THE BRITISH LIBRARY

In through the outfield blog

10 posts from December 2011

23 December 2011

Digital Strategies for Heritage – DISH 2011 Rotterdam

Dish_logoThe Digital Strategies for Heritage 2011 conference (DISH 2011) was a new name to me until quite recently.

This could be explained by the fact that my job is all about helping aspiring entrepreneurs with their information needs, rather than digitising parts of the enormous British Library collection.

However, one of the four strands of DISH 2011, held from 7 December in Rotterdam, was Business for Heritage, and I was asked to speak at session on Organisations that Redesigned their Business  Models.

I certainly believe the Business & IP Centre is an excellent example of how a library can deliver a different kind of service, to support its community and economy. As well as giving a talk about the development of the Centre and the services we deliver, I was also asked to offer myself up as a trained business advisor.

Quite a few conference attendees applied for these one to one advice sessions, and I selected four I felt I could help the most. It was fascinating to hear first hand about some of the projects my clients were undertaking, and the challenges they were facing. In most cases it involved persuading staff with somewhat traditional and cautious attitudes to adopt new technologies and new ways of working. These were issues we had faced in developing the Business & IP Centre.

Overall I found the conference to be extremely well organised with fascinating speakers and interesting and engaged attendees. I would thoroughly recommend attending any future DISH conferences.

Here are my notes from the two days of the event:

I got off to an excellent start when I found myself sitting next to the conference chair Chris Batt and his charming wife Adie, who also happens to be his business partner, on the flight out to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS). So I was able to get the inside track even before arriving in Rotterdam.

Chris has been a key figure in the information world for many years including  Chief Executive of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). However, this was the first time I had had the opportunity to speak to him.

Chris_BattWednesday 7th December – Introduction from Chris Batt, Conference Chair

DISH has now seven years experience, and aims to be a toolbox with practical solutions, rather than just keep on saying it is a ‘good thing’.

The four themes for the conference are:

  • ­    Business for heritage
  • ­    Crowdsourcing and co-creation
  • ­    Institutional change
  • ­    Building a New Public Space
DISH_2011_introduction

Image by DEN (Digitaal Erfgoed Nederland)

We are living in a time of uncertainty, complexity and change, but more than ever a need for us to think strategically.

In the private sector it is a case of ‘a thousand flowers blooming’, but each one is aiming for market domination. And how can you tell which will be the success story?

We are moving from Evolution to Revolution (look at the recent changes in the music industry), also in some cases Extinction.

There are big differences between the public and private sectors, but both are serving the same customers.

In the public sector how does the weeding of the ‘thousand flowers’ take place, when there isn’t the private sector market control elements.

Do we undertake cost benefit analysis for our digitisation projects?

When looking at the UK government departmental strategies and cooperation, it is a case of ‘the whole being less than the sum of the parts’.

Chris asked the audience what ‘being ahead of the wave’ meant to them.
Is it the Institution, the Project, the Sector, or Public knowledge institutions?

To make progress we need to move from being technicians to strategists, and from an institutional focus to a consumer focus.

Katherine_WatsonLiving the Digital Shift – Katherine Watson – Director, European Cultural Foundation

  • We need to start with the person not with the technical tool.
  • We should look into the future, and ask ourselves how will the current six year old in school be wanting to use your services when they are ready?
  • Looking to the past is not helpful.
  • The economic crisis means that our funding landscape is crumbling around us.
  • In the future it will not be ‘back to business as normal’.
  • Rapid change means that it is not possible to predict the future with risk free certainty.

Amber_CaseCyborg anthropology and the future of interfaces – Amber Case

Although something of a surprising presence at a conference on digital strategies, Amber’s talk was absolutely fascinating, and I am still pondering on the implications of what she said. You can catch some of the same points in her TED Women talk.

The traditional tools that humans use have changed very little over thousands of years. Whereas computers have changed beyond recognition in less than 50 years.

The idea of Cyborg Anthropology first came about in 1941, when a group of scientists and technologists first met to review impact of computer technology on people. In 1992 it became a formal academic subject.

Becoming a cyborg
When you first go online, you have to start making decisions about how you will present your virtual self, and how closely related this will be to your ‘real’ self. You are likely to adjust this version of you based on feedback from your contacts.

The future

  • We will see more Calm Technology, which appears when you need it, and disappears when you don’t.
  • Technologists try to digitise old technology and nearly always fail. For example trying to ‘grab’ a virtual page and turn it, instead of pressing a button.
  • We need to have technologies which give us superhuman powers, eg Flipboard
  • There will be an increasing merging of tech with real life. E.g. body implants.
  • Real-time gaming eg MapAttack
  • Home automation that actually works.
  • The interface will begin to disappear, so that actions are reduced, queries are eliminated. E.g. Kinect for Xbox®
  • The best technology is invisible… like a book.

Q&A
Q. How do you cope with the way technology negatively impacts available time and the ability to concentrate?
A. Amber recommended moderation in all things includes technology. She recently took 3 weeks away from her email and social media to read a book a day. The government in Singapore has proposed its citizens should turn off technology an hour before bed-time to give their brains time to settle down so their sleep is effective.

Charles_LeadbetterCulture and Social Media – Charles Leadbetter

The answer lies in ‘creative muddling through’, using skill-full incompleteness.

Charles used an excellent analogy of the development of the wine industry over the last 50 years to illustrate different models of customer service that relate to the Cultural Heritage sector.

French wine is elitist, their bottles (with just a front label) give almost no clue to an amateur wine drinker as to the nature of the wine they will find inside. You need to know their language, geography, horticulture and coding systems.
The message is, ‘keep away, unless you know what you are dealing with’.

In contrast Australian wines are consumer friendly. They have colourful modern labels on the front and lots of helpful information on the back, explaining the grapes that make up the contents, and what the wine will smell and taste like. They a have a handy screw top, so you don’t even need to drink the whole bottle in one go.
The message is, ‘I go very well with your Chicken Korma’.

Because of these changes New World wines are now the largest selling in the world.

Then there is the rapidly expanding area of home made wine. People are planting their own garden vineyards and buying the wine making kit from the web. Needless to say the quality of wine produced ranges from the undrinkable to excellent.
The message here is, ‘anyone can have a go’.

Next Charles looked at four distribution models and the challenges they present for the cultural sector.

1. How we communicate

Communication

2. Where ideas come from.

Contributors

Compare this to what he called the evil genius of Simon Cowel managed to operate in three out of four sectors.

Contributors X Factor

He was particularly impressed by how Apple have been so successful, by creating a ‘guild’ of followers (customers) who believe their Apple products are helping them to live better, more modern lives.

3. How has society changed?

change

In the future to grow big with small investment will require seeing yourself as a movement, or networks with values and ideologies, not institutions, with opening hours, collections and catalogues. Social media and the web gives an opportunity to do this.

He gave the example of Barcelona football club as the kind of organisation which exemplifies this approach.

The English, who invented football, developed a game in which defenders never went beyond the half-way line. They repelled attacks with physicality and generally ‘booted’ the ball up the pitch to their attackers who had the skill to put the ball in to their opponents net.

The ball only ever went straight up and down the pitch. The occasional creative player would attempt to move the ball across the pitch instead.

However, Barcelona developed ‘total football’, where everyone is a key player with skill. The ball always moves across the pitch, never along it, the team aim is to never lose possession, and everyone has to contribute.

This has made them into the most successful football team in the world.

For Charles cultural institutions must learn that the way to win is, not to be brilliant and individualistic, but to remain part of the network, to pass, to constantly move, look for space and find interesting angles, to always remain linked. If you are not open to people passing the ‘ball’ to you, no one will be interested in playing with you.

In other words, play culture, like Barcelona play football.

Thursday 8 December

Michael_EdsonCome let us go boldly into the Future – Michael Edson

Michael gave the closing keynote talk, which was more a call to arms than an academic treatise.

He spent some time talking about future predictions from the last 50 years. He pointed out that even those ideas we think of as new, such as The Long Tail, Joy’s Law, Cognitive Surplus, Network Effects, Moores’s Law & Mobile, and Every user a Hero are no longer really new.

He built towards his message that the ‘future is now’. So we should stop worrying about what may or may not be coming down the wire, and start engaging with our present future.

He summed up with three key questions we should all be asking ourselves:
1.    What world am I living in?
2.    What impact do I want to have?
3.    What should I do today?

He also strongly recommended The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun.

I have been attending keynote talks at library and information conferences for over 20 years now, and in all that time I have only seen two genuinely evangelical speakers from an information background.

The first was Eugenie Prime at SLA Conference in Seattle in 1997, when she called on all librarians to quit whining about image and begin walking the walk. And to earn respect by forgetting about our negative image and doing our jobs better than anyone else could.

Michael Edson qualifies as the second. The audience left his session inspired to tackle this particular professional challenge. No more whinging about all the problems we face, but to focus on the solutions.

You can watch his talk on Vimeo.

16 December 2011

Google's patent for a self-driving car

Google was granted on the 13 December a US patent for a driverless car, titled Transitioning a mixed-mode vehicle to autonomous mode.

The BBC has an intereting story about the features of the invention. The patent was applied for in May and so took only 7 months to get granted, which is amazingly fast (3 or 4 years would be fairly quick). It is a strange field for the company to be working in.

The list of documents in the file wrapper for this patent, from Public PAIRS, shows that on the 5 November Google stated that they were not intending to secure a patent in a foreign country that published applications 18 months from the original filing. This means -- provided that the technology is really new -- that Google has surrendered monopoly rights over the technology in the patent outside the USA.

Anyone looking for similar technology can see the list of 31 patents cited against it as relevant prior art.

15 December 2011

Electrolux Design Lab 2012 competition on home appliances

Electrolux, the Swedish home appliances manufacturer, has launched its Design Lab 2012 competition with the theme "Design Experience".

Entrants, who must be undergraduates or recent graduates in industrial design anywhere in the world, are asked to design a home appliance that "provides a fuller sensory experience". Electrolux's annual competitions each have a different, futuristic theme.

Entries have to be in by the 1 June 2012. Top prize is 5000 Euros and a six month paid internship at an Electrolux design centre, with second and third prizes of 3000 and 2000 Euros. The eight finalists would have presented their concepts at an event held in the Autumn of 2012 in a European city.

The 2011 theme was intelligent mobility within home appliances. Adrian Makovecký was the winner with his portable spot cleaner. This is a short video about the 2011 competition, the final being in London.

 

The presentations by the 2011 finalists is also available.

14 December 2011

British Standard for a cup of tea – BS 6008 (revisited)

morning_tea_4_1165221_porah

(image by porah)

Today we had a visit from British Standards Institution demonstrating their British Standards Online service (BSOL), to which we have full access in the British Library.

It reminded me of one of my earliest posts on this blog, way back in 2007, British Standard for a cup of tea – BS 6008. Surprisingly this has become my third most popular topic of all time (after the Bic Crystal ballpoint pen and the not so simple paper clip)

Perhaps not so surprising when you know (according to the United Kingdom Tea Council), tea is the most popular drink consumed in Britain, with over 165,000,000 cups being drunk in the UK every single day of the year.

Drinking tea the right way has it’s own popular website and book with A nice cup of tea and a sit down.

Sadly the vexed topic of when to put in the milk has the nation (and families) divided, despite the British Standard suggestion of putting it in last (for tea brewed ‘properly’ in a pot);

7.2.2 Preparation with milk
Pour milk free from any off-flavour (for example raw milk or unboiled pasteurized milk) into the bowl (5.2), using approximately 5 ml for the large bowl and 2,5 ml for the small bowl described in the Annex.

Prepare the liquor as described in 7.2.1 but pour it into the bowl after the milk, in order to avoid scalding the milk, unless this procedure is contrary to the normal practice in the organization concerned.

If the milk is added afterwards, experience has shown that the best results are obtained when the temperature of the liquor is in the range 65 to 80 °C when the milk is added. While addition of milk is not essential, it sometimes helps to accentuate differences in flavour and colour.

Many, including that great British writer George Orwell, who wrote a detailed eleven point set of tea making instructions, insist on putting the milk in second;

Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.

Needless to say, the Tea Council have their own ideas;

  • Use a good quality loose leaf or bagged tea
  • This must be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature
  • Always use freshly drawn boiling water
  • In order to draw the best flavour out of the tea the water must contain oxygen, this is reduced if the water is boiled more than once.
  • Measure the tea carefully
  • Use 1 tea bag or 1 rounded teaspoon of loose tea for each cup to be served
  • Allow the tea to brew for the recommended time before pouring
  • Brewing tea from a bag in a mug? Milk in last is best

And of course Wikipedia have a wealth of information on the topic of tea preparation.

tea_pot_858726_76609514

The only ‘proper’ way to make a cuppa – image by rubenshito

13 December 2011

Customised Design event at the British Library

Many thanks to my colleague Fran Taylor for this story:

On 7 December we ran an event in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire on customised design, and how designers can create unique, tailored goods for their customers – either at the luxury or mass-produce ends of the market.

It’s a challenging area for businesses. On the one hand it is a way of finding your USP (unique selling point) and potentially being able to charge more for your products. On the other hand it also makes the manufacturing and ordering process much more complicated.

The first speaker was Shaun Borstrock, who has worked with Asprey, Thomas Pink, and the British Luxury Council and he spoke about the luxury end of customisation. He talked about how the luxury market is forecast to grow by 57% over the next five years to £9.4bn. He talked about how a lot of companies often create the impression of offering customised products, but in reality just offer small changes e.g. by adding initials to a designer hand-bag or offering different colour options. He also gave the example of the Prada Lace-up project.

In contrast, Sarah Maynard from SML offers an extremely high end, bespoke service in the luxury transportation market. She has a team of craftsmen who can provide anything from working with a team of chemists to choose a specific colour pigment to a gold-plated gear stick. For her business, customisation is achieved through one-to-one relationships with clients over a longer period of time. Customisation is her USP and her customers are willing to pay a lot of money for the craftsmanship involved.

Our last speaker was jewellery designer Mark Bloomfield from Electrobloom. He is a huge fan of 3D printing and explained how it opens up opportunities for customised design, low-cost manufacturing and experimentation.  Through 3D printing you can produce prototypes quickly and the creative process can be very iterative.  It also reduces the cost and energy required for shipping and manufacturing abroad.

He produces beautiful flower-inspired designs in around 20 different colour and shape combinations. They are made out of nylon (which incidentally is also dishwasher proof).

Electrobloom flower

12 December 2011

90 Tiny Tips to Build Your Personal Brand

In the past, Rasheed Ogunlaru (who presents our monthly Your Life, Your Business workshop), has talked about the importance of building your personal brand.

So this list of tips from Alissa Alvarez at Online MBA is welcome.

90 Tiny Tips to Build Your Personal Brand

Personal branding isn’t something you can just sit down and work on for a day and then forget about. Rather, personal branding is built in small pieces, as your day-to-day actions all add up to the brand that is you. That’s exactly why we’ve found so many small tips that can help you build your personal brand, taking things one tiny step at a time. Read on, and we’ll share 90 tips that can help you slowly but steadily build your personal brand.

Finding Your Niche

Personal branding is all about figuring out who you are and how you want to project your image. Use these tips to help identify what you’re really all about.

Consider what makes you different

1.    When determining your niche, you should think about what makes you different from other brands out there.

2.    Identify your primary product

3.    Think about what you have to offer others, whether it’s a service, resource, or special ability.

4.    Find out what your talents are

5.    Consider what your talents are, what you’ve been recognized for and what you’re better at than most people.

6.    Think about how others identify you

7.    Take a look at your brand attributes and confirm that your brand matches what others would say about you.

8.    Do something remarkable

9.    Instead of playing it self and sticking to what you know, do something that’s worthy of taking notice.

10.    Identify your core values

11.    Share what really matters to you in order to identify what your core values are.

12.    Be unique

13.    Don’t feel like you need to copy another person’s brand. Be unique and stand out.

14.    Think about your passions

15.    Identify the things and ideas that you love, and identify your passions.

16.    Ask colleagues and friends to sum up your professional image

17.    Get a true reflection of what you’re all about by asking others to define you.

Creating A Message

Follow these tips to find out how you can share the personal branding message you have created.

1.    Physically make a message

2.    Write a paragraph and tag line that tells your story and emphasizes your specialty and talents.

3.    Share your message

4.    Once you have your message, be sure to actually share it with someone.

5.    Be authentic

6.    Don’t create a message that’s about someone else: be true to yourself.

7.    Control your message

8.    Don’t be too many different things to too many people. Stick to your primary message and focus on that.

9.    Find your target audience

10.    Consider who you really want to be talking to, and use your target audience to define what kind of presence you want to create for your brand.

11.    Know your audience

12.    Think about to whom you’re directing your personal brand, and communicate your messages appropriately.

13.    Be yourself

14.    Let your personality shine through and show the real authentic “you.”

15.    Use the right vocabulary

16.    Communicate with your audience using the right words from the industry so you can show your understanding of what’s going on.

Credibility

1.    Use personal branding to establish yourself as a trusted professional in your industry with the help of these tips.

2.    Be useful

3.    In everything you do, take a moment to consider how you are being useful to others.
4.    Live what you say

5.    Have a trustworthy, transparent, and educated voice to build your credibility.

6.    Be trustworthy

7.    Be careful not to offer anything you can’t provide, and deliver on what you’ve promised.

8.    Believe in your brand

9.    Commit to and invest in the ideas that support your brand.

10.    Create a portfolio of successes

11.    Showcase your past work, get testimonials, and do whatever you can do show off how great you are.

12.    Find and share great content

13.    Create a buzz around your own personal brand by finding great content and sharing them with others.

14.    Create a visual hook

15.    Find a memorable visual hook that people will enjoy and remember you by.

16.    Find out what other leaders are doing right

17.    Find the experts and leaders in your profession, and see what they are doing to promote their brands.

18.    Cultivate a personal style

19.    Select clothing that represents you and makes you stand out from the crowd in an attractive way.

20.    Be a leader

21.    Lead by helping people, and use leadership to grow your influence.

22.    Get featured in the media

23.    Find opportunities to be featured in the media, possibly creating even more opportunities for exposure and credibility.

24.    Show your confidence

25.    Don’t be arrogant, but be sure to project confidence so that others will be comfortable with you.

26.    Contribute to Q&A sections

27.    LinkedIn, eHow, About.com, and lots of forums offer opportunities for sharing your expertise.

28.    Be a speaker

29.    Much more effective than just attending, speaking at events shares the opportunity for showcasing your expertise.

30.    Be consistent

31.    Make sure your resume, LinkedIn, and Facebook are all saying the same thing.

32.    Win awards

33.    First, do work that’s worthy of awards, and be sure to apply for awards in your field. This can bring lots of recognition and credibility to your personal brand.

34.    Take a writing class

35.    The way you write has a major impact on how you are perceived, so take a writing class to make sure you’re getting it right.

36.    Stay on top of trends

37.    Educate yourself and stay on top of newly emerging trends in your industry.

38.    Back everything up with proof

39.    Share objective proof to back up broad statements, using numbers, dates, statistics, and more.

40.    Toot your own horn

41.    Publicize awards, achievements, and anything else that’s remarkable so that people actually know about it.

Efficiency

1.    Keep personal branding from taking over your life with these tips that will help you streamline your efforts.

2.    Interact effectively

3.    Give yourself a time window for interaction so that you don’t spend all day networking and using social media.

4.    Determine where to invest your energy

5.    Building a brand is a major undertaking, and there’s only so much you can do in a day. Think about where you really want to invest your energy in brand building.

6.    Be brief

7.    State your value quickly and in bite sized chunks, or you run the risk of droning on and becoming forgettable.

Online Presence

1.    Maintain an online presence that reflects who you are with the help of these tips.

2.    Own your domain

3.    Register your name or unique URL to project a more professional image.

4.    Have a great website

5.    Your website is still like a virtual lobby, offering a jumping off point for your entire online presence.

6.    Learn about SEO

7.    Search engine optimization might sound a little scary and daunting, but in reality, it’s actually quite easy, as long as you’re creating quality content. Taking the time to do SEO right can make all the difference when making your brand stand out.

8.    Keep your personal and company brand separate

9.    Establish yourself as a person, rather than a company, so that you don’t limit the power of your personal brand. This is especially helpful if you may not be with the company forever.

10.    Be a polite emailer

11.    Check your grammar, etiquette, and writing skills so that you’re communicating like a professional.

12.    Pay attention to your email address

13.    Your email address offers a significant opportunity for building your brand, especially if you use your real name.

14.    Do your best to lock down your name online

15.    Whether you have a common name or an unusual one, put out as much quality content as you can, with your name one it, so that you can better control your online presence.

16.    Find out where you are online

17.    Do a Google search to check in on your online presence to see you you’re doing and if you need to make any changes.

18.    Monitor your online brand

19.    Carefully keep an eye on what is being said about you online, and make corrections as needed.

Networking

1.    Get connected and establish your brand with others by following these tips.

2.    Find relevant people

3.    Seek out the recommendations of colleagues, check out Twitter, and more to find relevant people that you should be connecting with.

4.    Join industry associations

5.    Meet up with people who can help you build your brand and career by joining industry associations.

6.    Be generous with your time

7.    Take time to do charitable work and go beyond the call of duty.

8.    Say yes more often

9.    Accept more invitations and go to more events, finding opportunities and taking advantage of ways to explore and experience.

10.    Have business cards

11.    Even if you don’t have a job, create business cards with your contact information to share with others who want to contact and remember you.

12.    Do your research

13.    Before any networking event, be sure to know who is going and what will be discussed so that you’re well prepared.

14.    Be accessible

15.    Let people know you’re out there, and that they can reach you on a regular basis.

16.    Don’t miss out on events

17.    Attend conferences, seminars, and other events to get out there and shake hands and meet other relevant people.

18.    Ask for testimonials

19.    Ask other people to recommend you for your expertise, and then be sure to publish what they’ve said about you.

20.    Be an active alumni

21.    Make the most of where you went to school by joining the alumni association and taking advantage of networking events.

22.    Show support for others

23.    Be passionate about helping other people when they need it.

24.    Learn how to introduce yourself

25.    Be ready to communicate who you are with others, concisely sharing the answer to “Tell me about yourself.”

26.    Get connected with passionate people

27.    Find other people who live passionately, and get together with them regularly for inspiration.

28.    Take guest blogging opportunities

29.    Extend your reach beyond your immediate network by taking opportunities to guest blog and share your expertise.

30.    Promote others rather than yourself

31.    Instead of spending all your time promoting yourself, take the time to point out what others are doing really well.

Job Hunting

1.    These personal branding tips are especially relevant for job hunters.

2.    Work for free

3.    Your experience is worth its weight in gold, so when it comes to getting a job, any past experience can really pay off, even work you’ve done for free.

4.    Create a value statement

5.    Highlight your values and strengths to get the attention of a hiring manager.

6.    Put your resume online

7.    Add social features, photos, and more to your photo by putting it online.

8.    Quantify your results

9.    Prove your value by showing quantified outcomes.

Social Media

1.    Follow these tips for great ideas in building your personal brand through social media.

2.    Carefully consider which tools you want to use

3.    If you can’t effectively use a social media tool, there’s little point to having it at all. A poorly managed social media presence can be worse than not having one in the first place.

4.    Listen up and stay in the loop

5.    Don’t be one sided: be sure to listen and respond to what others are saying.

6.    Fill out your profile completely

7.    Fill out all of the information fields to promote everything important about yourself.

8.    Go out and find new followers

9.    New followers will find you, but you can build your presence much faster by seeking them out yourself.

10.    Listen first

11.    See what others are saying on social networks, and even set up Google Alerts to listen in on how social networks are working before you get started with them.

12.    Engage and interact

13.    Participate in the back and forth of social media, engaging with others and interacting with content.

14.    Create multiple streams

15.    Be ubiquitous, creating an online presence on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and more, as many as you can reasonably maintain on a regular basis.

16.    Be adaptable

17.    Social media is constantly changing, so always be ready to adapt to new developments with a consistent approach.

18.    Don’t forget videos

19.    Video projects can pay off in a big way and offer a great way to really showcase your brand.

20.    Manage and optimize your social media systems

21.    When creating your social media accounts, set them up so that they can be automatically updated, pushing to your blog, home page, and more.

22.    Stay interesting

23.    Don’t just set up social media and walk away: keep things interesting by writing, sharing videos, photos, and more.

24.    Curate content like it’s fine art

25.    Think carefully about how you share links, news, and resources, curating your content like a museum director might select works for an exhibit.

26.    Use the same profile photo

27.    Make your online presence easily recognizable by using the same profile photo everywhere.

28.    Use a consistent name, too

29.    Build recognition by using the same name in everything you do online, preferably one that is close to your actual name or profession.

30.    Schedule regular posts

31.    Stay on top of your online presence with scheduled tweets and blog posts, so you always have something new to share.

32.    Think before you Tweet

33.    Be careful not to write anything that’s embarrassing or offensive, or anything you wouldn’t get away with in any other professional setting.

34.    Keep everything PG

35.    Be careful not to post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma (or potential employers) to see.

36.    Point to your social media presence elsewhere

37.    Promote your social media presence everywhere, on your website, blog, and even email.

38.    Bring offline relationships online

39.    Ask your “real life” friends if they are on Twitter or Facebook.

40.    Blog your voice on the web

41.    Blogging is a great way to find natural traffic without too much marketing effort.

42.    Don’t give away too much personal information

43.    Be careful not to over-share information or be inflammatory when building your brand.

44.    Make some accounts private

45.    If you feel the need to share things online that aren’t professionally appropriate, be sure to make those accounts private.

07 December 2011

New College: a trade mark dispute

There is a dispute about who has the rights to the name "New College" in the mechandising of goods and services in the UK.

On the 9 May the London-based New College of the Humanities applied for a UK trade mark for that name for specified goods or services in four classes as listed in application 2580647. The classes are so that applicants can register in different areas as generally trade marks can co-exist in different business areas.

On the 21 July New College, Oxford, applied for New College Oxford for 12 classes as listed in application 2588652. The four classes of the earlier application are among those 12, so there is conflict.

Normally the first to apply for registration wins, but under common law arguments could be made about confusing or deceiving the public.

The BBC site has an article on the subject, New College Oxford wants trademark protection for name by Sean Coughlan, an education correspondent (In fact in the UK the term is trade mark rather than trademark, the US term). It points out that New College by itself would be too vague to be registered, and speculates that New College of the Humanities is similarly not specific enough. The defence in such cases is to find cases where this did in fact happen.

Both trade marks are awaiting registration or refusal, although the earlier one has been "examined", which probably means that "absolute grounds" -- does it past a test set by the UK IPO -- present an objection such as too generic and so on. This is different from "relative grounds", where following a search for similar registered trade marks the owners are notified and can object -- as can others, such as New College Oxford in this case.

Incidentally, a correspondent to today's Daily Telegraph, who alerted me to the story, talks of "copyright". This is a common error. Brand names are trade marks, while artistic and literary works such as books, films, artworks, photography and so on receive the weaker protection of copyright, which is a right against deliberate copying. The letter does make good reading.

 

06 December 2011

Tobii Technology: eye tracking for wheelchair users

Today's Metro newspaper has an article about the concept of wheelchair users being able to control the wheelchair by using the movement of their eyes.

Swedish company Tobii Technology have been working on the idea of people who cannot use their limbs having infrared light shone on their eyes, and what they look at is captured by infrared cameras. 

The company has published 10 World patent applications, including Eye detection unit using sequential data flow, illustrated below.

Tobii Technology patent image

Eye tracking is the only technical area that the company works in.

The article also talks about Aldo Faisal of Imperial College, London, who is working on a different approach. After a "user interface" suggests a particular route, the wheelchair user blinks twice to agree and the wheelchair moves off. Faisal, who is a lecturer in neurotechnology, is quoted as saying that the idea came from "a crazy side project that actually worked".

I have not traced a published patent specification in the name of Faisal.