I was recently invited to present at a UKOLN Cultural Heritage event on using the social web. Ann Chapman facilitated the workshop which introduced people to the basics of social web and encouraged them to think about how social web could be used in their own organisation. There were attendees from libraries, museums, and archives and the small group size (less than 20 delegates) encouraged open conversation throughout the day. I attended the whole day, supporting facilitation in the morning and presenting my case study in the afternoon.

In addition to Ann’s presentations (which you can view from the event website), the morning session included group work in the form of pitching a business plan to “the dragons” (i.e. myself and Ann!). The groups were encouraged to consider which social web tools would be appropriate to use for addressing a particular real world issue (ideally one from their workplace), and present the idea to us as a business plan. As part of the business plan the groups had to to consider the audience and aim, which tools they would use and how, who would do it, and any challenges they think they might need to address. You can see some of the great ideas they came up with on the wiki.

After lunch it was time for the case studies, which included myself (from an academic library perspective) and Matt Jelfs (from a public library perspective). I’ve embedded my presentation below (best viewed fullscreen using the menu options); I talked about a number of different instances whereby a problem I have identified (e.g. engaging with users, event promotion, gathering feedback) has been solved using social web tools. I’m a firm believer in using these tools where appropriate, not just for the sake of it. Each of my examples took the same form:

Problem is identified → Needs are established → Solution is proposed → Benefits of chosen solution

Matt’s case study discussed some of the ways Birmingham public libraries are using social web tools, such as Facebook pages, Twitter (@bhambusiness for example), YouTube, and Issuu.

The day concluded with a final presentation from Ann about addressing the challenges, and then we had a Q&A section to end the event. I hope the attendees found the event useful, I certainly felt that it was a great environment for sharing and learning collaboratively and I particularly enjoyed the Dragon’s Den activity.