West Wales Biological Information Centre Annual Recorders’ Forum 2015

COBWEB recently attended the West Wales Biological Information Centres (WWBIC) Annual Recorders Rorum held at the Welsh Wildlife Centre, Cilgerran on Saturday 7th March. The WWBIC is one of four Local Records Centres (LRCs) in Wales covering the counties of Ceredigion, Carmarthen and Pembrokeshire. The LRCs serve as a biodiversity data storage and management facility for the whole of Wales.

This year’s Forum brought together over 40 people from the three counties, all of whom are engaged in monitoring and understanding local flora and fauna population and diversity. Collectively the audience were experts in moths, butterflies, fungi and even dandelions, amongst many others. The day began with an update from WWBIC Manager Colin Russell, followed by a talk on free IT tools available to recorders.

Dr Crona Hodges from Aberyswyth University then presented COBWEB and some examples of work being done in the Dyfi Biosphere Reserve, as part of the COBWEB’s pioneering co-design activity. It was emphasized that COBWEB is not concerned with creating a data repository. The focus is on making environmental data available and discoverable using interoperable technologies and standards.

There was a great deal of interest in COBWEB, with the audience being very open to the inevitability of technology like this being the way forward. However, it was agreed in general that it would never fully replace the need for notebooks and pencils in the field. The ability to get data ‘out there’ appealed to many, and the importance of getting people involved and simply collecting more data was seen as a very positive aspect of COBWEB.



Saturday, March 7, 2015 – 16:00
Posted in Uncategorized

Privacy of Online Social Networks Talk – LiveBlog

This afternoon I am attending a talk on the Privacy of Online Social Networks which has been arranged by the Social Network Analysis in Scotland Group (SNAS) and is taking place at the University of Edinburgh. The speakers are Jordi Herrera-Joancomarti, Cristina Perez-sola, and Jordi Casas-Roma, all from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB). I’ll be taking notes throughout, although I think that the talk is also being recorded so may be available later.


Citizens use COBWEB to help combat the spread of invasive species


Welsh Government has commissioned an Earth observation (EO) classification map to support the identification of the invasive Japanese Knotweed Fallopia japonica (JKW) within Snowdonia National Park. The project will be leveraging citizens and COBWEB technologies to validate this JKW EO map, leading to greater accuracy, and therefore a more targeted response when combating the spread of invasive species.

JKW is a plant originating from the far east of Asia and was introduced to the UK as an ornamental plant. Due to its vigorous growth from even small parts of rhizomes (stems/roots) it has spread widely, both by natural, e.g. the transport of rhizomes through rivers, and by anthropogenic means, e.g. the transport of soil containing rhizomes between construction sites.

The control of JKW remains an important issue for local authorities, as the dense stands negatively impact local biodiversity by outcompeting native plants and, particularly around rivers, increasing the risk of soil erosion by preventing the growth of grass species.

Environment Systems (who is producing the EO map) is conducting an object-based image analysis of aerial photographs to spatially assess the likelihood of JKW being present in sites throughout Snowdonia National Park. Citizens will then visit these areas and, using the COBWEB app, will conduct a visual assessment to verify if JKW is present. The data collected, including geo-located photographs, will then be validated using the developing COBWEB Quality Assurance technologies.

It is hoped the science of remote sensing will complement the traditionally costly and slow data collection on the ground by targeting specific areas. This will simultaneously ensure that other areas, such as delicate habitats, are not disturbed.  Furthermore, this approach can be used in other land cover maps, where the data collected on the ground can be used to validate the remote sensing approach. Recording what the citizen sees enables calibration of the remotely sensed data and aids in the interpretation and analysis of what is being sensed. Ultimately, citizens will improve the ways in which JKW is identified from the Earth Observation datasets (aerial photography etc.).



Monday, April 27, 2015 – 14:30
Posted in Uncategorized

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.

  • British Museum Library (08 Apr 15)
  • British Library (14 Apr 15)
  • CONSER (15 Apr 15)
  • Cranfield University (20 Apr 15)
  • De Montfort University (27 Mar 15)
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (10 Apr 15)
  • Dundee University (01 Apr 15)
  • Edinburgh University (21 Apr 15)
  • ISSN (15 Apr 15)
  • Glasgow University (10 Apr 15)
  • Goldsmiths University of London (09 Apr 15)
  • Leeds University (27 Mar 15)
  • Queen Margaret University (19 Mar 15)
  • Queen’s University Belfast (03 Apr 15)
  • Reading University (17 Mar 15)
  • Royal College of Music (20 Apr 15)
  • Sheffield University (01 Apr 15)
  • Southampton University (19 Apr 15)
  • Sussex University (08 Apr 15)
  • Swansea University (15 Apr 15)
  • Warwick University (07 Apr 15)

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

Designing for 21st Century Learning – eLearning@ed Conference 2015 LiveBlog

On this very sunny Thursday I am at the IAD in Bristo Square for the elearning@ed forum’s 2015 conference which is focusing on Designing for 21st Century Learning. I’ll be taking notes throughout the day (though there may be a gap due to other meeting commitments). As usual these are live notes so any corrections, updates, etc. are welcomed.

The speakers for today are:

Welcome - Melissa Highton, Director, Learning Teaching and Web Services, IS.

Thank you all for coming. It’s a full agenda and it’s going to be a great day. Last year Jeff left us with the phrase that it is “exciting times” and that’s reflected by how fast this event filled up, sold out… you are lucky to get a seat! Being part of this community, to this forum, is about a community commitment we will see throughout the day, and we are very lucky and very appreciative of that.

Designing for 21st Century Learning is our theme for today. As someone who did all their formal learning in the 20th century, I started with a bit of Googling for what 21st Century might be – colourful diagrams seems to be the thing! But I also looked for some accounts from the university of what that might mean… some things that came through where that it is about teaching understanding of difficult things in all subjects, do a little to remove the inequalities of life, practical work and making things with one’s hands “the separation of hand and brain is an evil for both”. But these words are from 1905, they are from the University Settlement. But actually many of those remain common values. But there are are also issues of technology, of change…

“It’s not ok not to understand the internet anymore” – Martha Lane-Fox delivering the Dimbleby Lecture at London’s Science Museum, March 2015. That is certainly part of what we are talking about. Most in this room will feel they understand the internet, but we also have to be thinking about the challenges raised, the trends. And I’m going to finish with a graphic from the New Media Consortium (which the university is part of) tracking some of these changes and trends here/coming soon.

Chairs session – Individual short presentations, followed by open panel discussion (chaired by Jessie Paterson)

Designing for 21st Century earning: the view where I sit Prof. Judy Hardy, Physics Education, (Physics and Astronomy) Profile

I was asked to give the view from where I am, in 10 minutes, which is fairly tough! So I will be sharing some of my thoughts, some of what is preoccupying me at the moment.

Like Melissa I saw the concept of 21st Century Learning and thought “gosh, what’s that”. So I tried to think about a student coming here in 2020. That student will probably be just about coming to the end of their first year at secondary school right now. So what will it look like… probably quite a lot like now… lectures, tutorials, workshops etc. But what they will have is even more technology at their fingertips… Whether that is tablets or whatever.

We have been working on a project tracking students use of technology. We didn’t tell them what to use or how. They used cloud based word processor saying it saved times, seeing each others writing styles benefitted the flow of the report they worked on together. They used Facebook and self organised groups to compliment and coordinate activity. They just did it. I think many didn’t mention it as they just took it for granting…

Interactive engagement in learning performs something like double the learning gain (RR Hake 20?). But wht is that? We did research (Hardy et al 2014) on academic staff teaching in UK university physics departments. Many want to teach, many focus as much on teaching as research. So what are the challenges? Well time and time as a proxy for other things… We can’t ignore that if we really want to move from a dedicated few doing great teaching work, to mainsteaming that. Deslauriers, Schelew and Wieman (2011) in Science found that it took 20 hours preparation to teach with a flipped classroom – that reduces after the first run but it is a substantial investment of time. Pedagogically there is also confusion over the best tools or approaches to take..

What is preoccupying me quite a bit at the moment… It is not about the “what” and “how” but about the “why’. There is awareness of what we should or might do. How to do that is very important – you need to know what to do and how to do it. But you also need to understand the principles behind that, why you are doing that, what the purpose is. You need to know what you can modify, and why, and what the consequences of that might be. When we are doing teaching, when we are thinking about teaching, we need to have this in mind. Otherwise we end up using the same formats (e.g. lectures) just surrounded by new technology.

Prof. Sian Bayne, Digital Education, (Education) Profile

It was a bit of a wide brief for this session, so I thought I would talk about something happening this week. Some of you will be aware that the #rhizo15 MOOC is running again this week, the Rhizomatic Learning “cMOOC” idea. And I saw lots of tweets about a paper I’d written… Which got me thinking about what has been happening… and where things are going…

That paper looked at the Deleuze and Guattari (1988) concept of striated space (closed, hierachichally, structured, etc.) vs smooth space (open ended, non hierachichal, wandering-orientate, amorphous). And that these spaces, these metaphors, intersect… And this paper was using these metaphors in the design of learning itself. So, back in 2004 the VLEs and LMSs was pretty much what there was in terms of online learning – very striated spaces. Emerging at that time in a more smooth space – were ideas like scholarly hypertext, multimodal assessments, anonymous discussion boards (which went, but are kind of back with YikYak), wikis and blogs.

So, what has changed around 10 years later? Well in the striated space we have VLEs and LMSs, Turnitin, e-portfolios, and we have things that may be striating forces including personalisation (flexible but to rules), adaptive learning, learning analytics, gamification (very goal orientated), wearables.  In terms of the smooth spaces… we have Twitter (though some increasing striation), YikYak, real openness. And we also see augmented realities and flipped cassrooms, maker spaces, and crowd-based learning as smoother spaces.

So, what’s next? The bigger point I want to make is that we have a tendency in this field to be very futures orientated. I was also googling this week for elearning and digital education trends 2015.. huge numbers of reports and trends which are useful but there is also a change acceleration, trends and practices to respond to and keep up with. We need to remember that we are doing those things in the context, to look back a bit, to consider what kind of teaching do we actually want to do, what kind of university do we want to be. And ultimately what is higher education actually for? And those kinds of considerations have to sit alongside that awareness of changes, trends, technologies…

Using Technology to support learners’ goal setting – Prof. Judy Robertson, Digital Learning, (Education) “Using technology to support learners’ goal setting”.  Profile

I am also talking about what I am working on this week, which has mainly been data analysis! My work looks at technology use by children (and sometimes university students). I design and evaluate technology for education and behaviour change, often designing learners in the design process. There are aspects of behaviour change and concepts from games that can be particularly useful here, but games tend to have set goals built in (even if you can choose your goals from a set), and I look at learners setting their own goals.

So my research vision is about working with users to develop technology which enables them to set and monitor appropriate goals for themselves in the context or education and healthcare – that could be working with children and teachers to develop software which enavles goal setting around problem solving and physical activity, or to work with new undergraduates to help them to plan and monitor their studying, or even working with older adults to assist them to change their patterns of sedantary behaviour. But there is a risk of becoming like the Microsoft paperclip… How do we actually make technology useful here?

So I have been working on an exergame (a game where physical exertion is the input medium) called Critter Jam (aka FitQuest) which is looking at whether it is possible to motivate children to increase their activity. So the game might have you collecting virtual coins, or being chased by a virtual wolf… It is all about encouraging mainly running activities, with mainly playground game type activities. Within the game children can pick from different goals… For those with intrinsic motivation tendencies you can aim for your personal best… For some children you might set a custom points target – and how children (or indeed university students) pick that target is interesting. Some children may want to top the leader board  - that motivates some, but competition can be negative too…

So, we are also looking at fine grained log file data from around 70 kids over 5 weeks as part of a wider RCT data set. I’ve been looking on the sort of goals kids set and how they achieve them. And also looking at how self-efficacy relates to goal setting. And as you look at the data you can look at the high performing kids and see where there are patterns in their goal settings.

It turns out that kids achieved their goals around 50% of the time, which is a bit of a disappointment. And those who expect to do well, tend to set more ambitious goals – which raises some questions for us. And in terms of how goal setting relates to high performance gains we have some interesting qualitative data. We interviewed some students – all of our kids here were 10 years old – and they reported that if they had set too hard a goal, they would reset to a lower goal, but then aim to keep improving it. This seems reasonable and thoughtful for a 10 year old. At 10 that’s not what all students will do though (even for undergraduates that doesn’t even work). Speaking to another child they aimed fairly low, to avoid the risk of failure… again something we need to bear in mind with university students and how ambitiously they set their own goals.

Prof. Dave Reay, Carbon Management and Education, (Geosciences) Profile


- Prof. Jonathan Silvertown, Technology Enhanced Science Education, (Biological Sciences) “Virtual Edinburgh: Turning the City into a pervasive learning environment”.

- Prof. Dragan Gasevic, Learning Analytics, (Informatics and Education.) Profile

“Co-Creation: Student Ownership of Curriculumâ€� (Workshop) – Dash Sekhar, VPAA, EUSA and Tanya Lubicz-Nawrocka, EUSA

“Using e-Portfolios to recognise our student and graduate attributes” - Simon Riley (CMVM) and Prof. Ian Pirie, Asst Principal Learning Developments

Designing for Open- Open Educational Resources and new media for learning - Melissa Highton Director, Learning Teaching and Web Services, IS.

Lunch (where there’ll be some posters to explore) then Labs/practicals chaired by Marshall Dozier (this is where I may be at meetings and you may wish to switch to watching #elearninged) including:

 “Designing teaching spaces for the 21st century learner: The story of the nostalgic Dad and the horrified Son” - Victoria Dishon (School of Engineering), Stephen Dishon (IS Learning Spaces Technology)

DYNAMED: Student Led Development of a Dynamic Media Library for the R(D)SVS – Brian Mather and Rob Ward - (CMVM)

Experience with Cogbooks pilot on personalised learning. – Eduardo Serafin (Geosciences) and Mark Wetton (IS)

Offshoots and Outputs session chaired by Marshall Dozier:

CMC Vellore India partnership – online MSc in Family Medicine - Liz Grant (CMVM) and Jo Spiller (IS)

“Digital tools for lighting educationâ€� – Ola Uduku and Gillian Treacy, (ECA)

“Research, Teaching and Learningâ€� – Michael Begg (IS)


“Developing the Vision for 21st century learning” – Prof. Sue Rigby, VP Learning and Teaching


Conference closing – Wilma Alexander, Convenor, eLearning@ed Forum



GeoForum 2015: Booking Now Open

University of Greenwich Queen Anne Court

University of Greenwich Queen Anne Court

We are now taking bookings for EDINA’s GeoForum 2015, with this year’s event being held at the University of Greenwich on the 16th June.

Reserve your place now: GeoForum 2015 Booking

GeoForum is a free all day event aimed at lecturers, researchers and support staff who promote and support the use of geospatial data and services at their institution. Throughout the day we there will be talks and demonstrations to inform you of current geospatial developments at EDINA and the wider community. It is also an opportunity to give EDINA feedback on the services we provide and discuss geospatial issues with the team.

Full details of this years event will and the programme will appear on the website when available:

GeoForum 2015

This year Ordnance Survey’s cartography team will be telling us about how they go about creating cartographic representations of the map data.  We’ll also be showcasing the work of students of architecture and urban design, highlighting how data from Digimap is crucial to their studies.

The conference will be located in the historical Queen Anne Court at the University of Greenwich, part of the Old Royal Naval College. In such surroundings we hope the weather will allow us to go outside for an afternoon excursion where we can show you the enhancements to our Fieldtrip mobile app while exploring the area. We will also be highlighting the many new datasets that have been added to Digimap over the recent months and giving you a sneak preview of what we will be doing over the summer to improve all the geoservices offered by EDINA.

The conference is free to attend and runs from 10:00 till 16:15, for all the details and to book your place please visit the conference website: GeoForum 2015

Please contact us if you have any questions:

  • Email: edina@ed.ac.uk
  • Phone: 0131 650 3302

Find out what happened at last year’s event: GeoForum 2014


Data Vault project kickoff meeting

Last week, members of the Data Vault project got together for the kickoff meeting.  Hosted at the University of Manchester Library, we were able to discuss the project plan, milestones for the three month project, agreed terminology for parts of the system, and started to assign tasks to project members for the first month.

Being only three months long, the project is being run in three one-month chunks. These are defined as follows:

  1. Month 1: Define and Investigate: This phase will allow us to agree what the Data Vault should do, and how it does it,  Specifically it will look at:
    1. What are the use cases for the Data Vault
    2. How do we describe the system (create overview diagrams)
    3. How should the data be packed (metadata + data) for long term archival storage
    4. Develop example workflows for how the Data Vault could be used in the research process
    5. Examine the capabilities of archival storage systems to ensure they can support the proposed Data Vault
  2. Month 2: Requirements and Design: This phase will create the requirements specification and initial design of the system:
    1. Define the requirements specification
    2. Use the requirement specification to design the Data Vault system
  3. Month 3: Develop a Proof of Concept: This phase will seek to develop a minimal proof of concept that demonstrates the concept of the Data Vault:
    1. Deliver a working proof of concept that can describe and archive some data, and then retrieve it

At the end of month three, we will prepare for the second Jisc Data Spring sandpit workshop where we will seek to extend the project to take the prototype and develop it into a full system.

All of this is being documented in the project plan, which is a ‘living document’ that is constantly evolving as the project progresses.  The plan is online as a Google Document:

Look out for further blog posts during the month as we undertake the definitions and investigations!

Kickoff meeting

Originally posted on the Jisc Data Vault blog, April 7, 2015 by Stuart Lewis, Deputy Director, Library & University Collections.


Look out for SUNCAT in London

Two of the SUNCAT Bibliographic Team will be at events in London this Monday 20th April. Celia will be attending the ARLIS workshop ‘Taking the plunge: art librarianship as a career option’, which will be held at Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts). It is going to be a very interesting day, which will see speakers from academic through to museum libraries cover many aspects of being an art librarian and dealing with information from art, design and architecture. Moira will be attending the EPUG-UKI (Ex Libris Products User Group, UK and Ireland) meeting and AGM 2015, to be held at the British Library Conference Centre, St Pancras. The day will also comprise of updates from Ex-Libris and presentations from EPUG members.

Whether you are from a Contributing Library or not please do come and say hello to Celia or Moira if you see them!

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.

  • Aberystwyth University (13 Mar 15)
  • CONSER (09 Apr 15)
  • Edinburgh University (21 Mar 15)
  • Exeter University (12 Mar 15)
  • ISSN (18 Mar 15)
  • King’s College London (02 Apr 15)
  • London Business School (07 Apr 15)
  • London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (02 Apr 15)
  • National Archives (01 Apr 15)
  • National Library of Scotland (02 Apr 15)
  • Oxford University (22 Mar 15)
  • Robert Gordon University (02 Apr 15)
  • Royal Society of Medicine (07 Apr 15)
  • St Andrews University (07 Apr 15)
  • Southampton University (13 Apr 15)
  • Swansea University (15 Mar 15)
  • York University (01 Apr 15)

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

1930s Land Use Maps now in Environment Digimap

We have moved the Dudley Stamp Land Use Survey maps from the Historic Digimap Collection to their more natural home in Environment Roam. In doing so we have increased their usability. You can now pan and zoom much more easily and can print and annotate the maps, something that was not available in the previous Land Use Map Viewer.

Environment Roam Basemaps TabTwo scales of map are available for all of England, Scotland and Wales: 1:625,000 and 1:63,360.

Environment Roam automatically switches between these at the appropriate point when zooming in or out of the map.

To view the 1930s maps go to the Basemaps selector on the right hand side of Environment Roam and choose Dudley Stamp 1930s from the drop down window.

1:63,360 Scale Map of Cowes, Isle of Wight

Dudley Stamp Land Use Map: 1:63,360 Scale

© L. Dudley Stamp/Geographical Publications Ltd, Audrey N. Clark, Environment Agency/DEFRA and Great Britain Historical GIS

1:625,000 Scale Map of the Isle of Wight

Dudley Stamp 625k

© L. Dudley Stamp/Geographical Publications Ltd, Audrey N. Clark, Environment Agency/DEFRA and Great Britain Historical GIS

If you have any questions about the Dudley Stamp maps or Environment Digimap please contact us:

  • Phone: 0131 650 3302
  • Email: edina@ed.ac.uk