Web 2.0 - Mashing the future and the present

This is the title of an article in the April/May 2007 edition of Computers & Law. I don't often read Computers & Law because it is primarily aimed at Solicitors who work in IP/IT, however occassionally there is a real gem. This article briefly looks at how Web 2.0 is changing the way lawyers work and its use within Law Firms. One of my favourite quotes from the article is:

"Moreover, Web 2.0 impacts directly on legal practice - partly because of blogs, wikis and new ways to handle knowledge but mainly because of the attitudes and expectations of clients. You cannot afford to hear the client say, or see the look that says, 'you just don't get it'" The Society of Computers & Law are also running a conference at the end of June which looks interesting.

The Legal World under pressure

This is the title of an article in the May 2007 edition of Managing Information the article discusses how pressures and circumstances affecting the legal profession as a whole will impact on the way legal libraries and information management services operate.

These changes are broadly described as either being threats to the services we provide or opportunities, the impact of Web 2.0 is described as an opportunity and as having "greater and greater influence" There isn't anything new in the article as such (apart from a plug for the BIALL Conference) but it is worth reading if you subscribe for an understanding of how the legal world as a whole affects legal library services.

Starting and maintaining a blog

This is the title of a Steve Rubel post which is taken from an article written in last week USA Weekend. There tips all seem very sensible to me, they are:

  • Know your motive
  • Pick a platform
  • Just do it
  • Promote yourself
  • Play nice

I definitely also need to read "How not to run out of Blogging steam"

Will technology replace the research centre?

The City Information Group are running a panel discussion on Wednesday the 13th of June. The panel includes Euan Semple, Mike Angle CEO of Alacra and Mark Chillingworth editor of Information World Review.

The title of the discussion is:

Will technology replace the research centre? How will the corporate librarian's role evolve?

Oh how I wish I was free to attend this event, unfortunately I will be in leafy Sheffield at the BIALL Conference. If any corporate librarians are planning to attend, I'd love to hear what was discussed.

Keeping up to date

Seshat over at Enquiring minds want to know has raised the age old question of how to "Keep up to date" with developments in our profession. This is in response to a couple of posts including one at Library Revolution

I've been quite lucky in that I have been part of BIALL for the last 4 years attending their annual conference and being chair of a committee for the last two. This has allowed me to talk to people and hear about developments and issues affecting the profession in advance. Of course what it also meant was that occassionally I suffered from Information Overload. Thinking about this issue has made me realise that it is important to focus on one or two areas that you know are going to affect the way you are going to work whilst ensuring you keep an eye on the bigger picture. Sounds impossible doesn't it, but it is hugely important that as Information Professionals we know what other libraries are doing, what is likely to happen in the future (although no one can predict this) and what people are writing about. With the advance of Web 2.0 technologies like RSS it's something we should all be doing it, yet it still surprises me when people say Blog, what's that!?

A roundup of recent buy-ups and takeovers

Blimey it's been a busy old time recently in the world of corporate mergers and takeovers, so for those of you who aren't in the know this is what has happened:

  • Thomson Corporation sold Thomson Learning, then even before the contracts had been signed they swooped on Reuters the deal will make Thomson-Reuters one of the largest news and financial data providers, wahahahah....
  • Informa have also been on bit of a spending spree with their recent acquisition of Datamonitor for £502 million, this consolidates their previous acquisitions in 2005.

What's a mashup and why would you want one?

Great a presentation that finally explains what these are! I was getting some weird looks whenever I brought my potato masher into work.

This is an excellent presentation (albeit it quite long and for those of you with a nervous disposition a slightly scary picture on slide two) which highlights some of the best mashups that are available. I'm not sure about the subtitle though "Do the monster mash"

Thanks to Peter Godwin at Information Literacy meets Web 2.0 for spotting this.

Why you should love your public library!

Some Monday madness for you from Tame the Web : Libraries and Technology

Webbed feats

This is the title of an article in the Lawyer which looks at the use of "new technologies" like vodcasts, blogs and webinars by Law Firms. The article discusses how some firms prefer to visit clients face to face rather then provide access to these new technologies. I think there needs to be a balance, there is definitely a need to still talk to people face to face but you only have to look at the success of sites like Myspace and Youtube to realise that communication is becoming "less formal" and individuals and groups are working together in different and more exciting ways.

On a mission to Second Life

This is the title of an article on the FT.com website. The article looks at how big businesses are using Second Life to promote their businesses and talk to their customers. Very interesting to see some of the different uses of Second Life.

Wikis in the Workplace : How Wikis Can Help Manage Knowledge in Library Reference Services

I saw this article linked to from Librarians as Knowledge Managers This is an interesting article which explores how wikis can be used in libraries to manage knowledge and why they should be used in this environment.

"The article begins with a description of wikis, then covers knowledge management and the systems that support knowledge management, specifically collaborative and conversational technologies. Next, the author discusses how wikis can be used as a knowledge management system and explores the organizational applications. Finally, a discussion follows on how wikis can be used to support knowledge management in library reference services with some examples of wikis as both private and public knowledge repositories and as collaborative workspaces."

Wiki here Wiki there

This article will be of interest to anyone involved in the editing or maintenance of a Wiki. Essentially it is a list of Law Wikis, my favourite has to be http://www.editthis.info/lawlibrary/Main_Page which calls itself LawLibWikyWiky

Web 2.0 resources from the e-consultant

Thanks to the Accidential Aussie for spotting this list of over 1200 resources divided by category.

Web 2.0 as an anarchic technology

Last friday I attended a meeting hosted by the ILIG and faciliated by "Internet Consultant" and dream job holder Phil Bradley. One of the things Phil talked about was that Web 2.0 technology is an "anarchic" technology, by that I can only assume he means anti-authority, in Web 2.0 terms going off and doing your own thing!

Phil also described the Information Professionals role as being in "flux", are we now publishers of information using Blogs, Wikis and other social software, researchers using the new Web 2.0 tool, or collaborators or instigators. A recent article in Information World Review discussed how the Information Professionals role is changing and how much impact the development of the internet is having "user access to web-based resources takes some pressure off in-house teams, and social networking tools enable communication and knowledge sharing."

If we are to stay ahead of "the game" we definitely need to ensure we keep up with technology this is ratified in the article “Information professionals need to be aware of these developments – in particular, understanding how their users are making use of these tools and looking for ways that these may benefit their organisation.” Ultimately of course it depends on the job you are doing but what is clear to me and one of the final points in the article is that "what is generally required is a good range of online research skills, and the ability to use a library management system. Specific technologies may include Web 2.0, blogs, wikis, RSS feeds and social networking applications. It is crucial that information professionals keep search skills and technology awareness current.”

The other issue here is that Web 2.0 tools have meant that as professionals we no longer need to learn HTML or complex programming languages, although having an understanding of them is useful. We can do our own thing without having to cross the t's and dot the i's of numerous plans, requirement documents and red-tape. Of course this may not be such a good thing...only time will tell, in the meantime I'm off to create some groups!

Statute Law Database is highly commended

The Statute Law Database has been highly commended by the CILIP ISG Bookdata Reference Award Judging panel. Commenting on the SLD the judges said that "It is very clear...that is will make a huge difference to the ease with which librarians and the public can search for legislation"

Web 2.0 resources I have started using

Pageflakes - is a homepage creation tool, which allows you to add RSS Feeds and "flakes" from other sources.

Meetwithapproval - is a tool that allows you to create a meeting online invite everyone to it and then confirm the date. The tool lets you view unavailable dates so that you don't need to keep emailing everyone! This could save me a lot of time!

Grou.ps - is a site that lets you create a group (for friends, colleagues etc) and then aggregate sources from multiples sites e.g. blogs, flickr, myspace pages etc.

Collarity and Aftervote are relevance "rated" search engines and are definitely worth looking at.

Emerald and Web 2.0

The most recent edition of the Library and Information Gazette has an article on Emerald turning 40 this year. Of interest is that Emerald journals now enable readers to respond to the articles they read as well as provide user driven "most used lists" Most used lists have become popular with the development of Web 2.0, Amazon has been doing something similar with "your recommendations" for a while and search engines like Collarity and Aftervote provide users with an opportunity to vote or "rate" the quality of search results. In Web 2.0 circles this term is sometimes referred to as the "Wisdom of Crowds"

Cathy Mostyn, Development Director at Emeral also says "Journals and user communities will have their own blogs for users to talk to each other and to responsd to research articles. These comments will affect the published research, leading to a more organic research to published process" Interesting developments!

Where does the time go?

This time last week I had just attended the Knowledge Management for the Legal Profession Conference, having taken part in a panel session on Blogs, Wikis and Social media (more on this later) and now here we are looking forward to a bank holiday weekend.

I can see why the term "time poor" is being used so much these days and why we are walking ten times faster then in 1990.

Anyway back to the Panel Session. I was delighted to be invited to speak at Knowledge Management for the Legal Profession, although slightly nervous at the prospect of speaking to very senior Knowledge and Library Managers. I did feel I offered a slightly different perspective as the two other panelists, Mark Stanley and Ruth Bird had huge experience of implementing Blogs and Wikis in their organisations, wheras my perspective was as a user/blogger.

The first question asked by the chair was how many firms were currently using or were thinking about using Blogs, Wikis and other social media. I have to admit I was quite surpised by the response with probably a third of people saying they were currently using and more saying they were thinking about it. The main themes discussed during the session were:

  • RSS, it's use by firms.
  • Wikis, how to encourage people to use them and to post content, "put there heads about the parapets"
  • The use of blogs by teams
  • Content issues, including a discussion of quantity v quality.
  • Security issues including the use of instant messaging

Overall a very interesting session with lots of examples of people using these tools.

The best and worst UK Law firm sites

Thanks to Lo-Fi Librarian for discovering this report by Intendance. “Who’s winning and why?” loooked at content; usability; design; and marketing of the of the 50 fastest growing law firms in the UK.

Are you a Web sceptic or Webbed?

This is the question posed by Sheila Webber in a guest post at UK Web Focus The definitions are:

"a) those information professionals who mostly gather and disseminate information to their peers in a webly fashion (I shall call these people the Webbed), andb) those for whom all this faffing around on the web seems (frankly) a waste of time (I shall call these Web Sceptics)."

This is an interesting post which poses the question of whether the huge number of indviduals blogging means that Information Professionals don't have a single unified voice.

LLRX has a redesign

I've always thought LLRX is a really useful site with some very practical stories and resources and now to top it all they have had a redesign. It's now an even better looking site, keep up the good work!