• Accessing public services: on phoning Southampton City Council

    This post has two audiences: those interested in usability of and access to local government services, and people specifically trying to contact Southampton City Council by phone. For the former, here’s a brief case study. For the latter, I have information that will help you! I needed to get in touch with the Council, but was routed through seemingly endless menu options when I rang. Inevitably, whatever option I chose, I was given a message...

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  • Life in Canada

    Back in the day, I moved from the UK to the Netherlands. One of the things I really enjoyed about this was the inherent change. There’s nothing like living in another culture for highlighting ‘unknown unknowns’: assumptions and ways of doing things that you didn’t even know existed. Like the Netherlands, Canada is not wildly different to the UK, although for different reasons. (NL and UK are both ex-colonial, historically sea-faring powers from a very...

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  • One move and two talks

    I planned, after my parental leave, to return to work at the University of Southampton’s IT Innovation Centre; that was going to happen on 1st August. Instead, on that very day, I flew one-way to Vancouver in Canada. Well, the best-laid plans…! We’d been pondering leaving the UK for a while. An opportunity for my husband arose in Vancouver, and it was a bit too good to say no to. Besides, Vancouver is beautiful: we...

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  • WebSci16

    I’ve been mighty quiet on this blog for the last year, the reason for which is a new arrival and maternity leave :) As the perceptive reader will have noticed, all has not been completely silent on the research front: I took a short paper to WebSci16 this week, which also marked my first work-related travel since baby arrived. It was a flying visit, just overnight, and went well both in terms of the work...

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  • Social Machines in Practice: Solutions, Stakeholders and Scopes

    Today I'll be presenting a paper at Web Science 2016, one that I wrote with some good folk who like myself have been involved in the construction of social machines. We wanted to reflect on our experiences to draw out overall lessons about factors that are relevant for social machine success and failure. Here's the abstract: This paper frames social machines as problem solving entities, demonstrating how their ecosystems address multiple stakeholders’ problems. It enumerates...

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