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top down or bottom up approaches to web innovation

Top Down Or Bottom Up Approaches To Web Innovation?

Acceptable Use Policy

Recording/broadcasting of this talk, taking photographs, discussing the content using email, instant messaging, blogs, SMS, etc. is permitted provided distractions to others is minimised.

Brian Kelly


University of Bath



Resources bookmarked using ‘semantic-web-thinktank-2007-03' tag

UKOLN is supported by:

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat)

traditional approaches
Traditional Approaches
  • What we thought:
    • W3C was the trusted guardian of Web innovations
    • W3C saved us from fragmentation threats
    • W3C would continue to roll out innovations which would be deployed in the market place
    • W3C standards would form the basis for digital library development programmes (e.g. NOF-digi; JISC programmes; etc.)
were we right
Were We Right?
  • NOF-digi & JISC Standards documents:
    • Use PNG; SVG; SMIL; …
    • Flash, PDF, Java, … aren’t open so they don’t fit in with an open standards approach
    • Web Services & Semantic Web standards will be important
  • What happened:
    • PNG; SVG; SMIL?
    • Flash; PDF; Java – widely deployed, so a more flexible approach for use of standards was adopted
    • Web Services Considered Harmful panel at WWW 2005
    • Amazon report REST approach preferred to W-S* standards (80/20)
    • Semantic Web vs. l/c semantic web debates flourish;
    • W3C revive HTML developments

An “evidence-based” approach begins to be preferred to ideological beliefs

role of web 2 0
Role of Web 2.0
  • Web 2.0:
    • Forget (for now) blogs, wikis, etc.
    • Consider characteristics such as rapid development, user engagement, ‘always beta’, clean URIs, microformats, mashups, …
  • Suggestion:
    • Web 2.0 clearly provides (today) the rich environment for developing popular & user-focussed services
    • We should be looking (outwards) at the successes of the Web 2.0 environment and not (inwards) at new schema developments
light vs heavy weight development
Light- vs. Heavy-Weight Development
  • Lightweight Exploitation:
    • Companies with limited funding (6 months to release or we don’t get paid)
    • This helps to avoid mission drift, feature creep & a user-focus (it must be ‘cool’; we must exploit viral marketing)
  • Heavyweight Exploitation:
    • (Typically) public-sector bodies in large consortia
    • ‘Worthy’ but most definitely not ‘cool’
    • Focus groups; advisory bodies and need to address multiple political & cultural pressures stifle innovation
    • Academic organisations cause drift towards addressing intellectually challenging problems
    • Inability to respond quickly to technological & cultural changes

A Daily Mail stereotype of public sector IT development, or a valid criticism of national /international development activities?

exploiting web 2 0 developments

Dapper Home Page

UK University Locator (unfunded)

  • Explore Dapper (and Dapplications) as a lightweight scraping tool (e.g. exploit microformats)
  • Explore existing Dapplications (e.g. magg)
  • Geo-location services are ripe for exploiting (and do you need to fund this?)
Exploiting Web 2.0 Developments

Yahoo! Pipes is RSS Feed Mashup Editor

  • What can we do?
    • Explore Yahoo Pipes as a lightweight development tool
are museums doing it right

BK: We should place a 2-year moratorium on large-scale new projects, programmes and initiatives and focus public funds instead on sustained investment in core capacity building small-scale innovation and skills development

Are Museums Doing It Right?
  • Reflections on Nick Poole’s vision:
  • NP: We should place a 2-year moratorium on new projects, programmes and initiatives & focus public funds instead on sustained investment in core capacity building and skills development

NP: Significant investment should be made in 3-4 high-value, high-density destination sites such as the 24 Hour Museum which act as 'ambassadors' for our sector in the online environment

BK: Small-scale investment should be made in 3-4 low-cost, high-density mashup sites such as the 24 Hour Museum alongside encouragement to 3rd party 'ambassadors' for our sector (e.g. YouTube).

in harmony with the bbc
In Harmony With The BBC
  • BBC 2.0 vision outlined at JISC Conference (13 March):
    • Do not attempt to do everything yourselves… link to other high-quality sites yourselves (cf use of Flickr as repository & selection process for John Peel day photos)
    • Fall forward fast… make many small bets
    • Treat the entire web as a creative canvas (i.e. blended stuff)
    • The web is a conversation… join in. Adopt a relaxed conversational tone. Admit your mistakes. (i.e. don’t tell)
    • Maximise routes to content. Develop as many aggregations as possible reflecting as many people, places topics, channels, networks and time as possible.
    • Let people paste your content on the walls of their virtual homes. YouTube is an excellent example of this.
    • Link to discussions on the web, don’t host them… Only host web-based discussions where there is a clear rationale.  (i.e. exploit 3rd party services)
why not
Why Not?

Why Not?


We’re reliant on large funds from the EU

We have to own the data, the metadata, the software


This Web 2.0 thing is simple to use and can provide lots of benefits!

This doesn’t fit our research agenda

Google might go bankrupt

Adapted from Washington Post cartoon

  • Some issues for discussion:
    • Would a heavyweight Semantic Web recommendation be appropriate at present?
    • Is a recommendation for a top-down approach appropriate in a Web 2.0 environment?
    • Can we regard Web 2.0 as a testbed rather than a solution?
    • If a user-focussed approach is advisable, do we have concrete evidence that a heavyweight solution (a) is needed and (b) will be used?
    • What lessons can be learnt from previous cultural heritage development activities?

In reality we’ll probably have both bottom-up and top-down approaches. A challenge will be