Jun 012007

Last night I was part of a panel speaking to the SLA WCC. This is an interesting bunch of people, the librarians for various companies, government departments, and of course universities. The panel (everyone else was a librarian) was speaking about blogs and wikis and how they are being used within their organizations. To be more precise, the other four speakers talked about how their organizations use these technologies, while I did a bit of a wrap-up at the end with lots of pretty pictures, talking about some of the things people need to think about when deploying. My slides are here; be warned that the file is fairly big (all those pictures!)

With five speakers in not much more than an hour, we didn’t have a lot of time to go into detail. Check out the programme for the list of speakers and a brief summary of what they talked about.

One thing I found interesting when talking to people at the meeting was the almost universal theme of how hard it was to get the IT department to do things. The successful deployments either had the initiative come down from on high, so IT had to implement it, or they were using outside-hosted free services (which has its own issues).

And then there was the issue of getting people to contribute to the wiki or blog; not as easy as it may sound. Tracey Carmichael talked about how the BC Securities Commission uses a wiki internally to track new types of investments, and pointed out that many people who have strong opinions in discussions didn’t want to commit those to a wiki. She thought maybe they were nervous of writing something that was later found to be incorrect; I wondered how much is due to people not wishing to be seen to speak for others. These sorts of issues probably also have a large organizational culture component to them — in Sun I haven’t noticed any reticence to using wikis (except for maybe a lack of time and motivation for contributing content) so they are used a lot for projects in my experience.

  One Response to “SLA”

  1. Motivation. A useful analysis of any culture accounts for transaction rewards. If there is a reward for sharing information, people will. Then it comes down to location, frequency and amplitude (value of reward in locale, how often rewarded, and size of reward proportional to the rewards in promimate ST).

    The long tail effects are recursive. The web had a candide-like start. It is matured rapidly and is spawning its third generation. Now the study is of locale and cultural inheritance of reward systems. As the twig is bent… with some twists for individuals and small groups.

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