SUNCAT updated

SUNCAT has been updated. Updates from the following libraries were loaded into the service over the past week. The dates displayed indicate when files were received by SUNCAT.

  • Bristol University (14 May 15)
  • CONSER (20 May 15)
  • Cranfield University (20 May 15)
  • Exeter University (08 May 15)
  • Royal College of Music (18 May 15)
  • Royal Museums Greenwich Caird Library (14 Apr 15)
  • St Andrews University (18 May 15)
  • Society of Antiquaries of London (18 May 15)
  • Southampton University (17 May 15)
  • Warwick University (14 May 15)

To check on the currency of other libraries on SUNCAT please check the updates page for further details.

Edinburgh DataShare – new features for users and depositors

I was asked recently on Twitter if our data library was still happily using DSpace for data – the topic of a 2009 presentation I gave at a DSpace User Group meeting. In responding (answer: yes!) I recalled that I’d intended to blog about some of the rich new features we’ve either adopted from the open source community or developed ourselves to deliver our data users and depositors a better service and fulfill deliverables in the University’s Research Data Management Roadmap.

Edinburgh DataShare was built as an output of the DISC-UK DataShare project, which explored pathways for academics to share their research data over the Internet at the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford and Southampton (2007-2009). The repository is based on DSpace software, the most popular open source repository system in use, globally.  Managed by the Data Library team within Information Services, it is now a key component in the UoE’s Research Data Programme, endorsed by its academic-led steering group.

An open access, institutional data repository, Edinburgh DataShare currently holds 246 datasets across collections in 17 out of 22 communities (schools) of the University and is listed in the Re3data Registry of Research Data Repositories and indexed by Thomson-Reuters’ Data Citation Index.

Last autumn, the university joined DataCite, an international standards body that assigns persistent identifiers in the form of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to datasets. DOIs are now assigned to every item in the repository, and are included in the citation that appears on each landing page. This helps to ensure that even after the DataShare system no longer exists, as long as the data have a home, the DOI will be able to direct the user to the new location. Just as importantly, it helps data creators gain credit for their published data through proper data citation in textual publications, including their own journal articles that explain the results of their data analyses.

CaptureThe autumn release also streamlined our batch ingest process to assist depositors with large and voluminous data files by getting around the web upload front-end. Currently we are able to accept files up to 10 GB in size but we are being challenged to allow ever greater file sizes.

Making the most of metadata

Discover panel screenshot

Example from Geosciences community

Every landing page (home, community, collection) now has a ‘Discover’ panel giving top hits for each metadata field (such as subject classification, keyword, funder, data type, spatial coverage). The panel acts as a filter when drilling down to different levels,  allowing the most common values to be ‘discovered’ within each section.






The usage statistics at each level  are now publicly viewable as well, so depositors and others can see how often an item is viewed or downloaded. This is useful for many reasons. Users can see what is most useful in the repository; depositors can see if their datasets are being used; stakeholders can compare the success of different communities. By being completely open and transparent, this is a step towards ‘alt-metrics’ or alternative ways measuring scholarly or scientific impact. The repository is now also part of IRUS-UK, (Institutional Repository Usage Statistics UK), which uses the COUNTER standard to make repository usage statistics nationally comparable.

What’s coming?

Stay tuned for future improvements around a new look and feel, preview and display by data type, streaming support, bittorent downloading, and Linked Open Data.

Robin Rice
EDINA and Data Library


MediaHub Celebrates Eurovision at 60

This week the 60th Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Austria and we thought we would mark the anniversary for the contest with a look back over Eurovision’s history as captured in Jisc MediaHub.

Image of Scooch rehearsing at Eurovision 2007

Eurovision Song Contest 2007 – Dress Rehearsal Finals
(Getty Images, 11-05-2007)

The first Eurovision Song contest took place in Lugano, Switzerland with only 7 countries taking part, each performing two songs. This quite genteel first “Eurovision Song Contest Grand Prix” began what would become both a cult and mass media phenomenon. But that event also marked a significant moment in international event broadcasting. In fact behind all the glitter and high camp of Eurovision is a sophisticated broadcast network which works together to provide the infrastructure for broadcasting and negotiating the rights to large scale broadcasting events such as the Olympics, the FIFA World Cups, and, of course, the Eurovision Song Contest.

Before the glitter: the emergence of Eurovision

The European Broadcast Union began life in 1950, and saw a group of broadcasters working together to exchange news and current affairs footage. Initially, that exchange took place through physical copies being swiftly transported around Europe by plane but in May 1959 an experiment began trialling use of the “Eurovision Network” to exchange news even more quickly between 10 participating countries. A 1959 Roving Report (ITN Source, 1959), hosted by Robin Day, shows how that network worked, and the kinds of live events being broadcast in parallel across Europe, including the State Opening of Parliament and the coronation of Pope John XXIII.

Screenshot of the Roving Report

“Calling Brunssum…”  Broadcasters from across Europe call into a Eurovision Network meeting.
“Robin Day presents a report”, Eurovision News (Roving Report, 27-05-1959)

Every day during the experiment a large scale conference call would take place at 3pm to discuss the footage to be exchanged, and this would then be broadcast over the “Eurovision Link”, using relay links (requiring support from some 500 technicians) which literally relayed the broadcast signal from region to region at scheduled times of day.  The Eurovision Link enabled the exchange of key broadcasts or news footage from across Europe, whether being broadcast live or transmitted as a daily digest of footage to all of those broadcasters participating in the network. Whilst it is now commonplace to watch events as they happen, live on TV or the internet, the Eurovision Link was a huge achievement at a time not only before the internet, but also prior to the use of Satellite dishes for television broadcast. As Jan Rengelink, the Programme Commissioner of Netherlands TV, puts it in a live interview over the Eurovision Link (between London and Holland): “it is an enormous but also expensive achievement”. Rengelink notes though that daily exchanges also raises issues associated with switching from one country to another, of organisation,expectations, timing, and language.

Watching the daily conference calls (from minute 5:35) in this wonderful Roving Report is not only reminiscent of some of the complex etiquette of modern conference calls but also brings to mind the rhythm and traditions of Eurovision Song Contest voting: countries ring in and awkwardly greet each other before efficiently exchanging information – although in this case it is news footage to be shared rather than the awarding of Eurovision points.

Despite huge technological developments the Eurovision Network was still being used to distribute news footage between European news broadcasters in the 1980s, as demonstrated in a fascinating 1988 documentary, “A Day in the Life of ITN”,  which looks behind the scenes of Television news reporting.

Screenshot from A Day in the Life of ITN

The Eurovision Network, discussed from minute 3:30 in the film, A Day in the Life of ITN (ITN Non-released, 1988)

Technical standards have moved on a long way since the 1980s but the European Broadcasting Union’ s technical infrastructure are still an essential part of day-to-day European broadcasting. For instance in this 2001 edition of the ITN Early Evening News both the lead and second stories have been provided through the EBU network, as is evident from the Shotlist:

Screenshot of the Early Evening News clip and the associated Shotlist

The Shotlist from this 2001 newsclip shows the credit for one of several clips provided by EBU broadcasters, in this case a fire report from EBU Netherlands. EARLY EVENING NEWS: PROGRAMME AS BROADCAST (Programmes as Broadcast, 01-01-2001)

The collaborative use of news footage like this enables European broadcasters to share the burden of reporting on events that will have relevance and interest across Europe and beyond, since the EBU also includes members and associate members that extend far beyond the EU and include Turkey (since 1950), Israel (since 1957), and Egypt (since 1985). Whilst the use of these clips enables real time reporting on world events, it also means that when it comes to archive copies of programmes there are lots of different international rights holders – so if you do find yourself watching the news clip above you will see the message “For copyright reasons we are currently unable to show this section of newsfilm”, but you will hear the audio in common with clips from other agencies, this was newly created by UK based journalists and then dubbed over the footage from EBU Netherlands.

Indeed, the Eurovision Network is seen as so essential that when the Greek state broadcaster ERT was shut down in 2013 due to the Euro crisis, the EBU set up a makeshift studio the same day to ensure continuity of access to news gathering and the relaying of broadcasts. And, just as they innovated in 1950, the EBU continue to look to the future of broadcast media, as evident in this Institution of Electrical Engineers Seminar on broadcasting, from 2005, on plans for developing digital terrestrial broadcast frequencies, from Phil Laven then Director of the Technical Department of the EBU.

Screenshot of Phil Laven talking on RRC-06 from, 2005

RRC-06 and beyond… (IET, 01-06-2005)

Important as that technical change and innovation, the support for member organisations, and the EBU infrastructure may be, this post is about Eurovision and for most of us that means the Eurovision Song Contest.

Douze Points

The first Eurovision Song Contest, in Lugano in 1956, wasn’t the live event that we are used to watching synchronously across Europe. The contest features two songs for each of the seven countries who were represented: the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland. The contestants wore evening dress, performed with an orchestra led by their choice of conductor, and the winner was decided by a Jury who never revealed their scores (according to Simon Barclay’s The Complete and Independent Guide to the Eurovision Song Contest 2010), nor the order that the entries came in, they just declared the first ever winner, 32 year old Lys Assia from Switzerland. To get a sense of the look of that first contest, this clip from May 1956 showing film stars leaving London for Cannes, gives a great sense of high fashion at the time:


(ITV Late Evening News, 02-05-1956)

That entire first Eurovision Song Contest was complete, with the winner announced, within 1 hour 40 minutes – less than half the length of recent Eurovision finals – partly thanks to a recommended song length of three and a half minutes. However, by 1958 that recommendation had become a strict Eurovision rule, with songs required to be no longer than 3 minutes, a move triggered by a particularly long Italian entry, “Corde della mia chitarra” by Nunzio Gallo, at the second contest. At 5:09 minutes Gallo’s entry remains the longest song in Eurovision history. By contrast this year’s Finnish entry “Aina mun pitää” (I always have to) by Finnish punk rock band Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät is a mere 1:28 minutes long and the shortest entry to have ever been entered.

Eurovision Expands

Sadly, Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät won’t be performing on Saturday though as it lost out on a place in the first Eurovision Semi Final on Tuesday. Indeed the growth in participant countries means that, since 1993, there have been a range of qualifying stages added into the competition from a pre-qualifying round in Ljubljana for Eastern European countries, to a relegation system, then a points based relegation system based on the previous five years performances. By 2004, as new member states were joining the EU, Eurovision was still growing with 36 countries participating. To cope with the numbers a new system was devised using semi final stages to refine the final show into something of a more watchable length (usually around 25 performances), and (with a few subsequent modifications) that is the system that remains in place today. This year, across three live shows, 40 countries will be competing, just under the record of 43 participants, in both 2008 and 2011. So, how did 7 countries become 36 and then 40+?

The EBU has welcomed new broadcasters over the years, expanding the network across and beyond Europe, but internal changes in Europe have had a particular big impact on the expansion of Eurovision. When the EBU was founded in 1950, east and west Europe were in the midst of the cold war. The EBU and their Eastern Bloc counterpart, Intervision, were both founded after the collapse of predecessor organisations International Radio and Television Organisation (founded 1946) and the International Broadcasting Union (founded 1925) in which both sets of broadcasters had been involved. Competition between the networks’ continued into the world of song, with Intervision organising a rival to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1961 in the shape of the the Sopot International Song Contest which then became the Intervision Song Contest, which ran until 1988. When the Intervision network merged with the EBU in 1993 which introduced a huge range of new contestants (hence those qualifying rounds in Ljubljana).

Complex politics and Eurovision have always gone hand in hand, from beginning revolutions in Portugal (1974), public protest over gay rights legislation in Russia in 2009, to this year’s entry from Armenia, a super group called Genealogy who have been brought together from across the Armenian diaspora. Their song “Face the Shadow” has already undergone a name change from “Don’t Deny”, in response to allegations that the lyrics are political and intended to make a statement to mark the centenary of the Armenian Genocide.

Image of Russian gay rights protestors

Participants in a gay rights protest in Moscow
(Getty Images, 16-05-2009)

And it’s not just the songs or the audience contest that gets political, it’s the contestants too. When Dana (Scallon), an 18 year old school girl, won Eurovision for Ireland in 1970 she became a pop sensation which endured until she decided to make a move into politics as an independent candidate running for President of Ireland in 1997 (she came third), then standing and winning a seat as a Member of the European Parliament. Dana isn’t the only winner to make an unlikely career switch though: in 2004 Ukraine won the contest with “Wild Dances” by Ruslana (Lyzhychko), a classically trained conductor and pianist whose Eurovision stage show included skimpy Xena: Warrior Princess style outfits, whips and flames. Ruslana supported the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and has capitalised on her Eurovision fame, remaining a prominent voice in politics, most recently as part of the 2013-14 Pro-EU “Euromaiden” protest movement.

Things aren’t always so serious in the world of Eurovision though so, to finish, lets address some of those eternal Song Contest questions…

Isn’t all the voting political?

One of the frequent complaints about Eurovision is that voting is politically motivated, making it an unfair contest. This argument tends to arise when the UK doesn’t perform well. And, since there hasn’t been a UK winner since Katrina and the Waves’ “Love Shine a Light” brought Eurovision to Birmingham in 1997 it’s as regular a part of Eurovision media coverage as the annual critique of the UK entry.

But is the voting really all that biased? In a recent paper for the Journal of Applied Statistics (Blangiardo and Gianluca Baio, 2014) found only a mild positive voting bias, although their findings on increased votes for English language songs may explain why so few songs are performed in any other language in recent contests.

At the first Eurovision Song Contest the jury didn’t disclose the points or placings of the Eurovision entries, but things have moved on since then. The positions of competing countries have been public since 1962, and the live points boards have been an (often unintentionally hilarious) feature of the contest for a long time, revealing who has received points from 1 to 10, as well as the highest possible mark of 12 (douze) points. No one actually gets awarded or is announced on the night as having “Nil Points”, but the phrase for losing entries with absolutely no points has become part of Eurovision legend nonetheless.

Tele voting (phone calls, texts and email votes) were trialled in 1997 and by 1998 all countries were participating although back-up juries were created in parallel, as a failsafe in case of problems with the voting system. However, the juries of music professionals (one jury for every participating nation, each with five jury members) have never quite gone away and now, as part of the rehearsal process and press cycle around Eurovision, special performances take place for the juries the day before each Eurovision Semi Final or Final. The rankings of the contestants by the juries are combined with the results of the televoting to reach the final number of points that each country awards. Those juries do make a difference to the results, as was evident in controversy around the release of jury scores following the 2014 Eurovision final as a particularly risqué presentation of Poland’s entry, “My SÅ‚owianie – We Are Slavic” by artists Donatan and Cleo, was placed far higher by public votes than by jury members.

Does Ireland really always win?

Despite the not entirely justified cynicism around voting, there are many cliches about Eurovision that are true. There really is a rule about how many people can be on stage at once: 6 people, no animals. Young female singers are disproportionately likely to win: in fact 39 of 63 Eurovision winners having been solo women – and the average age (mean, median, and modal) of those winners was 23 years old. In fact in 1969 when four songs, including Lulu’s “Boom Bang-a-Bang”, shared first place all of those winners were women performing on their own, and only one was over 30. And Ireland, with seven wins, is easily the most successful country to perform at Eurovision, with Johnny Logan the most successful Eurovision winner with 3 wins as either performer or writer to his name.

This clip captures the background to Logan’s first win (as a performer) in 1980, including an interview with writer Shay Healy and the winning song, “What’s another year”: “1980 Eurovision Song Contest – Victory for Ireland“(London Broadcasting Company / Independent Radio News audio archive, 20-04-1980). After two more wins for Logan in 1987 (as performer and writer) and 1992 (as writer), Ireland found itself in the unprecedented position of having won Eurovision three times in a row (1992-4) before winning again in 1996. That honour also proved expensive as it meant Ireland hosting the show four times in five years, starting with a venue in the unlikely rural town of Millstreet, as captured in this wonderfully odd interview: “Eurovision Song Contest venue in rural Ireland” (London Broadcasting Company / Independent Radio News audio archive, 13-05-1993), before moving the production to Dublin.

However, arguably Ireland’s most successful Eurovision contribution was actually the half time show they provided when hosting in 1994. A performance of traditional and modern Irish dance styles set to an upbeat celtic score would go on to become the (still) phenomenally successful Riverdance, which made dancer and choreographer Michael Flatley a household name and led to an explosion in the global popularity of Irish dancing.

Image of dancer Michael Flatley and his company of Irish dancers

‘Celtic Tiger’ At Wembley Arena
(Getty Images, 18-04-2006)

Isn’t it all a bit naff?

Whilst Eurovision may boast cutting edge technology, complex politics and some very quirky entries it is also often accused of being a bit naff and a bit dated. Indeed this 1998 clip sees Janet Street Porter explain why Eurovision has two very different audiences: a mainstream Saturday night TV audience, and a cult audience enjoying the in-jokes, the irony, the campness.

Screenshot from interview with Janet Street Porter


Eurovision is consistently one of the most watched non-sporting TV events in the world with hundreds of millions of viewers each year with sponsorship, week long television coverage, year round web activity, and spin off contests from Junior Eurovision (in which all performers are under 18 and must also write their own songs!), to the Eurovision Dance Championships. Despite this popular appeal the contest simultaneously occupies a more counter cultural space most famously with LGBT communities, but also with many appreciating the event in a wholly post modern ironic way (currently the mainstream UK experience), as well as those enjoying it, perhaps most subversively of all, on an entirely earnest fan basis. That peculiar blend of mass and cult phenomenon gives the contest a unique character that persists no matter how cynical the song selections may be, no matter how much stunt staging and costuming occurs, and no matter how tactical the voting. For some of us, that character and quirkiness is a huge part of the charm which is why on Saturday night, as Charpentier’s Te Deum announces the opening of the contest, there will be parties throughout Europe with fans gathering to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest in all of it’s strange glittery wonder.

And if you are a Eurovision fan celebrating this weekend (as I will be), or have other highlights from the pop culture year to share, why not add your images to Jisc MediaHub? For instance, I added my image of a lego model of the Eurovision 2014 venue using the My MediaHub Upload feature:

Image of a lego Eurovision Stadium

LEGO Eurovision Island: Queen Margrethe of Denmark prepares to greet fans, by MediaHub User Nicola Osborne

No matter whether or not you usually watch or enjoy Eurovision, 60+ years of collaboration in broadcasting is certainly an impressive achievement for Eurovision and the ambitious broadcasters who first decided to create a continent-wide network for sharing the news. It will all be about the glitter, reigning winner Conchita Wurst, and the performance of UK hopefuls Electro Velvet on Saturday night, but all year round the delivery of live events, news and sports depends on the technical collaboration behind the sequins.

See also

  • More discussion of technical challenges facing broadcasters can be found in this IET video: “I’m a broadcaster – get me out of here“, featuring David Wood, then Head of Technology at EBU.
  • Hear Scott Fitzgerald, the 1998 UK entrant (performing the song “Go” by Bruce Forsyth’s daughter), comment on what he thinks is wrong with Eurovision song selection processes: “Scott Fitzgerald on Eurovision Song Contest” (London Broadcasting Company / Independent Radio News audio archive, 14-04-1988).
  • Upload your own images – login to My MediaHub with your UK Federation details and go to your Uploads area.
  • Explore the official Eurovision Song Contest website, which includes a history of the contest.
  • Read up on the academia of Eurovision with Dr Eurovision, UK based fan and academic Eurovision expert Dr Paul Jordan whose PhD examined Estonian national identity and nation building through Eurovision.
  • Blangiardo M. and Baio, G. 2014. Evidence of bias in the Eurovision song contest: modelling the votes using Bayesian hierarchical models. In Journal of Applied Statistics, pp.2312-2322. DOI:10.1080/02664763.2014.909792
  • Find out if Martin O’Leary, a Swansea based Glaciologist using computational methods in his research, has succeeded in predicting the Eurovision winner – he has provided forecasts based on statistical analysis of Eurovision data since 2012.
  • Read more about the history of politics around performances at the Eurovision Song Contest in Sarah Lipkis’ excellent May 2014 blog post, Eurovision: How Politics Takes Center Stage, for the World Policy Blog.
  • Enjoy “My Lovely Horse” (via the Hat Trick YouTube channel), a parody Irish “Eurosong” entry created by Neil Hannon, of The Divine Comedy, for the “A Song for Europe” episode (Season 2, Episode 5) of Father Ted. The episode aired less than a month before the contest, at the height of the country’s Eurovision success in April 1996. Ireland’s real entry, “The Voice” by Eimear Quinn, won the 1996 contest.

ESRI UK Annual Conference

ESRI UK Annual Conference logoGoGeo attended the ESRI UK held annual conference in London on 19th May. The event was well attended with around 2500 delegates, making it the biggest GIS event in the UK.

The morning plenary was kicked off by Stuart Bonthrone, ESRI UK’s Managing Director, who gave an overview of the current challenges facing the world and how GIS could be used to help monitor and manage these changes. Stuart was followed by a representative from the Port of Rotterdam who used the ESRI platform to integrate and manage their spatial data in order to improve efficiency in a confined area where physical expansion of the port is no longer possible. One of the Port of Rotterdam’s key requirements was for the final system to be simple to use, with users able to find the information they require within three clicks. To prove they had achieved this they invited a group of school children in to test the final software! An inspiring talk by Walking With The Wounded followed. Their next challenge is a Walk of Britain which will cover around 1000 miles over a period of 6-8 weeks, which will be assisted by mapping services from ESRI.

The final sections of the plenary were by Charles Kennelly and by the Technical Research Team lead by Sarah Lewin.  Charles gave a detailed overview of the ArcGIS platform and explained some of the future plans, including how support for ArcMap will continue ‘as long as it is needed’, it won’t simply  be turned off since the release of ArcGIS Pro earlier this year. Sarah and the team gave a great demonstration of using the 3D visualisation and analysis capabilities of ArcGIS Pro and the Javascript library in indoor tracking applications.

ESRI UK Annual Conference Higher Education Track

Photo credit: @Addy_Pope

After the plenary, GoGeo attended the Higher Education track. The track was well attended, with some talks standing room only. A couple of the talks were more technical and may have been better suited to the GISRUK audience, but on the whole they were pitched about right and were well received. More than one speaker highlighted the wish to embed GIS in undergraduate teaching, not just in Geographic disciplines but in other subject areas where GIS could be of real benefit. Given the positive pro-GIS atmosphere around the conference it was surprising hear that Newcastle University, the only University in the UK to offer an undergraduate degree in GIS, are struggling to attract students.

In the closing plenary ESRI showcased some of their interesting R&D work. It’s good to see such a major player in the GIS world not resting on their laurels and continuing to develop the technology in exciting and innovative ways.

The ESRI Annual Conference has grown and grown over the years and this year there were nine parallel tracks meaning it was sometimes difficult to decide what to attend. With this in mind it may be useful if future events are held over two days with some repetition to allow attendees to catch more sessions.

Points of Interest now available through Ordnance Survey Data Download

Ordnance Survey Points of Interest sample

© Crown Copyright and Database Right 2015. Ordnance Survey (Digimap Licence). This material includes data licensed from PointX© Database Right/Copyright 2015.

We are pleased to announce that the Points of Interest dataset from Ordnance Survey is now available to download through the Digimap Data Download application.

Points of Interest is a national dataset covering the whole of Great Britain and contains over 4 million different features. All features are supplied with location, functional information and addresses (where possible). Points of Interest has a three-level classification to assist customers in identifying the features or sets of features they require. This classification is explained in detail in chapter 3 of the official User Guide. The top level classification is given below:

  • Accommodation, eating and drinking
  • Commercial services
  • Attractions
  • Sport and entertainment
  • Education and health
  • Public infrastructure
  • Manufacturing and production
  • Retail
  • Transport

Please note: the copyright statement for Points of Interest is slightly different to the usual Digimap statement as the data is licensed from PointX by Ordnance Survey. The correct copyright statement that should be displayed with Points of Interest data is included below:

© Crown Copyright and Database Right 2015. Ordnance Survey (Digimap Licence). This material includes data licensed from PointX© Database Right/Copyright 2015.

The data can be found in the Boundary and Location Data section in Data Download:

Points of Interest in Data Download

The data is provided in CSV format (comma separated values). To load this in to GIS for visualisation on a map requires a couple of short steps to create a definition file so that the GIS application uses the correct data types for each field in the file. We have created instructions on how to do this in ArcGIS and QGIS:

If you have any questions about Points of Interest or Digimap please contact us:

  • Phone: 0131 650 3302
  • Email:


June training dates with Ordnance Survey

Darren from the Ordnance Survey education team is continuing his CPD training courses with a packed schedule throughout June. Dates and locations coming up are:

June 1 Seaham
June 2 Berwick upon Tweed
June 3 Gosforth
June 8-9-10 – Surrey primary schools network
June 17 Enfield
June 22 Newham
June 24 Enfield
June 25 Worthing
June 29 Havering

If you’d like to attend or have any questions about the courses, please contact Darren

Apply to become EDINA’s new Social Media Officer!

I am very excited to announce that the advert for our new EDINA Social Media Officer job (full time, 2 year fixed term) has just gone live on the University of Edinburgh jobs site! Read the full ad, and apply, here.

As some of you will be aware I moved into a new role at EDINA, as Jisc MediaHub Service Manager and Digital Education Manager, back in February (a role that I share with my lovely new colleague Lorna Campbell). I am still passionate about social media and communication of course, but I have officially handed on the Social Media Officer baton ready for someone new…

So, what can I say to encourage you to apply?

Well firstly, EDINA is a lovely place to work – we are a friendly bunch and the organisation is big enough to include a diverse range of people with super skills and expertise, but it’s still small enough to get to know everyone, find out what we’re all working on, etc. As an organisation we work on some fantastic online services and really innovative projects, which means that there are loads of great opportunities to communicate and engage using both mainstream and emerging social media channels.

As EDINA is based at the University of Edinburgh we also benefit from the wisdom and opportunities across Information Services, and the wider organisation. Although you’ll see more on pay, terms, and holiday entitlement in the job ad I should add that EDINA also benefits from some excellent in-house baking as part of an ongoing charity bake sale!

The Social Media Officer was created back in 2009 and I have to say that I hugely enjoyed my time in the role so heartily recommend it! My colleagues have always been enthusiastic about exploring new technologies and ways to communicate, and are a skilled and experienced bunch so, whilst the job has evolved reflecting the maturity of social media tools, and their use as core communications channels, but it remains an exciting post with lots of interesting opportunities. And the role sits in our User Support team, a very welcoming crew genuinely committed to providing the best experience for our users, including thousands of students, staff and researchers across (and sometimes beyond) the UK HE and FE sectors.

As you’ll see from the ad, our new Social Media Officer will have a particular focus on communicating our EU FP7-funded COBWEB: Citizen Observatory Web project, which means engaging with citizen science and local communities across several UNESCO Biosphere pilot locations in Wales, Greece and Germany. That also means working with a wider range of communications channels and approaches, and working with colleagues in an excellent group of partner organisations across Europe – and that means there’s likely to be a wee bit of travel too!

So, please do take a look at the job ad, see if it might be right for you (or someone you know), and get applying!

Edit: Please note that applications close at 5pm on Tuesday 9th June 2015.

All those important links… 


SUNCAT welcomes the National Coal Mining Museum!

The National Coal Mining Museum for England is SUNCAT’s newest Contributing Library. Just under 100 serials records have just been loaded into our database. This is our first new Contributing Library of this year, and brings the total number of libraries in SUNCAT to 101, plus the CONSER database, ISSN register and Directory of Open Access Journals.

The National Coal Mining Museum for England is located at Caphouse Colliery, on the western edge of the Yorkshire coalfield, where mining has been carried out for centuries. Visitors can go on an underground tour, explore its galleries and original colliery buildings, stroll around the nature trail and discover interactive displays and activities at Hope Pit and Hope Store, as well as many other activities.

An photograph of the stacks in the National Coal Mining Museum Library

The National Coal Mining Museum Library. (© National Coal Mining Museum Library, 2015.)

The Library holds a wealth of information on all aspects of the coal mining industry in England, from the technical to the social. Topics include: mining disasters, coal production statistics, individual mines, and regeneration. Its collection also contains current mining journals and journals from the nineteenth century. Anyone can come and use the library for research or browsing.

A photograph of three members of the National Coal Mining Museum Library team.

The National Coal Mining Museum Library team. (© National Coal Mining Museum Library, 2015.)

For further information and news about SUNCAT please see our website, follow SUNCAT on Twitter (@suncatteam), or contact the EDINA helpdesk at

‘The County Surveys 1793 – 1817: Exploring Considered Digitisation’

Those familiar with the Statistical Accounts of Scotland will be aware that they belong to a greater body of works initiated and supervised by Sir John Sinclair, forming the base of what he envisaged as a grand ‘pyramid of agricultural enquiries’. An extensive and ambitious survey of ‘the existing agricultural state of England and Scotland respectively, and the means by which each might be improved’, the pyramid comprised four levels.  Scotland’s parishes were the focus of the Statistical Accounts, while the ‘General View…’ series covered a much broader geographical area by focusing on the counties of Scotland, England and Wales.  Then came The General Report of the Agricultural State, and Political Circumstances of Scotland, published in 5 volumes in 1814 and, at the pinnacle of the pyramid, Sinclair’s Code of Agriculture, published in one volume in 1817. This, as historian Heather Holmes explains, “combined all the enquiries into one code ‘for the purpose of rendering, a general knowledge of the principles of husbandry, more easily accessible’.”

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland service makes the full text of the accounts available through searchable digitised copies which provide important reference sources for researchers across numerous disciplines and fields of study. Over the years, we have also built up a fantastic collection of related resources including maps and illustrations, correspondence, manuscripts and information about Sinclair’s other works.

We are therefore delighted to report that EDINA is currently undertaking a project to assess the potential of a similar virtual collection of the County Surveys, the second layer of Sinclair’s pyramid.

The County Surveys recorded comprehensive information on the agriculture, rural economy and political economy of each county in Great Britain between 1793 and 1817. They provide a unique insight into the innovation and agricultural improvement during a significant period in the making of Britain as the first industrial nation. Despite its remarkable historical interest, this resource is currently under-used because very few surveys are available in digital format, and printed copies are difficult to locate and access.

‘The County Surveys 1793 – 1817: Exploring Considered Digitisation’ aims to explore how the creation of a virtual collection can unleash the potential of the County Surveys for discovery. The project is funded by EDINA, University of Edinburgh and scheduled for completion in July 2015.

Our approach of “considered digitisation� involves:

  • Reviewing extant digital fragments of the County Surveys to assess their availability for public access, the quality of their digital image, OCR text and metadata, and their suitability for computer automated text analysis, search and retrieval
  • Supporting re-digitisation when appropriate to offer public domain content of sufficient quality
  • Identifying sources of printed copies for the County Survey and encouraging digitisation
  • Engaging with organisations holding copies of the County Surveys to encourage and support digitisation and re-digitisation efforts, and sharing openly our experience of “considered digitisationâ€�.

Find out more about the project and its progress here.


User satisfaction survey

After the launch of the new look service last spring we asked you to give us your opinion of the new interface and features. We thank all of you who responded to this survey, the results have fed back into the service and we are using your comments to inform the continued development of the SUNCAT interface.

You can view a summary of the last survey, with a list of the planned actions resulting from this.

This year we would again appreciate your input to help us improve the service by answering some slightly different questions.

Your feedback is vital in helping us to identify and prioritise areas for further development, so we would be very grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete this survey which will remain open until Friday 29th May.

We would not only appreciate your comments but would also encourage you to circulate the survey details as widely as possible, both to your colleagues and end-users.

Thank you in anticipation!