Online identity assurance programme: Scottish Government ‘show & tell’ (28 March 2018) #identityassurance @digitalscots

This post is my digital record of the Scottish Government’s Online Identity Assurance (OLA) ‘show and tell’. The day was very informative, and provided me the opportunity to catch up with friends in civil society circles. I’m especially interested because online identity is a natural precursor to online voting, another problematic area that greatly interests me.

The post starts with a recap of what was said at the event, then notes my input at the event. Next are my reactions to the event itself, followed by my thoughts on the whole OLA programme. In summary, while I think OLA is very worthwhile, and that the Scottish Government is trying to do it the right way, I have a lot of reservations about how useful it will be for those who most need government support. Continue reading


What has Bruce been up to (late March to early April 2018)

Last week

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What has Bruce been up to? (again)

Following on from this post – I’ll try to blog each week:

  • Tuesday 13th: being interviewed about my experiences of Edinburgh, and how tourists and residents see different aspects of the city
  • Tuesday 13th to Thursday 15th: on this course, which was ‘enhanced’ by two fire-alarms and freezing our collective bits off in the snow
  • Thursday 15th: completing two funding applications, one of which succeeded. (The other will be decided in about 3 month’s time.)

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In a vague tribute to a Janis Joplin album, today could be called I got dem ol’ co-codamol hughies again, mama! In other news, last week I succeeded in copying posts from Just another bipedal sack of DNA and neuroses – because that’s what humans are to this blog.

It’s been interesting – and quite emotional – revisiting the end of a marriage and my career in publishing, various family (mis)fortunes, my time in India and Indonesia, my MSc, the start of my community council work and research career, discovering spinning, and the beginning of my current, very happy marriage. So much of this feels as though it’s permanent, and has been part of me forever – but in reality much is less than 5 years old.

There will be lots of broken links, because some material was hosted on now-dead servers. I’ve tried to resurrect what I can, but if you find any, please let me know.

DREaM on!

In 2015, I enjoyed working with Professor Hazel Hall on an assessment of the lasting effects of the Developing Research Excellence and Methods (DREaM) project. Hazel’s posts about this project are here.

A paper written by Hazel, Peter Cruickshank and me, addressing the question of network sustainability within a community of library and information science (LIS) researchers and practitioner researchers has now been accepted for publication in the Journal of Documentation. Please read more about it in Hazel’s blog post, or, if you would like to learn more about the results of this study, please email Hazel at:

Connecting people, connecting ideas symposium

Bruce's IT-ish world

My colleague Frances Ryan, along with Professor Hazel Hall, will be running a one-day research symposium on 22 June 2017. ‘Connecting people, connecting ideas‘ (CPCI) will focus on research priorities in Information Science as related to everyday life information seeking and information behaviours in online environments.

More information is on Frances’ research blog. If information science is in any way your thing, I’m sure this will be an interesting and provocative event.

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Digital engagement for Community Councils workshop – Ayr

When Mood Music
2015-10-08 22:31:00 excited – but tired

I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow's event, in County Buildings in Ayr. We have designed this event, and similar events in Moray, Angus and Scottish Borders, to explore two main questions

  • What are the major problems around CC digital engagement?
  • How can CCs best use the internet?

class=wp-more-tagBefore I go on, I should stop to thank the Scottish Government for funding these events, and the Improvement Service, the Democratic Society and the host Local Authorities for their support of these events.

In these questions, 'CC' stands for 'Community Councils and Registered Tenant Organisations'. The events' sponsor, the Scottish Government's Community Empowerment Unit, has asked us to include RTOs as well as CCs. I know almost nothing about RTOs but I have worked with one, creating its website. If this RTO is typical, they are in the same boat as CCs – struggling to find and develop any internet expertise.

There will also an introduction by South Ayrshire Council's head of communities, and short talks by

  • the Scottish Government, on Community Empowerment
  • the Improvement Service, on Digital Resources for Community Councillors
  • the organisers of Chewin’ the Fat on 
CC members engaging on Facebook
  • the Democratic Society, on Digital tools for Community Councils

These will be followed by a session devoted to topics raised by the delegates, and a final all-delegate discussion. I don't know what those will cover – delegates will make suggestions during the morning. But for me, encountering the unexpected and finding out new things is part of the joy of being a researcher!

We will report on the events via the KnowledgeHub Group for Community Councillors, so watch that space. (I will blog a little about it here, but all the action will be on the KHub.) We'll publish everything that can be put online, along with analyses and concise reports. CC and RTO members will be welcome to comment on these, and so help ensure they reflect experiences from as many CCs and RTOs as possible. The truth is out there, and I want these events' outcomes to be a mirror to that truth, and an enabler of improvement.

Allied to this, I'm (slowly) working on some feedback to the recent Fairer Scotland event, and will soon do some analysis of the most up-to-date data on CC website, Facebook and Twitter use. (Thanks to the Improvement Service for gathering the raw data.)

So there's lots of work going on, all about understanding and bolstering Scotland's very own forms of hyperlocal democracy. As one of the speakers puts it, 'Democracy never sleeps!'