07 Dec 2010

Information can WikiLeaks out


Advances in technology have made it easier to collect and organise information than ever before. Companies like Google and Facebook store billions of details from websites and online accounts, and make good money from the services they provide to people. Governments have also been developing information-centric systems, from the laudable data.gov initiatives both in the UK and the US to the more questionable collection of personal data. Once information is collected and organised electronically, it’s much easier to share and exploit. One problem this poses was illustrated by the recent release
07 Jul 2010

Gathering around the 'Hearth'


The NUT used to communicate with lay officers across England and Wales via post and phone. The Union saw how this could be improved by utilising technology to do things more quickly, cheaply and effectively. The result is ‘Hearth’, an online community and resource centre that has transformed communication between the union, its officers, staff and reps. Phil Katz, the Project Manager behind ‘Hearth’, explains why the NUT acted; “Local authorities were merging, so we had some large localities that could trace Union roots back 130 years, and other small, newer associations of just 600 members
10 Mar 2010

A look at data.gov.uk


In January, the government launched a new website aimed at making government information more accessible across the web. Inspired by a similar US website launched by the Obama administration, data.gov.uk provides free and easy access to large amounts of official data. The idea is that companies and organisations can use this information in new and innovative ways not provided for by the authorities. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the British inventor of the World Wide Web, led on the project. In the 1990s, Berners-Lee devised a way to use the internet that would help make it easier to share information
21 Feb 2010

The Prospect library


When unions first started using the web, documents such as magazines, newsletters and circulars were loaded onto union websites, usually on an ad hoc basis. In addition, there was a centralised system for storing items like publications, circulars and minutes. Intranets were yet another repository. This expansion has caused problems. Some collections would be the only store for certain documents, while other items were duplicated across all the collections. For Union staff, this has caused confusion, and members have found that the information available from the website is usually limited to a