UK Web Focus Activities
Key Areas of Work
Areas of Brian Kelly's UK Web Focus work which have had a significant impact include:
- Support for the development of a Community of Practice for Web managers and developers
This event has been a key element in the growth and development of a Community of Practice for members of institutional Web management teams and has helped to ensure that there is a well-established culture of sharing and openness across the sector.
- A framework for the exploitation of open standards
Contributions to various standards documents which supported national digital library development programmes including eLib and the DNER (later renamed the JISC Information Environment). In light of the experiences of the effectiveness of the approaches to use of open standards (which sometimes failed to live up to the initial expectations) work with staff from other JISC services, including JISC CETIS and JISC OSS Watch) and other stakeholders in the sector, led to collaboration in the development of more flexible approaches for the selection and use of open standards which was published as a series of papers published in peer-reviewed or conference publications.
- A holistic framework for enhancing access to Web resources by people with disabilities
Advice to the sector on best practices for enhancing access to Web resources for people with disabilities which was given in the early 2000s led to an awareness of the limitations of approaches based on an uncritical use of WAI WCAG guidelines.
In 2004 a paper on "Developing A Holistic Approach For E-Learning Accessibility" was published in the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology. This paper sought to rethink approaches to Web accessibility in the context of the provision of e-learning.
A subsequent series of papers published in peer-reviewed or conference publications further developed these approaches for use in a wider context (including access to cultural heritage resources and institutional repositories) with the participation of accessibility researchers and practitioners across the UK and Australia. These approaches have subsequently influenced the development of the BS 8878 Code of Practice on Web Accessibility.
- A risks and opportunities framework for making use of Social Web services
In 2006 the potential of Web 2.0 and the Social Web to support institutional activities was described at various events including a high profile presentation at the UCISA Management Conference (which resulted in one IT Services Director subsequently changing approaches to the provision of IT services within the institution). Following the gradual acceptance of the potential benefits of the Social Web a risks and opportunities framework was described in a paper on Library 2.0: Balancing the Risks and Benefits to Maximise the Dividends which was later enhanced in a paper on Empowering Users and Institutions: A Risks and Opportunities Framework for Exploiting the Social Web to include details of ways of addressing copyright risks.
In September 2010 a paper on Approaches To Archiving Professional Blogs Hosted In The Cloud which described how the risks and opportunities framework could be applied to use of externally-hosted blog platforms was presented at the iPres 2010 conference.
In December 2010 a paper on Moving From Personal to Organisational Use of the Social Web outlined use of the framework in the context of personal use of externally-hosted services at the Online Information 2010 conference.
- Best practices for the preservation of Web resources
The JISC PoWR project, for which Brian Kelly was the project director, published the The Preservation of Web Resources Handbook and a Guide to Web Preservation. The work of the JISC PoWR project was described in a paper on Preservation of Web Resources: The JISC PoWR Project which was presented at the iPres 2008 conference.
An emphasis has been given to the engagement with users in UK Web Focus activities which has included ways of identifying needs and gathering feedback together with maximising the potential impact of such work through various dissemination channels. These approaches are summarised below:
A key aspect of the work of UK Web Focus has been participation at events in order to maximise dissemination activities. Between 1996 and 2012 Brian gave approximately 400 presentations at events ranging from international and national conferences, national and regional workshops, seminars and online events.
Activities in key areas of work, including Web accessibility, Web preservation, Web standards and Web 2.0 and the Social Web, have been published in peer-reviewed journals or presented at peer-reviewed conferences. Information on over 50 papers published in peer-reviewed journals, conferences or as invited papers at international conferences which have been published between 1999 and 2013 is available on the UKOLN Web site
In addition to over 50 papers, Brian has also contributed to 5 books on the subjects of Web accessibility, e-learning and Web 2.0.
- Participation in Blogs
Since November 2006 Brian has published over 1,100 posts on the UK Web Focus blog.
- Culture of Openness
Brian has been pro-active in encouraging an open approach to development work.
- As the project director for the JISC-funded QA Focus project, which ran from 2002-2004, Brian ensured that project outputs were made available under a Creative Commons licence.
- Posts published on the UK Web Focus blog have been made available under a Creative Commons licence and since 1 January 2011 commercial use of the posts has been permitted.
- Comments are permitted on all blog posts on the UK Web Focus blog.
- Presentations given since 2006 have been made available under a Creative Commons licence.
Brian Kelly is the recipient of the following awards:
- W4A 2010
The John M Slatin award for the Best Communications Paper at the W4A 2010 conference held in Raleigh, USA was given to a paper on Developing Countries; Developing Experiences: Approaches to Accessibility for the Real World by Brian Kelly, Sarah Lewthwaite and David Sloan. Further information about the award is available.
- IWR Information Professional of the Year
The IWR Information Professional of the Year award was presented to Brian Kelly at the Online Information conference in November 2007. Further information about the award is available.
- ALT-C 2005
An award for the Best Research Paper at the ALT-C 2005 conference held in Manchester was given to a paper on Implementing A Holistic Approach To E-Learning Accessibility by Brian Kelly, Lawrie Phipps and Caro Howell. Further information about the award is available.
Impact of Research Papers
In addition to the awards listed above the following examples illustrate the impact of the peer-reviewed papers:
- Forcing standardization or accommodating diversity?: a framework for applying the WCAG in the real world
- Forcing standardization or accommodating diversity?: a framework for applying the WCAG in the real world and Contextual web accessibility - maximizing the benefit of accessibility guidelines
Invited Presentations at International Events
Brian Kelly was an invited keynote speaker at the following international events:
- NDAP 2008 Conference, Taiwan
Brian Kelly gave a talk on "Library 2.0: Opportunities and Challenges" at the "NDAP 2008 Conference" in Taiwan in March 2008.
- Bridging Worlds 2008 conference, Singapore
Brian Kelly presented an invited paper on "Library 2.0: Balancing the Risks and Benefits to Maximise the Dividends" at the Bridging Worlds 2008 conference in Singapore in October 2008.
- Nordlib 2.0 - Get Inspired by Web 2.0 for Libraries 2008 conference, Stockholm, Sweden
Brian Kelly gave an invited plenary talk on "Realising The Potential Of Web 2.0" held at the "Nordlib 2.0 - Get inspired by Web 2.0 for libraries" conference in Aula Magna, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden in November 2008.
- OzeWAI 2009 conference, Melbourne, Australia
Brian Kelly gave an invited plenary talk on "From Web Accessibility 2.0 To Web Adaptability (1.0)" at the OzeWAI 2009 conference which was held in Melbourne, Australia in January 2009.
- OzeCHI 2009 conference, Melbourne, Australia
Brian Kelly gave a plenary keynote talk, provided as a pre-recorded slidecast on "From Web Accessibility To Web Adaptability" at the "OzeWAI at OZCHI 2009 conference" in November 2009.
- University 2.0: the Extended University course, Santander, Spain
Brian Kelly gave an invited plenary talk on "Embedding and Sustaining University 2.0" at the University 2.0: the Extended University course which was held at UIMP (Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo) in Santander, Spain in September 2010.
- University 2.0: the Extended University course, Santander, Spain
Brian Kelly gave an invited plenary talk on "What Next for Libraries? Making Sense of the Future" at the Emerging Technologies in Academic Libraries 2012 (EMTACL) Conference held in Trondheim, Norway on 1-3 October 2012.
An example of organisational change which Brian Kelly has helped to instigate can be seen from the following testimonial from Michael Nowlan, which was the IT Services Director at Trinity College Dublin:
I attended a session of the EUNIS conference in Manchester entitled "IT Services - Help or Hindrance to National IT Development Programmes?" given by Brian Kelly of UKOLN.
The session opened my eyes about attitudes to technology in university Computer Centres. Brian challenged the basic tenets that I had observed as the Director of Information Systems Services in Trinity College Dublin for the previous 10 years.
Returning back to Trinity the following week, I started to ask my staff questions that had never really been properly considered before:
- Why do we have such a poor email system when Google give away email with a 4GB quota and trinity 20MB?
- Why do we ban Skype?
- Why do we not allow "unapproved" devices connect to the network?
- Why is the automatic answer to a request "no, but" rather than "yes but"?
Following on the EUNIS paper by Brian, I started to try to change the environment in Trinity from negative to positive and made some successes. Notably the first European university to adopt Google Mail as its service for students. This was followed by outsourcing student online storage to Microsoft and a range of other innovations that had been unthinkable.
It is fair to say that the talk by Brian and the work of UKOLN stimulated a new way of thinking about services and questioning older preconceived ideas about how things were done.