Users, e-Research and Web 2.0 Conference, Oxford: Day 2

Long post, sorry! but it was an interesting second day. some key issues around trust, what exactly makes a community, and the fact that ITV are not going to have regional news after 2011! shocking.

Annamaria Carusi and Marina Jirotka: Innovative Media for a digital economy –use and usability challenges.

Oxford e-Research Centre

Digital economy research programme, innovative media for the digital economy research cluster. Focusing on social tech systems in creative industries, transport and health.

STS including social networking systems (facebook, myspace, youtube etc) and UGC

Roadmap –

Increasing use of social media of all kinds is creating a num of new opportunities in digital economy. These SNS and modes of communication, interaction and exchange are facilitated or enabled in many cases extentions of models found in other media – but other they are not. It is clear that although highly economically significant, these new media are now accounted for entirely from models drawn from economics, trading and finance. Social networking and related techs are complex systems- their use and usability challenges requires a consideration os socio-philosophical legal issues relateg to reputation, ownership, identity and trust.

Trust key theme that kept coming up again and again – what different conceptual frameworks might work with trust as a theme.


  • What forms of exchange
  • What forms of production and consumption
  • What forms of value
  • What forms of trust

What is the digital economy… does the digital economy programme actually have a definition?

Questions of technology -Spades as an example of simple, appropriate and useful design. This is the kind of straightforward design that digital technology needs.

Flickr – plethora of digital entities. What is the value of this? Does any one image have value on flickr? Why is the value of an entity on #flickr? Many: economic (scarcity, labour, demand), emotional, aesthetic

Value and scarcity:

Multitude of digital entities, emails images tags bookmarks documents spreadsheets music movies data in every shape and variety

By the very nature of digital artefacts: Reproducibility, speed, replicability, intermittent existence, lightness (Augustin Araya)

Value and quality: disintermediation, loss of ‘quality control’, by passing traditional gatekeepers (editors, publishers, creators, professionals)


We used to trust the gatekeepers, now that they have been bypassed, has trust disintegrated?

An co-operative activity requires trust (buying & selling, enterining into any contract or agreement

Niklas Luham: trust as a complexity reducing solution.

Implicit trust or trust ‘without reason’

Trust makes reasonable mistrust valuable.

Crisis in trust? Does User created content and Web 2.0 lead to a crisis in trust?

Authenticity and provenance, institutional roles: authorship editorship and curatorship, stats expertise and professionalism, truth, ethics, technological system – reliability and security

Technologies are disruptive or our normal practice…? are they? Depends on your definition of *normal* practice. Technology is my normal practice.

Value and trust –

Trust involves entrusting some valued thing to someone

Complexity reducing solutions – ratings, reputation, apomediations (a guide on the side), provenance tracking, reliability, and encryption and security

Technologies are disruptive or our normal practice – they bring thses practices to the fore and make us reflect on them – then make use wonder…

Writing as a disruptive technology

Trust in the virtual physical inter-world

Difficulties of studying trust: Broach the methodological challenges that trust brings up

  • Calling it trust
  • Assuming that there is trust
  • Relation between empiricial, historical and theoretical studies of trust and related notions
  • Rethink the relation between trust, value and evidence/reasons for trust
  • Rethink the relation between real and digital
  • Rethink the relation between subjects and objects

Real vs digital

Permeation of reality with mechanical equipment (Benjamin)

The mechanical equipment and its output is a form of interation with that reality

Activities – gathering, collecting, hording, tagging manipulating, embedding in mashups, exchanging, sharing, distributing

Evidence based trust –

  • trust and evidence as externally related – trust as finally based on independent values and reasons.
  • Trust and evidence as internally related – trust values and reaons inter define each other within thick contexts

Meg Pickard: content communities and collaboration: How GNM is making media social

Guardian News and Media

work with 3 groups tech, editorial and readers/users -36 million monthly unique visits!

High level of participation, Word limit of 5000 characters on comments on site.

Users interact with content in different ways: consume, react, curate, create

Context is king” rather than content is king. Data, community, multimedia, and text all combine

MP expenses scandal –

(Guardian is only major newspaper to have open API, allowing others to play with content, and take it away and use)

Investigate your MP’s expenses – allowing users to dig through MP expenses. What is the breadth of participation that we could get? 15000 people in first two days using the Mps expenses app to do citizen journalism for guardian. Crowdsourcing data. involvement allowed more detailed analysis than would have been possible otherwise, draft exclusion, soft furnishings, ducks etc used IP tracking to see which political offices were trying to deflect interest in documents.

How do you reward behaviour? added gaming mechanisms like progress bars, ranking, encouraged more participation

This was all built in a few days!

Are three people waiting for a bus a community? Have things in common, but there is no interaction and no recognition therefore not a community. A group of people who form relationships over time by interacting regularly around contexts which are or interest to all of them for varying individual reasons (Jake McKee –

Can’t think of readers as readers any more they are consumers.

Social media doesn’t need to be sociable. Don’t think social media makes a friend for life.

Howa re people getting, being exposed to or monitoring news? How are users discovering new non-news experiences and content

Pre masticated content. A lot of social news, is bits that have been chewed and passed on by friends…

Mutualised journalism means developing and nurturing – mutualised journalism and community, changing nature of resources

Content experience and talk amongst yourselves.

Listening to what users say is not the same as letting them dictate the editorial.

Mutualisation of news – what it means for users

  • participation by users before and after publications ( to inform, influence and add values to professionally produced content)
  • Greater awareness. Involvement

It doesn’t need to be complicated.

mentions issues of curation of open data — responsibility to keep up to date, but once out there… and time burden

five things journalists have to do:

commission, write, edit, curate for the web

plan for and predict likely interaction

George Thiruvathukal: IEEE Computing Now: putting social back into society

Loyola University of Chicago

Computer now is a new initiative from IEEE Computer society

Who are the actual users? Academics in computing related disciplines, information tech professionals, students libraries, corporat clients and there is a large market that IEEE likely don’t serve very well.

Efforts being undertaken by computing now to address matters of usability and engage users, in particularly, members of the IEEE computer society.

Are our users taking usability into their own hands?

  • Increasing numbers of institutions requiring faculty publications to be available
  • Open access and institutional repositories (Southampton eprints project)
  • IEEE CS allows authors to disseminate ‘private’ copies in most cases
  • Sites like are social portals for sharing scientific workfloes and research planes
  • Open source projects

Cross cutting themes, social networking aggregated on site (linkedIn, blogs, twitter) what impact do these initiatives have?

How do you properly ‘tweet’ an article?

Tweet the title? Perhaps but many hournal article titles are not written to attract general interest

Tweet length is a constraint

Need to rethink the entrenched print concepts

What scholarly impact does IEEE have?

Computer now is in its infancy – need to gain a better understanding of our users and what they want from the society

Regardless of what they want being savvy in current methods is vital to attracting the new generation of computer scientists

Incentivizing participation is necessary.

Gary Graham – web 2.0 and the creation of local news clusters

Manchester Business School

Who is the least trusted people in society? Politicians and journalists

Local news media to serve the workforce. Peak in newspaper circulation in the 1930’s. Longterm decline in printed newspapers.

The printed model is the main model for newspapers. Print media is what is important.

Online revenue – roughly 5-10% for newspapers. Not very profitable.

Digital age newspapers – Citizen journalists

Itv will stop producing regional news from 2012- when digital switchover is complete! What does that mean from regional identity!?

Independently financed news consortia – jan 2010 – 8bids (Scotland, wales, tyne tees/border) 3 pilot projects roll out for 3 years .

Genuine innovation, not jus business as usual; strong multiplatform applications working together across the web, local newspapers, local radio and tv where appropriate utilising each different mediums special characteristics.

Social ecosystems media ecology

Gary’s personal opinion is that print will survive – perhaps not in the medium of that is currently utilised. Idea of personalised print content. Print on demand. Etc

Users, e-Research and Web 2.0 Conference, Oxford: part 1

My quick and likely incomprehensible notes from #esiw2

Day 1:

VERA project – Mike Fulford

University of Reading

Introducing new (digital) technology into an archaeological field project: the VERA project reviewed.

Wireless network needed to be set up, to reach the dig. Limitations due to the scaffolding platforms. The use of digital pens proved very effective. Undergraduate field school, so teaching how to do archaeology as well as using new technology. The digital pens need to ensure an enhanced workflow on site. Recording a context proved difficult to begin with, continued use allowed for familiarity. Digital pens also used for plans. Data transfer from pen to database. strategy mirror that of traditional context sheets. All digital created contexts were checked by the archaeology RA centrally. Quality of data recorded. Site staff concerns. Students might have missed info out. Supervisors should have checked contexts as normal. Errors picked up during context monitoring and post excavations as with traditional contexts.

Overall integrity of the data was a concern. Post excavation concerns, quality concerns. Having a record available by the end of every day did prove useful however.

Could we have recorded more? 41% of the context record of the last two seasons. Would more pens =more data?

2 groups reached saturation level, 2 groups were doing as much as they could, and 1 group were resistant.

A completely digital trench? Each group in 2009 had more pens than in 2008.Other hardware was used. Nokia n800 AceCad digimemo a4202, webcams were also used.

Ability: the ability of students to record context info on any excavation will naturally increase with their experience. Having a blank notebook can cause problems. Pre printed context sheets somewhat less scary.

Digital recording, what has silchester learnt from VERA? Introducing new tools is possible. Requires a massive amount of enthusiasm, requires momentum to come from the top. Requires receptive staff and students. Lead to an enhancement of the silchester website.

It would have been interesting to hear about what users do with the information once it has been added to the IDAB, how has it aided students and researchers… does speed of digitisation = a better source for research?

Paul Wouters

The Virtual Knowledge studio for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

The virtual knowledge studio for the humanities and social sciences discussing interfacing and interaction

The relevance of the humanities, eResearch=data science, interfaces as important as infrastructure. What about 2.0?

VKS has a dual mission studying practices and supporting exploration using information technology. Changing practices, telling stories, raising arguments and building tools.

Examples of work:

  • Building collaborative working with social history. VKS and International institute for social history.
  • Exploring women’s studies VKS and Women’s studies uni of Utrecht
  • Alfa-lab VKS and Royal Netherlands academy arts and sciences

How are research practice changing when you utilise new technology, new modes of communication and new ways of working?

Definition of humanities – meaning concerns interpretation of data evidence and texts. Value ranges over the entire field of cultural aesthetic social and scientific investments. Significance implicating both the former two, raises questions of representation in the sense of accounting for and of capturing in the sense both of offering a faithful rendition and of making broad claims.

Technology can help in the modification of research designs and methodologies.

People who use Web2.0 data are implicitly beyond the qual and quant methodology

A core feature of the VKS is the integration of design and analysis in a close cooperation between social scientists, humanities researchers, info tech experts and info scientists.

What is the relationship between data

Wired the end of theory-the data deluge makes the scientific method obsolete.

Beyond the data deluge. Computer science.

Massive amounts of data are acquired and used by researchers. Subtle shifts not always in the concordance of expectations.

How do you define data?

Creating new paths in a multidimensional space.

4 perspectives on ICT:

  • Conservative: ICT as neutral container
  • Pragmatic: ICT astool
  • Critical: ICT as technology of control
  • Radical: ICT as metaphor

Who is controlling the research?

The intergrated approach provides insight in the way e-research can contribute to new research questions and methods.

Crombies styles:

  • Deductive
  • Experimental
  • Hypotheses and analogies
  • Taxonomy
  • Probalisitic-statistical
  • Evolutionary (‘historic’ or ‘genetic’

They differ in types of use.

Some modes of eresearch

  • From data scarcity to data floods and cloud computing: new methods in data analysis and representation
  • Beyond data science: the radical promise of computational modelling
  • Visual culture


Interfacing between disciplines, interfaces between infrastructure and practices, interfaces as representation researcher.

Alfalab IEEE conference presentation -Construction and deconstruction of a digital humanities experiment

Flickr project. Implicit tech focus:

  • synergy in practices VKS collab.
  • Institutions and infrastructures – flickr: commercial culture heritage
  • Method as institution – flickr invisible use

Web2.0 commercial form of eresearch. Archiving in web2.0 is a problem. What is to be archived, what is to be preserved? Preservation should be central, or is the archive for producing useful questions at a later date.

Lucy Power and Eric Meyer- Sharing ideas and sharing data: Researchers and Web 2.0

Oxford Internet Institute

Types of incentives and barriers which researchers face when trying to collaborate data and ideas using web 2.

Friendfeed is a tool used be life scientists to disseminate, filter and discuss researcher and professional issues and ideas

Crowdsources group collaboration in friendfeed. Questions and answer sessions.

Conference sourcing on friendfeed

Community connections in friendfeed. Lightweight interactions. Connecting with other disciplines


  • Virtual London- geospatial map sharing, early efforts to share maps were hindered by legal barriers, and recent successful efforts to change the law in a way that will enable more sharing.
  • Maptube
  • Free our data

Using web2,0 and the public to show how society is actually working

General ethos of openness. Network benefits, advantages of scale (plus corresponding disadvantages), sharing effort to filter complex ideas and data.

Invisible colleges.


  • Friendfeed – cultural/field differences, work habits, information selections/volume
  • Geovue- institutions and IP
  • In neither case were technological limitations particularly important (although could be for certain users)

Tech adoption, there is lot of well designed kit, doesn’t have particularly limitations. More about cultural and institutional differences are difficult to deal with, rather than tech difficulties.

Community collaboration is coming out as a key theme

Private and public data key theme

Broadcast medium – how does active and inactive users influence things?

How does uptake of these apps bias research plans?

Microblogging and esteem. Should people be embarrassed about using twitter or friend feed?

Publication of microblogging research…

Filtering information. So not to get overwhelmed.

Looking for commercial apps rather then waiting for institutions to build it for them.

Social network analysis. Methodologies are interesting in this area, to gather a rounded view, as traditional methodologies don’t necessarily work with web2.0.