FreePint reports from this year's Online Information exhibition at Olympia
Saturday, 1st December 2007
This year's Online Information conference and exhibition at Olympia
(4-6 December 2007, Olympia, UK) attracted thousands of visitors, over
230 exhibitors and 900 conference delegates from over 43 countries.
The exhibition is co-located with the Information Management Solutions
The exhibition showcased a variety of content resources and
information management solutions. Visitors could learn about and
develop new search and information management skills at many of the
110 free show seminars. These include Information Skills masterclasses
and Career Development talks; Business Information in Focus;
Challenges for Academic and Corporate Libraries; Content in Context;
Web 2.0, Information Management etc. Presentations from many of these
can be downloaded on the website at
The Online Information conference offered insight into learning;
professional development; technology reviews and assessments; case
studies and research results and opinions. Jimmy Wales, founder of
Wikipedia and Wikia, gave a keynote address examining "Web 2.0 in
action - free culture and community on the move." Over 80
international experts, academics and business leaders were included in
the programme, which can be accessed at
Notes from Conference Sessions
Prior to the event, we asked you, our readers, which sessions you
wanted to hear about. Here are our notes on some of the sessions
Information on Web 2.0 highlights from the conference was requested by
the FreePint network. Jimmy Wales, in his Web 2.0 keynote address,
discussed his initiatives to create rapidly growing new concepts for
community development on the Web. Not stopping with the encyclopaedia,
he is now working on the rest of the library and an innovative new
search engine concept. He also spoke about how the free licensing
models that made ‘open source' the dominant software paradigm on the
Internet are now pushing into content spaces and beyond. As part of
his work at Wikia, Wales is developing a human-powered search engine
('Search Wikia') which, he says, will be based on the same open,
community-driven principles as Wikia and Wikipedia.
A session on "Web 2.0 in Action (The Challenges)" was held on 4
December. In this session, three speakers, from Vodafone, ERM UK and
Drugscope, outlined their views on social media, collaboration and
Christian Schatzinger of Vodafone Group Services explained how
Vodafone's wiki kept all its employees on the ‘same page'. Bonnie
Cheuk, head of knowledge and information (Global Knowledge Sharing
Programme) at ERM UK, showed the audience how Environmental Resources
Management has embraced Web 2.0.
Minerva, ERM's global Internet and collaboration portal, offers all
ERM employees access to a range of Web 2.0 tools (eg My Profile,
wikis, blogs, collaborative workspace etc). Dr Cheuk outlined the
lessons learned from the experience as a result of a new style of
collaboration and communication through Web 2.0. Comments from staff
to the MD's blog also resulted in changes to the way that ERM
approaches and handles certain issues internally.
The last presentation specifically requested by FreePint users was
given by Anne Welsh, Information Officer at Drugscope (UK), entitled
"We've got the technology, but how do we find the time?".
'What is needed to create a good wiki, blog and set of bookmarks is
not any special technical skill but the ability to find, create and
organise information,' she told the audience. 'Make time for
development ideas. When creating your wish list, ie a blog, it is very
important to think "big". Don't think "small" and try to scale up -
think "big" and scale down.'
She advised the audience to keep up with new technology developments -
these offer the potential for increased profit/profile, greater
efficiency gains and the possibility of potential future new services
or the development of existing ones.
She also had useful time and money-saving tips.
'Get on board with feeds,' she urged users. 'They can save a lot of
time - they save us at least two days per week, which we would have
spent looking for new resources. The versatility of feeds means that
any software that produces them (and all Web 2.0 software does) can be
aggregated on to a main website, to cluster news and fresh information
in whatever way is most useful to the end-user.'
She also stressed the importance of constantly reusing and repurposing
material, ie press releases, blog articles etc, as well as sharing
knowledge using wikis.
She also tackled topics such as how to keep the information flowing
when you do not have a professional resource.
'Don't just do it because everyone else is or because it says Web
2.0,' she concluded. 'Do it because it meets your business efficiency
and time requirements.'
OCLC, the world's largest library research and service organisation,
also held a symposium, "Who's watching your space" on 5 December. John
Naughton, Professor of the Public Understanding of Technology at the
Open University and Observer journalist, examined the entire concept
of social networking. Matt Brown, editor of Nature Network and
blogger, outlined real life examples of social networking (including
Second Life) using his experience from the scientific community.
Finally, Cathy de Rosa, VP Global Marketing for OCLC, presented
results from OCLC's recent research report "Sharing Privacy and Trust
in our Networked World". It examines four primary areas:
- Web user practices and preferences on their favourite social sites
- User attitudes about sharing and receiving information on social
spaces, commercial sites and library sites
- Information privacy
- US librarian social networking practices and preferences.
The survey was sent to over 6,000 Web users aged 14 to 80+ in 6
'We know relatively little about the possibilities that the emerging
social Web will hold for library services,' she explained. 'More than
a quarter of all Web users we surveyed are active users of social
spaces. As Web users become both the creators and consumers of the
social Web, the implication and possibilities for libraries are
enormous. The research provides insights into what these online
library users will expect.'
Sample results indicated that, from 2005 to 2007, there had been a 33%
drop in the use of library websites, reflecting the trend for users to
find information from a growing number of sources. She pointed out
that respondents had indicated a desire to have a two-way dialogue
with information providers, urging librarians to find a way to do this
online, and highlighted the potential of online resources (such as
YouTube) for libraries to reach ‘Google generation' users.
'On social networking sites, 39% have shared information about a book
they have read, 57% have shared photos/videos and 14% have shared
self-published information,' she explained. 'Online trust increases
with usage. Respondents do not distinguish library websites as more
private than other sites they are using. 13% of the public feels that
it is the role of the library to create a social networking site for
The report is available for download, free of charge, at
A focus on FUMSI
It was a busy show for the Free Pint Limited stand, which celebrated
the 10th anniversary of Free Pint Limited. Photos of our activities
can be found at <http://www.freepint.com/portal/events/> .
As part of the celebrations, we made the award of the 'FUMSI Citation
for Most Useful Article' at the Free Pint stand. Our editors reviewed
the nominations and selected Heather Carine's article, "Mentors and
Mentees: Structuring a Professional Relationship"
<http://www.freepint.com/issues/240507.htm#tips> as the winner.
Heather, an independent information consultant based in Australia, was
not able to accept her award in person; appropriately enough, however,
her mentor, Amelia Kassel, was able to accept on her behalf. Heather
receives a one-year subscription to VIP magazine
<http://www.vivaVIP.com/>, and the individuals who nominated her
article will receive a one-year subscription to FUMSI, our newest
offering, available from 2 January 2008
<http://www.fumsi.com/contact/>. Our press release, including
Heather's remarks, can be found at
We also released the results of our FUMSI user survey, which
highlighted the needs of information professionals (subscribers to the
different publications and sites within the Free Pint Limited
network). The results can be accessed on
The latest FUMSI Report on "European Research Resources" was also
highlighted at the exhibition. This is a convenient introduction to
Web-based resources for a variety of important topics: government,
news, companies, industries and more. The new report was prepared by
frequent FreePint contributor Adrian Janes, and includes an index to
all URLs cited, links to other resources including industry
associations and other materials published by Free Pint Limited, as
well as extracts from relevant in-depth product reviews published in
VIP magazine <http://www.vivaVIP.com/>. For more details, please
News and product launches
The latest product launches, exhibitor news and show information can
be accessed at
We hope to see you at the next Online Information exhibition, which
has been scheduled for 2-4 December 2008 at Olympia!
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