I write these pieces every 6 months, usually for the Centre for Social Informatics’ all-centre meetings. (I’m usually incapable of speech by the time it’s my turn to report.) Really miffed that we can’t get together in person this time. Click this link to see all the pieces in this series. Continue reading
Category Archives: democracy
Memories of #AECIST20
I recently attended an European chapter of ASIS&T Information Science Trends online conference This year it focussed on health information hehaviour. The following are my digitally-assisted memories of #AECIST20, i.e. adaptations of my live-tweets from the event. As ever, this report is mostly to help me sort what I need to do from what I want to do after being stimulated by many fascinating presentations. Any mistakes or misrepresentations in the below are of course my mistakes. Continue reading
What has Bruce been up to in the last 6 months?
- The RIVAL network: I’m PA to the ∏, administrator, map-creator, videographer, data-analyst and much more
- IL measures paper: Peter and I are contributing a section to a paper by Gunilla Widen. This will report on the survey of community councillors, and how (not to) measure workplace information literacy.
- marking: some marking of students’ placement reports.
- information avoidance in diabetes: because I don’t want to know about my diabetes, but because I do want to know why this is. And I want to to help others with this bad combination, and to maybe generate some theory!
- SFC GCRF map. This is to create a web map of SFC-funded GCRF projects. Draft version is here: http://bruceryandontexist.net/SFC/VA42-2019_11_19/. <insert moan about administrivia>
- Failure: REDACTED
- Still minutes secretary and web-weaver for 3 Edinburgh community councils
- But I’ve worked out how to cut down on the hours while still doing what they want.
- £eithChooses PB event: publishing, IT, web, admin…
- Community Councils Together on Trams: minutes and asking important impertinent questions
- Failure: I didn’t cease smoking. Instead Varenicline made me vomit.
PB Scotland Conference 2019 #PBConf19
As with many of my posts, the following is based on my tweets from the event. For other views, you might search Twitter for #PBConf19 (but watch out for tweets about a pharmacy conference using the same hashtag) or go to PB Scotland’s website. This also has mini-biographies of the speakers and information about the workshops.
Asides and Bruce-thoughts at the time of tweeting are usually in (round brackets). Extra text added while writing this post is in [square brackets].
NB the content of photos of slides and similar is all © their creators or other relevant ©-holders.
Bruce of all trades
My personal side has been blowing his trumpet:
Read more at https://bruceryandontexist.info/2019/10/31/bruce-of-all-trades/
What has Bruce been up to in the first half of 2019?
|When||What||outcome and notes|
|December to early January||marking Work-based learning mid-year reports||Success: Marking was done, including handling students’ queries, and writing and delivering a presentation on how I will mark final reports.|
|January||PB in Brazil: whether and how PB benefits the very poor in Sao Paulo||work on a paper was stalled for ages. It took until late June to get a focus-group transcribed. Translation is to follow…|
|February to May||running WriteNow! sessions on Wednesday afternoons||
|February onwards||RIVAL: 4 networking events in 2019-2020 for Library and Information Scientists and practitioners||See project website for details.|
|March onwards||GCRF map/database The Scottish Funding Council wants a map of all of the GCRF projects it funds. Image of possible look-and-feel is here||awaiting contract-signature|
|February, May||Internal examiner for 3 BIT MSc students||All three passed. (Credit belongs to the students and their supervisors!)|
|April-May||Writing RFC funding applications||
|May||Marking Computing in Contemporary Society courseworks||Work was done.|
|June||Marking Work-based learning final reports||work in progress|
|January onwards||minuting meetings between Community Councils Together on Trams and Edinburgh Council’s Trams Team||better citizen-involvement?|
|September 2018 onwards||member of £eith Chooses steering group||Success! See website. Survey on possible improvements due to close soon.|
|since time immemorial||minutes and websites for three Edinburgh community councils: Leith Central, Leith Harbour & Newhaven, New Town & Broughton||Success, I think: better recording and publicising of hyperlocal government activities|
|ongoing||taking part in various democracy events, e.g. practical democracy project, Democracy Alive||Some better understanding of what various bodies are doing to improve democracy. I’m not sure how effective they will be, or what my role should be.|
Developing new ways to study information literacy: examples from the workplace context and among youth
This workshop was presented by Professor Gunilla Widén(@gunillawiden) to members of Edinburgh Napier University’s Centre for Social Informatics. This post is based on my live-tweets and the text of Gunilla’s slides, so the good things here are from Gunilla, and any mistakes are by me. My thoughts are in block quotes. Continue reading
Deliberative Innovation: Research and Practice
This afternoon I was at a seminar on Deliberative Innovation: Research and Practice at Edinburgh University’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. This was presented by Oliver Escobar and Stephen Elstub, and chaired by Sara Drury. It was great to to meet and learn from Oliver, Stephen, Sara, some of Sara’s students from Wabash College and others in a very varied gathering.
As usual, this post is mostly composed of my tweets, slightly edited for comprehensibility. Larger amendments and additions are in [square brackets]. The block-quotes are my thoughts.
Initial lessons for Scottish PB (updated)
This is an update of a post from my first week in São Paulo, with input from my much better half. Mistakes of course are my fault, not hers.
- If we don’t get PB right first time, people will lose confidence in it.
- In this lesson, right can be replaced with good enough, because nothing is perfect, and Scotland is just learning to do PB.
- This lesson means we need effective processes so that people know they have made the choices.
- It also means that what is promised must be delivered near enough on time and near enough on budget.
- This should happen in any context, no matter how much (or how little) money is involved.
- We can argue about what near enough means at appropriate points.
- Projects must be monitored as they proceed.
- Also, due diligence/monitoring must happen at the end of project periods.
- And that data must be analysed to see what is effective.
- There should also be the possibility of discontinuing projects if it turns out that they are unlikely to be delivered, or if the benefits can be delivered in better ways, or if an urgent need arises for the money allocated to the project.
- But this must be done transparently, and must not even appear to be party-political.
- Don’t rely on revenue forecasts, because what is forecast may not materialise!
- Annual cycles, i.e. projects that must be started and completed in a year, may be sub-optimal.
- LeithChooses’ 2018 turnout (1000/20,000 = 5%) is good.
- Around the world, participation is not very high, even when there are fantastic mechanisms such as Madrid: https://decide.madrid.es/presupuestos?locale=en
- The current Scottish model of PB should have a deliberation stage before projects are formulated.
- At the moment, PB process-runners (e.g.LeithChooses steering group) set themes, then invite projects.
- The Brazilian model involves participatory deliberation on what the themes should be.
- There should be some data gathered on who participates.
- This is to show whether PB schemes are truly participatory, and whether they attract votes from people who need the services PB would offer.
- Don’t build up an unhelpful bureaucracy around PB.
- This may lead to clashes between parts of the bureaucracy that support different aims and objectives.
- While spending money to create and perfect process is valid, wasting it on un-neccessary process is invalid, and puts people off the work.
Scottish Open Government Action Plan: launch event #OpenGovScot #OpenGovScotLAUNCH #OpenGov
I’ve been a mostly-quiet member of the Open Government Network Scotland for about two years. I’ve not done much, just quietly supported the idea that if we have access to facts and ideas, we can make more informed, and hence better, decisions. However, in December I spent a weekend proofreading a late draft of the new Open Government Action Plan, so I was delighted to be invited to this morning’s launch of the finished document.
As ever, this post is to consolidate and review my thinking and learning, as well as to share it. So errors and omissions in this account are mine.
Here is the agenda for the day. My tweets, thoughts and write-up follow it.
|9:30||Official Launch (Livestreamed): Welcome speeches by, then Q&As with, co-chairs of Open Government Steering Group:
|10:50||Workshop: Delivering the Action Plan in partnership and beyond
Group discussion questions: How do we work in partnership?
|12:15||Closing remarks – Stephen Gallagher, Director of Local Government|
|12:30||Lunch and networking|