Thursday, 31 July 2008

Researching refugees

via Latest Internet resources added to Intute: Social Sciences Politics gateway on 18 July

This blog is maintained by independent researcher Elisa Mason. It provides regular updates on how researchers of refugee related issues may use the web and new technology to keep up to date. It regularly includes links to new resources online, key websites, webcasts and databases relating to all aspects of the academic study of refugees and forced migration issues. All postings from 2007 may be viewed. It is posible to sign up to an RSS feed for notification of new additions.
Read the blog here

Hazel's comment:
Not overly prolific so if this is your area of work I'd say it's not only worth reading but joining in with discussion.

Projects of public access to the internet for equal opportunities in the inf...

an article by Stanislava Simonova and Martin Halamka in International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning Volume 18 Number 4 (2008)

Information literacy may be characterised as an ability to realise and formulate one's information needs, to become well informed about information sources, to look up information by means of information and communication technologies, to evaluate the information and use it to solve a particular life situation or a professional task. Absence or lack of information literacy certainly creates a strong handicap that may consequently result in differentiation of the population. This is a problem generally referred to as digital divide. In this context, the term "e-inclusion" is often mentioned as well, which is in other words a set of preconditions for effective inclusion of all population groups in the information society. The paper deals with two particular projects that aim at strengthening the e-inclusion in the Czech Republic, or in the Pardubice region.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Rise in employment in Scotland

via The Scottish Government News Online - Latest on 15 July

Figures show a continuing rise in employment and a further fall in unemployment.

Read the full article

Hazel's comment:
It continues to amaze me how little labour market information seems to come from the Scottish Government. And to add to the difficulty of finding it all the official news from Scotland comes in one feed so that you get agriculture, smoking, education and labout markets all mixed together and it is always possible to miss something this way!

Charity Cases: Social-networking phenomenon makes it easy for donors to promote their favorite causes online

via ResourceShelf on 15 July
Source: Wall Street Journal

For most people, networking on the Web means keeping up with friends or building business contacts. Now a number of charities – and thousands of ordinary people – are starting to use online networks to reshape the world of philanthropy.
Charities are setting up sites that make it easy for people to pass along information about causes to their friends and urge them to donate. And people on traditional networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are using the sites to send charitable requests to friends (and friends of friends).

Read the full article

Search engine spam

via Librarian of the Internet by findingDulcinea Staff on 15 July

Katie Hartsough, Audience Development & Interaction, says that she found a very spammy site as the second result in a Google search. Yeah, it happens but do you know what to do about it?

Read Katie's tips here and learn more about evaluating websites for yourself at the same time.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The association of worker productivity and mental health: a review of the literature

an article by Wayne N Burton, Alyssa B Schultz, Chin-Yu Chen and Dee W Edington in International Journal of Workplace Health Management Volume 1 Issue 2 (2008)

Depression and other mental health disorders have a large impact on the quality of life and productivity of millions of individuals worldwide. For employers, mental health disorders are associated with increased health care costs as well as productivity losses in the form of absenteeism, short-term disability absences and reduced on-the-job productivity-known as presenteeism. The purpose of this paper is to review the association of worker productivity and mental health.
This review summarizes the literature on the prevalence of mental health conditions among working adults, and the association between these disorders and productivity. Finally, the impact of interventions or workplace policies on the productivity of those suffering with mental health conditions is covered and recommendations for employers are suggested.
Depressive disorders are relatively common in most workforces compared to other mental health conditions. The majority of studies on mental health and productivity have been conducted as part of nationwide surveys or in patient populations rather than worksites. The majority of studies show associations between mental health conditions and absenteeism (particularly short-term disability absences). When presenteeism is measured by a validated questionnaire, results show that depression significantly impacts on-the-job productivity (presenteeism). Studies also indicate that the treatment expenditures for employees with depression may be offset by reductions in absenteeism, disability and on the job productivity losses.
Workplace policies and benefits which support employees suffering with mental health disorders and provide access to evidenced-based care adhering to best practice guidelines may improve the quality of life of employees and lead to reduced absenteeism, disability and lost productivity.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Knowledge access, creation and transfer in e-government portals

an article by by Dion Hoe-Lian Goh, Alton Yeow-Kuan Chua, Brendan Luyt and Chei Sian Lee in Online Information Review Volume 32 Issue 3 (2008)

Knowledge management (KM) is an important consideration in e-government portals to ensure that knowledge flows efficiently between governments, individuals and organisations. A crucial aspect of e-government portals that has not been addressed adequately is the extent to which KM mechanisms have been implemented. Specifically, the authors argue that appropriate KM mechanisms are necessary to support the access, creation and transfer of knowledge between these portals and their users. The paper aims to propose an evaluation model for this purpose by first defining the main KM mechanisms and then burrowing deeper into their constituent dimensions.
An evaluation model known as knowledge access, creation and transfer (K-ACT) is presented which identifies three KM mechanisms for portals: knowledge access, creation and transfer. Each mechanism is characterised by a set of dimensions and sub-dimensions representing the tools and features for supporting that mechanism. The model was derived from an analysis of the literature and validated by two independent reviewers who were trained in information science, were familiar with the objectives of the project and understood the concepts underlying KM implementation in portals. Using this model, a checklist was developed and applied to 60 e-government portals in the Asian and North American regions to investigate the extent to which these KM mechanisms have been implemented.
The findings indicate that, on average, e-government portals featured only about 36 per cent of the KM mechanisms described in the model. Furthermore, no significant differences in the implementation of the KM mechanisms were found between the two regions' portals. The evaluation also offered potential areas for improvement based on the K-ACT model.
The present work has developed an evaluation model known as K-ACT which can be used to assess KM implementation gaps in e-government portals. This model can also be generalised to other types of portals. The evaluation also provides insights into the state of KM processes in the portals of the Asian and North American regions.

Hazel's comment:
To manage knowledge you have to be able to put it into context. What is this knowledge about? Once you have decided the vocabulary and the method by which the vocabulary will be integrated into the "mechanisms" then, and only then, can you start the process of managing. The language of information and knowledge management is changing so that the phrase "knowledge organisation" covers all the very many ways in which context can be applied to information from a formal thesaurus through a controlled word list to user-generated tags. Lots of work is being done but more needs to be done before we can understand the context of another person's knowledge through the context in which it appears.

Chemistry and physics project libraries

via Latest Internet resources added to Intute: Science Engineering and Technology on 3 July

The libraries for the "Chemistry for our Future" and "Stimulating Physics" projects contain information about science-based careers, interesting experiments, discoveries, and news items about science in the press.

Chemistry for our Future is a Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) project at

Stimulating Physics is a project of the Institute of Physics (IOP) at

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Entrepreneurial in-migrants and economic development in rural England

an article by Gary Bosworth in International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Volume 6 Number 3 (2008)

Counter-urbanisation has generally been viewed as a negative phenomenon, but Stockdale and Findlay (2004) presented rural in-migration as potentially "a catalyst for economic regeneration" based on in-migrants' business activity. More than half of rural microbusinesses in the North-East of England are owned by in-migrants and provide an estimated 10% of jobs in the rural North-East (Bosworth, 2006). In the light of these new drivers of rural development, exogenous and endogenous approaches alone are increasingly inadequate (Lowe et al., 1995; Murdoch, 2000; Terluin, 2003). Ray instead proposed Neo-Endogenous Development, defined as "endogenous-based development in which extra-local factors are recognised as essential but which retains belief in the potential of local areas to shape their future" (2001, p.4). Preliminary research suggests that in-migrants tend to retain more extensive business networks while developing valuable local contacts (Bosworth, 2006). As endogenous actors with diverse networks, in-migrants are well placed to strengthen connectivity with the "extra-local" and introduce new vitality to rural economies.

Getting that dream career is easy according to one in four British teenagers

New research commissioned by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to highlight its Education Maintenance Allowance has revealed that a staggering quarter of British teenagers believe that education is not important in achieving their goals – showing that today’s teenagers clearly need a reality check when it comes to pursuing their dream career.

Read the full press release

Hazel's comment:
What's new? Have teenagers suddenly changed?
'Twas ever thus!

Graduates choose retail careers

via Business Adviser's News

Graduates are eight times more likely to choose a career in retail if they've had a good experience of working in a shop as a student. According to research by Skillsmart, the sector skills council for retail, 64% of students who had a positive experience of working part time in retail, chose a career in retail following completion of their studies. The study found that almost two-thirds of students had worked in retail before graduating, but that 40% had bad experiences of retail as a result.

More on this story

Credo Reference update

The latest additions to the Credo Reference data included nothing that I immediately thought "this will interest guidance practitioners" but something might resononate on a personal level with some of you.

Companion Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy, Routledge
Concise Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature, Routledge
Concise Encyclopedia of Plant Pathology, Routledge
Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs, Elsevier
Encyclopedia of Ethics, Routledge
Encyclopedia of Insects, Elsevier
Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English, Routledge
Encyclopedia of the Solar System, Elsevier
Encyclopedia of Volcanoes, Elsevier
An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Women in Early American Films: 1895-1930, Routledge
Handbook of Research on the Education of Young Children, Routledge
International Encyclopedia of Hospitality Management, Elsevier
Science in the Ancient World: An Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO
Science in the Early Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO
Science in the Enlightenment: An Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Deconstructing blogs

an article by Erik Wilde in Online Information Review Volume 32 Issue 3 (2008)

A growing amount of information available on the web can be classified as contextual information, putting already existing information into a new context rather than creating isolated new information resources. Blogs are a typical and popular example of this category. By looking at blogs from a more context-oriented view, it is possible to deconstruct them into structures which are more contextual than just focused on the content, facilitating flexible reuse of these structures: that is the aim of this paper.
The paper looks at the underlying structures of blogs and blog posts, representing them as multi-ended links. This alternative representation of blogs and blog posts allows us to represent them as reusable information structures. This paper presents blogs as a popular content type, but the approach of restructuring Web 2.0 content can be extended to other classes of information, as long as they can be regarded as being mainly contextual.
By deconstructing blogs and blog posts into their essential properties, it can be shown how there is a simple and universal representation for blogs. This representation allows the reuse of blog information across specific blog or blogging platforms, and can even go beyond blogs by representing other web content which provides context.
This paper presents a novel approach for mapping a popular web content type to a simple and universal representation. The value of such a unified representation lies in exposing the structural similarities among blogs and blog posts, and making them available for reuse.

Hazel's comment:
Does this help us to understand how to manage contextual information?
Certainly the gathering together, from a myriad of sources, information that I think sits well in the context of careers guidance or careers advice is exactly what I'm doing with this blog. If I was to say of myself, as a one-time line manager of mine did some years ago, "not an original thought in her head" I'd probably be near to the truth. Only in this area, I hasten to add in self-justification!

12 council 'trailblazers' to offer homes and jobs advice

A Communities and Local Government: Corporate News article on 3 July tells us "Advice on training, employment and childcare are just some of the extra services that will be on offer to people when they discuss their housing options with their local authority".

Housing Minister Caroline Flint announced the winners of the first of two programmes of "trailblazers" that will offer a greater range of advice to people looking for housing, with some moving towards a "one stop shop" approach of personalised advice and links to employment opportunities and training.

The twelve trailblazers will also take on a mentoring role, sharing best practice and support with around 20 councils that will receive funding to kick start their own enhanced housing options schemes in 2009/2010.

The twelve local authority winners are:
1) Camden
2) Croydon
3) Greenwich
4) Hammersmith & Fulham
5) Southwark
6) Norwich
7) Nottingham
8) Kettering
9) Blackpool
10) Calderdale
11) Ashford
12) Bournemouth

Full press release

Hazel's comment:
Given the amount of time that it takes to learn about employment and training opportunities this seems to me like a thoroughly daft idea. Surely it would make more sense to add "housing advice" to the long list of topics about which guidance practitioners have knowledge. Hang about, don't personal advisers in Connexions Services (where, of course, these still exist) cover health, housing, drugs etc etc? What is going on here?

I'd be grateful for comments that explain it since I can find nothing else except the departmental view.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Compendium of Labour Market Statistics

via The Scottish Government News Online - Latest
A National Statistics for Scotland publication.

Scotland's Chief Statistician has published statistics from the Annual Population Survey (APS), a boosted annual version of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) that is the official source of many labour market and lifelong learning indicators for Scotland and local authority areas in Scotland.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

International Cyberbullying Project

via Latest Internet resources added to Intute: Social Sciences Law gateway

Website of the International Cyberbullying Project, a research project funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The aim of the project is to review international law relating to cyberbullying and develop policy guidelines to help schools globally dealing with the problem of cyberbullying. The site gives background information to the project and profiles of the research team. There is a project blog providing additional information and updates along with details of forthcoming events and conferences. Links to related legal resources from Canada, United States, United Kingdom and Australia and a selection of online videos on cyberbullying are also provided on the site.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Easy calculation

This website from Hiox India provides a collection of online calculators and converters, including areas, statistics, trigonometry, analytical geometry, numbers, matrices, algebra and conversions. Brief tutorials in basic mathematics topics are also provided.

Thus said Intute. What Intute didn't say was that this is an easy-to-use site with everything you could possibly think of by way of calculators and converters. And not just for education and research.

Need to work out your mortgage payments for the next 20 years? Easy calculation.

Want to add days to a date? Easy calculation.

Interested in your Zodiac sign? Easy calculation.

Tag clouds for analysing documents

via Karen Blakeman's Blog by Karen Blakeman on 29 June

CV not getting you those all important interviews?
Nobody answering your job advert?
Or perhaps your corporate publicity is not doing the biz?

Processing your document through a tag cloud generator might give you a clue as to where you are going wrong. Sue Hill gave a presentation at the recent City Information Group open day on CPD and skills. In passing she mentioned that they sometimes run a CV or job description through a tag cloud generator to show people why their lovingly-created prose is way off the mark. The tag cloud brings to the fore your most used terms and it can be a shock to discover that you have placed the emphasis in totally the wrong area. It then struck me that you could do this with any form of literature – a web page, training publicity, membership recruitment forms.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of tag cloud generators on the Web and most of them are free. For starters try Wordle, Tagcrowd, or Tag Cloud Generator.

The example Karen provides is a tag cloud of the UKeiG home page generated by Wordle.

Hazel's comment:
OK, I know I said I'd do this as soon as I got in from church but ... but ... What the heck, I just didn't.
Stunning idea though and it really works.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

New times call for new job search methods

The Career Digest Volume 8 Issue 4 (June 2008) is an American publication that I tend to glance at rather than read but I stopped when I saw the following:

The last time Phylise Banner looked for a job, the job market was much different. And as someone who designs online distance-learning programs for a living, she knows the world has changed since she last pounded the pavement. "This is a different type of search," says Banner. "I'm trying to create my own online agency to promote myself." Banner maintains a profile on several social-networking sites, including a popular online address book that can broadcast her job-seeking status to anyone keeping up with her comings and goings. Banner is ahead of a big curve. "Job seekers today don't realize the extent to which social networks are a good tool to reach someone inside the corporation you've targeted," says Gerry Crispin, a corporate-recruiting consultant at CareerXroads. On her website, Banner has posted the full text of her resume, seeded with key words she's researched for her industry. Time is still of the essence in a job search – it just moves quicker these days. Be among the first to know when a job opens up by also setting up automatic searches on job search engine sites. They'll spider other sites, then send alerts to your email address.

Phylise is on Facebook and LinkedIn and if you search for her name using Google you will find that she's not just in the top ten she is the top ten.
Of course it does help that she has an unusual name but it is possible to get into the first page unless you happen to be John Smith or David Davis (you get British politicians).

I'm off to church now but will write up Karen Blakeman's post on using tag cloud applications to improve a CV when I return.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Future prediction

via BBC News Technology UK Edition on 19 June

How a computer forecast pupils' career paths

Read the full article

Hazel's comment:
Remember, remember – no, not the 5th of November but the days of mainframe computers and when career assessment meant filling in forms which were processed away from school and the resulting suggestions sent by what we now call snail-mail?
Does the name Jim Closs still resonate?
What about JIIG-CAL?
It's where it all started as far as computerised careers "advice" was concerned and a very interesting article it is!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Overtime and mental health

via Mental Health Update by John Gale on 18 June

A Norwegian study of over 10,000 people has found that those who work more overtime are more at risk of anxiety and depression. The study compared those people who worked 40 hours per week or less with those who worked between 41 and 100 hours. Rates of depression increased from 9% in men who worked normal hours to 12.5% in those who worked longer while for women there was an increase from 7% to 11%. In both sexes rates of anxiety and depression were higher among workers who were less skilled and had lower incomes. The relationship was strongest among men who worked the most overtime (49-100 hours). People who worked such long hours were more likely to be engaged in heavy manual labour and shift work and to have lower levels of skills and education.

More information about this research

Hazel's comment:
I'm not entirely convinced by the correlation that this research indicates between long hours and mental strain. The increases are not vast and the fact that the greatest strain is felt by people on low incomes could indicate that it isn't the long hours that is causing the problems but the low pay which necessitates the long hours.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Callcentre helper

via Latest Internet resources added to Intute: Social Sciences Business and Management gateway on 17 June

Callcentre helper is an online news and help service for anyone working in or managing call centres. However, it could be interesting for management students or researchers who are looking for data and findings on call centres, e.g. company news and surveys of customer needs. Job vacancies are also advertised.

Hazel's comment:
I'd be inclined to bookmark this as a useful resource. It certainly seems to "tell it like it is" but without being overly gloomy. And despite a down-turn in the economy (not ever called a recession, at least not yet) staff are wanted in callcentres.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Credo Reference Update June 2008

Many of you will be aware that I am a great fan of Credo Reference. I note that a deal has been struck with schools in Scotland to provide a number of information and encyclopedic databases -- several of which are available on Credo Reference and available for free through your local public library (if you're lucky!)

Anyway the latest additions list has arrived and contains a couple of sources that I think you will find useful and/or interesting.

A complete list of available titles is here

Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences (see below for details)

Social Sciences Handbook of Forensic Psychology: Resource for Mental Health and Legal Professionals

Handbook of Vegetable Pests (nothing to do with careers education or guidance but I happen to know a librarian who a) reads this blog and b) is troubled by things eating her tomato plants)

International Handbook of Giftedness and Talent

And updated to the latest edition is:

The Wisden Archive of Cricketers' Lives 2008

Featured Title of the Month
The Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences, Sixth Edition Elsevier Science and Technology provides a comprehensive summary and evaluation of recent research on the social aspects of aging. The chapters are divided into four sections discussing

  • Aging and Time
  • Aging and Social Structure
  • Social Factors and Social Institutions
  • Aging and Society

Within this context, aging is examined from the perspectives of many disciplines and professions including anthropology, bioethics, demography, economics, epidemiology, law, political science, psychology, and sociology. The Sixth Edition of the Handbook is "virtually 100% new material." Seventeen chapters are on subjects not carried in the previous edition. Some of the exciting new topics include:

There is also a greater emphasis on international perspectives, particularly in chapters on

Report on employability after prison

via The Scottish Government News Online on 16 June

Learning initiatives to prepare people for life on leaving prison.

Read the full article and access the report (HTML).

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

The ultimate niche job search?

via - United Kingdom headlines on 11 June

The Guinness Premiership Rugby Club Leicester Tigers have today posted their key coaching and management role on the niche job-site,

Hazel's comment:
I know that there are hundreds, nay thousands, of job sites on the Internet -- I had simply not realised how many of them are highly specialised.

Mummy, where do jobs come from?

via - United Kingdom headlines on 26 June

fish4jobs reveals two thirds of school leavers don't know where to start when it comes to getting work.

Read the full article which indicates that careers advice for school leavers is not getting through to the people that need the help.

No comment!

Billers, players, and income inequality

A very interesting post by Arnold Kling at the EconLog. He very concisely defines the economic differences between entrepreneurs (players) and workers (billers).
It is these differences, it is argued, that lead to increasing levels of income inequality.
Hazel's comment:
Of course, as I asked in my earlier post, maybe it is the case that some pigs will always be greater than others!

The End of Politics: New Labour and the folly of managerialism

a book by Chris Dillow (£10.99 at was reviewed on the The Adam Smith Institute Blog at the beginning of June.

New Labour's distinctive idea is that equality and efficiency are partners, not enemies. But that's just managerialist ideology - the belief that trade-offs between conflicting values can be managed away. They can't. New Labour's main economic policies - tax credits, the minimum wage, expanding higher education and macroeconomic stability - have not removed the trade-off between equality and efficiency. But the managerialists have deeper flaws. They fail to recognize the multiple and conflicting meanings of equality and efficiency. And they assume that governments have knowledge and rationality that in fact nobody has.

So, says 'stumbling and mumbling' blogger Chris Dillow, let's scrap managerialism and replace it with genuine policies: ditch the idea that politicians can manage away social problems, and instead have a proper debate about conflicting ideals.

Hazel's comment:
In line with the current inability of "people" to read long texts I have not even seen this book let alone read it. Is efficient equality possible? I really don't know -- what I do know is that it's not just a New Labour administration that has failed to achieve equality. Maybe some pigs are always more equal than others. As for efficiency in government it seems to me that if only the politicians would leave things alone for a while without continual change then we might see improvements in efficiency.

Diplomas hit by low-status claim

Financial Times 29 June

The Nuffield Foundation recommends a European-style high school baccalaureate containing a mixture of the academic and vocational, which it thinks would have more prestige.

Read more »

Hazel's comment:
Yet another organisation weighs into the argument against the "flagship" Diplomas.