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Second Life for eParticipation? An exclusive sneak preview of Birmingham’s Virtual Library

16. November 2010 – 12:00 by John Heaven (TuTech Innovation GmbH)


Birmingham's Virtual Library. Click for larger image

It’s easy to reject Second Life as an eParticipation platform, but Birmingham City Council is just about to launch a virtual model of the planned £193m Library of Birmingham. I spoke to representatives of the Council and the company that they are working with to find out what they are doing, and how they are making the virtual library accessible to a wide audience. What I found was fascinating, and I really think Second Life deserves a second look.

Second Life is a virtual world that allows users to assume a second identity and explore a digital three-dimensional world. It’s not difficult to see how this could be used to enable people to “go” to places they wouldn’t otherwise visit, network with people from far away, or take part in virtual events. That’s the theory; but my big issue with Second Life is that it is a very niche audience and it takes quite a lot of effort to download the software and work out how to use it. Once you’re in there, it’s great to be able to look at these virtual buildings and access information; but I can view videos, read text, and chat to friends much more easily using the internet outside Second Life. So why would a city council be interested in Second Life? Read the rest of this entry »

“The internet is changing society and public administrations need to adapt”: Interview with Nick Booth

14. April 2010 – 22:57 by John Heaven (TuTech Innovation GmbH)
Nick Booth, by aeioux on

Photo of Nick Booth by aeioux on

Before becoming a social-media consultant and founding Birmingham-based Podnosh, Nick Booth was a BBC journalist and then ran a government quango. He advises public administrations on using social media, is involved in many projects that promote active citizenship, and is a major player on the UK’s eParticipation scene. Nick is regularly invited to speak at conferences on social media.

JH: Hi Nick. Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed for PEP-NET. First question: what does eParticipation mean to you?

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eParticipation in Birmingham, UK

3. March 2010 – 13:38 by John Heaven (TuTech Innovation GmbH)

My name is John Heaven and I started work at TuTech Innovation on 1st March 2010. I will be working on - amongst other things - PEP-NET. Part of my role will be to work together with Bengt Feil on establishing what members would like to get out of PEP-NET membership, how we can improve what we offer to them, and ultimately ensure that PEP-NET can support itself into the future.

But before I set about that, I thought maybe you’d like to hear about where I’m from and what I’ve been doing until now, especially around eParticipation!

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