Chatham House rules! A historical digital archive for the 21st Century

Leading international affairs think-tank has released its digital archive.

Chatham House in London is the home of the Royal Institute of International Affairs which, by bringing together academics, researchers and decision makers, has helped shape and inform policy for almost 100 years. The famous ‘Chatham House Rule’ helps facilitate open and honest communication.

Chatham House Online Archive (1920-2008), published by Gale (part of Cengage Learning) is making over half a million pages available to researchers and students interested in politics, international law, economics and international relations.  The archive features fully searchable documents, transcripts of speeches and audio recordings of world figures including Mahatma Gandhi and Henry Kissinger. The Archive offers “unique insights” into political developments in the 20th century.

The publishers and Chatham House celebrated the launch with a high profile debate on how a deep understanding of the past can inform our understanding of the present and influence decision making.  The speakers (including David Stevenson, Professor of International History at LSE; Anne Deighton, Professor of European International Politics at the University of Oxford); debated whether lessons can be learned from the Cold War (particularly the end of the Cold War) to inform our understanding of the current political upheaval in Ukraine.

The final speaker, Times journalist David Aaronovitch, celebrated the arrival of the digital archive – and digitisation in general.  For him the resources and expertise of Chatham House help journalists get to the heart of the dilemma and are an essential part of the journalist’s toolkit to facilitate understanding of current affairs.

For more information on the Chatham House archive, visit the Gale/Cengage Learning website.

Baby-boomers and Millennials online

Growth in the numbers of people online is being driven by the over-65s.  But the way they use the web is different.

In the UK the number of over 65s (‘baby-boomers’) accessing the internet increased by over 25% in 2013.  The percentage of those over 65 who are going online reached 42% in 2013.  According to Ofcom’s ‘Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2014’ the use of tablets by this age group is a key reason for the growth.

The figures show that over 65 year-olds:

  • Spend much less time on average online  (just over nine hours) than16-25 year olds (just over 24 hours)
  • Are less likely to use a range of online services with the majority of them carrying out just two activities (browsing and emailing)
  • Spend less time accessing social media  with only 30% regularly doing so (compared to 68% of other adults)

Meanwhile 16-24 year-olds:

  • Are much more informed about protecting personal information
  • Are more likely to have blocked people
  • Are (according to research by Merchant Warehouse) ‘pulling ahead’ and having higher expectations as consumers

Similar patterns are being reported in the Netherlands.  The over-65s in particular have made great advances in their understanding of the online environment and 86% of the Dutch population can now send emails.

However, this understanding of the tools does not necessarily mean that people are equipped to evaluate what they are finding online.  Younger users are less likely than the over 65s to question online sources.

Digital support for the elderly

A report from Nesta describes how social entrepreneurs and digital technologies are being used to provide help and support for the elderly.  Examples include a service linking keen cooks with elderly people who need a hot meal, to an app that helps members of an individual’s ‘care community’ to organise their time and allocate tasks.

Sources: econsultancy; DutchNews; Nesta.org; ITProPortal.

 

The tablet market in Europe

Tablet users will increase by double digits in all EU5 countries in 2014.

Tablets are continuing to take market share away from traditional PCs.  Worldwide shipments of PCs dropped by 9.8% in 2013.

Figures released by eMarketer predict that the number of tablet users in the EU5 countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK) will exceed 100 million by the end of 2014.  Figures are expected to increase to almost 150 million by 2018.

The rate of tablet penetration is increasing across the whole of the EU.  The figures predict an overall penetration rate of 31% by the end of 2014, increasing to 44% by 2018.

Of the EU5 countries, the UK leads the way with a predicted 41% by the end of this year, rising to almost 58% in 2018.  France and Germany will see the highest growth, while growth in Italy and Spain will be slower.

Over in the US, the tablet market is maturing.  According to new figures (again from eMarketer), almost half of the US population will use a tablet device at least once a month in 2014.  Overall growth in tablet devices in the US in 2014 is estimated at 11%.

This growth means that tablet devices are challenging PCs as the major digital video channel. 77% of tablet users will watch video via their devices at least once a month in 2014 and the amount of time spent watching tablets is growing faster than on any other device.  According to eMarketer, based on current trends “it’s an inevitability that in the near future tablets will overtake time spent with video online [via] desktops and laptops.”

Sources: eMarketer; ITProPortal.

Privacy, social media – and lavatories

In the United States advisors to the White House have published their review of internet privacy and are calling for an Internet Privacy Bill of Rights.  Is ‘privacy’ possible in the era of big data and social media?

Twitter is reportedly looking to develop a ‘whisper mode’ that will ensure users can keep their conversations private without having to move to one-to-one direct messaging. This seems to be in addition to Twitter’s much-discussed, but not yet delivered private messaging app (see this article in Endgadget).

Talk of a whisper mode has come too late for one Swedish student.  Her abusive tweet about a lecturer (details of which have not been published) have led to her being suspended for two weeks by her university, which found that her lecture hall tweet was “meant to violate and ridicule” the teacher.

A private pregnancy

Meanwhile in the United States a Professor at Princeton University set about trying to keep her pregnancy a secret from Facebook and social media advertisement algorithms. Apparently, pregnant women are considered a ‘marketing goldmine’ and their data can be worth 15 times as much as other people’s.   Over on ThinkProgress.org she describes how she tried to hide from ‘big data’.  Her activities ranged from asking friends and colleagues not to mention her pregnancy anywhere online to buying baby products with cash to setting up a new Amazon account with an anonymous delivery address.  Not only was attempting to keep her pregnancy a secret difficult, it was expensive (losing loyalty card discounts etc) and extremely time-consuming.  You can read her full interview here – a fascinating story about the reach of big data and the compromises we are all making, every day.

The hoax quantified toilet

This fake story about the installation of ‘intelligent lavatories’ in a Canadian conference centre, raises some interesting issues.  The idea that public facilities could be collating useful public health data is not that far-fetched after all.  In fact, in a real piece of research 70% of respondents would be willing to share their ‘toilet data’ – for lower health care costs!

Bring your own identity

Organisations are seeking a balance between security, privacy and compliance on the one hand and convenience on the other.

Effective Identity and Access Management (IAM) is becoming increasingly important for organisations.  Not only are they seeking to manage the access rights of increasingly mobile employees but they are opening up applications to external users, including partners and consumers.  All this is being done in the context of the growth of social media and cloud services.

In a report for CA, Quocirca explores the current state of Identity and Access Management and why it is business priority for so many.

The age of bring-your-own-identity (BYOID)

For consumers social media is already emerging as a key source of identity – e.g. logging in with Facebook to access Spotify accounts. The report suggests that this will grow in more ‘conservative’ business areas including government and online banking.  Along with these changes, the emergence of the concept of Bring your own identity (BYOID) means that employees will be taking their identities with them from one job to another.

Meanwhile, for organisations opening up access to external users, the key driver is to enable direct transactions with customers and partners, with a view to increasing customer satisfaction and enabling innovation.

Geographic trends

  • Organisations in the Nordic and Benelux regions more likely to be opening up their applications  to consumers
  • Nordics lead the way with use of social media for identifying and communicating with potential customers
  • Benelux, Israeli, Nordic and UK based organisations  were the most likely to recognise the power of IAM to open up new revenue streams
  • French and Italians were focused on new business processes

The full report can be downloaded from CA Technologies.

The true cost of bad data

99% of organisations claim to have a data quality strategy; but 91% struggle with basic contact detail quality.

Experian Data Quality has published its 2014 survey of how organisations are managing the quality of their data assets.

Representatives of over 1200 organisations in France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, the UK and the US were interviewed.  The average number of internally managed databases per organisation was eight and representatives from a range of functions, including HR, Finance, CRM and Customer Services were interviewed.

Customer contact data is considered the most valuable, followed by sales data and demographic data. Organisations are keen to maintain high quality records for a variety of reasons, including to drive efficiency, to enable informed decision making and to enhance customer experiences. However, on average organisations reported 12% wastage of marketing spend due to bad contact information.  This does not include hidden reputational damage and reductions in customer service quality.

Multi-channel strategies are increasing the room for data error

Most interestingly, the organisations that had the largest number of contact databases were also the ones which cited ‘lack of information’ as a barrier to success.  A key issue in these organisations is a siloed approach to data quality.

Data errors – key findings

  • Organisations estimate 22% of their contact data is inaccurate in some way
  • 24% blame their organisational data strategy
  • 52% say call centres are biggest source of problematic data

A role for information professionals

And when it comes to using data to drive business decisions, over 80% of organisations aid they had problems generating meaningful analytics.

  • 29% said their organisations had insufficient data
  • 16% said their organisations had too much data!

The report can be downloaded free of charge by following the link on this page.

Students – earning less, owing more

Several bad news stories for students have emerged this month.

A report (‘Payback Time’) published by the Sutton Trust in the UK, sets out to analyse the impact of recent changes to student loans and fees.  Under the new regime, under which tuition fees rose to a maximum of £9,000 a year, students will leave university with almost £20,000 more debt on average than under the previous system.

The report concludes that most students will still be paying back their loans into their 40s and 50s.  Many will never clear their debts.  The study uses the example of an ‘average teacher’, who would still be paying back the student loan into their early 50s.

Meanwhile, as the cost of an education increases, the value of a degree is declining.

According to research by The Complete University Guide, over the last five years, the value of a degree has declined by up to a third.  Researches analysed data based on graduate employment and earnings six months after leaving university.   They found that the average starting salary for graduates in professional employment dropped by 11 per cent in real terms between 2007 and 2012.

However, some degree courses, including librarianship and information management, have bucked the trend.

Meanwhile in Sweden there are moves to amend existing student loan guidelines.  The proposed changes would mean that student loans will no longer be written off when graduates reach the age of 67 and that fees for ‘late payment reminder’ letters will double.

Corporate information services in 2014

“The game is changing”

Business Information Review’s annual Survey is now in its 24th year.  The author, Allan Foster, conducts in-depth and confidential interviews with senior information managers running corporate information services in a range of industry sectors to develop a detailed view of how these information services are resourced, managed and financed.

The survey covers budgets, staff levels, outsourcing, vendor relationships, deepening the partnership with the business, the impact of mobile technology, contribution to knowledge management and more.  The overwhelming impression is of experienced information managers who are ambitious for their organisations and who recognise the challenges they are facing.

Key findings

  • Content budgets are stable – only 15% of respondents are experiencing significant reductions (5% or more)
  • Great majority of respondents interested – or have an early involvement – in big data and data analytics initiatives.
  • Major potential new role in curating big data and analytics
  • Global operations for many services, with varying central control and a mix of organisational models
  • Pressures on staff headcount – 35% lose posts; other posts filled by temporary or fixed term contracts
  • A commitment to outsourcing by some 50% of respondents, some very mature arrangements, with a shifting balance of responsibilities between onshore and offshore staff
  • Whether to embed information staff in business units is still a big decision point for managers
  • Technical, analytics and personal skills development needs of IS staff is widely recognised
  • Many positive developments in knowledge sharing, social media, the use of stories and growing use of enterprise-wide collaborative systems
  • Relationships with information vendors and managing local access to data products still a high priority

For Foster, the key issue for information managers is to find a way to exploit existing competencies and develop new skillsets to help their organisations to make better decisions.  “If this territory is moving information management away from the conventional exploitation of external information and the piecemeal processing of internal data then that’s where we need to be”.

SAGE is offering free online access to its information science journals in April 2014.

The language of CVs

LinkedIn has used its membership data to analyse the words most frequently used on CVs.

The findings highlight global developments and regional differences.

In top spot the most popular word is ‘responsible’, which is used twice as frequently as any other word.  Other words appearing in the latest global top ten include: Analytical, Creative, Driven, Innovative, Patient and Strategic.

Some words have dropped out of the top ten in the last year.  These include ‘Experimental’, ‘Motivated’ and ‘Multinational’.

The national and regional differences are fascinating.  ‘Sustainable’ only features as a top ten term in the Netherlands.  Only in the UK does ‘Enthusiasm’ feature as a top ten trait.  Passionate is a top ten word in Australia and New Zealand and nowhere else.  ‘Patient’ features in the US top ten but nowhere else in the world.

Library and information recruitment experts at Sue Hill Recruitment have also blogged about overused words and phrases on CVs.  Their advice on avoiding clichés is to think carefully about evidence, proof and meaningless terms such as honest, reliable and enthusiastic.  After all, it’s unlikely an employer will be looking for anyone with the opposite of those qualities!

Acting on the information!

We know we should all find the time to regularly review our social media profiles, and keep our CVs as up to date as possible.

  • Review your profile for LinkedIn’s top ten terms – are you using the words effectively?
  • Provide concrete examples to demonstrate your skills
  • Share examples of your best work
  • Seek out recommendations and endorsements
  • Keep an eye on recruitment expert blogs, particularly those who specialise in your field – they will keep you up to date with recruitment trends.

Something completely different

For fans of the Lego Movie – or simply of Lego – take a look at this ‘Lego CV’ created by someone looking for an internship with an advertising agency. A perfect example of customising the CV to the employer, the role and standing out from the crowd!

How to succeed in the movie industry

“Be smart, committed, hardworking – and nice”

Pictures of Meryl Streep have been appearing in the London newspapers.  She was in the city filming her latest role as an influential British woman.  This time she is starring as Emmeline Pankhurst in the new movie ‘Suffragette’ about the struggle for women’s suffrage in Great Britain in the early 20th century.  Hopefully the movie will raise awareness amongst young people in particular of the struggle to bring the vote to everyone.

The film is being produced by Alison Owen who has just given the latest Olive Till Memorial lecture at the Department of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths College, University of London. As she shared her experiences in the film and TV industries, Alison also spoke about how much the industry has changed for women since she began producing music videos in the 1980s.

Just as there are many kinds of managers, so there are many types of film producer.  They can do ‘pretty much nothing’ or ‘pretty much everything’.  The role can include the financial aspects, the team building and/or the creative process itself.  Alison’s preferred way of working is collaborative, working with directors particularly at script stage.  She loves – and looks for – good writing.

Key lessons from a successful producer

  • Be courteous – Alison read every script submitted to her and responded – this is what got her noticed early on in her career
  • Understand what elements you enjoy about your job – taking a project from A-Z is what interests Alison, so these are the projects she looks for
  • She loves the creative, collaborative aspects of her role, especially at script stage
  • Be passionate, emotional AND practical.  She is looking for her own visceral, emotional response to a project.  She wants to see women’s lives reflected on screen.  But projects have to ‘work’ in other ways
  • She measures the success of her projects three ways:
    • Did the project succeed financially?
    • Was it an artistic success?
    • Did the project achieve what she set out to do?
  • You can recover from the worst of events.
    • In 2004, changes to UK tax regulations meant pulling the plug very late on a project called Tulip Fever.  200 people were made redundant.  Alison wrote about the project at the time in a national newspaper.   The film is ‘back on’.

Alison’s CV

Her works include The Other Boleyn Girl, the Oscar-nominated Elizabeth, Shaun of the Dead and Saving Mr Banks as well as television series including Case Histories and Dancing on the Edge.  For a full filmography, see IMDB.