Raising Awareness

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UKOLN is based at the University of Bath.

Umbrella 2013 Conference


Brian Kelly presented a paper on Reflecting on Yesterday, Understanding Today, Planning for Tomorrow at the Umbrella 2013 Conference. The conference was held on 2-3rd July 2013 at the University of Manchester, Manchester.

The talk took place for 14.30-15.30 on Tuesday 2nd July in Room 1.218.

Submission Details

Pushing the frontiers of Knowledge and Information Management
Focus session
Reflecting on Yesterday, Understanding Today, Planning for Tomorrow

Abstract (Brief)

Brian Kelly will describe an evidence-based approach to the prediction of technological developments which will be relevant to the higher education sector which has been used by the JISC Observatory.

Abstract (Full)

In this talk Brian Kelly reflects on the assumptions we may have had when we were young on the technologies which would become embedded, such as travel to work by monorail and manned space travel to Mars. We can see that predictions of the future do not always come to pass. However sometimes reality exceeds expectations, as can be seen if you compare Captain James T Kirk's Communicator with the current generation of mobile phones we carry in our pocket!

There is therefore a need for a methodology which can help ensure that those working in the higher education sector can identify technological developments which may become embedded, but which can also spot those which may fail to take off.The paper introduces a methodology used by the JISC Observatory which can help to identify 'weak signals' for technologies which may have an impact on the sector, as well as 'strong signals' which may make it difficult for emerging technologies to become embedded.

The paper describes the need to differentiate between inventions, innovations and improvements. However although the need to 'innovate' is frequently highlighted as a way of addressing economic challenges, there is also a need to understand how improvements of existing technologies can be sufficient, with improvements acting as a barrier to the take-up of innovative approaches.

The paper concludes by describing how the methodology can be applied in the context of the services provided by those working in libraries.


The slides used in this presentation are available.

Reflecting on Yesterday, Understanding Today, Planning for Tomorrow (slides)
[MS PowerPoint format]

The slides are also available on Slideshare and embedded below.

Accompanying Paper

An acompanying paper is available.

Reflecting on Yesterday, Understanding Today, Planning for Tomorrow (pre-print)

Note that this presentation is so available on the Slideshare repository and embedded below.

Reflecting on Yesterday, Understanding Today, Planning for Tomorrow from Brian Kelly


Biographical Details (Brief)

Brian KellyBrian works for UKOLN, University of Bath where he advises the UK's HE/FE sectors on ways Web developments. Brian's work for the JISC Observatory helps to identify emerging technological developments, as described in "What Next for Libraries? Making Sense of the Future" presented at the EMTACL (Emerging Technologies in Academic Libraries) conference in Trondheim.