Information Law with Charles Oppenheim


DSC_0021 by OneIS.
Picture from OneIS

A late night last Thursday due to attending an excellent talk by Professor Charles Oppenheim on information law. The event was the second in a series of talks organised by the wonderfully entrepreneurial information professional Jennifer Smith and sponsored by her OneIS company. Charles generously agreed to make his slides available on the One IS website

For his talk Charles cantered through a range of important and controversial topics, which was described as a chocolate box taster approach rather than an in depth analysis due to time constraints.

Having known Charles for many years I was already aware of his amazing ability – not only to bring what could be quite dry topics to life with amusing examples, but to explain really quite difficult subjects with clarity and brevity.

The topics covered were data protection, personal data, cloud computing, protecting your reputation online, disability discrimination, contracts and last, but by no means least, copyright.


Data protection

This is a notoriously difficult and worrying topic for information professionals, and in fact anyone whole collects data about people in the United Kingdom. It all stems from the Data Protection Act of 1998, and covers information about individuals ranging from the innocuous to highly sensitive. One curious exception to its provenance is financial information, and we spent some time during the lengthy questions and answers session at the end pondering why this might be the case. My theory is that the UK banks recognised the law would have a disruptive impact on their activities, and used their considerable influence to ring-fence this area.

The Data Protection Act is based on the following eight principles, all of which have legal status (either civil or criminal), and is regulated by an Information Commissioner:

  1. Personal data must be obtained fairly, and for a bona fide purpose.
  2. It can only be used for one or more purpose, which must be clearly specified.
  3. The data obtained must be adequate, relevant and not excessive. Charles gave a wonderful example of a town council who included a question on chest size on their form for all new employees. The reason they asked the question was to help them keep their stocks of overalls correct for those staff who did ‘dirty jobs’, such as dustmen and women. However, when a secretary complained about the question the council (and the vast majority elsewhere in the country) were forced to change their policy.
  4. The data must be accurate and up to date (where relevant).
  5. It should not be kept for longer than necessary. (This led to a discussion of the recent news story about the UK police being forced to delete their DNA records of innocent civilians after six years, instead of keeping them forever).
  6. The data should be processed in accordance of the rights of individuals, who retain the right to sue for inaccurate information.
  7. It must be protected from loss, damage or destruction.
  8. It must not be transferred outside the European Economic Area. (This led to a discussion of Google and Amazon data servers which are based in the United States).

Charles then went on to give brief overviews of five more information law topics:

1. Cloud Computing – In particular the risks of exporting or storing data outside of the European Economic Area. Many organisations are not aware that by using Google or Amazon S3 servers their data is being stored in the United States, and so in breach of UK law.

2. Protecting your reputation online:

–       This topic was about slander (temporary) and libel (published) where the reputation of an individual is harmed by false statements, to more than one ‘third’ party.

–       It only applies if there is a reputation to be harmed. So saying Jeffrey Archer is a crook would not be libellous.

–       An email to an individual is not libellous, but if it leaks out to others, then it becomes so.

–       This is a particularly thorny topic due to the big differences in libel law between countries, in particular between the United States and the UK. We currently have the strictest libel laws in the world.

–       Charles recommended regularly ‘Googling’ yourself to see what has been written about you online.

3. Disability discrimination – How you must make reasonable adjustments to cater for those with disabilities.

4. Contract law – This consists of five key elements. Offer and acceptance, consideration, intention to create legal relations, legal capacity and formalities. Charles reviewed the three levels of formality. 1. A verbal or email agreement (unlikely to accepted in court). 2. An email with a digital signature (generally accepted as binding). 3. An email with a signature and full encryption (full legal strength).

5. Copyright – Charles ended on this most complicated and controversial topic which led on to a lengthy question and answer session. He wanted to ensure we were all aware of the fact that just because content was freely available on the Internet, this did not mean it was not covered by copyright law. He recommended using sites such as Flickr which are covered under Creative Commons licences.

Free vs Fee – the Future of News – SLA Europe meeting 3 November

Another successful SLA Europe event this evening, this time at the swanky venue of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, five minutes away from Blackfriars station.

The hot topic was Free vs Fee – the Future of News. And stemmed from the fact that most newspapers have offered their content via the Internet for free with the expectation that display advertising would create enough revenue to cover the cost of creating and distributing their content. However, with the continuing decline in physical newspaper sales and the softening of the display advertising market, news organisations are exploring new ways to charge for their digital content.

On the panel were Jeremy  Lawson  VP Sales, EMEA, Dow Jones & Company, Andrew Hughes – Commercial Director for the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA), Laurence C. Rafsky Ph.D. – CEO of Acquire Media and Laurence Kaye – Principal at Laurence Kay Solicitors. The panel was excellently moderated by Donald Roll – Managing Director, Europe for Alacra.

Here are my notes from the evening:

Don Roll introduced the evening by talking about the steep decline in newspaper circulation, the recent arrival of the first free quality newspaper in the form of the London Evening Standard, and how the NLA wants to ensure newspaper publishers receive payment for web content.

Andrew Hughes – NLA initiatives

NLA are moving towards creating a set of licences for commercial use of newspaper websites.

UK newspapers spend £1b a year in creating this content, which is quite different from paper published information. For example 31% of newspaper websites has never appeared in print.

The plan is that for those who charge for access to newspaper content will be charged by the NLA, who will also charge end user clients for access to content.

Existing licences will be extended and new ones created where necessary

e-Clips Web – Working to improve access to content by using newspaper CMS systems.

Laurence Kay – The legal view – 10 key points

1. Professional journalism, ‘trusted content’ and UGC (user generated content)

2. Change takes time! Business models and culture takes time to change.

3. Global Media / local copyright?

4. If content is going to be free, why does copyright matter? Provides the framework for access and usage rights.

5. B2B versus consumer copyrights

6. ‘Effects-based’ approach to copyright. Helps to work out how to apply rules to the real world. Look at the commercial impact of activities.

7. ‘Legal’ versus ‘Illegal’ content. When to take action or technical measures over infringements.

8. Who are the ‘intermediaries’ in the value chain? E.g. Where does Google fit in? Searched for or ‘scraped’ conent?

9. ‘Fair Use’. Big variations across Europe. United States has a broad definition. If the use is commercial is that no longer fair use?

10. We are still lacking 21st century infrastructure to cope with licensing and payments for use.

Laurence C. Rafsky – What do we mean by free?

Once freedom has been tasted there is no going back.

Value chain –

  1. professionally produced but given away selectively – e.g. advertiser supported
  2. Non-professional content
  3. Gifted professional content. E.g. Stephen King novel
  4. Free to some but not others
  5. Content that should not be free.

Two enemy camps

  1. Information wants to be free – the hippies
  2. Corporate suits who want to charge for everything

The solution will need to be  a compromise.

A question for the NLA to consider:

Do you use copyrighted material for commercial gain without payment to content owners?

Do you use copyrighted material for commercial gain without permission from the content owners as we understand it?

The crux of the debate is between these two viewpoints.

Can we separate business use from personal use? Google don’t distinguish between the two.

Jeremy  Lawson – Supporting publishers and their right to monetise their content.

Questions from the audience:

Did the newspaper industry start digging its own grave by giving away content?

New York Times started with some free and mainly fee access. They ended it because when compared pay per click ads versus pay for access would give ten times the revenue. But as ad revenues fall they may go back to first model.

Should be driven by economics.

Do you think news aggregators are a serious threat to publishers?

Links are fine, but extracts complicate the issue as readers may not link through to content. But as web content grows and newspaper content becomes a smaller fraction, increasing hits to newspaper sites lose their economic value to the publishers.

85% of newspaper traffic comes via Google. So should Google pay the majority share?

Is the Kindle from Amazon a potential future model for subscription access to newspaper content?

Disagreement – ability to break news up into selected streams for readers counts against Kindle model.

When will paper newspapers die?

Laurence C. Rafsky predicted that by 2030 newspapers would cease to exist in paper form as a  mainstream product.

He compares their future to candles today – they will become a decorative only production.

As he pointed out, if you had a choice, why would you use paper for something that only has a value for a few hours, and then you need to scan it to create a digital version which can be archived.

B2B vs B2C

Issues about consumers within a business environment – now that the genie is out of the bottle, how do you get individuals in a corporate environment to accept paying for information.

The event was kindly sponsored by Dow Jones.

What is a CRM, and when are they best used by small business? Lucidica workshop Tuesday 3 November

Lucidica_logoThis morning I managed to find the time to attend a workshop by one of our partners. Lucidica are a relatively new partner for the Business & IP Centre and currently provide six workshops related to IT and business.

This particular half day workshop on what is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), and when are they best used by small business, was presented by immensely knowledgeable founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Thomas Jeffs.

He got straight down to business by explaining that a successful CRM implementation requires both staff discipline and management buy-in. With out both of these you will be wasting both your time and and your money.

Here are my notes from the morning:

What can a CRM system do?

1. Contact Management

  • the most basic function of a CRM
  • who they are
  • what they are doing
  • central point for all staff

Shared office address book – suppliers – customers – for many business this is just a piece of paper stuck onto a computer terminal

if people don’t use it and keep it up to date it become worthless

2.  Sales Force Automation – now the most popular aspect of CRM – making sure you make the best use of your sales force

  • What to do and when, with regards to sales and follow ups
  • Helps make sure you chase opportunities when you need to
  • Allows you to forecast your predicted sales and leads – only tends to work on larger scale of operation
  • Allows you to see how your sales agents are doing
  • Essentially automating your sales force and sales force reporting
  • Benefits not so clear to staff due to reluctance to fill in details of customer interactions

3.  Marketing Campaign Management – linked to previous activity

  • How much did £100 in marketing spend raise in sales?
  • How many leads did a marketing campaign generate?
  • How many internal resources were required as a result of a marketing campaign? E.g. Did it attract the wrong kind of customer who were ‘high maintenance’?

4. Customer Service Management – support tickets – complaints – consistency across the Business & IP Centre

  • A centralised place for tracking – breaks dependency on one member of staff
  • Can provide automated responses to issues. E.g. generated ticket number and expected response from the company
  • Can monitor and escalate issues if still outstanding
  • Result in – consistency  and efficiency of service
  • Benefits clearly visible to staff and customers

It is important to establish which of the above are the most relevant to your business, as this will have an impact the the most suitable package for you.

How do CRM systems help your business?

1. How do they do it? – Automation

Health warning

–       Automation to internal users is good

  • Creation of follow-up tasks/ reminders
  • Workflow tools
  • Creation of templates, timelines and standards

–       Automation to external users is mixed

  • Acknowledgement of complaints/issues/feedback work well
  • Automated quarterly sales email – don’t work so well – de-personalises the business.

2. How do they do it? – Tracking / Recording

–       Change of address for existing clients

–       Client moves to a new company

–       Recording emails and phone contacts with sales leads

–       Recording information that client is under contract with competitor for next three months

–       Has your entire team access to this information

3. How do they do it? – Reporting

–       Reporting is the purpose for a CRM for management

–       Some things a CRM can tell you:

  • Predicted sales for next three months
  • Which clients haven’t been in contact for a while
  • Which sales agents are getting the most leads
  • Which sales agents are making the most sales
  • Which contracts are up for renewal
  • What total sales have you achieved from each marketing campaign
  • Which clients have service level issues
  • Which people work for which clients

Thomas reviewed several case studies based on real experiences at Lucidica.

Which CRM is right for you?

1. Which CRM? – Questions to ask

  1. What is the function of the CRM?
  2. What will it need to integrate with?
  3. Who will need to use it, and from where?
  4. What is the potential benefit for my business in £’s?

2. Which CRM? – Quick and dirty recommendations

–       Excel – 1st choice for people thinking about what they need to track

–       SharePoint – 1st choice for precision applications and power users

–       Sage ACT! – 1st choice for integrating into Outloook and Sage, below 10 users, primary use for contact management and sales force automation

–       SugarCRM – 1st choice for Linux users

– – 1st choice for users with little infrastructure and who rely on internet traffic for business

–       Goldmine – 1st choice for businesses with over 10 users but can’t afford Microsoft CRM

–       Microsoft CRM – 1st choice for businesses with high volume of sales and contracts


–       Make sure your CRM does not have superfluous functions

–       Make sure it can scale both up and down

–       Make sure you can get your data out of the system

–       start small and evaluate after six months

Lucidica Technology Seminars

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

– how to improve your website so search engines, like Google, lists or ranks it better/higher.

Email Marketing

– how to use professional looking emails, in bulk, to market effectively, and/or keep your clients informed (e.g. newsletters).

Technology “Must-Have’s” For Small Businesses

– from the best computers and laptops, virus-protection and back-up software we know of; to “what is a server and when does my business need one” and many free software and technology tips to reduce technology risk and increase value in your business.

An Intranet and more with Microsoft Sharepoint

– touted as a big thing in the 1990s, Intranets are finally adding value to business – especially small business now they are affordable with products like Microsoft Sharepoint. In this seminar we explain what an Intranet is, how you can use Sharepoint and how to get this powerful solution from Microsoft for FREE. We’ll talk and show you how you can use Sharepoint for your own CRM, wiki, time sheeting forms and reporting, expense summary forms, other procedures and forms with built-in workflow and much, much more.

What is a CRM, when are they best used by small business and which one to select

– Client Relationship Management (CRM) software can bolster your relationship with existing clients as well as help you work on your prospective client contacts better and more frequently with ease. We’ll outline what a CRM, how it should be used for small business and profile the top 4 or 5 CRMs affordable to small business.

Designing, developing and maintaining an effective website

– every small business should have a website. Here we dispel many myths about designing, developing and maintaining a website – it’s really not that hard! For most websites we design and build for our clients we recommend they buy some great Adobe software which allows them to maintain their website like they edit Word documents. We provide plenty of advice and tips on what is a good design, and what your developers should be including in the code when they build it.

Micro Men and the birth and death of the personal computer – 1980 to 1985

Last night I watched Micro Men, another in the recent BBC series of dramatised portrayals of historical events from the 1970’s and 80’s, such as Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley.

This was the story of the battle for dominance in the newly emerging personal computer market from in the early 1980’s. It was also a personal clash between eccentric inventor of the pocket calculator Sir Clive Sinclair and Chris Curry (formerly his right hand man).

The film cleverly interwove news footage from the period and actors, effectively reawakening memories of my involvement in that era as a callow youth.

In particular I remember the excitement young people felt at the rapid development of the technology, and how we thought they would change the world. One scene from the seminal BBC Computer Programme talked about how personal computers would replace manual typewriters and much of the associated office paperwork. (here are some snippets). It was also something of a shock to remember how Britain led the world for that brief period, with by far the highest rate of ownership of personal computers. There was an optimism that this lead would give us an immense advantage in this newly emerging industry.

As with so many cutting edge technologies of course expectations far outstripped reality. As a ‘programming expert’ with 98 per cent in my Computer Science ‘O’ level, my father presented me with a brand new £99 Sinclair ZX81 and asked me to show him what it could do. My memory is a bit hazy on the details, but I seem to remember that its state of the art 1k of memory (compared to 2 gigabytes in today’s computers), allowed me to create a spreadsheet about 5 rows high and 16 columns wide. Unfortunately that didn’t leave any room for calculations or content.

However this did not dim my nerdish enthusiasm and I went on to study Computer Science at ‘A’ level using a Commodore Pet, and then to university on Apple II computers. It was only when I came to leave university and was pondering which model of personal PC to buy, that reality dawned. I remember my cousin asking me what I would use it for. Programming of course was the main purpose, but outside the learning environment that was not a practical application. Games were next, but the basic ones available did not appeal to me. The applications we take for granted today such as word processing and spreadsheets were not established at that time. I decided to save my £600 and wait for the technology to develop.

Which brings me to the point of this blog. Today we are surrounded by personal computers which have profoundly affected how we live our lives. Whether it is the constant bombardment of emails via Blackberries, shopping over the Internet, sharing our lives through social networking, watching or listening to films, television or radio on our iPods and personal media players, meeting new life partners through internet dating (7.8 million in the UK alone), spending time in virtual realities like Second Life, or just computing on the move (I am writing this on the train sitting next to another laptop owner – who appears be writing a gripping novel – from my furtive glances)

So although the personal PC went from boom to bust in just five short years between 1980 and 1985, apparently taking its future promise with it, the long term impact of computers on our lives has been truly revolutionary.

The footnote at the end of the show reminded me of how the two companies at the centre of the story subsequently went in very different directions. Clive Sinclair returned to his obsession with creating the world’s first mass produced affordable electric car. And produced the legendary Sinclair C5, perhaps the single most spectacular failure in the history of personal transport with sales of less than 12,000.

However, the chip that powered Chris Curry’s Acorn computer went on to be developed into the ARM processor, which has gone on to become the most successful computer chip ever, with over 10 billion shipped to power the majority of mobile phones manufactured across the world.

I made it onto net@night

TWiT.TV — with Leo Laporte & Friends

As I am sure you will be aware if you are a regular reader here, I am something of a fan of Leo Laporte and his one man TWIT.TV broadcasting corporation.

From his current output of fourteen netcasts, I currently subscribe to Windows Weekly (which was instrumental in my decision to skip Vista and go straight to Windows 7) and net@night co-hosted with Amber MacArthur from Toronto.

AmberAndLeoAs a loyal listener from their very first netcast, I feel honoured to have been selected as their email of the week in the latest show.

Perhaps surprisingly the topic was the controversial  choice of typeface by IKEA the global furniture brand. To be more specific it was their recent switch from the traditional print fonts of Futura and Century Schoolbook to Verdana which was designed primarily for screen use.

Although this might seem a rather esoteric topic for a show about the Internet, both Leo and Amber have experience of designing websites. And of course they spend their lives using and reviewing newly designed sites and web based services like Twitter. Consequently they are well aware of the importance of screen design and the impact the choice of typeface has on this.

For myself, ever since being volunteered to create and edit a staff newsletter way back in 1992, in the early days of desk-top-publishing, I have been interested in the impact of type styles and fonts on readers.

My email to net@night was pointing to a fascinating discussion on the BBC arts program Front Row about the implications on the IKEA brand of their change of typeface.

Free eOffice offer for Business & IP Centre customers

Many thanks to eOffice for the following free offer for August:

We are very pleased to extend free of charge access to eOffice to 8 customers of the  Business &IP Centre per day in the month of August 2009.

We are offering free one day access (from 8.30am to 6.30pm weekdays), including hot desking (please bring your laptop), free wi-fi and one free coffee per day from 18th to 28th August.

The offer is valid to the first 8 visitors per day, if you are interested, please reply to and quote promo BIPC.

eOffice has created a new generation of workplace solutions. Your nearest eOffice, located on Sheraton Street, W1, in the heart of London, combines contemporary design and break-out areas with great technology infrastructure and WiFi connectivity.

We also offer a range of flexible services to meet the fast-changing needs of todays businesses:
– Hotdesking from £4.99 + VAT per hour
– Meeting rooms from £19.99 + VAT per hour per room and worldwide video conferencing
– Virtual office solutions (business address, mail forwarding and telephone answering) from £99.99 + VAT per month
– Full-time office solutions  with a minimum term of just one month.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Pier Paolo Mucelli / Founder

2 Sheraton Street (off Wardour Street), Soho, London, W1F 8BH – +44 870 888 88 88

eOffice – Winner BCO Innovation Award 2007 – BCO Regional Winner 2007- 2008
eOffice – Climate Neutral Business and Meeting Centres

The smell of fiction

Since the dawn of time in the ‘real world’ people have enjoyed creating complicated hoaxes, spoofs and pranks (April 1 in particular being a popular time of year).

However, I don’t understand the thinking behind the multitude of fake products ‘for sale’ on the Internet. The latest to bamboozle the blogosphere (and Internet savvy Librarians) is the Smell of Books.

As you can see from the images and text below, someone has gone to a lot of trouble to create this ‘product’.

However, the Smell of Books is just one of a range of unexpected items produced by DuroSport Electronics. These include the DuroSport, a digital music player that no longer supports MP3 format songs. The DuroSport website links to the Prism DuroSport Insider Blog which contains many long and detailed posts written by Vladimir Concescu, the Chief Product Engineer at the DuroSport Electric Company.

I have included a photo of him below to indicate the nature of this site.

Either ‘Vladimir’ has too much time on his hands, or is working to some kind of agenda I can’t fathom.

Smell of Books

New Book Smell

The smell of e-books just got better

Does your Kindle leave you feeling like there’s something missing from your reading experience?

Have you been avoiding e-books because they just don’t smell right?

If you’ve been hesitant to jump on the e-book bandwagon, you’re not alone. Book lovers everywhere have resisted digital books because they still don’t compare to the experience of reading a good old fashioned paper book.

But all of that is changing thanks to Smell of Books™, a revolutionary new aerosol e-book enhancer.

Now you can finally enjoy reading e-books without giving up the smell you love so much. With Smell of Books™ you can have the best of both worlds, the convenience of an e-book and the smell of your favorite paper book.

Smell of Books™ is compatible with a wide range of e-reading devices and e-book formats and is 100% DRM-compatible. Whether you read your e-books on a Kindle or an iPhone using Stanza, Smell of Books™ will bring back that real book smell you miss so much.

The latest example is the the website devoted to selling

Visit to the new Guardian newspaper building in Kings Place

The same evening as the The Social Media Exchange – For the Cultural and Heritage Sectors event, I hobbled over to Kings Place to visit the shiny new Guardian (and Observer) newspaper offices.

As it was evening, we were able to see the journalists hard at work creating the next days newspaper. The building itself is amazing, with lots of glass and open spaces, making for a ‘transparent’ working environment. But as the building is also partially open to the public, the journalist are even more open to scrutiny.

Our guide, Luke Dodd, the Guardian’s project manager for the building and former Director of the Newsroom, explained the background to the move. In particular the bringing together of several disparate offices into one space. As well as merging the paper and digital activities, so that content for both media is produced by one extended team instead of separately, as before.

The current iMac model features a widescreen display and an aluminum case.As a bit of a techie, I was most impressived by the  sight of literally hundreds of uniform 24 inch iMac computers on every desk. Each floor was filled with these very desirable pieces of kit as far as the eye could see. Again, the move gave an opportunity to equip all the staff with a same technology.

Many thanks to the Association of UK Media Librarians (AUKML) and SLA Europe for organising such a fascinating visit.

The Social Media Exchange – For the Cultural and Heritage Sectors

sound delivery logoIt has already been a week since I attended the one day Social Media Exchange – For the Cultural and Heritage Sectors. Organised by the irrepressible Jude Habib, co-founder of Sound Delivery the communications and training company, it was a fun day learning about the uses of social media in museums and libraries.

I have included a selection of my notes from the day below, but most of the content plus updated comments are available through their dedicated website at

Using Web Content to Build and Engage Your Audience

KnowHow NonProfitMadeleine Sugden – KnowHow NonProfit –

What is web content for:

  • Proof of existence
  • Help people to learn something – 24/7 learning
  • Encourage action / change behaviour – find out more/shop etc

What is web content for? – 5 Questions to help you make the most of your web content

1. Audience – will they get beyond your home page?


2. Presentation

  • Are you helping with skim reading?
  • Use headings, blocks of text, links to more content
  • Are you giving too much information?
  • Placing text over images leads to accessibility issues
  • Is content accessible
  • Are you encouraging people to read on?
  • Don’t use – “Click here to find out more about…” unnecessary text
  • Bring in other content to improve experience e.g. weather forecasts from BBC


3. Medium

  • Content isn’t just printed words
  • Are you using the best format?
  • Are you using audio and video content?
  • Is it interesting and fun?


National Museums Liverpool – audio content is key part of page – subject integration – includes transcript alternative –

Great Fire of London – interactive video game type experience for children –

Welcome to Yorkshire – help to build your day in … – dynamic itinerary building tool –

Hackney Museum Virtual Tour – very boring –

4. Marketing

  • Help people find your site
    Search engines – work on Google Search Engine Optimisation, think about subject terms used to find your content. E.g. A search for Victorian homes does not find many of the relevant museums.
  • Use all channels
  • Integrate on and offline activities


Eric Bloodaxe from York Museum has a Facebook page

Mediamuseum on Twitter with 1,700 followers

Eureka museum putting their images on flickr

Wellcome collection – medical London – videos of relevant walks around London –

Imperial War Museum North – their page on the Big Picture Show does not come close to capturing the impact of the actual experience in the museum –

5. Influence

  • From passive users to active users to super active users…
  • Make it easy to interact and take action
  • Influence windows



City of Westminster Group Tweeting or Finding your organisation’s voice on Twitter

Ali Holder – Westminster Libraries


Started in March 2009

Currently lone tweeter

First tweet: Planning to put all news and events in libraries here. Also additions to the 24/7 library of exclusive online resources for library members.

11:34 PM Mar 3rd from web



Getting started:

Buy-in from senior management important as speaking for Westminster

Get tweeting – once or twice a day, most days – not too much, not to little

Set up Business Continuity colleague so they can tweet library closures etc


Mainly post news & events, but also draw attention to existing / regular / ‘hidden’ aspects of service.


  • Organisational voice
  • Broadcasting, not conversing
  • Access restrictions within the work setting
  • Getting customers and potential customers to follow us.


  • Aware of popularity of posts with existing and future followers – e.g. free wi-fi
  • Use search tools to find out what people are saying about us.
  • Proactive use allows us to build trust and demonstrate use to organisation
  • Ditto for users –

Finding our voice – who is tweeting?

Me, us or them?

Future plans:

  • Group tweeting – or groups of tweeters
  • More feeds
  • More use of hashtags
  • Tweeting through events
  • Feedback and conversation
  • How do we measure success?


  • Never forget the biog section
  • Work out who is speaking
  • Provide links
  • Don’t protect updates
  • Watch how others do it
  • Don’t exclude – have a feed

Twitter demographics – typical user – around 30 and urban


Round up discussion

Patrick Forbes – Head of Documentaries at Oxford Film and Television

Nick Reynolds – Editor, BBC Internet Blog

Frances Croxford – Consultant and Account Manager at Jane Wentworth

Be aware of both huge opportunities and significant risks associated with adoption of  social media.

Inherent lack of control.

Before you start make sure you are aware of the external perception of the organisation.

  • Clarity
  • Confidence
  • Transparency

Tell stories which come from both your staff and your audience.


  • Institutions are naturally resistant to social media as it leads to loss of control.
  • Biggest resistors are curatorial staff
  • Cultural change can take between 5 and 10 years

Digitising the British Library one page at a time

Lynne Brindley the British Library Chief Executive has been campaigning hard for the cause mass digitisation of content in order to facilitate access for all and preservation – Dame Lynne Brindley challenges Government on Digital Britain

However scanning books to turn them into digital ‘assets’ is not as easy as might be thought. I was lucky enough to be able to visit the part of the library where the work is currently in progress, and was impressed by both the scale and complexity of the challenge.

Recently I came across a YouTube video from German TV which gives a revealing insight into the project.