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panel session optimising technology in libraries

Panel Session:Optimising Technology in Libraries

The Sceptics View Of New Technologies

About This Talk

Panel sessions sometimes fail to be interactive and simply give mini-presentations which fail to engage the audience.

In this talk Brian Kelly challenges consensus views and invites rebuttals.

Brian Kelly


University of Bath



UKOLN is supported by:

the areas
The Areas


RSS and News Feeds

Areas OfConsensus



xhtml where we should be
XHTML – Where We Should Be
  • XHTML:
    • Latest version of HTML
    • W3C Recommendation
    • Provides formal grammar which makes reuse easier
    • Use of XHTML Strict encouraged as a migration path to XHTML 2.0 and true happiness

XHTML is HTML expressed in an XML format. This promises the advantages of XML through simple changes to the well-used HTML grammar (e.g. tags in lower case, quoted attributes, etc.)

XHTML 1.0 will be followed by XHTML 2.0 – a redesigned markup language based on best practices and lessons learnt (and is not backwards compatible)

xhtml where we should be4
XHTML – Where We Should Be?
  • But:
    • Invalid XML pages should not be processed (unlike HTML where the spec expects browsers to attempt to render them)
    • Most Web pages are still invalid
    • Widespread use of XHTML will result in mostly blank pages in Web browsers!
    • 94% of browsers don’t support XHTML correctly
    • Tweak in XHTML spec which allows for deviations for non-compliant browsers is ambiguous
    • Is it likely that a non-backwards-compatible XHTML 2.0 will ever take off?

Conclusions: XHTML is not a standard which should be deployed lightly

rss and news feeds cool
RSS And News Feeds - Cool
  • RSS:
    • A lightweight format for syndication
    • Support provided for free in many Blogs
    • Widely used (e.g. BBC, …)
rss and news feeds cool6
RSS And News Feeds – Cool?
  • But:
    • Embedding newsfeeds from 3rd parties on your Web site allows them to write to your Web site without further checking – this could be dangerous
    • Even if the news is accurate the content could be embarrassing (e.g. THES news of University league table with your University bottom)
    • Which RSS – 0.9, 1.0, 2.0 or Atom?
    • Do we have mature QA for news feeds yet (e.g. invalid characters such as &, © and £ can cause feeds to break)
blogs too good to be true
Blogs – Too Good To be True
  • Blogs:
    • Allows individuals to publish content easily
    • Often standards based – e.g. RSS feeds
    • Blog companies provide professional looking templates
    • Democratising :
      • Blog community responses to misleading statements in US election
      • The Baghdad Blogger
blogs too good to be true8
Blogs – Too Good To be True?
  • Blogs:
    • Vanity publishing
    • I don’t want to read about every thing you did today
    • Often not maintained (remember the diary you received as a child?)
    • The potentially valuable stuff may be stored by third parties
      • Will it still be there next year?
      • Who owns it?
      • Organisational memory can be diffused
wikis one to watch
Wikis – One To Watch
  • Wikis:
    • The Web as originally envisaged - everyone can author
    • Easy to use
    • Wikipedia is a proven success
wikis one to watch10
Wikis – One To Watch?
  • Wikis:
    • Can we trust everyone?
    • Dangers of automated Wiki spam: Wikipedia may be able to manage this, but can we?
    • “A colleague has created a page in a Wiki. I disagree with the content, but it’s his page. If he sent it by email I would have given my views in my reply”
    • Can we trust the content ?
    • Traditional Web authoring (content author -> Web editor) may lead to bottlenecks but ensures quality
    • Lack of standards for the Wiki markup
    • Too much Wiki software –which is the best?
  • Any questions, comments, disagreements, …?