Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let us be social - lessons learned from The Digital Researcher #DR10

It is a common misconception that in Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes said that life was nasty, brutish, and short. In fact, what he actually said was that life is the state of war of every man against every man:

solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short

Let us be social.

Over the past couple of years I've been involved in a number of Web2.0 training events. All have suffered from the same difficulties: too big a differential between the least and most experienced attendees, and a multiplicity of tools leading to information overload. It's not entirely clear to me how you avoid these problems, but of all the events in this area I have participated in, The Digital Researcher shindig at the British Library yesterday was probably the most successful:

I think the main reason for this was that overall, in spite of the difficulties listed above, the content was well structured enough not to let the Why? get buried in the How? This may have meant that some of the less experienced participants went away with somewhat restricted view of what to do next, but at least we didn't drown them in information (although there was a lot for everyone to take in on the day). And hopefully, the more experienced attendees got something out of the day too.