Information Services 2.0

[Originally posted on “Lofty thoughts …” 8th February, 2009]

Quite a while ago now, Joe Nicholls – a colleague of mine – and I started looking at emerging Web 2.0 Technologies and what there adoption might mean for university Information Services departments – we coined the unremarkable phrase Information Services 2.0 to describe the nature of the department that would need to develop – a topic that was picked-up by Brian Kelly in a presentation he made to the UCISA Management Conference in March 2008. [The use of the term IT Services 2.0 had previously been used by Mark Sampson from Edinburgh University in March 2007 and this was referenced in Brian’s blogpost “IT Services Reinventing Themselves“.] The UCISA talk generated some reflection on the topic and a dialogue with Cardiff-based Professor of Educational Technology at the OU – Martin Weller.

As an indication of Cardiff and INSRV’s early consideration of these
issues I’ve resurrected the original internal blogpost on the subject
for the record (below). We had written a paper on “Disruptive technology and its implications for University Information Services” and I presented it at a UKOLN Workshop on “Exploiting the potential of blogs and social networks” in November 2007.

The presentation explored the phenomenon of ‘disruptive technology’ and the implications it had for University Information Services. The nature of technology initiated disruption was explored, identifying some of its causes and effects and implications for service provision. It was suggested that a modified approach to service provision and management must be adopted in order to alleviate disruptive
consequences of technology and capitalise upon its benefits. Fundamental to achieving this would be adopting a philosophy of enablement through partnership at all levels
of the organisation to harness better ways of staying abreast of and responsive to the potential value of emerging technologies. Central to achieving this would be adopting news ways of communicating and working with staff, students and the wider organisation, with the aim being that the University should be confident about the degree of control, ownership and responsibility that was in place.

We asked the questions:


  • What threats and opportunities does ‘disruptive technology’ hold for Higher Education and Information Services?
  • What can/should Information Services do to better manage the disruption caused and take advantage of the opportunities new technology presents?

Onwards and upwards – we then turned our attention to “core” and “chore”, of which more later.

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