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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.
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    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    Collaboration and Community

    Nancy Garman, in the Information Today blog, suggests that if the new shape of knowledge is conversation through blogs and wikis, then we have to learn how to communicate. She makes this comment with reference to the “tech-savvy librarian bloggers” who successfully created an online community surrounding the Internet Librarian 2005 conference. There were blogs (including our own UKeiG blog) at Online Information 2005, but they never coalesced into a community. Nancy also asked, “Are blogs collaborative?” - and it was probably their essentially mono-directional nature which prevented our little ‘outposts’ from getting together and becoming discursive. (Perhaps next year UKeiG will run a conference wiki.)

    The problem is the old one of a lack of activists – even if hundreds of people read my blog, few will comment. There is no mechanism to get a really good debate going. So we may have the makings of a community – a conference community, a topic community, a community of practice, or even a profession-based community – but only a few members will be able to commune. Technorati may aggregate, but there is no ‘Conversati’ offering debate.

    So… the difference between collaboration and conversation seems to be participation. And it may be that lack of participation comes down to technology.

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    >>Posted in: UKeiG


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