I’ve just noticed an interesting trend over at Google Trends, and it’s confirmed by both Compete and Alexa. The traffic to the University of Wolverhampton web site has collapsed.
There are lots of potential reasons for the decline in the traffic: obviously changes in student behaviour (e.g., Google Scholar rather than the OPAC), increasing number of satellite web sites (e.g., individual/departmental blogs). But does this really account for such a massive decline? A brief glance at some other university web sites showed some decline in traffic, but I didn’t notice them falling as sharply.
Whilst I’d suggest the university have a good dig around in their data to find out exactly what is going on, as much as anything it highlights the need for a change in how we think of a successful online web presence.
Last week Opera promised that today it was going to “reinvent the web“. Today it launched Opera Unite, a new technology that turns your web browser into a server. This basically means that when I am online, and have Opera Unite enabled in my Opera browser you can access certain of my files as though they were on a web server!
At the moment there are only a few Opera Unite services:
Whether Opera Unite truly manages to reinvent the web will depend on the sort of services other people build. At the moment the services have a distinct web 1.0 feel, with messageboards, chatrooms, and static html pages ['Device Unavailable' means I'm not currently using Opera Unite]. However, If the chatroom becomes a social networking site, the message board a distributed micro-blogging service, and the static html becomes dynamicly generated pages built on the back of python and PHP, then we really will be heralding a new era of the web.
The Library Show was on at the NEC yesterday, so I decided to pay it a visit. The show itself was free, and the £5.20 train fare was more than compensated for by the free magazines. Whilst I enjoyed the show, I couldn’t help but feel it was stuck in the past. Whilst there were organisations promoting technological solutions, there was nothing there that made me think that librarianship is a profession heading in the right direction in changing times. Instead I thought: what a lot of different sorts of shelves.
Whilst I appreciate the continuing importance of the physical library, I would have expected it to be coupled with some innovative digital products. Unfortunately, I fear, there are great swathes of the library world who are stuck firmly in past. Demonstrated most clearly by the absurd comment by someone speaking from the Copyright Licensing Agency:
If copyright didn’t exist people wouldn’t create anymore because they wouldn’t be paid
Copyright has a place, but let’s keep some perspective.
The show organisers did make some effort to be ‘cutting edge’, with Phil Bradley giving a talk on ‘Twitter and Its Value to Librarians’:
Bradley’s talk (slides available on slideshare.net in true web 2.0 fashion) was standing-room only, with the vast majority having never used Twitter. Three year’s after such a service launches a community of information professionals should need more than an unashamed apologist’s introduction on how to use Twitter!
Obviously there is a lot of innovative work going on amongst individual librarians that is not going to show up at a trade fair…but you wouldn’t have guessed by seeing the joy with which they carried around their new CoLibri book covering machine.
The big thing I will take from the fair is StoryPhones. I don’t think I have ever seen such an awful idea!
One of the things I recognise I should do is watch more webcasts. There is loads of interesting stuff streaming out there, but unfortunately webcasts always get put to the back of my very long to-do list. Therefore, when I do make room to watch one live, it would be nice if I could watch it!
As I type this there is a webcast being streamed that I want to watch:
Research Leadership Redefined… Measuring Performance in a Multidisciplinary Landscape
Admittedly not everyone’s cup of tea, but squarely in the area of my more traditional academic research interests.
After the sign-up process I am informed that the log-in details will be sent half-an-hour before the streaming starts. Why they don’t send the details straight away I don’t know. Did they fear a sudden black market in log-in details to such a generalist webcast? Or are [my opinion] they idiots who didn’t take into account the fact that emails often go missing or on a walkabout for a couple of hours and a half-an-hour window was always asking for trouble?
When nothing had arrived by 4 o’clock I emailed saying I hadn’t received my log-in details. They replied very promptly:
My appologies, you are on the list but the registration has been closed now and I have been told by the organizers that I cannot log you in any more.
It will be available for download later, but at that point it is one of a million webcasts I can watch. If I don’t watch these things live they will probably never be watched.