Research ∕ Learning

Institutional social networks

Lorcan 1 min read

Tony Hirst has an interesting post pointing to Ning-based institutional social networks at The University of Wales, Newport, and at The University of Bradford. He cites some colleagues reporting “Yeah, it’s happening all over the place”. As Tony points out the Bradford site is part of a more general online student support system, Develop me.
Michael Webb describes some of the thinking around the Newport site:

So our options – do something ourselves (our usual default position I guess), piggy back onto an existing service (eg Facebook), or go with one of the new wave of ‘create your own’ social network sites, like Ning. [Michael Webb’s Blog : Newspace – a social networking site for new students]

Probably the biggest discussion was whether to make it open or closed – ie visible to everyone on the net or not. We’ve gone with closed – we feel we need to protect our users privacy given we are inviting them into the space, and have a closed space makes it feel a little more special. [Michael Webb’s Blog : Newspace – a social networking site for new students]

It’s certainly given me food more thought about how we provide services in the future. If we had created the site ourselves it would have taken months. If we had bought in software it would have still taken weeks. This took days. And no worrying about upgrades, downtime etc. What have we lost? We can’t control the development of the service – our users probably don’t understand this, and have already started suggesting functionality improvements. [Michael Webb’s Blog : Newspace – a social networking site for new students]

One can see these types of sourcing and policy questions begin to apply to a wider range of institutional services.

More from
University Futures are shaping Library Futures

University Futures are shaping Library Futures

Libraries are not ends in themselves, but serve the interests of the organizations of which they are a part. As university emphasis varies around research, education and career poles, we can expect to see libraries evolve to support those emphases more strongly.
Lorcan 8 min read

Lorcan Dempsey dot Net

The social, cultural and technological contexts of libraries, services and networks

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.