Web 2.0 – behind the hype

Brian Kelley from UKOLN is now demonstrating some Web 2.0 types of applications. I’ve captured links as I can, but will add more as I have some time afterwards.

To start – try searching for ‘IWMW 2006’ in Google – the vast number of top 10 hits are ‘web 2.0’ type – blogs, wikipedia, rss feeds.

However – there are some concerns that we need to think about with Web 2.0. Web 2.0 can be useful – but need to:
Learn from mistakes
Remember it will be used by marketers
Need to remember accessibility
Need to be user-focussed

These are really no different to concerns about WWW that were around in the 1990s.

So – real life demonstrations of Web 2.0:

IMWM RSS – used for news and syndication of content from conference
OPML – Used to group RSS files, and can use software such as Grazr to browse them
Mashups – combining information from multiple sources – http://iwmw2006.superglu.com
Blogs – 3 blogs directly related to IWMW 2006 (this one, http://iwmw2006.blogspot.com and http://wib-wob-web.blogspot.com/)
Podcasts (http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/podcasts/)
Online Chat (e.g. IRC channel at this conference, http://gabbly.com)
VoIP, Access Grid (http://www.skype.com, http://www.agsc.ja.net/)

Brian is singling out Microformats as an upcoming formate. What are they?
Basically adding some very simple semantics to web content using html spans and divs around text. There is a session about this today (which I’m unfortunately not attending) – I need to have a look at this.

Some issues coming up through the Q&A:
Quality of Service – I’d be reluctant to rely on any of the prototype ‘perpetual beta’ technology to deliver a real service. Scott Wilson suggested that perhaps we can defray these issues with web 2.0 approaches – perhaps we need to stop trying to supply central services so much, and essentially outsource more. I’m not 100% convinced this is practical – but perhaps it is a matter of time – I would now consider the idea that we don’t need to provide email to all our students (although we do at the moment), and perhaps other services will develop to the extent where I feel the same about them – but give it 10 years perhaps.
Repetition of Information – we maintain our own webpage, but there is also a wikipedia entry for RHUL – how is this information kept up to date?
How do we best engage the academic community in this type of technology?

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