed in Computer Centre at Loughborough University from 1984-90 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information Officer at University of Liverpool (1990-91) and University of Leeds (1991-5) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Senior Trainer at Netskills (1995-6) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UK Web Focus at UKOLN, University of Bath from 1996- </li></ul></ul><ul><li>UCISA Involvement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Committee member of IUCC IUIC, ISG, TLIG, SDG, … in 1980s and 1990s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Speaker at UCISA Management Conference, 2004 and 2008 and various UCISA TLIG/SDG events </li></ul></ul>Background
  4. 4. About My Present <ul><li>UK Web Focus: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discovered the Web in Dec 1992 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web evangelist in 1993-4 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Currently employed as UK Web Focus: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Highlighting innovations to community </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Encouraging take-up of best practices </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Building sustainable Web management community </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Promoting use of Web 2.0 to support institutional objectives </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Addressing barriers to innovation </li></ul></ul></ul>Background
  5. 5. The UK Web Focus Blog <ul><li>UK Web Focus blog: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Set up on 1 Nov 2006 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hosted at </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Response to embarrassment at Web 2.0 panel at ILI 2006 conf </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Skunkwork’ (avoiding slow-moving editorial processes) </li></ul></ul>About The Blog
  6. 6. Setting Up The Blog <ul><li>Steps: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Register </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Select name & appearance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publish </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Next: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Publish posts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Register in Technorati </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publicise (email, Web pages, comments, …) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This is the easy part </li></ul>About The Blog
  7. 7. Blog Policies <ul><li>How to transition from ‘skunkwork’ to embedded service: </li></ul><ul><li>Establish: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog policies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scope of the blog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Target audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Writing style </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Procedures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change control </li></ul></ul>UK Web Focus blog is written by an individual and has a conversational writing style. Feedback mechanisms and professional reputation helps to ensure suitability of contents. About The Blog
  8. 8. Blog Content <ul><li>How Do You Get Content? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lots of things happening in Web 2.0! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Read blogs from peers and contextualise </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How Do You Make It Interesting? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Aim to be a ‘thinker’ and not a ‘linker’ (there is a role for linkers, though) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engage in discussion (“ X looks interesting, but it might mean Y. What do you think ?”) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How Do You Find The Time? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog posts related to other work activities – feedback improves quality of work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Speculation (“thinking out loud”) provides opportunity to see if others have similar views </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can I afford not to blog; not to engage with my users? </li></ul></ul>About The Blog Blogs
  9. 9. Measuring Usage <ul><li>Usage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Steady growth in usage in first 6 months </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Views by RSS not measured (likely to be high) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Views in other aggregated services also not measured </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Links </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Steady growth in nos. / status of links by blog in first 6 months </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dapper service used to visualise trends in Technorati statistics </li></ul></ul>About The Blog
  10. 10. Evaluation <ul><li>Survey in Aug/Sep provided very useful feedback and confirmed that blog is providing a valuable service </li></ul>… … About The Blog But what are the implications of these experiences for the wider community?
  11. 11. Vision For IT Services <ul><li>A number of senior managers use blogs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Michael Webb, University of Wales, Newport </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mark Sammons, University of Edinburgh </li></ul></ul>and some blogs from support staff: Shouldn’t IT Service departments be leading use of blogs at strategic & operational level, for engaging with users & sharing best practices? Blogs & IT Services <ul><ul><li>John Dale, University of Warwick </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chris Sexton, University of Sheffield </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Challenge For IT Services <ul><li> </li></ul>Blogs
  13. 13. What Should We Prioritise? <ul><li>Do we do the work and tell our users what we’ll do or won’t do .. </li></ul>Blogs? IT Services says no Folksonomies? Library says no Skype? UKERNA says no Nobody Like Us! Yer, like blog are well cool, but, OK so I swore at Kylie on her blog cos she’s a real slapper cos … Images from BBC Yer, but, no, but, yer .. or engage with our users & acknowledge the ambiguities described by Vicky Pollard Do we assume all our users are like Vicky and plan for that?
  14. 14. Blogs, Emails And Talks <ul><li>A blog can be like an email </li></ul>I haven’t got the time!!!
  15. 15. Blogs, Emails And Talks <ul><li>A blog can be like an email or a slide in a talk </li></ul><ul><li>The opportunity: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IT Service blogs can be used to engage more effectively with user communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IT Service departments need to communicate more effectively with users </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The challenge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We haven’t got time” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Some answers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Regard a blog post as email or a talk – you have time for that </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Share and discuss within the community </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Blogs, Emails And Talks <ul><li>A blog can be like an email or a slide in a talk </li></ul>Do you not have the time to write emails or give talks?
  17. 17. Supporting Each Other <ul><li>Briefing documents which give advice on best practices for blogs are available (with Creative Commons licence): </li></ul>Blogs & IT Services <ul><ul><li>Launching Your Blog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluating Your Blog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Building A Blogging Community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Addressing The Barriers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality Processes for your Blog Content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical Issues For Your Blogging Service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library Uses For Blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>.. </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Conclusions <ul><li>Institutional Perspective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Setting up a blog is easy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sustaining a blog needs content and motivation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A blog can (should) relate to other activities (listening to users, floating ideas, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t spend too much time evaluating blogs, worrying about AUPs, … </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cross-Institutional Potential </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs can be for communicating with one’s peers and not just end users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We have good channels for sharing (e.g. UCISA) – blogs can build on this </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Let’s do it! </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Questions <ul><li>Any questions or comments: </li></ul>