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Newsletter No.138


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                             FreePint
         "Helping 60,000 people use the Web for their work"
                     http://www.freepint.com/

ISSN 1460-7239                                   5th June 2003 No.138
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           ALTERNATIVE NEWSLETTER FORMATS AVAILABLE AT:
            <http://www.freepint.com/issues/050603.htm>

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                           IN THIS ISSUE

                             EDITORIAL

                       MY FAVOURITE TIPPLES
                         By Jane Macoustra

                           FREEPINT BAR
                    In Association with Factiva
                   a Dow Jones & Reuters Company

                               JOBS
                        Information Manager 
                        Assistant Librarian
                        Information Officer
                        Information Officer
                    Broadcast Media Researcher

                           TIPS ARTICLE
            "Professional Qualifications in Information
                     and Knowledge Management"
                           By Jela Webb

                             BOOKSHELF
    "E-learning and Teaching in Library and Information Services"
                        By Katherine Allen

                          FEATURE ARTICLE
         "Writing for the Web - How to Write Web-Friendly
                      Content for your Site"
                           By Steve Lee
                          
               EVENTS, GOLD AND FORTHCOMING ARTICLES

                        CONTACT INFORMATION

             ONLINE VERSION WITH ACTIVATED HYPERLINKS
            <http://www.freepint.com/issues/050603.htm>
            
                      FULLY FORMATTED VERSION
            <http://www.freepint.com/issues/050603.pdf>


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***Daily dispatches from the SLA conference, sponsored by Factiva***

If you can't be at the Special Libraries Association conference in
person, check out the daily dispatches to the FreePint Bar, covering
presentations from key SLA divisions and interviews with leading
industry figures attending the conference. Find out more about what
Factiva is doing in New York at:
                 <http://www.factiva.com/infopro>

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                     >>>  ABOUT FREEPINT  <<<

FreePint is an online community of information searchers. Members
receive this free newsletter twice a month: it is packed with tips
on finding quality and reliable business information on the Internet.

Joining is free at <http://www.freepint.com/> and provides access to
a substantial archive of articles, reviews, jobs & events, with
answers to research questions and networking at the FreePint Bar.

Please circulate this newsletter which is best read when printed out.
To receive a fully formatted version as an attachment or a brief
notification when it's online, visit <http://www.freepint.com/member>.

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                             EDITORIAL

I can picture it now ... A bustling speakeasy in downtown Manhattan.
Roving hacks file daily dispatches and interrogate the influential.
The only clue to their allegiance: snazzy FreePint felt fedoras.

Yes folks, we're in New York next week reporting to you live from the
SLA conference. If you're unable to attend, then rely on us to post
the latest news from this major event in the information calendar.
Don't forget to send in your tricky interview questions.

Time is also running out if you wish to make a nomination for this
year's CILIP/FreePint Online Community Award. Make your nomination
for any online community from any sector by June 27th
<http://www.freepint.com/events/cilip-2003>.

We've packed lots of goodies into today's FreePint. There are tips on
creating Web-friendly content for your site and we hear one person's
experience of studying for an information and knowledge management
qualification.

There are also a selection of vacancies from FreePint Jobs. The
database now has over 1,000 live job seeker profiles. So, if you're
searching for a job or advertising a vacancy then check it out
<http://www.freepint.com/jobs>.

Whilst you're online, make sure you visit the rest of the FreePint Web
site too. Over 5,000 people now visit daily. There's lots of free
advice and if you check out the Bar next week then you can read our
dispatches from New York. Make sure you leave your feedback about
today's edition of the FreePint at <http://www.freepint.com/go/b23989>.

Cheers
William

William Hann BSc(Hons) MCLIP
Founder and Managing Editor, FreePint
Email: <william.hann@freepint.com>   Tel: +44 (0)1784 420044

Free Pint is a Registered Trademark of Free Pint Limited (R) 1997-2003

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                       MY FAVOURITE TIPPLES
                         By Jane Macoustra

* The new HotBot web site <http://www.hotbot.com> where you can search
  four engines (Fast, Google, Inktomi and Teoma). This is where I
  always start when conducting research.

* Cookin' with Google <http://www.buzztoolbox.com/google/goocookin.shtml>
  is a great place to look for recipes for food and drink. Enter the
  ingredients that you have got and get back recipes that include them.

* NASA for Kids <http://www.nasa.gov/kids.html> is a fabulous site for
  children. It has a wealth of information and includes space board
  games that you print out, make and play on a rainy day.

* BBC News <http://news.bbc.co.uk/> is just the thing to keep in touch
  with British news when you are living and working away from home.

* LibrarySpot.com <http://www.libraryspot.com/> is a good place for
  all things about Library & Information Services. It is US-biased,
  but it is very useful because of the number of resources covered.

Jane Macoustra is currently working for Clifford Chance in Hong Kong
as an Information Officer and she also co-ordinates library services
for the Asian region. She is currently serving as Director of the
Asian Chapter of the Special Librarians Association.

Submit your top five favourite Web sites. See the guidelines at
<http://www.freepint.com/author.htm>.

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           >>>  Unstructured Information Management  <<<
                  NEW MARKET AND TECHNOLOGY GUIDE

This report discusses the current software market for
Unstructured Information Management products.

It is a tutorial and market guide on how to select
a solution suitable for dealing with unstructured textual information.
The guide evaluates the current state of the market and recommends
which types of systems are most suitable for different tasks. 

      <http://www.freepint.com/banners/click.php?bannerID=46>

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                            FREEPINT BAR
                    In Association with Factiva
                   a Dow Jones & Reuters Company

The Bar is by far the most popular part of the FreePint Web site,
making up a third of the 25,000 pages viewed daily. To get the most
out of it, check out the 'Top 5 Bar Features' posting at
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b23627>.

Do you ever have a problem with your Web browser? There's been some
useful problem solving lately regarding pages being too wide to print
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b23770> and getting stuck on Web sites
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b23814>.
  
There have been lots of requests for market data. Can you help with
finding information on:

- Wireless telecommunications infrastructure costs in developing
  regions? <http://www.freepint.com/go/b23953>

- Who has the largest retail loyalty card with a smart chip?
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/b23954>

- Companies in the UK which offer remuneration consultancy services?
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/b23988>

- Whether people read e-journals online or print them out?
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/b23918>

- Manufacturers of television remote controls and their market shares?
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/b23868>
 
More specifically, do you have a copy of the journal 'Governance' from
March 1997 <http://www.freepint.com/go/b23966>? What about an
up-to-date summary of the Communications Bill, with progress,
commentary and reactions <http://www.freepint.com/go/b23976>? Could
you lay your hands on a comparative evaluation of market research
providers <http://www.freepint.com/go/b23921> or do you have
experience of merging library enquiry points with a call centre
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b23926>? All help greatly appreciated.
 
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The FreePint Bar is where you can get help with your tricky research
questions, for free! <http://www.freepint.com/bar>

Help with study for information-related courses is available at the
FreePint Student Bar <http://www.freepint.com/student>.

Twice-weekly email digests of the latest postings can be requested
at <http://www.freepint.com/member>.

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         >>>  FreePint Freedom of Information Exchange  <<<
                     22nd July 2003, London, UK

This seminar will provide an overview of the Freedom of Information
Act. The session will cover: * practical issues to consider when
implementing FOI * discrepancies between the Data Protection and
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* records management issues; handling FOI requests * right of appeal,
complaints procedures & compliance matters * copyright issues.

          <http://www.freepint.com/exchange/fi220703.htm>

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                           FREEPINT JOBS
                   <http://www.freepint.com/jobs>

FreePint Jobs -- a great place for information vacancies.

*  VACANCY SEARCHING -- Free search and set up a weekly alert profile.
*  VACANCY RECRUITING -- Complete the form and advertise a vacancy 
   for just GBP195 <http://www.freepint.com/jobs/submit/overview.php3>.

This week's selected listings are below. All new jobs are posted to
the Bar and Bar Digest (circulation 11,000+) and matched against the
1000+ live job seeker profiles. This week's Bar listing is at
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b23957> and last week's at
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b23882>.

Here are some of the latest featured jobs:

Information Manager (Germany)
  German-speaking Information Manager for new high profile role in
  Germany in Financial Services sector.
  Recruiter: Glen Recruitment
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/j2481>
  
Assistant Librarian: Electronic Resources Co-ordinator
  Play a key role in ensuring optimal management of access for all
  users to the Library's electronic resources.
  Recruiter: National University of Ireland, Galway
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/j2491>

Information Officer
  To assist in the maintenance and development of our databases and
  Website, to facilitate networking between authorities.
  Recruiter: Education Management Information Exchange (EMIE) 
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/j2492>

Information Officer (Law)
  Provide expert reference support to legal researchers at this
  prestigious Library & assist with content for their Web site.
  Recruiter: Sue Hill Recruitment
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/j2501>

Broadcast Media Researcher
  Devise policies and processes for handling both traditional media 
  such as radio and television as well as new media.
  Recruiter: BBC
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/j2504>  

[The above jobs are paid listings]

       Find out more today at <http://www.freepint.com/jobs>

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                            TIPS ARTICLE
         <http://www.freepint.com/issues/050603.htm#tips>
            "Professional Qualifications in Information
                     and Knowledge Management"
                           By Jela Webb

There has been some recent discussion in FreePint about the skills
required in the knowledge economy, which I have read with interest.
Of particular relevance is the developing debate about the significance
of professional qualifications in Information and Knowledge Management
(IKM).

Last year I graduated with an MSc in Information and Knowledge
Management, having been part of the first cohort on the programme
offered by the London Metropolitan University (formerly University of
North London) <http://www.londonmet.ac.uk>. When my fellow students
and I commenced our studies in September 2000 this was the only
programme of its kind on offer in the UK and Europe.

In the light of the discussions and with the assumption that some of
you might be thinking about commencing study for a professional
qualification, I thought that you might be interested to hear about my
experiences of pursuing a professional qualification in IKM.

To set the scene, let me tell you a little about myself. My first
introduction to KM was in 1997 whilst researching an MBA dissertation
on team working and shortly thereafter I was appointed to the role of
Head of KM and Development in the New Learning Organisation, Nat West
Group. I was given responsibility for implementing a knowledge
management capability in the learning and development function. No
mean feat when supporting 60,000 staff with their training and
development needs!

Full of enthusiasm in my new job, I was bursting with ideas as to how
to implement a KM programme but had questions:

* Where should I start?
* What should I focus on?
* What have others done?
* What worked - what didn't?
* Were there any good practices I should be following?

I initially did a lot of background reading; the growth in KM-related
literature meant that there was no shortage of material to choose
from! I attended conferences devoted to the subject, (see 
<http://www.ark-group.com>) participated in seminars and research
programmes, as well as building a network of contacts, sharing thoughts
and ideas. In a very short space of time I learned a lot, but what I
also wanted was something more tangible that would give me a deeper
grounding and would help me develop and hone my skills as I built a
career in knowledge management.

In mid-1999, I participated in a research programme exploring skills
for the knowledge economy and in the process learned about the MSc
programme being planned by London Metropolitan University. I enrolled
and commenced study in September 2000.

This MSc runs over a two-year academic model of part-time study and is
delivered through distance-supported and residential modes, the latter
involving seven blocks of formal study run over three/four days,
including weekends. The residential sessions see tutors and
participants meeting up; these are quite intensive with a typical day
starting at 8.30am and lasting approximately 11 hours. During this
time, as well as attending formal lectures, we worked in small
syndicates, examined problem-based case studies and we undertook group
presentations. We were encouraged to engage with key issues in
information and knowledge management throughout, and apply theoretical
concepts to practice in terms of our own experiences.

The mode of delivery is designed to allow students to combine study
with full-time employment. In between the residential sessions, we
were supported via Web-based facilities. In practice, we met up
between residential sessions to discuss and review assignments; we
used bulletin boards, email and chat-rooms to share our experiences,
issues and challenges. Participants were almost equally split between
the public and private sectors, which provided a rich vein of
experiences allowing us all to learn across sectors.


The Syllabus
------------

This comprised six compulsory modules as well as a final dissertation.
Each module was assessed by course work in a specified format,
typically an analytical report, although there were two assessed
presentations within the programme.

The modules studied reflected the University's belief that there is a
pivotal relationship between the management of information and
knowledge; and that to try and manage an intangible asset as knowledge
without first underpinning this by appropriate and effective
information management strategies was to risk failure.

Year 1 Semester A

* Managing Information in the Organisation

* Managing Knowledge

Year 1 Semester B

* Information and Knowledge Resources: organisation and management

* Knowledge Applications

Year 2 Semester A

* Legal Perspectives on Information and Knowledge Management

* Research and Evaluation Strategies for Information and Knowledge
  Management

Year 2 Semester B

* Information and Knowledge Management Project (a 12,000 word
  dissertation)
  

Networking
----------

We established a community of practice early on and have continued to
network after completion of our MSc's. One of the advantages of study
is the network built up not only with fellow students and lecturers
but also with other practitioners and consultants who presented
sessions on the programme. These contacts all provided valuable
support and will be a career-long networking asset.


Why study for a professional qualification?
-------------------------------------------

Knowledge Management is becoming an accepted business discipline and
organisations across the industrial sectors are creating roles for
knowledge managers. For some individuals, the range of information
available from literature, to conferences, to seminars, to industry
journals (e.g. <http://www.knowledge-management.co.uk> and
<http://www.melcrum.com>) will be enough, but others will be keen to
gain a professional qualification and distinguish themselves from the
pack.

Employers seeking to recruit staff into senior information and
knowledge management roles accept that knowledge managers come from
very diverse backgrounds. A professional qualification equips you with
key underpinning skills, and also helps you to be better placed to
meet the challenges presented by working in the knowledge economy.


Reflections on the programme
----------------------------

Has the programme been worth it? For me, it has been a valuable
experience. I am now working as a consultant, lecturer and trainer in
IKM and being able to add this qualification to my CV helps to
establish my credentials with potential clients. Having firstly
obtained the practical experience, I have now supplemented this by a
formal academic qualification, which has made me even better equipped
to offer my clients professional expertise and knowledge of the
subject.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that a professional qualification in KM is
of value. KM is a developing discipline and there is no set career
path. Knowledge Managers have different aspects to their role
depending upon their own organisational structures. By building on the
foundations of practical work experience, a professional qualification
enables an individual to make the transition to a higher level of
awareness in this evolving discipline.

In the knowledge economy, many organisations are keen to demonstrate
that they are knowledge-centric This is in turn giving knowledge
managers a high profile and those who can demonstrate both practical
and theoretical awareness will be the ones best placed to succeed in
their chosen KM career.

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Jela is a freelance consultant, lecturer and trainer in information
and knowledge management, working with a variety of clients in
commercial and academic sectors. She has implemented KM programmes in
FTSE 100 companies and, in collaboration, developed 'The Integrated
Learning Model' combining traditional training with online learning
and knowledge management.

Jela presents at national and international conferences, participates
in research and facilitates discussion forums on KM and e-leadership.
She has a keen interest in the new economy and in the special field of
how best to incentivise and motivate knowledge workers. Jela is the
author of the Ashridge Business School Learning Guide to Knowledge
Management, a visiting lecturer at the University of Brighton and has
been invited to evaluate KM projects for the European Commission.

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Related FreePint links:

* 'Information and Libraries' articles in the FreePint Portal
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/p69>
* Post a message to the author, Jela Webb, or suggest further
  resources at the FreePint Bar <http://www.freepint.com/bar>
* Read this article online, with activated hyperlinks
  <http://www.freepint.com/issues/050603.htm#feature>
* Access the entire archive of FreePint content
  <http://www.freepint.com/portal/content/>

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   >>>  FreePint Financials - Companies linked to Directors  <<<

   Company director reports are now linked directly to individual
    directors making it quick and easy to research a UK company
                   *and* the people running it.

                   <http://www.freepint.com/icc>

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                         FREEPINT BOOKSHELF
                <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf>
    "E-learning and Teaching in Library and Information Services"
                     Written by Barbara Allan
                        By Katherine Allen

E-learning offers a range of opportunities to library and information
professionals. These include providing new services and resources,
enhancing the role of the information centre within the organisation,
and career development.

Barbara Allan provides an overview of this rapidly developing field.
The book will be particularly useful for info pros who are interested
in getting into e-learning -- perhaps in developing an e-learning
initiative from scratch -- and need an introduction to the topic. It
is divided into three sections: (1) tools and technologies, (2)
e-learning and teaching, and (3) e-learning and the LIS profession.
Case studies and examples are provided throughout to illustrate the
real-life application of concepts.

Allan makes clear that e-learning is not just about acquiring
expensive software products. Virtual communication tools, including 
e-mail, mailing lists, newsgroups, and instant messaging also have a
part to play. The opening case study examines the use of e-mail to
deliver training - a cheap, cost-effective method that will have many
info pros thinking 'I could do that'.

For those with bigger budgets or more ambitious projects, Allan also
considers integrated learning environments, including learning
portals, virtual learning environments (Web-based toolkits which
facilitate learning) and managed learning environments (like a VLE but
incorporating institutional processes such as record-keeping). Info
pros in non-academic environments may find these solutions too
expensive and complex for their needs, but Allan does suggest
alternative approaches either involving commercial communications
software (such as Lotus Notes) or low-cost or free collaboration
tools. CDE Software Evaluation
<http://cde.athabascau.ca/softeval/R.htm> assesses collaborative
software tools and gives priority to software which can be downloaded
for free.

Any e-learning project will need course materials as well as a
technology infrastructure, and Allan devotes a chapter to the
evaluation and use of Web-based training materials. Examples of
Websites developed by libraries showcase approaches to delivering
e-learning initiatives, such as improving study skills or user
instruction. Perhaps not surprisingly, the examples are almost
entirely drawn from the public sector, so info pros based in the
private sector will need to think laterally to adapt the ideas to
their own environment.

The two most useful chapters, from a practical point of view, look at
the design of e-learning programmes and activities. These take the
reader through the design and development process from needs analysis
to evaluation. There are plenty of checklists and examples - and
perhaps most importantly, case studies providing examples of
e-learning activities in action. This is like eavesdropping on an
e-learning programme as it takes place and provides plenty of pointers
for developing the tutor's tone and style - the 'online voice'
- highlighting issues which might emerge from the e-tutoring process,
such as managing student participation and interaction, and even
handling online bullying.

Allan's book covers a lot of ground, and as a consequence skims over
some areas. For some readers, the quantity and range of material may
appear to be a bit daunting. However, if you are interested in getting
into e-learning this is a good place to start. It will give you an
overview of key issues, which you can then explore further using the
comprehensive list of resources provided.

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As Business Development Director of Imark Communications' Information
Portfolio, Katherine Allen has responsibility for Online Information,
the world's no. 1 event for information content, management and
delivery, attracting an international audience of over 11, 000
visitors and over 280 exhibitors. Running alongside the exhibition,
the Online Information conference addresses key issues and challenges
facing information professionals, librarians, knowledge managers and
publishers worldwide. New at Online Information for 2003 is the launch
of Content Management Europe, the definitive European event for
purchasers and vendors of enterprise content management 
<http://www.cme-expo.co.uk> and the International Information
Industry Awards. Find out more at <http://www.online-information.co.uk>.

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Related FreePint links:

* Find out more about this book online at the FreePint Bookshelf
  <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf/teaching.htm>
* Read customer comments and buy this book at Amazon.co.uk
  <http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1856044394/freepint0c>
  or Amazon.com
  <http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1856044394/freepint00>
* "E-learning and Teaching in Library and Information Services".
  ISBN 1856044394, published by Facet Publishing, written by 
  Barbara Allan
* Search for and purchase any book from Amazon via the FreePint
  Bookshelf at <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf>
* Read about other Internet Strategy books on the FreePint Bookshelf
  <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf/strategy.htm>

To propose an information-related book for review, send details
to <bookshelf@freepint.com>.

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>>>  ResourceShelf.com -- Daily news and resources for infopros  <<<

    ResourceShelf's continuity and growth has been secured with
     valued support from MuseGlobal. A big "thank you" to them.

                  <http://www.resourceshelf.com/>

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                           FEATURE ARTICLE
         <http://www.freepint.com/issues/050603.htm#feature>
         "Writing for the Web - How to Write Web-Friendly
                      Content for your Site"
                           By Steve Lee

A key element in the success (or otherwise) of any Website is the
information it provides. If you want your site to stand out from the
Internet crowd, you need to provide the most Web-friendly content you
can. And given the volumes of text on the Web, making sure that what
you write is Web friendly is obviously important.

Increasingly, it is accepted that writing for the Web is different to
writing for other media. Information seekers approach Websites and the
information they provide differently to the way in which they approach
alternative information sources. If information providers are serious
about using the Web, they need to be aware of, and address, this
difference. It's all too easy to get excited by Internet technology,
but you should never forget that the technology is only a means to an
end - the supply of information to information seekers.

This article provides a short introduction to the basics of writing
for the Web. It considers how Web users approach the information they
find on the net, and, based on this, offers some practical tips to
help you produce Web friendly content for your site. It does not seek
to dictate a specific style, and cannot take account of any style or
other guides available to you; these should be read in conjunction
with the advice below.


How do information seekers approach the Web?
--------------------------------------------

Information seekers are often uncertain about, and critical of, the
sites they find when navigating the Web. Think how little it can take
in practice to raise doubts in your own mind about the credibility or
reliability of any given site. Hard to follow or out-of-date
information, or links that don't work, will inevitably colour your
impressions, no matter how much other valuable, up to date and
accurate content is available. 

Remember:

- The great majority of information seekers scan Web pages, rather
  than reading every word. They look for particular terms or phrases,
  and only if they spot them will they stop scanning and start
  reading.

- Information seekers generally want a specific piece of information,
  and they want to find it quickly and easily.

- The Web is user-driven. If someone using a Website is unable to find
  what they are looking for quickly and easily, they can (and will)
  click on, without delay.

- Your information is competing with hundreds of millions of other
  pages for a user's attention. The information you provide on each
  page needs to sell your site quickly as users may well chance across
  it (i.e. via a search engine), without knowing anything else about you
  or your site.

- Jargon, ambiguous or unclear content can confuse users as they try
  to get at the facts. This slows them down and distracts them, and
  may cause them to question the reliability of other information from
  the same source.

- Reading from computer screens is hard on the eyes. People don't want
  to read pages and pages of text to find the specific piece of
  information they want. In any case, usability research estimates
  that the majority of people read some 25% slower from Web pages than
  from printed publications.


Writing for the Web
-------------------

So what can you do to write content which is as Web-friendly as
possible?

First, don't jump straight in and start writing. Stop for a minute.

Think:

- Who are you writing for? Who is your target audience? Remember to
  write with their needs in mind, and to use the appropriate language
  and terminology.

- What are you trying to say? Think about the best way to structure
  and present your information - before you start writing, not during,
  or after.

Once you are clear about these points, you are ready to actually begin
writing. Research into Website usability tells us that information
seekers find concise, scannable, objective text most useful, so this
is what you should always try to provide.


Concise Text
------------

Reading from a Web page is slower than reading from the equivalent
page of printed text. Authors should aim for approximately half the
word count of print when preparing content for a Website, to make the
Web text as accessible as possible for visitors to the site.

How do you do it?

- Eliminate introductory text - what you skip through to get to the
  facts. Avoid starting sentences with passive phrases (i.e. It has
  been noted that...).

- Try to get to the point quickly (think journalism, not formal
  minutes or reports). Use short, simple words and sentences (i.e.
  'use', not 'utilise', 'we think', not 'it is envisaged'). Use words
  your audience will understand, and avoid ambiguities, but don't
  insult their intelligence.

- Don't reinvent the wheel - if information is available elsewhere on
  your site, don't duplicate it, just link to it.


Scannable Text
--------------

Visitors to Websites tend to scan the content, looking for key words
or phrases of interest, rather than reading all available content. If
they don't quickly find what they're looking for while scanning a
particular Web page, they will soon look elsewhere. To assist
scanning, authors should try to break up their text as much as
possible.

How do you do it?

- Put the key sentence, point or idea at the start of each paragraph.
  If users are interested, they can read more; if not, they haven't
  wasted time reading the whole thing.

- Only include one idea per paragraph - your visitor will skip over
  any later points as they scan the text. Use lots of short
  paragraphs, with one idea or point in each.

- Use clear, not clever, sub-headings.

- Use bullet points or numbered lists rather than lengthy paragraphs
  of text.

- Use highlighted text (i.e. bold or italic, not underlined, to avoid
  confusion with links) to draw attention to key words or phrases.

- Avoid using click here as a link. It draws the eye to functionality
  and away from information.


Objective Language
------------------

All text should be written in a direct and conversational tone; plain
English should be used throughout.

Authors should always avoid jargon, subjectivity or exaggeration.
Users will quickly spot it, and it will influence their perception not
only of the content concerned, but of other information on the same
site, no matter how much effort has gone into its preparation.


Don't Forget:
-------------

Before making any changes to your site

The process of writing Web-friendly text doesn't end when you finish
your first draft. Remember to ask someone else to proof-read your
newly written text - before it's added to the site! Whether this is
possible or not, listen to the words you've written. Read them out
loud, or say them to yourself. If they sound wrong, or clumsy, they
probably are. Throughout your site, try to be consistent. Many matters
of style aren't absolute matters of right or wrong - but chopping and
changing can make your site look unprofessional.

Once you have updated your site
-------------------------------

Remember to check your pages regularly - situations may change, and
information becomes outdated very quickly. Try and make it part of
your regular routine to check any content you have written, and update
it as necessary.


And Finally ...
---------------

As this article shows, effective writing for the Web is not an
impossible skill to learn, or somehow the preserve of experts. It does
demand some thought and practice, but provided you are able to take a
little time, will pay dividends. Remember, there isn't one right way to
write for the Web - but using the ideas above to help prepare and
present your content will go a long way to help to make your site Web
friendly for visitors.


Useful Resources
----------------

By no means an exhaustive list, but you may find the following sites
useful:

<http://www.useit.com> - Jakob Nielsen's site for all things relating
to usability, including writing for the Web.

<http://www.sun.com/980713/Webwriting/> - Sun Microsystem's useful
guide to Web writing.

<http://www.leafdigital.com/class/lessons/writing/> - a helpful short
guide to writing for the Web.

<http://www.plainenglish.co.uk> - the Website of the Plain English
Campaign, including a series of useful guides to writing in specific
situations, and an A-Z of alternative words.

> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Steve Lee is Website Manager for <http://www.tradepartners.gov.uk>.
Trade Partners UK is part of British Trade International, the
Government body responsible for fostering business competitiveness
through international trade and investment.

Prior to taking up his present post, he held a range of information
management posts in British Trade International, including information
researcher, database manager and Information Manager for British Trade
International's Freedom of Information Act Publication Scheme.

> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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