Merry Christmas...almost!

Merry Christmas to everyone who subscribes to/reads the Running Librarian Blog. The Running Librarian is off now until early in the New Year and it looks like 2009 is going to be an exciting year with lots of speaking opportunities.

Have a great Christmas and New Year!

Are we losing out when it comes to Web 2.0?

This is the attention grabbing title of an article* in the December 2008 edition of Inside Knowledge Magazine. In it they report on a White Paper published by Spada Research entitled "The Laity Bytes back? The impact of Web 2.0 on UK Professionals" the report was actually published in September, but I've only just spotted it! The report is broken down into the following sections:

  • Current knowledge and usage levels (with the obligatory explanation of Web 2.0 apps)
  • What can Web 2.0 do for the professions?
  • The way forward: what the professions can do for Web 2.0

Perhaps the most interesting part of the report is the section on "Why we should act now?" the report puts forward three arguments:

  • To maintain the competitive advantage in providing services that clients want
  • To build levels of knowledge and expertise (via Blogs and Wikis)
  • To attract and keep the highest quality talent

The last point is quite interesting, this is about young people being the "natives" of Web 2.0 and so expecting these types of tools to be available to them once they start there working life. In my mind it doesn't quite work like this though. I've certainly not yet been asked by a Trainee Solicitor where the firm's version of Facebook is, but perhaps I'm just not involved in the right conversations or maybe we are being asked for these tools just in much subtler ways.

*You will need a subscription to Inside Knowledge Magazine to read this article online.

The case for collaborative tools

This article from the December 2008 edition of AALL Spectrum looks at how Web-based collaborative tools could be used by Law Librarians.

In it the authors report on how they were asked to speak at the 2008 AALL meeting in Portland and needed to use collaborative tools to prepare their talk, from there they carried out a survey to find out if anyone was currently using collaborative tools within their organisations. The results are very interesting as are as are some of the issues discussed in the article.

I especially enjoyed reading about "some of the things to considers before used Web-based collaboration tools" some of which include:

  • That the project is suitable for long-distance collaboration
  • That the collaborative tools chosen are appropriate
  • That the project does not pose a cost issue for anyone collaborating


Some other highlights from the article, including perhaps the best reason to consider collaborative tools:

"If used properly, the use of collaborative tools can decrease the cost of daily operations...the number of emails piling up in one's inbox could be drastically reduce with short chats over a chat client or posting on a blog or wiki" and if you have a strong environmental policy "...institutions can still promote an enviromentally-friendly message by reducing the amount of paper waster and pollution associated with unnecessary transportation" all very good reasons to use collaborative tools in my mind.

But what about some of the issues associated with using collaborative tools? These are also addressed in the article "it is (especially) important to consider the level of computer literacy of all collaborators and the collaborators levels of comfort when using these tools" there is also the argument that "web-based communication" is very different from face-to-face contact and this is discussed in some detail in the article, with many of the respondents to the authors original survey indicating that they did miss human contact.

So can we forget about ever speaking to another human being ever again, in favour of using these tools? Well...no

"while collaborative tools provide a venue for long-distance communication, there isn't a tool in the market now that could absolutely replace face-to-face interaction"

Want to know more about the semantic web?

Then take a look at this article on Fumsi, which has a brief introduction to the Semantic Web (which even I understood) and then some predictions on how the Semantic Web will change Information Management (which I struggled a bit more with!)

  • Prediction 1 - A move from the pull to the push search paradigm, or more "context-aware" applications
  • Prediction 2 - the battle of the identifiers or the age of pointing at things
  • Prediction 3 - the changing role of the information professional

This is where it all gets interesting! With the author asking the question "...we we all need to become ontologists" hopefully not as I'm quite happy with my job title at the moment, but..."the skills of information professionals will be essential in populating and managing the Web of data (the Semantic Web)

Enterprise 2.0 for KM Professionals

I don't usually write about Enterprise 2.0 in this blog, I have another blog where I write more extensively about Enterprise 2.0 but the following post on the Portals and KM Blog caught my eye. Entitled "Forrester on Enterprise 2.0 for KM Professionals" the post describes a recent Forrester report on Enterprise Web 2.0.

Bill provides a summary of the report, which is unfortunately way out of my price league, some of the points he makes will definitely be of interest to anyone thinking about or currently looking at Enterprise 2.0*

First up some of the options organisations face:

  • You could for IT to provide approved Web 2.0 tools, but this might lead to competitive disadvantage
  • You could use some of the Web 2.0 tools available externally but this might cause headaches with IT and these tools aren't designed for use within an Enterprise, unless you want to spend some serious money

Then the technologies that you could use, no surprises here with RSS, Social Bookmarking, Widgets and Wikis all mentioned. Finally Bill outlines the conclusions from the report my favourites "set your expectations: Web 2.0...will improve the business, but not transform it..." and "no one pointed to any one tool as must have"

An interesting post, just a shame I wont get to look at the report!

*Enterprise 2.0 = making Social Media available behind the firewall (check Wikipedia for a better definition)

Twitter, the good the bad and the ugly...

I’ve been using Twitter for a while now…at the last count I had posted 1415 Tweets, am following 110 people and am being followed by 112 people. Recently though I’ve struggled to understand the true value of Twitter (and I don’t mean in US Dollars).

To clarify just how important is Twitter for Information Professionals?

If you’re not currently using Twitter but have heard about or have listened to someone rave about it you’d be forgiven for thinking it was just about reporting the minute details of your life, this does happen and is an important aspect of Twitter. But Twitter should do much more than this…Twitter should be a place for asking questions, for being alerted to new resources and useful websites and in my case to post things which I either don’t have the time to put on my blog or don’t feel are appropriate for my blog and for the people I'm following to do the same, at least this is my expectation.

Recently Charonqc wrote a very thorough review of Twitter, which is well worth reading but what interested me was a point he makes quite early in the post where he says “there is a fantastic amount of output out there and it is very easy to get buried in a mass of information, noise, comment , social chit chat and spam. The basic idea is that Twitter is a real time communication tool, enabling you to receive information from those you follow” My problem with this is that the people I follow are usually people I either know because they work in the same sector/field as me or they work with Web 2.0/Social media as a result I generally expect their Tweets to be relevant to the work I do and serious in their nature…but this is far from the case…

Lets take a relatively recent conversation that occurred on Twitter, I have changed the names of the individuals involved to protect their innocence and please remember this is just a reconstruction so the actual conversation will have been different.

Follower X – What a lovely day I’m thinking about eating a cream puff
Follower Y – Oy oy I fancy a bit of your cream puff
Follower X – Oh you naughty boy
Follower Z – You promised that cream puff to me
Follower X – We can share
Follower Y – Can I watch?


How I wonder if this valuable, should I just ignore it? Remonstrate? or unfollow these people but then as Charonqc says there are some issues associated with doing this…”be warned…I tried to unfollow some spammers and ended up unfollowing some people I wanted to follow…so I had to refollow them” What happens if I unfollow someone and the next day they post something really useful that I would be interested in, is this just the risk you have to take? Is clearing out who you’re following on Twitter a bit like clearing out RSS Feeds you’re no longer interested in or don’t find valuable anymore?

Perhaps I should also lower my expectations of what value I’m actually going to derive from Twitter. It is after all a Social Networking for individuals not for people working within a company so of course there are going to be frivolous and social tweets, so is it a case of just blocking or filtering these out using tools like Twhirl or Tweetdeck or organising my followers so I derive more value from the Tweets they are posting?

Law publishing at the crossroads

In this article from the November 2008 edition of Solicitors Journal* Nick Holmes of Binary Law and Free Legal Web fame looks at how law firms knowledge needs are being met by the law publishers and how the internet is changing the industry.

Nick writes frequently about Legal Publishers and the publishing industry on Binary Law, so it is no surprise that this is a very informative article. Some highlights from the article:

On the publishing revolution "Now the Web - Web 2.0 in particular has rewritten all the rules. All aspects of the publishing process are now more accessible to more people. With Web 2.0, we are all publishers now.

The reasons why this is important to both Legal Publishers and Law Firms soon becomes clear "That poses substantial challenges for the dominant publishers, who must now to a large extent reinvent themselves to maintain their leading position" and "...as law publishing has become easier and web use more pervasive, so have users become more demanding"

Are Law Firms more demanding? We are certainly under more pressure now especially in the current economic crisis. Budgets are already and will continue to be tightened and every subscription is considered carefully in terms of usage and the value it brings the firm.

So what are the Legal Publishers doing about it? Nick points to an article in Information World Review which discusses the impact of the credit crunch on Legal Publishers, unfortunately ther isn't much good news for anyone working in a law firm who is looking for "more for their money" and for smaller firms it may be that they simply cant afford to susbcribe to the likes of LexisNexis Butterworths or Westlaw.

But there is some good news and that is the development of Free Services, Nick highlights several in his article including "...the Statute Law Database...while this is a huge boon to many, it is not yet complete: a small number of Acts remain to be loaded...there is also some anecdotal evidence that is it not entirely accurate" so not entirely good news but there are some other examples of free services, which may have a siginificant impact on how Law Firms access information which has traditionally been provided by Legal Publishers.

The final area Nick discusses is the development of Web 2.0 by the Legal Publishers "Use of Web 2.0 is the norm for the new breed of small law publishers. The larger incumbents are finally responding" It certainly looks like this is gathering pace, with both PLC and Lawtel rolling out RSS Feeds for their products and the new Sweet & Maxwell website likely to have RSS Feeds sometime in 2009.

So what does the future hold, are Legal Publishers at a crossroads? Nick summaries this quite nicely "...commercial law publishing incumbents are not going to wither any time soon...but the freeing up of legal information...will begin to have significant impact as the potential for leveraging and adding value to that information is better developed"

*You will need a subscription to read this article

Getting started with enterprise social networking

A great post here from the Headshift Blog the post is a summary of Lee Bryant's talk at Online Information where he discussed how Social Networking could be used within an enterprise.


Lee's slides cover four main points, but as he says there are many more potential uses for Social Networking within an enterprise, including:


"Social reading and writing" - this is about sharing what people are reading about by using RSS

"Social search and expertise location" As Lee says Social networks are a great way to find people and can help show "connections and networks" that you might not have been aware of.

"Social networking for collaboration"

"Social networking for key client relationships" Lee describes this as a great way to "keep in close touch with key clients" I'm not sure poking is appropriate though!

"Unified messaging" or Twitter behind the firewall

Lee also makes some really useful points about how to start using Social Networking, including those conversations you need to have with IT, but which we all dread. As Lee says "not one of those blinkered IT conversations that says all sharing is wrong and employees cannot be trusted to speak or write about their work, but rather a conversation that looks at benefits vs costs and real risks based on evidence, not assumptions"

I couldn't agree more with this statement and too often have gone into meetings with IT to discuss Web 2.0/Social Media only for them to say "well we don't want to do that because it is dangerous and we know someone is going to abuse the system"


There is also a mention for Information Professional's in Lee's post, which is nice..."...look at the role of information and communication professionals, and seek to find ways of making their activity more focused on information networking and helping others develop key competencies around searching, sharing and personal information management"


This is an important point and something that we can all do something about by making the stuff we read about and write more readily available, be that via a blog or on a Wiki or as part of a feed from a Social Bookmarking site...it all helps!



My *new* blog URL

Finally after umming and ahhing for almost I year I have sat down and changed my custom domain name to http://www.therunninglibrarian.co.uk/

It looks like and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my feed will come with me and I wont lose all my existing subscribers. I feel like I've finally got closure from http://ligissues.blogspot.com/ although if you type this in your address bar it will redirect!

I can tick one of those New Years resolutions off my list...

My blog template

I've not been happy with my blog template for a while now...so I've decided to change it and get rid of some of the clutter that was on my previous template.

I'm pretty pleased with the result although my technical skills have let me down again...

(1) The title of the blog "The Running Librarian" isn't clear enough

(2) I like the first picture in the header but not the flower...not sure what this says about me!

35 tips for getting started with social media

I love this list of 35 tips for getting started with Social Media. Some of my favourite tips...

  • "Find the top 50 blogs in your space, and subscribe to their RSS feeds in Google Reader. Consistently be on the lookout for new blogs, and the voices behind them."
  • "Listen to what's being said about you. Create Google alerts to monitor for positive or negative chatter."
  • "Become an expert in your field. Try to align and surround yourself with the best tools, and people to accomplish this. It's all about networking, networking and networking. Take it offline when permitting. Organize local social media meetups and tweetups. Make it an effort to attend trade shows when possible."
  • "Be omnipresent on all the networks. I should be able to find out about your latest happenings, and or statuses if I am browsing your Facebook profile, Linked profile, Twitter or FriendFeed stream"

I hope I'm doing at least some of these!

[Hat Tip - iLibrarian]

Third Sector 2.0

Anne Welsh, whom I met at a Web 2.0 event last year and who writes frequently about the use of Web 2.0 in the third sector has published the slides from her talk at Online Information 2008. In them she describes the use of Web 2.0 applications in the Third Sector.

They are well worth reviewing, my favourite slide has to be on Campaigning and Comms in which Anne Says "Information Professionals need to network and sell our skills" it may sound obvious, but this is something I feel we do really badly and would encourage anyone to do...even if that means using Facebook!

So you think you're doing Enterprise 2.0?

Looking for an introduction to Enterprise 2.0 and some thoughts on what Enterprise 2.0 really is? Then take a look at this post from the Library Clips blog.

In in the author asks, whether "you really are doing Enterprise 2.0" since there has been much discussion recently around what the focus of Enterprise 2.0 should be. Is it about new technologies or is about users and the networks they are in?

The author then goes on to discuss the different ways of implementing "Intranet 2.0" in your organisation, these are described as;


  • Tactical Social Computing - where individuals start using Blogs or Wkis to get their work done, but the tools aren't widely distributed within the organisation. This as the author suggest is a "great stepping stone to...broad implementation"

  • Enterprise Web 2.0 "this approach is more focused on the use ofWeb 2.0 oriented architecture and Web application frameworks (AJAX, XML, AIR, ATOM, RSS) rather than the social aspects such as blogs and wikis"
  • Enterprise 2.0 "…an Enterprise 2.0 strategy is something quite different from either the tactical use of social computing or the narrow adoption of Web 2.0 technologies - it is both a technology and business change, where social computing tools help flatten and also reflect the flatness of organisations"

A useful article for anyone interested or involved in Enterprise 2.0 or Web 2.0 application.

Librarians are recession proof...

...at least according to an article in Men's Health, yes I read Men's Health and not just for the pretty pictures. I do run sometimes you know...

Unfortunately they go on to say that a "Specialist Librarians" starting salary is £60k, they are definitely special if they are getting paid that much and that you might end up alphabetically organising everything you come into contact with...at least we got a mention!

The Three-E strategy

Following on from a recent post during which I asked why more law firms aren't using Web 2.0 I read a very interesting article in the Educase Quarterly on a strategy for overcoming resistance to technological change.

This can be a major issue for any organisation trying to implement a new piece of technology and can ultimately lead to failure. So what should your strategy be, well the article suggest a three step approach.

Firstly your technology should be "evident" and this means two things (1) Users must be made aware of the new technology (2) Users expectations must be set in terms of costs and the benefits associated with using this new technology.

Secondly and this might sound obvious, the new technology should be easy to use and intuitive. This is an area that is often neglected so getting it right from the start rather then having to make wholesale changes weeks or months into the rollout is a good thing!

Finally the new technology should be essential, so don't just implement micro-blogging behind the firewall because it "is cool" There has to be a requirement for the technology that goes beyond someone just thinking, well it might be useful one day!

Web 2.0 yes or no no no?

The economic downturn will not spell the end for Web 2.0 firms according to this article from the BBC Website.

In fact according to Tim O'Reilly (slightly famous dude who originally coined the term Web 2.0) it might improve the tools that are available to us by "clearing out the clutter" In other words the sensible serious applications will flourish and the frivolous here "catch this sheep" applications will die.

So what do people think will "Web 2.0" get more serious as the downturn continues?

Us Now

The Headshift Blog recently posted about this Film Project they have been involved in. I'd love to be able to see the film, but unfortunately it is too short notice for me to attend the screenings.

Anyway the film is about the "power of mass collaboration, government and the internet" Some of the clips are well worth watching, especially the interview with Liam Daish, manager of my local football club Ebbsfleet United.

In case you're not a big follower of Ebbsfleet United as well being the current FA Trophy champions they are owned by their fans, that's right their fans as part of the web community My Football Club, what this effectively means is that fans can vote on players they would like purchased, put forward ideas for tactics etc and this is what Liam discusses "collaborative management" If that term doesn't exist I'm going to claim it!

There are also some intersting clips of MP's talking about the potential for "Open Source Government" although my feeling is that some of this already happens, at least at a local level. Below is the trailer for the film if anybody wants a sneak preview of the content...

Email lists v Twitter

I love this post on the 3 Geeks and a Law Blog which discusses whether Twitter has the potential to replace Listservs (email mailing lists). In it they describe some of the problems associated with using email lists, which include;

  • People conducting lazy research (using the list to request items that they could probably find themselves or could find at their local library)
  • There being too many people (if you send an email and you get 200 Out of Office responses you're not going to be posting too much in the future)
  • List bad apples - you know the person who always finds something to vent about at the most inopportune moment.

So can Twitter replace these services? Probably not, but it could be used in conjunction with any email lists you're currently on.

Want to test your geekiness?

Then check out "The 50 skills every geek should have" I failed this test scoring a measly 1 out of 50!

Web 2.0 resistance from Law Firms

Why are some Law Firms still not using Web 2.0 applications "behind their firewall"? and do you work at one of these firms? If so you might be interested in reading a summary of the Am Law Tech 2008 survey.

Penny Edwards from Headshift describes this as disappointing and I'm sure many people who are working with Web 2.0 applications on a daily basis will agree with this viewpoint. But why are so many law firms not yet doing Web 2.0? Mary Abraham has some thoughts on this subject in her post "Web 2.0 resistance in law firms" and I'm sure many others will as well.

Is it because as Mary says firms are looking at other areas rather then Web 2.0? or because the benefits of using Web 2.0 tools aren't clear or that there are too many issues associated with using these types of tools. What does everyone think?

Social Software - is it really worth the effort?

Two posts here from the Headshift Blog which discuss Social Media. The first is a short checklist of questions which organisations should review, at the end of which organisations will wonder why they are currently using Social Media.

The second is a much longer post which questions the true value and usefulness of Social Media and whether you can measure its Return on Investment (ROI) and whether you should bother! The author points to a couple of examples where organisations have looked at the benefits or Social Media and these are well worth reviewing.

Although it has no relevance to the post itself I enjoyed reading the following:

"As an aside, this also shows the value of simply commenting on other people's blogs as a way to raise your own profile, something I often advise people, and do myself when I can't think of something to blog"

I must do more of this!

How do Wikis and Blogs fit together?

I'm often asked by people when they should use a Wiki and when they should use a Blog. So when I saw this post from the Library Clips Blog I thought great, now I can just forward this explanation which I think provides a good summary, from the blog post:

"...wikis have perpetually re-edited pages, whereas blogs have a stream of date-based entries just like newspaper articles.

Wikipages can be seen as more definitive, whereas blog posts are about currency, opinion, etc…"

The post also describes how content from Blogs can eventually be incorporated in Wikipages, this is something that I know is of concern to many Knowledge Managers, especially if their companies already have well used Know How Portals/Systems:

"The cream of the blog conversations is then added to a wikipage as the important and relevant information (filtered, and applied to the corporate context)...

...The Blog will be vibrant, and make sea changes in real-time. The Wiki, as it matures, will serve as corporate knowledge and will not be as fickle as a the Blog. The Wiki will be authortative in nature, while the Blog will be highly agile. The Blog is personal and opinionated. The Wiki is agreed-uopn and corporate […] The Blog and the Wiki serve as successive refining processes for the unrefined ore in the intelligence repository"

It's a funny old world...

...would be a great title for a blog post and would tie in nicely with the title of this article (It's a web 2.0 world) from the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland so I'll think I run with it..geddit? Run with it...Running Librarian...

Anyway this is a useful if slightly basic, at least initially, look at how pervasive Web 2.0 technologies are the opportunities and risks it poses for anyone uses it. Once part the introduction to Web 2.0 technologies the article goes on to discuss some of the "pitfalls" associated with using Web 2.0 from disclosure of confidential information.

The oldest chestnut of them all is of course "lost employee productivity" the problem with this argument is that if people weren't looking at Facebook or MySpace or Twitter, they would be doing something else to waste time, be that having a cigarette break, having a chat with a colleague, playing a game online, you name it.

Thankfully the article also spends some time discussing the opportunities offered by Web 2.0 technologies, which includes, "the interaction offered by social networking sites" like Facebook and LinkedIn and "cost effective options for training of employees" overall quite a positive spin on the use of Web 2.0 technologies by Law Firms and as the author suggests, they are "Here to stay"

Lawtel and RSS

If you haven't seen already Lawtel are rolling out RSS Feeds for all the content on their platform. The feeds are due for release in November.

CILIP Graduate Open Day - Part 2

Following on from my previous post, I've decided to write a more detailed post about the CILIP Graduate Open day I presented at earlier this month.

Mostly because I promised CILIP I would, but also because after my second session on "Getting published" I thought it would be useful if I shared with everyone my top tips for "Getting published".

So these are my top 10 tips (in no particular order) for "Getting published"

(1) Start posting to a blog, it's easy and free and once you start building up an audience it may lead on to more writing opportunities.

(2) If number one sounds too much like hard work then investigate if there are any blogs already in existence that you could blog to as a "guest blogger"

(3) Write at work, if you have an "internal" staff magazine suggest articles for it and if possible get involved in its production.

(4) If you attend a seminar or an event, offer to write a report of it for the group that organised it. I can guarantee they will jump at the offer!

(5) Apply for a Conference bursary and attend a Conference, normally attendance at a Conference as part of a bursary will involve writing a report of the Conference for the organisation that gave you the bursary.

(6) Bit scary this one...speak at Conference, some conferences ask speakers to write up their presentation for inclusion in a journal or newsletter.

(7) Get involved in committee work, if you do there are bound to be opportunites to write reports for professional journals or newsletters.

(8) Suggest a column for a newsletter and then offer to write the column yourself!

(9) Become an expert on something and start sharing your knowledge either through a blog or through presentations, once people know you are an expert the offers will slowly trickle in.

(10) Not a tip of getting published but my final piece of advice which is to write about something you're interested in and which you're enthusiastic about, this will show in your writing and will encourage readers to keep coming back for more.

That's it, does anyone else have any tips for "Getting Published"?

Wilmington 10k 2008

Last Sunday I ran the Wilmington 10k, this was the second time I had run this race so I was hoping for a better, but surprise surprise the weather was awful. It is October I suppose but even so horizontal rain does impede running somewhat, at least that is my excuse for a poor time!

Anyway after 46 and something minutes I discovered that they had slightly changed the course and included a soul destroying, leg sapping 400 metres slog around a school playing field, so cruel. By the time I'd finished panting my way round this final part of the course I ended up with a time of 47:08 and 97th out of 312 runners.

I think I ran slightly quicker then this, but I'm not going to quibble over a couple of seconds. Overall a pretty good result albeit 22 seconds slower then last year, I'm not sure where I lost those 22 seconds! My next race is the Chelmsford 10k, before my season finale the Santa Run at Greenwich Park.

Petts Wood 10k 2008

Another Sunday another race, this time the Petts Wood 10k and for once the weather was kind (in other words I wasn't drenched after 1/2 a mile) in fact the weather was unseasonably warm for the time of year, which caused some problems!

I didn't run this race last year after picking up a slight injury in my previous race so I was determined to set a decent time, unfortunately I was going to be disappointed. I should have guessed the race was going to be tough when the Race Director informed the crowd "it isn't a fast course" and there are "many obstacles"

Obstacles there were, Kissing Gates, Bollards in the middle of the road, small children, dogs, stinging nettles, tree roots, including one especially tricky tree root that caused my first ever tumble in a race. Thankfully I was uninjured although my pride was slightly bruised!! Eventually after 10 very tricky kilometres I crossed the line in a time of 49:27 and finished 158 out of 583 starters. My next race is the Wilmington 10k, where I hope to post a significantly better time.

How Information "overloaded" are you?

Following my previous post on Information Overload I've just seen this quiz you can take, which asks "How Information Overloaded are you?"



I scored a 5 out of 20, which I think is pretty good!

Sittingbourne 10 2008

Its October its wet and windy so what better way to spend a Sunday morning then running through the delightful Kent countryside, to be precise the villages in and around Sittingbourne in the Sittingbourne 10, that's 10 miles not 10k or 10 metres unfortunately.

This was my first competitive race since the Dartford 1/2 Marathon in July so I wasn't expecting a decent time, so I was over the moon when I completed the 10 miles in a new personal best for 10 miles of 1: 18:24 despite the horrible conditions and becoming thoroughly drenched after 1/2 a mile!

My next race is the Petts Wood 10k, last year I picked up an injury just before this race so was unable to take part. I'm looking forward to running this race for the first time.

Information Overload...pah

A lot has been written recently about Information Overload...see this post on the Above and Beyond KM Blog and this one on the iLibrarian Blog

Much of the talk has come about because of this presentation by Clay Shirky entitled "It's not information Overload it's filter failure" in his presentation Clay suggests that Information Overload is an ancient problem going back to the age of the printing press.

All of the presentation is really interesting and I would encourage everyone to have a look at it. Clay talks extensively about how the internet has impacted our lives on a daily basis and cites some interesting true stories including one about Facebook. In this example one of his friends changed their relationship status from Engaged to Single and was bombarded by emails/phonecalls and other messages. This is an example of how setting a filter, in this instance a privacy filter is alien and not something the average user of Facebook would ever think to do, but not doing it contributes to Information Overload.

Strangely enough I've just written an "article" for the BIALL Newsletter on using filters and some sites which currently use filters to present information to users. This doesn't look specifically at the issue of Information Overload within Law Firms as it is much more general but it's good to see I'm on the ball...at least for now! I've also just purchased Clay's book "Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations"so I'm looking forward to reading this.

CILIP Graduate Open Day 2008

Later today I'm going to be talking at the CILIP Graduate Open Day I'm feeling slightly nervous about speaking at this event, not because there are 90+ people attending but because I'm going to be talking about Social Networking and "Getting Published"

Although I've talked about Web 2.0 in some detail before talking about Social Networking and especially about how Social Networking can be used as part of your Professional Development is going to be challenging. Of course when you begin to think about how you use Social Networks you being to realise how much of what you're doing (apart from the poking and the being bitten by vampires) is actually Professional Development.

Still not convinced, okay I'm talking about joining groups that are relevant to your business interests, posting questions and responses to questions, sharing information and building a sense of community from what can be a very disparate group of individuals. These types of tools also expose us to some of the more interesting aspects of Web 2.0, like Photo and Video Sharing, Blogging (look at me go) and RSS.

It raises an interesting question though, should or are Social Networking sites crucial for our Professional Development?

Social tools and the current awareness process

Last week Headshift organised a breakfast seminar at their offices which looked at the role Social tools like RSS and Wikis can have in a "current awareness" service.

By current awarness they refer to the collection and dissemination of external and internal information within a Law Firm. More information on the seminar is available here and I've embedded the Powerpoint Presentation.

This is an area that really interests me and one that I think could be developed really successfully internally. I know that we spend huge amounts of time, reviewing and then collating information from numerous sources into something that our fee-earners will approve of and we haven't (at least not recently) asked them whether what they are receiving is appropriate or relevant to the work they do.




The Web 2.0 olympics

I don't usually compare Web 2.0 to sports...but then I'm sort of borrowing this comparison from Mary Abraham over at Above and Beyond KM who has written an post about overcoming the hurdles of Web 2.0

In it she mentions a recent article* by Ruth Ward of Allen & Overy (leaders in terms of Web 2.0 adoption within Law Firms) and how they have overcome some of the challenges to Web 2.0 adoption.

So what are the hurdles, well...

"Social tools and networks can bring real business value, especially in a professional-services setting. But many partners and practices seem to struggle to get beyond their press-led perceptions of Facebook and Wikipedia, and their natural scepticism of blogging."

So true...I remember when we first looked at blogs someone described them as being "for chat" IT Departments can also be a stumbling block, because they either don't understand the benefits of using these tools or again they associate Social Media or Web 2.0 with websites like Facebook and Wikipedia, not that there is anything wrong with either of those websites. Fee-earners are also natually sceptical and cynical about any new or innovative product so encouraging them to use something they might associate as being from the same mould as Facebook or Wikipedia can be a difficult task. But as Mary suggests there have been some excellent examples of Law Firms developing these tools to add value and the influence and use of these tools can only increase.

*You will need a subscription to Managing Partner magazine in order to read this article.

Time & Reasons v Emerging Technologies

Kathryn Greenhill of the Librarians Matter Blog has put together a very interesting presentation called "...but I don't have time and THEY don't get it": Finding time and reasons for emerging technologies As Kathryn says in her blog post, the presentation address two key concerns Information Professionals have (1) The time to research all the cool stuff that is happening (2) If they do is anybody actually going to be interested.

This is a really interesting presentation, but don't just take my word for it, check it out yourself!

Social Software...the basics

This is definitely my kind of post, short, simple but very effective! In it the author asks three questions, which all lead to the same answer - Why wouldn't you want to use Social Software.

[Hat Tip - Elusa The Knowledge Management Blog]

Portal to Progress

An interesting article here in the latest issue of Legal Week which discusses whether Law Firms are missing out on Business growth because of a "reluctance" to use Web 2.0/Social Media technologies" on the whole this is a very positive article which demonstrates (with practical examples) how Social Media can be used by a Law Firm for both business growth and as a means to encourage collaboration amongst fee-earners.

Some highlights from the article:

"One way in which innovation and know-how can be boosted dramatically is via the use of a wiki — which functions like a cross between a constantly evolving brainstorm, a research team and a library. Fleeting corporate and individual insights can be trapped and expanded. This cuts down on emails and meetings, while increasing the natural momentum of collaboration. Wikis can be wholly internal affairs or they can be used to develop common knowledge sets with suppliers and collaborators"

"The holy grail of any consultancy — or legal ‘sale’ — is to engage clients in progressive discussion of their issues so that an instruction becomes more or less inevitable. As a fully interactive technique for engaging your clients’ attention, a good blog offers considerable potential"

"Web 2.0 also offers strong potential for widening and sustaining circles of actual or imagined ‘friends’, business contacts, recruits or otherwise interested parties. Unofficial Facebook groups for employees of major firms have already arisen spontaneously, producing new linkages and challenging orthodox brand boundaries."

Twittering with a difference

A few weeks ago someone told me about Yammer, this is a microblogging service, similar to Twitter but with a difference. This application is organised around a company so when you sign up with your email address only people at the same company who have the same type of email address can see what you are saying...brilliant and yet so simple.

If you've used Twiter and start using Yammer you'll notice that much of the functionality is the same, so you can still "follow" people and reply to people directly. Yammer looks like a really great tool and I'll definitely be investigating how we can use it effectively. In the meantime I'll be reviewing all the blog posts about it:

Information Technology (IT) for Information Professionals

Earlier this week I attended this course, which was organised by the Commercial Legal and Scientific Sub-Group of CILIP. The course is one of three being organised by CLSIG over the course of the next few months as part of their "Professional Development Club"

The course was held at Macfarlanes, so I shouldn't have really been surprised when most of the attendees turned out to be from Law Firms. Unfortunately I was slightly disappointed by the course, the presenter certainly new about IT Infrastructure and it was interesting to see how requests people make to view web pages are actually carried out but I didn't feel he really addressed how we as Information Professionals should be dealing with/talking to our I.T Departments which can be a big issue for many Information Professionals.

Slides from this seminar are available on Slideshare here.

Web 2.0 - Where are we going?

An interesting if at time somewhat abstract presentation here from Martin De Saulles of Brighton University. In it he discusses how the Information Profession is currently using Web 2.0 and where we might be heading. The full blog post is available on the Information Matters blog here.

Links and connections...

...or how to make Web 2.0 work in a law firm environment is the title of a really interesting article in the latest edition of the Legal Technology Journal, not available online unfortunately. In it Damien Behan who is IT Director at Brodies discusses his experience of making Web 2.0 work in law firms.

I met Damien earlier this year at an Enterprise 2.0, where he came in for some stick not fairly in my mind because conference attendees thought he was there to slate the use of Web 2.0 within the commercial sector. This wasn't the case at all, although he had (and I hope he wont mind me saying this) some reservations about certain applications like Facebook being used by the business.

So it is interesting although not unexpected to see him writing a very positive article on how Social Media can be used within Law Firms especially the use of Blogs and Wikis by Brodies.

Presentation tips and tricks

I'm preparing a couple of presentations at the moment and rather conveniently I was sent the details of a couple of useful looking guides, which I'm now sharing with you all!

The first Everything You Need to Know About Presentations from Forrest Gump discusses how when thinking about putting together a presentation you shold be prepared to be a little bit different...a bit like Forrest Gump. I'm not sure there is actually anything ground breaking or rule breaking in this article but I liked some of the ideas and will certainly try to use some of them in future.

The second article by Gary Reynolds is called Empty Space and Slide Design and looks at how empty (or white) space can be used in Presentations to make them clearer and visually make more of an impact. The example slides at the bottom of the article are well worth looking at for before and after examples.

Web 2.0: Hype or help?

This is the title of an article in the Autumn 2008 edition of the Public Library Journal in it the author looks at how Social Networking sites (Facebook, Myspace, Youtube) can promote Library Services to a wider audience. A really interesting article which is well worth reading.

Are you wired or tired?

Information Overload is an age old problem, which occassionally people have another stab at addressing. The i-Librarian has very kindly highlighted an interesting article published in the latest edition of Ariadne

In the article the author suggests ten techniques for managing "the overload". These are listed as:

  • General Organisational Techniques
  • Filtering Information Received
  • RSS Overload Techniques
  • Interruptive Technology Overload Techniques
  • Phone Overload Techniques
  • Email Overload Techniques
  • Print Media Overload Techniques
  • Multimedia Overload Techniques
  • Social Network Overload Techniques
  • Time and Stress Management

This is actually a really useful article for dealing with a problematic subject so hurry up and read it so you can become wired rather then tired!

Intranet evolution

I love the visual way Richard Dennison at the Inside Out Blog has shown how his Intranet has evolved, simple but very effective.

Are you multi-faceted?

I've just finished reading an interesting article in IWR Horizons (not available online unfortunately) written by Julia Hordle of Intelligent Resources. In it she describes the skills required by todays information professionals if they really want to make their way in our profession. Some highlights from the article:

"Today, expectations are high. Professional support staff are expected to be fluent in the use of an array of communications tools; email alerts, newsletters, RSS feeds, blogs wikis and web publishing"

This is all good but then there are some downsides to investing/experimenting with Social Media and Web 2.0 technologies:

"There is tremendous scope for reputational enhancement (as well as damage) and for the development of loose communities of interest"

This is so true, sometimes the use of new technologies can be fantastic and provide you with opportunites that would otherwise not be available, but it is important to understand how visible using these technologies can make you and that balance is important between using these tools for business and personal reasons.

How to get to Intranet 2.0

The Thoughtfarmer blog (I love that name although it scares me slightly ) has an interesting post on how to 2.0 your Intranet. The post is essential 10 steps to Intranet 2.0, whch are...

  1. Blow up the old intranet (okay)
  2. Turn users into authors (basically give everyone editing rights)
  3. Expose the social content of all content (every piece of content should say who created it and where they work)
  4. Make things findable (obvious one this one, good intranets have great search engines)
  5. Send signals when content changes (installs RSS in other words)
  6. Provide scaffolding/a framework to support new content (This is all about structure and about providing something for people to work around rather then create something from scratch)
  7. Hold a barn raising to populate initial content (Essentially - get loads of people in a room and start migrating or creating content)
  8. Make them use it...once (Once they try it...they might like it)
  9. Lead by example (Get someone "senior" to create content)
  10. Get the intranet "in the flow" (If your Intranet is part of a Workflow or you have to go on to your intranet to do something e.g. write a document, people are more like to use it for other things)

The worlds a virtual stage

Gary hayes of Personalize Media has created this 7-minute video which takes the viewer on a tour of over 40 social virtual worlds. Hayes is working on a commercial report exploring the creative, business, and educational potential of the metaverse and has some preliminary insights in his post here. This is really interesting video, I certainly didn't know that Barbie World existed. One for my daughter in a few years time!





[Found by the i-Librarian]

Web 2.0 Videos

Recently someone asked me whether I knew of any videos that "explained" Web 2.0 and I have to admit I drew a blank initially before I remembered the following which I thought would be useful to share:

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

Probably the most famous of all videos about Web 2.0 that has ever been posted on Youtube...brilliant!

An introduction to Web 2.0

Not great - but explains most of the concepts and the move from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0

What is Web 2.0?

This is okay...much more of a technical introduction.

Social Networking and Libraries

Because the blog was locked down for a few days I've been a bit slow to post about some of the really interesting posts I have seen recently. A couple that have caught my eye have been about Social Networking in Libraries.

The first, "Managers pay attention: Why social networking and Web 2.0 is important to your Library" by David Lee King looks at how and why you should be using Web 2.0 technologies and finally some tips on how to implement Web 2.0 technologies.

The second is the Librarian in Black's post "Ten Social Networking Tips for Librarians" I loved this post which is full of practical tips on how to get the most out of using Social Networking sites. My favourite tip had to be the following...

"Use a photo of a real live person. Please be as lively as possible - this is "social" networking after all. At best, use a photo of a real librarian or some cool tricked out avatar you create to be your virtual face-piece on all social networking sites. At second best, try your library's logo. If all else fails, try a photo of your library building. But...the building shouldn't be your first choice. It says "hey, we're about bricks & mortar!"

Officially...not Spam!

I'm pleased to be able to say Blogger has classified me as officially not being Spam. Good to know, I was worried there for a moment.

I don't follow the Blogger Blog, but perhaps I should because they have two posts on the "issues" they encountered on Friday...Spam Fridays and You are not Spam!

Do we need to work harder in a downturn?

This is the title of an interesting article on Fumsi (part of Freepint) which to anyone with any common sense the answer would be obvious - Yes must worker harder to show how valuable I am.

But...it's not just about working harder, it's also about adding more value and making yourself more visible to those individuals (managers) who make decisions about funding and staffing. The article has 10 Top tips on how to survive a downturn, which I have listed below:

1 Make sure senior managers understand how much value you add.
2 Understand how a downturn changes your employer's business focus.
3 Provide the right resources to reflect these changes.
4 Be proactive in providing new business leads.
5 Be ready to renegotiate contracts with information suppliers.
6 Have clear usage figures so you can contain costs.
7 Train end-users to use information services cost-effectively.
8 Be ready to deal with the impact of information industry mergers & acquisitions.
9 Be creative in exploiting quality lower price material.
10 Update your core skills - and be visible!

Dartford Half Marathon 2008

Yesterday I took part in the Dartford Half Marathon, this was described as "challenging" course which in my mind meant hills! So I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was only one major hill, albeit one mile long!

To cut a long story short I ran what I considered a pretty perfect race although I could have probably gone a bit quicker in the first 6 miles, after 10 miles I "kicked" for home and made it there in a time of 1:43:23 smashing my previous PB by four minutes! very pleased overall especially as I had enough left in the tank to pass two people in the last 400 metres.

Tagging inside the Enterprise

This is the title of a really thorough and informative presentation from David Hobbie Litigation Knowledge Manager at Goodwin Procter and owner of the Caselines Blog

I like the idea of Tagging being about more than just external Websites, in David's presentation he includes People, Document Management System Documents, Intranet Pages and much more.

Cliffe Woods 10k 2008

Surprise surpirse on Sunday I ran yet another 10k this time the setting was Cliffe Woods in Kent for the rather originally named Cliffe Woods 10k. Unfortunately the run didn't take place in any woods which meant runners had to endure temperatures in the mid 20's...hot when you're pounding the mean streets of Kent.

Thankfully there were not one, not two, but three, yes three water stations along the route and boy did we need them. The best part of the run had to be being hosed down by a very kind old man in a garden that adjoined the course, bliss!

Despite the heat and the fact that I had never run the course I managed a very decent time of 45:25 so naturally I was disappointed not to run a sub 45 10k, but I was over the moon when the results were made available online and I discovered I had come 91st (first time in the top 100 for a race) out of 446 runners! I'd like to thank the runner who always wears union jack shorts who I paced myself against!

Energy Institute - Spring Seminar 2008

I'm a bit late reporting this, but I'm going to nevertheless, this seminar took place on the 28th of May, from the website of the Energy Institute "The seminar was designed for information professionals keen to find out more about Web 2.0 and how they might use it within their own organisations. Catherine Cosgrove, Library & information Service Manager at the Energy Institute, chaired the event"

There are some really useful look presentations available on the site, including;

Phil Bradley - Using Web 2.0 resources in your Library
Adrian Arthur - Web 2.0/British Library 2.0

There are also links to two videos on the IET.tv website which look interesting, enjoy!

Yusing Youtube

I've finally taken the plunge and registered to use Youtube call me a technophobe if you like, now don't expect me to start posting videos of myself or the work I do online I'm primarily using Youtube for the many videos explaining Web 2.0 and Social Media concepts and what better way to explain Web 2.0 then by using a Web 2.0 tool.

Suffice to say that no sooner had I started using Youtube then the ilibrarian posted about 100 Awesome Youtube videos for Librarians one of my favourite amongst these has to be the Librarians of Second Life the somersaults are great. If those videos aren't interesting enough you can always check out the UK Parliament channel!

Running in the rain

This was pretty much the theme of the run I took part in last night along with 40 other brave souls from my firm and 12960 other participants. I really enjoy running the JPMorgan Chase Challenge not just because there is the prize of a nice cold beer and a barbecue at the end but because it'ss a very informal social event, which I would recommend as a run to anyone who asks.

Anyway after all the rain I still managed to set a new PB of 26:11 smashing my previous best by a whole 4 seconds! I blame the weather and the 6 legged girl I had to manoeuvre around!

How to use Social Media tools..and still stay productive..

...sounds difficult doesn't it?! but it cant be done and to prove it Lifehacker has published a post on exactly how to do it. The article has three main principles to using Social Media and staying productive they are:

Principle 1. Set a North Star

Here you need to ask yourself, why am I or why do I need to use Social Media tools? Is it as part of the work or do, to waste time or for a combination of both of these.

Principle 2. Apply the Pareto Principle

This principle which you can read all about on Wikipedia states that "80% of the value comes from just 20% of the content you read" mind boggling but apparently true. So to apply this to your use of Social Media tools you should review what you use on a regular basis, weed and unsubscribe from RSS feeds you don't use or don't find useful anymore and concentrate instead on the content that is really useful.

Principle 3. Schedule Time to be Social

This principle is about ensuring you set time aside to be social and time when you need to work. One of the other principles I would apply when using Social Tools is to use your common sense, if you're blatantly "mucking around" on Facebook and you have decided to use Social Tools for business then you're not applying this principle. Other then that relax and enjoy using them for what they are but try not to get too distracted/caught up with using them!

How to make Facebook useful...

...some excellent suggestions here from the ReadWriteWeb Blog on How to make Facebook useful... of course I only ever use Facebook for professional reasons!

Taking the pain out of RSS

I don't think RSS is a pain but I really enjoyed reading this article which describes the ticTOCS project. "The aim of the ticToc's project is to develop a service which will transform journal current awareness by making it easy for academics to find, display, store, combine and re-use journal tables of contents (TOCs) from multiple publishers in a personalisable web-based environment"

Sounds great and it works, at least according to the article it does. Now although this article isn't directly relevant to the Legal Sector if you want to promote the benefits of using RSS to individuals then extracting some of the content from this article would be a great place to start. For example...

..."Use of RSS for the distribution and receipt of frequently updated online content of various kinds is becoming increasingly widespread"

"RSS has certain advantages over e-mail as a way to be alterted to new information" RSS Feeds include direct links to articles, and RSS is less intrusive as an alerting method - you can look at you RSS feeds whenever you want"

Why a Wiki?

The KM Librarians blog has a short post on how Wikis are being used within organisations. The reasons Wikis make sense are...

  • Wikis are useful for Whiteboarding
  • Wikis allow team members to contribute whenever they want
  • Wikis reduce email traffice
  • Wikis minimize "version conflict"
  • Wikis preserve the backstory of the history of a project

All good reasons for using a Wiki.

Legal Online communities : An opportunity waiting to happen

Paul Lippe Founder and Chief Executive of Legal OnRamp has written an interesting piece in the most recent issue of Legal Week. In it Paul argues that for lawyers to dismiss applications like Facebook and other Social Networking sites as a fad is a mistake. Why? well Paul argues that the development of online communities is an important step for the legal sector and in many ways an online legal community reflects laws traditional "community model"

Not convinced? Paul then lists 10 reasons why an online social community is suited to law:

  • Law is a social profession
  • Legal content and expertise are developed and shared socially.
  • A social platform is the easiest way to go global.
  • A social platform can address clients’ demand for greater efficiency
  • A social platform can be used to manage privileged work.
  • A social platform gets lawyers closer to clients.
  • Social platforms will change the competitive dynamics of law.
  • Participating in the broader community is the best way to energize your own community.
  • An online community could prevent future shock.
  • Social platforms are not about technology, they are about people.

The toughest 10k in Kent?

Yesterday morning myself and 414 other brave souls took to the roads and woods around Orpington to run the Orpington 10k. I ran this race last year and posted a rather poor 52:50, so I was hoping for a much improved time, unfortunately I forgot how tough the course was...

...not only did runners have to contend with the usual obstacles, other runners, thigh high stinging nettles, low hanging branches, tree roots and numerous gates and stiles but there were also a number of bizzare man made obstacles including, members of the public trying to take runners out, children collecting footballs from the route, children sledging your haircut (harsh when you have just run 9k) and the police (to be fair the last did a good job)...so I was disappointed but not too disappointed to post a time of 49:06 and end up 128th out of the total field.

My next race is the JP Morgan Chase Challenge on the 9th of July, followed by tbe Cliffe Woods 10k on the 13th of July.

Why Web 2.0 - Part 2 - Edinburgh

Last Friday saw me take to the skies and visit the rather lovely Scottish City of Edinburgh to present on Web 2.0 to the Scottish Law Librarians Group. This was a re-run of my previous talk to the City Legal Information Group, with some updates to the slides and additional content to reflect my location! Overall I think the Seminar went well and those people I spoke to after the seminar said they found it useful. One thing I will be doing is reducing the number of slides I have to a more manageable level, I'll also probably only focus on one or two specific areas rather then try and cover absolutely every possible Web 2.0 application a Law Librarian could use! Anyway the slides are embedded below so enjoy!

Leaping into the Dark : Web 2.0 and law firms websites

This is the title of an interesting article in the latest issue of the Society of Computers and Law journal. In it the author looks at the ways in which law firms are adapting their websites to take account of Web 2.0 technology. The article is the result of a survey undertaken by Intendance Research

One of the highlights from the article is the following "The same survey contains the following statistic: 65% of respondents agree that incorporating Web 2.0 will be a key component of their online strategy within the next 1-2 years. This clearly shows that the majority of firms are warming to the potential benefits of Web 2.0, yet the overriding feeling is that many firms are unsure of which applications work best for which audiences"

So it would seem that Law Firms feel that incorporating Web 2.0 technologies into Web sites is a good thing but there are some concerns around what "will work best" and not alienate the users of the site. An interesting article, if you wish to read it you will need to be a member of the SCL to read this article.

Casefiles Wiki

As reported by the Knowledge Thoughts Blog Headshift have launched a new site (Wiki) which has a collection of Case Studies of firms/businesses using Enterprise 2.0 Tools including tools like Blogs and Wikis.

The site even has a section for Legal/Professional Services firms.

A list to beat all lists

I love the iLibrarian blog I really do and I'm not afraid to say it, why because they post some really useful resources on a regular basis. Recent posts have included the following:

All I can say is keep up the good work iLibrarian!

Not really Web 2.0...

...but I thought readers might be interested in a presentation I prepared for a meeting with the Legal Publishers Executive that was scheduled to take place the day before the BIALL Conference. The presentation looks at some of the "Current trends in the purchasing and supply of electronic products" enjoy...

BIALL Conference 2008

Last week myself and 399 other Law Librarians attended the 39th Annual BIALL Conference. This was held in the lovely and very welcoming city of Dublin. The Conference was called "Beyond the Pale" with the general theme being planning for the next information generation.

There were a number of sessions that I was quite excited about attending, including Lesley Robinsons' Plenary Session on the Information to Knowledge Process and "Web 2.0: the Yellow Brick Road or Fools Gold?" The second of these sessions included a short presentation by Martin De Saulles, the slides from this presentation and the presentation he delivered on Friday are available on his blog "Information Matters" this was an interesting session the high point was hearing Sue Hill speak passionately about Web 2.0 despite the fact two weeks ago she didn't know a huge amount about it. It just proved in my mind how infectious Web 2.0 can be and how enthusiastic people are about it and the potential it has for delivering new and exciting services to our users.

Web 2.0 was also discussed in Sues' session "Will Librarians be needs in 2010?" the answer to this was yes of course, but only if we learn to adapt to the changes that are taking place in our profession and whilst doing so, start learning new stuff!

The session I was most looking forward to was of course the one I was chairing! this was delivered by Steve Weiter and was called "Who is really computer savvy?" the session looked at practical applications of Web 2.0 in Libraries (predominantly the US). This was a thought provoking session that certainly made me think about how we are currently using Web 2.0 technologies and what we can do to encourage users to use these new technologies and also how using these new technologies can create their own problems. I'm hoping Steve will make his slides available online, so watch this space.

Overall a really interesting Conference although I am still to traumatised to leave my office, guitars can be dangerous in the wrong hands!

Bluewater 10k 2008

After what can only be described as a not quite normal build up to a 10k race (having spent the previous four days in Dublin enjoying the many delights that Ireland has to offer) I still managed to drag my weary body to the start line of the Bluewater 10k.

This was a race I had hoped to do quite well in having run a 48 minute 10k last year, this was a slightly different route (one major hill now became a downhill) so I was overjoyed when I reached the finish line in a time of 44:38 and came 182nd out of 1646 runners! My next race is the Orpington 10k on Sunday the 22nd.

I will also shortly be posting about the BIALL Conference and the many discussions about Web 2.0 that took place there, so watch this space.

I'm off...

...to the BIALL Conference next week so there wont be any posts on this blog for a while.

You might still catch me posting on the BIALL Blog, If I can secure an Internet Cafe! I hope to see some of my readers at the Conference next week.

An active Law Librarian is a happy Law Librarian

I don't often talk about Marketing because it's not something I do a huge amount of (maybe I should) but a recent post on the Library Stuff Blog caught my eye. In a post called Marketing the Law Librarian the author says the following:

"I firmly believe that law librarians need to continue to market their skills and knowledge in order to not be passed by someone (or something) else. While we know that we’re good, does everyone else in the firm know that? Enter the marketing department. This is what they do best, and by becoming a part of their team, they will start marketing your skills as well"

Too right, tommorow my marketing plan starts!

Internet Librarian International...such a shame

Earlier this year I submitted a proposal to the committee organising Internet Librarian International to talk about how Web 2.0 is being used within Law Firms, some of the practical challenges in adopting Web 2.0 technologies and what Law Librarians can do to with Web 2.0 in these situations.

The good news is my submission was accepted YEAH!!

The bad news is I'm going to be on Holiday!

...what a shame...

Want to see some serious cash...?

...then don't bother with Web 2.0...is my rather harsh appraisal of this article from the Financial Times which was originally reported on by the Blog Herald. They have a short piece on the article which is well worth reviewing.

There is no Web 2.0 or Web 3.0 only "the Web"

I'm a bit late reporting about this really interesting article on the Read Write Web blog but I'm going to anyway! In it the author argues that current definitions of Web 3.0 are very similar to existing definitions of Web 2.0 and that for Web 3.0 to be "meaningful" "we'll need to see a serious discontinuity from the previous generation of technology" and that ultimately "versioning doesn't really matter - the web is the web"

I'm finding myself agreeing with the article in general, especially after a conversation I had with someone I went to school with around whether Web 2.0 is actually a meaningful term. They didn't think it was and that tools like Facebook, Twitter and Blogs should be described as Social Media Tools rather then Web 2.0 tools. I definitely agree with this and that calling other tools available on the Web, Web 2.0 tools can actually be a barrier for their adoption if people think they are linked somehow to Facebook! I wonder what other people think?

The use of Web 2.0 by law firms in New Zealand and the UK

Earlier today I was interviewed by Jessica Loud, currently a Law Librarian at Sidley Austin, for a research project which is looking at the factors which contribute to the successful adoption and implementation of Web 2.0 technologies. From Jessica's original email "The study aims to provide guidance for practitioners working in the field who are thinking about using these technologies in their own workplaces."

Jessica had some really interesting questions and it was great to be able to talk about how we are currently using and thinking about using Web 2.0 technologies to another Law Librarian and one that was appreciative of the benefit and value from doing so. It sounds like the study will be very interesting and I'm looking forward to reading the results.

Social media in Plain English!

Whenever you see in "Plain English" you have to think Commoncraft and yep you're right, they've produced another brillant video, this time explaining Social Media, enjoy.

[Hat tip - iLibrarian]

Web 2.0 and real-world law

Earlier this week I attend a PLC organised seminar on Web 2.0 and real-world law. This was a seminar that was primarily aimed at solicitors so I felt like a bit of a cheat when I saw the buffet lunch they had laid on!

Once sated the seminar was delivered by Professor Chris Reed of Queen Mary School of Law at the University of London. The seminar primarily covered Second Life and the Intellectual Property issues raised from buying, working and living in Second Life which slightly disappointed me but there were some really interesting issues raised around personal property law and whether property in virtual worlds can be "stolen", Real Property Law, Trade Marks and notably "Virtual offences" against the person.

This last area is quite interesting because you wouldn't think that virtual worlds or virtual activities could have an effect on your body, but that could soon change with the introduction of things like the Hug Shirt which allows you to send virtual hugs, just don't give people bear hugs and the KissPhone I'm not sure how I missed this, but the less said about it the better I think!

Podcasting in plain English

The team at Commoncraft have done it again, this time with Podcasting. Podcasting is something I would like to investigate but I'm wondering how many other people are currently "Podcasting"?

Pretty but hilly - Darent Valley 10k

Yesterday whilst most people were enjoying a lie-in or just thinking about what they were going to have for breakfast I took part in the Darent Valley 10k, this was described as "undulating" and was exactly as described.

The course took in the delightful villages of Eynsford, Farningham and Lullingstone and there was even a chance to look at Lullingstone Castle, albeit briefly as we raced past it and up another hill! Sadly the hills obviously took there toll as I finished with a time of 46:13 but managed to come 69th out of 335 runners, not bad for a mornings work!

My next race is the SheRunsHeRuns Bluewater 10k, where I hope to set a new PB

Tag anyone...?

Damien Behan of Law firm Brodies has written an interesting article in the March 2008 edition of Managing Partner Magazine. In it he discusses how one option to categorise information is for individuals to decide on keywords or "tags" for themseleves and apply these as they create the document rather then rely on a central KM or Library team to create/maintain and apply the tags.

This is very detailed look at how Tagging could be used in the Legal Sector and some of the issues associated with doing so. As a result I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in social bookmarking or tagging within their organisation.

[Note - You will need a subscription to Managing Partner Magazine to read the article online]

Is SharepPoint 2007 the answer to every enterprise's dreams?

This was the question posed by TFPL at their recent Sharepoint Conference which was reported in the CILIP Update from May 2008.

The Conference had a number of different session which looked at how SharePoint could be used, what is missing and where it has worked, the details of the sessions and some additional notes from the Conference are available on the TFPL Blog.

SharePoint is a tool that I'm sure a lot of Law Firms will be looking closely at in the next few months either to replace or update existing Intranets/Collaboration tools or to supplement the applications they have already.