Part 1

Professor Eva Mendez was here from Spain and told us about a number of interesting things she does as a digital information expert. For a start, how a female library scientist came to be a prominent person in the digital space. What have libraries offered to the Web of information and services we all use?

Then, Eva toldus about the work of a number of communities to take advantage of the technology and adopt an 'open' perspective to information. What does it mean to be 'open' and why is it attractive to those who operate in the open space.

In particular, Eva talked about open science - what is it and how does it work and help advance science in the world.

For further reading on this topic, see the many articles listed at

When reading these articles, remember to check who has posted them and with what authority they speak. There are strong commervcial interests against open science and there are strong scientific interests in its favour - enjoy the discussions!

Part 2

We learnt about Brave, a relatively new Web browser with new ways of working. Safari may be familiar but what would you get if you changed to using Brave? Ken Grinter provided some background materials for this discussion. Liddy followed th meeting ith some notes about Brave that might be of interest.

"Some alternative browsers to Safari
By default, Brave uses HTTPS Everywhere. It also blocks scripts, cookies, phishing and pop-ups. You can turn any of those features off and back on again on a per-site basis, which makes it easy to troubleshoot any problems or whitelist sites. Brave's desktop apps have an odd payment system to pay out publishers, but it doesn't seem to be in place on mobile. Brave can be a replacement to Safari, and has the features you need in a browser, like bookmarks, history and password manager support.

Firefox Focus is very similar to Brave, but goes a step further. It blocks trackers, social media and cookies. Firefox Focus also makes it easy to wipe your browser history with a couple of taps, remove all passwords and delete any cookies. Firefox Focus doesn't feature tabbed browsing, so Firefox Focus is best as a supplement to Safari when you want to keep your browsing off the record."

Additional Brave videos

How to use Brave browser

How to Setup Your Brave Browser

 Liddy's coments:

Brave is a relatively new browser that is popular because it is lightweight in terms of what it downloads and so can save you from seeing ads and downloading images, scripts, etc that you really don't want entering your computer.

Many people like Brave because supposedly it stops service and resource providers from gathering and then on-selling your private information. We all know that even if we are good folk, and have nothing to hide, it is naive to think that our private information should be gathered and stored by others, and particularly that they should then be able to make money out of it. They are not charities, these info gatherers and they make money because information about you is valuable to them. Why? - let's consider that later.

The important question I was asked yesterday is, "How do we know what advice to follow" and my answer is we can only know who we trust. I have to say I enjoyed yesterday's session but left sceptical and did more work and now I am not keen on using Brave, sadly because I liked not getting the ads.

So how does Brave make money?

Well, it seems their business model is to work not so much on you as on the publishers of content, services etc that we are used to getting for 'free'. These publishers are now used to working with, say, Google so that you get the content for free and they get a tiny bit of money many times over to pay for what they are giving away. The advertisers pay those publishers for us.

Well, that model would be OK but if you use Brave, the publishers do not get any money when you have blocked the ads. To get some revenue, they have to sign up to Brave to get some money. This, in turn, means that only those who have signed up to Brave get money - and even then, not all that is paid for the ads but what Brave does not keep. This is causing the publishers to want to boycott Brave. In the end, the publishers will have find another way to make money and that might mean the loss of free things which we, perhaps, don't want.

Other than by using Brave, there are ways to block ads and these might be better - who knows?