Sunday, 30 November 2008

Towards a post-human distributed cognition environment

an article by Ali Yakhlef (Stockholm University School of Business and Groupe ESC-Pau)in Knowledge Management Research & Practice Volume 6 Issue 4 (December 2008)

The view of communities of practice as the relevant context for generating and gaining knowledge has raised fears that these will fall prey to various organisational, social or political manipulations. This paper aims to question these humanist concerns, arguing that knowledge context is increasingly becoming a post-human context that lies beyond the direct control and manipulation of humans. In terms of this post-human position, the paper outlines this shift, suggesting that emergence replaces human intentionality and the dynamic partnership between humans and non-humans, and that intelligent machines replace the liberalist, humanist subject's manifest destiny to dominate and control knowledge. This paper aims to raise/rekindle the debate on the prospects of managing knowledge and learning in organisations. Finally, implications for the community-based learning theory are discussed.

Hazel's comment:
As is usual I've read the abstract before being able to access the full article in the hard-copy journal but this sounds remarkably as though the author expects machines to take over the world – machines programmed by humans or super-intelligent ones that can manage which us?
Just checked the British Library holding and the printed journal has not arrived but this issue is available in the electronic collection so it looks as though I'll be sitting in front of a computer screen for a while next week!
I'll keep you posted on this one (although it may not be as interesting as the abstract leads me to think it might be).

Thursday, 27 November 2008

More on The Future of Higher Education

via Intute Blog by Paul Ayres on 14 November

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) in the process of reviewing how higher education works and what government needs to do to ensure that universities stay competitive, and meet the needs of students and employers over the next 10-15 years.
To that end, commissioned contributions from a number of key figures in the sector have been published on The Future of Higher Education blog and they are open to comment from community.
Some of the papers also include recommendations and cover a variety of subjects including:
Academia and public policy making
Demographic challenge facing Higher Education
Intellectual property and research benefits
International issues in higher education
Online higher education learning (E-learning)
Part-time studies in Higher Education
Research careers
Teaching and the student experience
Understanding institutional performance

Perhaps of particular relevance is the paper about On-line Innovation in Higher Education by Professor Sir Ron Cooke of JISC, which is analysed in some detail by Tony Hirst of the OU.

Intute: Social Sciences features more Internet resources on the issues of Higher Education, Educational Policy Educational Technology and the Public Administration of Education.

What more can I say?

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Web users don't know how to report illegal content

via PC Advisor News on 27 October

Over three-quarters of web users have stumbled across disturbing content on the net but have no idea how to report it, according to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

Read the full article

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Government data losses: Distributed databases are not the answer

via TechRepublic Blogs by Tom Olzak on 3 November

As elected officials and non-elected government employees struggle with how to arise above bureaucratic, information security ineffectiveness, they continue to plan for and establish large, centralized databases containing our information. Is spreading the data across disparate repositories the answer?

Read the full article

Launch of the National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure

The creation of a legacy for The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has moved a step closer with the launch of the National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure.

Please click here to view the full press release
from the LSC on 20 November

Monday, 24 November 2008

Search engine cache does not infringe copyright, rules US court

via OUT-LAW News on 29 October

A court has ruled that Yahoo! and Microsoft had an implied licence to copy and display pages from a website because the operator of that site knew how the search engines’ opt-out procedures worked but chose to ignore them.

Read full article

Hackosis Brute Force Calculator – just how secure is your password?

via The Red Ferret Journal by Nigel on 4 November

The Hackosis Brute Force Calculator tells you how long your password will last against sustained attack. The results will probably surprise and scare you a little. Especially if you're relying on simple memorable passwords to lock away your online stuff.
Think again.
Think *($&£^"_8/>~'#89*&$*&

Better to be safe than sorry so check it out here

Hazel's comment:
1.22 days is too long for a hacker to try to break in, surely? Do you think I ought to change that one? The one mistake I do not make is to use the same password for everything, unlike some people I know. I needed, genuinely needed, to use someone else's password to get into a site to check something and was blithely told"you know it". Oh dear wasn't quite my reaction.

Domestic Workers Organize!

an article by Eileen Boris (University of California, Santa Barbara) and Premilla Nadasen (Queens College, CUNY) in WorkingUSA Volume 11 Issue 4 (2008)

This article traces the history of domestic worker organisng in the U.S. It challenges the long-standing assumption that these – primarily women of colour – cleaners, nannies, and elder care providers are unorganizable and assesses the possibilities and limitations of recent organising efforts. The nature of the occupation – its location in the home, the isolated character of the work, informal arrangements with employers, and exclusions from labour law protection – has fostered community-based, social movement organising to build coalitions, reform legislation and draw public attention to the plight of domestic workers. Their successes, as well as the obstacles they encounter, hold lessons for other low-wage service sector workers in a new global economy. Domestic workers have integrated an analysis of race, class, culture, and gender – a form of social justice feminism – into their praxis, thus formulating innovative class-based strategies. Yet long-term reform has remained elusive because of their limited power to shape state policy.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Why I copyfight

Cory Doctorow in the November issue of Locus Magazine

Read it here and don't blame me for not wanting to précis it. Cory's writing does not easily lend itself to being summarised and the piece is far too good to be ignored!

Policy for a change: local labour market analysis and gender equality

Edited by Sue Yeandle

GBP 65 (52 with website discount)

ISBN: 9-781-84742-054-1

232 pages HB 240 x 172

Using a new and original approach, this illuminating book explores women's employment at the start of the 21st century, identifying aspects of women's labour market situation which remain poorly understood and challenging much “received wisdom” about women and work.
Further information from the Policy Press online bookshop

Hazel's comment:
Probably most of the publications from Policy Press are either a) way out of our league price-wise or b) don't cover the subjects in which most guidance and careers information practitioners are interested.
a) probably applies here except for the larger organisations but b) certainly doesn't. I've not had the opportunity to read the book yet (not yet in the British Library catalogue and at 232 pages I'm actually going to read it) but the write-ups make it look really good.

Regional labour market disparities are narrowing

via Intelligence November 2008 from UKCES

New figures from Eurostat (the European Commission's statistical office) suggest that regional disparities in employment and unemployment have been narrowing over recent years. However, despite this, nearly a fifth of the economically active population in the 27 European Union countries is still living in under-performing regions in terms of unemployment. Eurostat's analysis looks at two kinds of regional labour market disparity indicators. These are the dispersion of employment and unemployment rates and the index of underperforming regions.
Full details here

!0 more trivial (or in one case not trivial) items

which should have been published, if I'd stuck to my to-do list, on 28 October

HOWTO turn a banana into a no-spoon baby-meal via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow on 17 October
Here's an awesome Parenthack: mash a banana in the peel, rip off one end and squirt it into your kid's gob like icing.

Sylvania Dot-it light bugs via Popgadget: Personal Tech for Women on 27 October
Dot-it light bugs come in packs of two or five lights (in color combos with white, black, green, blue, and purple) and can be purchased from Sylvania.

Do not discard brain – war on terror poster via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow on 20 October
Today's Wellington Grey comic says it all: "Warning: In Case of Terrorist attack, do not discard brain."

Internet searching may boost brain
For middle-aged and older adults, searching the Internet could be a boost to the brain, a new study suggests.
(from Internet Resources News – thanks to Roddy and the crew)

Project Euler via Newton Excel Bach, not (just) an Excel Blog by dougaj4 on 12 November
Whilst tag-surfing I discovered Project Euler, which looks like fun for people who enjoy mathematical puzzles.

Personality test for your blog via Innovate by (Peta) on 13 November
Typealyzer analyses your blog to assess your personality type.

Temptation Blocker - superb software helps control our sad computer addiction via The Red Ferret Journal by Nigel on 12 November
Temptation Blocker is a freeware program that helps you kick the habit. You know, the procrastinating, time-wasting, life-sapping computer addiction you pretend you haven't got.

Another data loss? via The Privacy, Identity & Consent Blog by Toby Stevens on 10 November
Newsbiscuit is reporting that a book containing the names and telephone numbers of hundreds of thousands of people has been discovered on a doorstep.
You know what? There was an identical one on my neighbour's doorstep too.

Burmese blogger receives 20-years prison for poem about dictator via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder on 11 November
A blogger, a poet, and a lawyer from Burma (Myanmar) all received prison sentences for a poem that contained a hidden message criticizing Burmese dictator Senior General Than Shwe.
Thank God I don't live in Burma.

Is surfing the Internet altering your brain? via bizSugar / Hot Topics by ArmadaIG on 31 October
The Internet is not just changing the way people live but altering the way our brains work with a neuroscientist arguing this is an evolutionary change which will put the tech-savvy at the top of the new social order.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Count page views, not site visits, when suing for Internet libel

via OUT-LAW News on 4 November

Courts cannot assume that online material has been read without some evidence in libel cases, a court has ruled. The court cannot simply infer from statistics on website visits that certain people have read a particular article, it said.

Read the full article

European online library launches

via BBC News Technology UK Edition on 19 November

The British Library is among more than 1,000 cultural groups contributing to a European online library.

and almost immediately closes because the number of accesses overwhelmed the server!

Quality assurance and gender discrimination in English universities: an investigation

an article by Jayne Smith (Institute of Education Policy Research, Staffordshire University, Business School) in British Journal of Sociology of Education Volume 29 Issue 6 (November 2008)

The present paper argues that university quality assurance (QA) promotes a masculinist culture leading to systemic discrimination against female academics. The analysis relates to the question of what it is about academic life that results in persistent gender inequality. Based on an ethnographically informed comparative study, textual/discourse analysis of 30 interviewee transcripts reveals disguised messages about QA. The interpretation argued draws on a theoretical scrutiny of the covert power of a masculinist QA movement to disproportionately disadvantage female academics. The paper suggests that this has been made possible by a QA presentation discourse harnessed by male academics to manage identities. It argues that dominant definitions of the “competent academic” that discriminate against females are normalised and cemented within a societal conscience.

Friday, 21 November 2008

ICT in CEG national conference

The second ICT in CEG national conference will take place on 5-6 March at the Monkbar Hotel, York.

Careers information practitioners will probably be aware that it is some time since there has been an Information Managers' Conference and several of the option session topics will be of particular relevance to you!

Let's concentrate on the information and let others consider the technology of it!

Anyway, the programme has, say organisers Pete Hulse and Hilary Nickell, has come together well and all the details can be found on with an application form and feedback from the first conference last March.

Note that the discounted early bird offer will continue to the end of December so apply now!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

New one-stop shop for cohesion launched

The new iCoCo portal is a free interactive, searchable resource guide aimed at practitioners and policy-makers with an interest in cohesion. The portal will be constantly updated and expanded to offer improved services in the months to come.

Read the full press release

The cohesion Institute is at

They took their time but

the Learning and Skills Council has discontinued its contract with Liberata and appointed Capita to take on its full range of learner support services – including Education Maintenance Allowances (EMA) and the Adult Learning Grant (ALG).

Full press release here

I just hope that it is not from frying pan to fire but I guess the LSC didn't have a lot of choice.

Don't be a victim of Sinowal, the super-Trojan

via Windows Secrets by Woody Leonhard on 20 November

The sneaky “drive-by download” known as Sinowal has been, uh, credited with stealing more than 500,000 bank-account passwords, credit-card numbers, and other sensitive financial information.This exploit has foiled antivirus software manufacturers time and again over the years, and it provides us in real time a look at the future of Windows infections.

Read the full article and if you're anything like me you'll be worried! I actually read the whole article.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

10 off-topic items you may find interesting

and I can have a celebratory cup of coffee because this is the post that I should have published on 21 October so unlike the 14 October one I'm not a whole month behind (and it really is 07:50 on Thursday morning. I've not even had breakfast yet)!

Howjsay - audio dictionary
via LibrarianInBlack by Sarah Houghton-Jan on 7 October
OK, this is just plain useful. Howjsay is a dictionary with an audio component. Look up a word and get an MP3 clip with the correct pronunciation of the word. When your result comes back, the sound plays automatically but you can also hover your cursor over the word again and again to hear it repeated. The results page also shows nearby words (alphabetically). I did notice that the accent sounded slightly European (British-esque, but not quite). Plain, simple, easy, and awesome.

Site of the Day: Rules of Thumb
via Librarian of the Internet by findingDulcinea Staff on 10 October
Rules of Thumb gathers all those invaluable strictures that govern our lives and puts them into a single online reference. Whether they're life lessons or handy little tips, we all have rules of thumb that we adhere to and now there's a community where we can share them. Browse the site by topic, search for a particular term, or peruse the rules community members have found the most helpful.

Disco Tune Stayin' Alive Could Save Your Life
via Latest news from our site on 18 October
CPR can triple survival rates, but research has shown many people do chest compressions too slowly, or are reluctant to do it at all, because they are unsure about the proper rhythm. Now, doctors have found the Bee Gees 1977 disco classic Stayin' Alive provides an ideal beat to follow.

Cave Paintings Took Thousands of Years to Complete
via on 9 October
Archaeologists’ new dating techniques reveal a shocking fact about cave paintings: many of the paintings were done over a period of 20,000 years or so.

BookCrossing - where are they now?
via The Red Ferret Journal by Dan on 22 October
BookCrossing has been around since 2001 and is still going strong with over 718,000 registered participants. For those of you new to the idea of BookCrossing, it's very simple. Simply register at the website and register the book you're going to set free.

List Lovevia Librarian of the Internet by findingDulcinea Staff (Rachel Balik Senior Writer) on 13 November

It's hard to say why, but as a culture, we adore lists. They're easy, natural and fun to make. You can make lists of places you want to go, lists of people to invite to a party, lists of things you need to do before the end of the week (OK, maybe that's not so much fun … but still.) At findingDulcinea, we're kicking off our own series of lists to keep you in touch with Web resources. To get you in the mood, we've found a few unique lists from around the Web.

1) The Village of Joy Blog lists "50 Strange Buildings of The World." Maybe strange isn't the right word: these buildings are universally architecturally awesome. A variety of shapes, styles and colors make each one of these buildings, new and old, entirely distinct.

2) Each year, Time magazine collects the 50 Best Inventions. Some of them are probably as structurally magnificent as the buildings, and many of them have great potential to alter culture as we know it. (The iPhone was once on this list.)

3) 7summits is a shorter list, but the seven items on it are of far greater magnitude: the highest mountains on Earth. Look at pictures, read stories and legends, or even consider making a trip to visit one—the site can help you figure out how much training you'll need to make the climb.

Games for the Brain
via Creative Commons » CC News by Cameron Parkins on 14 November
Games for the Brain is a fun site that features a number of memory, quiz, and brain games all released under a CC BY-NC-SA license. A number of the games are embeddable, making them easily available for sharing while others reuse previously CC-licensed material. Whether it is an online destination to pass time, procrastinate, or hone your mental skills, Games for the Brain is a nice and simple addition to the growing landscape of CC-licensed content.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

One step from benefits to work

via Department for Work And Pensions on 20 October

It will now be easier for people to move from benefits into work, as they will only have to make one call to update their details, ensuring they are getting the right in-work entitlements and that it pays to work.

Read the full press release

Hazel's comment:
If one call updates all the data that is required for moving from out-of-work benefits to in-work benefits then how many different databases does the person you are talking to have access to? One or many? If one then the potential for inappropriate use is enormous (not to mention possibly having the data lost), if more than one then the possibility for error is on a scale I do not like to think about. Or are all these data repositories linked?

10 interesting things

which should have been published on 14 October. I have been neglecting my duty to my reader!

Shrek Gets a New Donkey and Dragon is Redefined
via HappyNews - Top Stories on 1 October

brand tags
via Phil Bradley's weblog 7 October
This is just really interesting. It’s a site that displays brands on the screen for you (like Canon, Google, Costco and so on) and you add in a word or a phrase to describe what it means to you. Almost entirely pointless, yet engaging at the same time. Some companies need to be concerned – “Capital One” had as some seriously large/common/popular tags “annoying”, “barbarians”, “crooks”, “debt” and so on. There's also a pit one brand against another game, which is great if you're feeling annoyed and want a release of tension!
Thanks for that, Phil.

Reading Books Can Help Kids Lose Weight
via on 6 October
When a child is overweight, laying off the sugary snack foods and spending more time on the jungle gym may be good ways to drop a few points. But new research shows that there’s another effective weight loss method that you’ve probably never considered: reading a book.

Baconator: fantasy vs reality
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder on 1 October
An advertisement for the Baconator sandwich lured Timbotron of Blogadilla into a Wendy's restaurant. But the real thing didn't look much like the advertisement.
It was like when I found out that Santa Claus wasn't real.
All the ingredients were there, but they didn't look like the advertisement photos and they tasted like greasy sadness.

The "real" Mordor is...Transylvania (duh)
via TechRepublic Blogs by Jay Garmon on 13 October
The intricately described geography of the world of Lord of the Rings borrows liberally from the geography of Europe. How much so? Well, UCLA cartographer and geologist Peter Bird has mapped out much of Middle Earth as it would appear on actual Earth.

Where does he find them?
Cory Doctorow found this perfectly sick-making short promotional film for the London Transport service made in 1950.
If you can bear it you can watch eight minutes of the most patronising piece of film you are ever likely to come across (even for 1950).
Journey by a London Bus (1950)

A 1969 perspective on computers in the future
via TechRepublic Blogs by John Sheesley on 21 October
This 1969 video shows the convenience of online shopping, banking, and an electronic correspondence machine. It shows a future with a passable resemblance to today.

Giant Bat Swoops Back from Brink of Extinction
via on 4 November
You’d better duck – a giant bat species is swooping back after a near-brush with extinction.

King Solomon’s Copper Mines Found?
via HappyNews - Top Stories on 30 October

The Mighty Potato
via Doing Business Blog - The World Bank Group by Simeon Djankov on 5 November
A new paper by Nathan Nunn (Harvard University) and Nancy Qian (Brown University) comes up with a startling conclusion: the adoption of potatoes in the Old World (meaning Europe) explains 17% of the post-1700 increase in population growth and 37% of the increase in urbanization growth.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Another Look at Civic Literacy in a Digital Age

an article by Michael Berson (University of South Florida) and Phillip VanFossen (Purdue University) in Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education Volume 8 Issue 3 (2008)

The second James F. Ackerman Colloquium on Technology and Citizenship, held on the campus of Purdue University in July 2007 was designed to bring together a group of 30 scholars to present research and to collaborate on these and other technology related issues. The event was sponsored by the James F. Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship, housed in Purdue University’s College of Education. The Colloquium was entitled “Educating for Citizenship in Digital and Synthetic Worlds: Privacy, Protection and Participation”. In this issue, we feature the following article that further extends the focus on the theme of Civic Literacy in a Digital Age: “An Analysis of Electronic Media to Prepare Children for Safe and Ethical Practices in Digital Environments”.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Smack down: copyright cases head to court (part 1) : Table of Contents

an article by Norm Medeiros in OCLC Systems & Services Volume 24 Issue 4

This paper aims to highlight two recent copyright controversies that have implications for academic institutions in the USA.
The paper focuses on the copyright infringement case against Georgia State University, detailing aspects of the lawsuit as they are noted in the complaint.
The paper recognizes the well-documented case against Georgia State University is strong, especially given contemporary views on fair use.
This paper offers depth to important copyright stories that may affect US institutions.

Hazel's comment:
May be offering depth to copyright stories that may affect US institutions but is also useful for institutions in other countries.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Education, Education, Education: The Third Way and PFI

an article by Ciaran Connolly (Queen's University Belfast) and Gary Martin and Anthony Wall (University of Ulster) in Public Administration Volume 86 Issue 4 (2008)

In 1997, New Labour set about the task of reforming public services in the United Kingdom through the use of an ideology that became known as the “Third Way”. This research examines the context from which this concept emerged, and explores its relationship with the tools of delivery, with particular reference to the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). The paper begins by reviewing the Third Way, before analysing the arguments for and against PFI. Using an example from the Northern Ireland education sector, the paper argues that the characteristics associated with the Third Way are mirrored in the operational tools of public service delivery, such as PFI. The paper concludes that, within the context of the case study reviewed, there is a “consistent pragmatism” in play in relation to how these delivery initiatives are operated and how they relate to their conceptual underpinnings.

Are career centers worthwhile? Predicting unique variance in career outcome through career center usage

an article by Céleste M Brotheridge and Jacqueline L Power in Career Development International Volume 13 Issue 6 (2008)

This study seeks to examine the extent to which the use of career center services results in the significant incremental prediction of career outcomes beyond its established predictors.
The authors survey the clients of a public agency's career center and use hierarchical multiple regressions in order to examine the extent to which it achieved its goals.
Career center usage predicted career resilience and action as well as perceived management commitment to employee development beyond established predictors for these variables. Employees' belief that they were personally responsible for their careers was the prime predictor of career center usage.
Research limitations/implications
The primary limitations of this research are the cross-sectional research design, the self-selected sample, and the single source of survey data.
Practical implications
Making a career center available to employees can help them adjust to the new protean career model and an environment of considerable downsizing. Using the career center leads to positive results with respect to the perceptions of management.
Although the cultural barrier to career center usage is likely to be resolvable only over time, supervisors could be encouraged to offer more support and coaching to employees. Also, employees' jobs can be developed by increasing the extent to which supervisors provide feedback to employees, allow employees to work autonomously, and require the use of multiple skills.

BECTa unveils effective learning site

via Kable's Government Computing (email alert) on 5 November

The national education technology agency has launched a new Next Generation Learning campaign website. The site provides information on how some schools and organisations are using technology to motivate learners and improve results. It has been equipped with a postcode search facility to help parents find out which schools have been given the ICT Mark for effective use of technology. It also provides details of exemplar schools.

Monday, 10 November 2008

TargetJobs and TargetCourses

TargetJobs: jobs for graduates
TargetCourses: postgraduate courses

Thanks to Internet Resources Newsletter Number 167 for these.

Hazel's comment:

Given the Target name on these two sites I would really like to recommend them to you but ...
Both were exceedingly slow to load (could be my connection I suppose but not that slow, surely?) to the point that I didn't even check any of the vacancies.

I did, however, go through the grindingly slow search for information management in the courses and got 2,563 records returned. None in the first 20 were information management.

If you find anything different here I'd be glad to know about it.

Men narrow longevity gap on women

Data from the Office for National Statistics show that life expectancy and improvements in life expectancy are strongest in parts of the country where incomes are highest.

Read more »

Hazel's comment:
Are we supposed to be surprised at these findings? If you can afford to buy good quality food and private healthcare then the chances are that, all other things being equal, you will live longer than someone who can't do those things.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Creating the next generation of library leaders

an article by Jennifer Arnold, Lisa T Nickel and Lisa Williams in New Library World Volume 109 Issue 9/10 (2008)

The paper aims to answer the question: “Where is our profession going and who is leading us there?”
The article presents results of a survey directed to leadership institute attendees and attempts to determine the impact of such institutes on librarians' careers, and their willingness to move into administrative positions (department head, director, etc.) or leadership roles (project leader, committee chair). This paper was developed from the poster session, “Follow Me! Are Leadership Institutes Creating the Next Generation of Library Leaders?” presented at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Washington, DC, June 24, 2007. Survey questions allowed data collection on the nature and impact of the leadership institute experience, attendees' supervisory and administrative experience, and their future professional goals. The role of leadership mentors and the potential of mentorship to increase the number of library leaders was also considered.
Librarians who attended leadership institutes felt it had a direct impact on their careers because they are more willing to move into leadership, management, and administrative roles. The majority of attendees find their leadership institute experience professionally valuable and would recommend it to others. Additionally, survey findings reveal the importance of professional mentors.
Research limitations/implications
The survey was limited to librarians who attended a leadership institute. Approximately 75% of respondents were female which reflects the general demographics of the profession as a whole.
Practical implications
Leadership institutes should be developed to focus on particular constituencies. A variety of formats – retreats, year-long – will also help address different needs among potential attendees. Current library and institutional administrators should encourage librarians to develop their leadership potential.
This paper addresses the insufficient number of librarians both willing and prepared to take on leadership roles both within individual libraries and the profession at large, which is a growing concern to the library profession.

Hazel's comment:
It would seem that librarians, as opposed to information managers, are better able to move into leadership roles. Is that the fault of the information service or of the person doing the job? Purely rhetorical question – I have no idea of the answer myself. Comments welcome.

The Effects of Decision-Making Style and Cognitive Thought Patterns on Negative Career Thoughts

an article by Sheba Paivandy, Robert C Reardon and F Donald Kelly (Florida State University) and Emily E Bullock (University of Southern Mississippi) in Journal of Career Assessment Volume 16 Number 4 (2008)

People's thoughts and beliefs about themselves and their career options affect their ability to make decisions. Career counsellors would benefit from knowing the factors that contribute to negative career thoughts. This study examined two unexplored factors that may affect the development and maintenance of negative career thoughts, decision-making styles and a ruminative thought pattern. Pearson product correlations and a multiple regression were used to determine the extent to which maximizing and rumination predicted negative career thoughts. Results suggested that maximizing and rumination are moderately correlated with negative career thoughts. Together they account for 14% of the explained variance of negative career thoughts. Implications of findings on practice and research are discussed. The cognitive information processing theory is also presented as a method by which to conceptualize a client's maximizing decision-making style and ruminating thought patterns.

Semantic copyright management for internet-wide knowledge sharing and reuse

an article by Roberto García González and Rosa Gil in Online Information Review Volume 32 Issue 5

To extract the full potential from Internet-wide knowledge sharing and reuse, the underlying copyright issues must be taken into account and managed using digital rights management (DRM) tools. The paper aims to focus on the issues involved.
Traditional DRM and open licensing initiatives lack the required computerised support and flexibility to scale to Internet-wide copyright management. The authors approach is based on a semantic Web ontology that conceptualises the copyright domain.
The Copyright Ontology facilitates interoperation while providing a rich framework that accommodates copyright law and copes with custom licensing schemes.
Research limitations/implications
The ontology is based on the description logic variant of the Web Ontology Language. Despite its scalability, this variant has some limitations on expression that will be overcome with the help of semantic web rules in future versions of the ontology.
Practical implications
The ontology provides the building blocks for flexible machine-understandable licenses and facilitates implementation because existing semantic web tools can be easily reused. Moreover, existing initiatives can be mapped to the ontology to make it an interoperability hub.
The paper contributes a novel approach to DRM, based on semantic web technologies, that takes into account the underlying copyright legal framework. This is possible thanks to the greater expressiveness of semantic web knowledge representation tools.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Human information behaviour and design, development and evaluation of information retrieval systems

an article by Hamid Keshavarz in Program: electronic library and information systems Volume 42 Issue 4 (2008)

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the concept of human information behaviour and to explore the relationship between information behaviour of users and the existing approaches dominating design and evaluation of information retrieval (IR) systems and also to describe briefly new design and evaluation methods in which extensive attention is dedicated to the users and their behaviours and conditions.
The paper takes the form of a literature review with particular concentration on the efforts made by information science researchers.
The paper finds that there are four classic approaches to IR systems design: system-centred, user-centred, interactive and cognitive. Not enough research has been carried out to explore the relationship between information behaviour and information systems design to date. Contextual design and participatory design are among the new methods where users' behaviour, factors and contexts are considered more proactively than previously when designing information systems.
The paper introduces new methods and research frameworks being investigated currently in the area of information systems design and evaluation in which considerable attention is given to the users' information behaviour and situation. The paper is also useful in gaining a broad understanding about issues explored that have not previously been presented in one publication.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

An integrative model of “information visibility” and “information seeking” on the web

an article by Yazdan Mansourian, Nigel Ford, Sheila Webber and Andrew Madden in Program: electronic library and information systems Volume 42 Issue 4 (2008)

This paper aims to encapsulate the main procedure and key findings of a qualitative research on end-users' interactions with web-based search tools in order to demonstrate how the concept of “information visibility” emerged and how an integrative model of information visibility and information seeking on the web was constructed.
The study was formed of three parts. The first looked at conceptions of the Invisible Web; the second explored conceptualisations of the causes of search success/failure; the third organised the findings of parts 1 and 2 into a series of theoretical frameworks. Data collection was carried out in three phases based on interviews with a sample of biologists.
The first part led to the development of a model of information visibility which suggests a complementary definition for the Invisible Web. The results also showed the participants were aware of the possibility that they had missed some relevant information in their searches. However, perceptions of the importance and the volume of missed information varied, so users reacted differently to the possibility that they were missing information. The third part indicated the “Locus of Control” and “Attribution Theory” that can help us to better understand web-based information seeking patterns. Moreover, “Bounded Rationality” and “Satisficing Theory” supported the inductive findings and showed that users' estimates of the likely volume and importance of missed information affect their decision to persist in searching.
Research limitations/implications
The study creates new understanding of web users' information seeking behaviour which contributes to the theoretical basis of web search research. It also raises various questions within the context of library and information science practice to know whether, and if so how, we can assist end-users to develop more efficient search strategies and satisfactory approaches.
The research adopted a combination of inductive-deductive methods with a qualitative approach in the area of information seeking on the web which is mainly dominated by quantitative studies.

Hazel's comment:
I don't know about the other authors but you can keep up with Sheila's doings from her blogs on information literacy and working, teaching and living in Second Life.

An IT life after fifty – coping with the employment challenge

via TechRepublic Blogs by Tricia Liebert on 8 October

The aging worker is up against challenges that we don't consider. Not only are they competing in a market that they don't completely understand, they are often in a position that they never thought they would find themselves in.

Read it all here

I know, I know ...

I said I'd catch up yesterday and I left you all in the lurch AGAIN.

No comments on anything until I've cleared the backlog (unless it's a very short "oh no, not again" type of thing) but I haven't got long even now. It's really 09:18 and I have to catch a train at 10:59 (and I have to get to the station and ... and ...)

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Do you know what Thought thought?

Whatever it was I didn't get it right.

That b----y virus must have knocked more of the stuffing out of me than I appreciated (or maybe it's just old age creeping up on me).

No sniggers in the back row, thank you!

I have some family matters to attend to tomorrow but will be back, bright, breezy and ready to tackle the mountain, on Wednesday.