Analytics Platform Trial

Information Services is evaluating a new collaborative platform for data-science and analytics as part of its expanding portfolio of services for researchers. We are looking for researchers with suitable problems who expect to achieve results in the one-year trial. We will be able to work closely with a small number of projects to help them get the most out of the platform, and training will be available. In addition, we encourage further researchers to use the platform with less formal support.

The Aridhia AnalytiXagility Platform

AnalytiXagility is a purpose-built, user-friendly, collaborative platform for data science and analytics. It allows your team to easily create, discuss, modify and share analyses in a single, secure system accessed conveniently through a web browser.
The platform handles routine data management tasks such as confidentiality, availability, integrity and audit, reducing time to insight and discovery. In particular, it is ideally suited for:

  • Exploring, comparing and linking structured datasets including data quality profiling
  • Supporting data management, accountability and provenance
  • Processing large datasets that do not fit in memory

Bring your team

Project members collaborate through a private workspace configured with compute, storage and analytical tools. Embedded social media tools allow teams to post and share questions, updates, comments and insights, building an active record of the research undertaken.

Bring your data

Users import their datasets using the secure and reliable file transfer mechanism, SFTP. Working files (documents, images, analysis scripts) can be uploaded directly through the web interface, and tagged for easy management and retrieval by the team.

Bring your analysis

AnalytiXagility provides an analysis platform, based on R, which can be accessed through a web browser. Combining R with an SQL database and an associated access library allows researchers to analyse their data in a faster and more scalable way than with R alone.

Generate your output

The platform supports generation of PDF reports for communication and publication using LaTeX templates, such as those provided by many leading journals, in which users can embed active analytical scripts to auto-generate images and tabular data within the report at runtime.

More information

If you are interested in participating in the trial, please email IS.Helpline@ed.ac.uk with the subject “XAP Trial�.

Further information can be found at:

Steve Thorn
Research Services
IT Infrastructure

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Connect More with Jisc in England (Leeds) – LiveBlog

Today I am at the Connect More with Jisc in England (Leeds) event being held at Shine, a social enterprise in a big old school building – a lovely venue but very warm! Unfortunately it is also a bit patchy for wifi, hence this live blog being a wee bit late in the day.

Introduction from head of region – Will Allen, head of Jisc North

Thanks for coming to Leeds on this sunny day. This is the third Jisc Connect More event – there have been two, one in Scotland, one in NI. And there will be three more – one each in Bristol, London and Cardiff.

There are various parallel sessions today, do go along to those.


Feedback is central to Jisc North, we want your comments, engage with me, engage with my colleagues… I trust that you all share in Jisc’s vision “to make the uk the most digitally advanced education and research nation in the worldâ€� – I suspect if you don’t share that vision you are in the wrong place!

I believe that Jisc makes a considerable difference to the education difference, but what matters is that we strive to make the best difference we can. But we have to do that in a way that is realistic in the current climate. And we want to engage with all of you. And I’d like all of you to think about what might your institution’s provision look like in 2020. I’ve done a lot of work in scenario planning and found that looking to the future, disrupts the present, so I urge you to look to the future!

Changing tack… What links these words? Goat; strut; kit; nurse; palm; north… They are part of a lexical set which allows socio-linguists to understand what part of England you are from…Try those out with the person next to you… I’m sure we have a real range in the room! But there is some method to this madness… I was a researcher and I worked in linguistics and language… I was an undergrad in York, a post grad in Newcastle University… And I did a lot of talking with 7-13 year olds just as they formed their identity… And that connection between language and society, language and identity, that work was underpinned by technology. In those days we had to store our sound recordings on DAT tape as we didn’t have the space to store them on servers.

And I then worked on a project using the Tyneside Linguistic Survey – a transformative and massively complicated transcription system. They used technology to try to analyse these – tying the transcription to a code for a punchcard computer. I was part of a project that digitised the old reel-to-reel tapes and made them available for the research community to use in their work… Today where socio-linguistics is, is all about corpora – massive datasets of recorded languages that can be processed with various tools and technologies, using massive machines, massive corpuses etc. There are lots of examples… But I wanted to mention one that isn’t quite linguistics, but is about bird songs, called Xenocanto, which is crowdsourcing those bird songs, then analysing them with computers.

Just to finish off on my story… The thing that stopped me being a researcher was that I had this passion for research, and society and technology… But it wasn’t all connected up. I didn’t want to be  a lonely researcher, I wanted to connect. And making connections is what today is all about. I truly thing we live in a networked era, and traditional organisations is being changed by the network effect. A guy called Harold Jardi is the person to look up about that, about the power of people and networks…

So, quickly, I just want to say more about what Jisc does… We have Network and Technology – years before broadband we had an undisputed high speed network. Through Digital Resources, Through Advice and Engagement, and through Research and Development. And we shape around your priorities. We are a more joined up organisation. I hope that we are trusted to give impartial advice… And we aim to work with you to be as effective as we can.

So here you can see the regions here. I am head of Jisc North, one of six regional teams. Across those teams you now have a number of account managers and various engagement officers. You now have one customer contact point, we are much more joined up…

So, Jisc North, we are about championing th voice of the customer, to deliver a fully managed relationship with Jisc. We have account managers, and we have a regional awareness, to understand the North of England and reflect that back to Jisc. And to be part of Community engagement.

I just want to touch on community engagement. Angela Harvey is our community engagement manager and she sis leading that work through events, networks, etc.

Here are the various account managers in the North – all competing in their image for the biggest smile! You’ll meet them today so do say hello.

Our venue today, Shine (a social enterprise) used to be a middle school, which means we have some interesting room names, like the headmasters room!

So, we have our first parallel sessions starting now…

Session two: connectivity: New digital learning content for the skills sector – Presenters: Ruth Hansford (Jisc), Roger Clegg (Oldham College), Belinda Turner (Stubbing Court Training) and Emily Armstrong (Hull College)

We will talk about some of the cross cutting employability themes across these projects.

So, a bit about the project, which was Jisc Interactive Learning Resources for Skills project (#ilrforskills), which was a project commissioning 22 training providers to create open educational resources for a range of vocational areas. This was partly about transferring experience from FE to Skills. Partly issues around books – not a big feature of Skills sector – and also Shibboleth access not really used there so not resources requiring that. And we asked the sector, who were keen to focus on resources that they create within the skills sector and the sharing of those.

So we commissioned these 22 projects, and these finished around the end of April. You can find all of the content that was commissioned, via https://ilrs.jiscinvolve.org/wp/, or in Jorum, the national repository for open education resources, which is being pensioned off about this time next year – but the content, or the good content, will be ported over to whatever platform that replaces Jorum, which they are working hard to put in place at the moment. So, if you do want to create content, inspired by this work, you can put it in Jorum – this massive bit of free storage!

Of those 22 projects a disproportionate quantity were in the North of England – there were none in Scotland or Wales, one in London, and a few in south east, but many in the north.

Belinda: I will be talking about horse training, but first… How many of you already do online learning? (about 1/3rd room), How many want to have online learning? (about 2/3rds). How many of you have to have online learning soon? (a few)

We wanted to create world class training available anywhere, anytime… We developed the online diploma, but we didn’t have anything for english, maths or grooming  and realised the costs of getting that online were high, but then the Jisc project came along. We knew we needed everything to be easy, usable, 3 clicks or fewer, all clearly tied to Diploma practice test, and to the portfolio.

Watching an introductory video on mathematics and horses – a rider talking about heights of jumps etc.

So, if you are an apprentice with us, or an employer, these are all world class people who have done apprenticeships with us.

What we learned in this process was planning. Making sure we had the top people who were engaging and would appeal to your students, and be authoritative. And it needs to engaging to teach. Always takes longer than it should…. Everything has to be quality assured, checked, proof read… We also did some filming in Spain, because it is sunny and attractive, and world class standard – as filmed at top level show. Rather than filming in Janary, in the rain!

Ruth: Because there were so many projects commissioned, we had several mentors – Elizabetta, David Roe, Juliette Green, and Juliet MacKenzie – who travelled the countries far and wide. We also had experts in intellectual property from Jisc Legal, and also a techie team to support the filming etc. That was part of the project set up…. But I think the projects

Julie: My project was on bricklaying in Oldham in about three foot of snow – looks a bit different! Our content is quite yellow… with background of their own workshops. They asked for that. That’s what they wanted. And bear in mind we work with Level 1 learners. We had them along at 9.30 in the morning to watch what was going on… We got the media studies students in to film… But planning was rather out of the window as various tutors moved job, were off sick… It was a bit like an action research for us – we hadn’t created content outside of Moodle before.

We used Articulate story here, which was a steep learning curve but we got there… We delivered the content on time, had feedback from students… Unlike powerpoints, which they usually get, these are interactive. Not all of our apprentices are full time, many are in only part time. And we also had common areas here with other projects – maths, employability skills. We originally aimed to do a few, but we expanded it on the request of the tutors…

The content is assessed as you go through it… We tend to use Moodle as repository of materials… But we are moving to more of this sort of content. The college is keen to do more of this – converting work books etc. And we also had to put lots of links in to health and safety, to government websites, etc. for when they are working online.

Ruth: That project cost £5k, no idea what cost would be on the open market. For Belinda we gave £30k, but they also subsidised by half as much again… Do not underestimate the costs of creating this stuff.

Ruth: Emily will talk about Hull projects, they had two – one was construction – we had a lot of construction applications for the projects – and one for hairdressing.

Emily, Hull – Our construction one is an app which I have here… For hairdressing we did apps and web materials. We used something calls app ski which made developing apps easy, we also used a tool for creating video from text.

So, an example here… We have content on The Colour Wheel, for hairdressers but also beauticians, and we hope this will be helpful for art and design… And we have lots of quizes, drag and drop… Keeping text to a minimum… We have used copyright cleared videos from YouTube as well…

Ruth: All of these resources have a “In partnership with Jisc� marking, but all will be creative commons licensed…

Emily: Looking at rights clearances was a big deal for us… A colleague got very excited about Google Sketch Up but he had to make some changes to ensure images were copyright cleared… We haven’t really built anything to go in the public domain before, so that was big. And workig with a subject specialist was also very important for us…

Ruth: We wanted to help trigger the creation of content, but we only had £400k to spend so it was only ever going to be a certain amount of content. But we also did it to learn… What came up were rights, issues around IPR clearance before you can make content Creative Commons licensed. The other thing was around metadata and discoverability… When the content that stays in your institution you can find it, but putting it on the web means explaining the content in ways others can understand… Newcastle did a food enterprise project… and after the final project meeting someone who had done a lot of work there to make that content available, found their content on the open web.

The other thing was about planning, and not underestimating what is involved. The other thing was the difference between elearning and learning.. having the technology doesn’t mean you are doing elearning yet.

There was also something interesting there about what is ok in house but may not be to others… for instance very strong regional accents were fine of course, but made the content slightly less reusable to others on the web.

We also found that breaking content into smaller chunks means you can remix that content, it can be reused in other places more easily.

You’ve heard already about some of the themes that are available… Can you all say that you think stand alone for employability…

Emily: One of our painting and decorating items is about how to calculate area – the context is an area, but applies to any area…

Julie: Also ratios to buckets, spades etc…

Ruth: Also some nice horticultural examples around area and volume of a circular bed, to calculate top spoil.

Belinda: Really good horses have treadmills, with a platform… that you can turn into a hill… So you can work out the mathematics of that angle, and how much work the horse is doing when they use that!

Ruth: What about English…

Belinda: We had a sports presenter explaining the importance of communication…

Ruth: Yours also had some negotiation… Also some on problem solving…

Belinda: We had the Olympic team coaches talking about problem solving…

Ruth: Another brick laying and construction course had Kevin, someone self employed, doing a role play over costs and issues with a difficult customer – real life stuff. And health and safety… Loads on PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), hazadous substances, insurance… And also some of the enterprise requirements – e.g. for a new food business. That one was interesting as well because almost everyone in the college had gotten involved in production!

We are always concerned that more than those who are funded benefit… So we have the website there, which lists all of the projects. We will soup this up a bit but you will find them all there… Manchester college were interesting – their material was from the offender learning programme. They spent a great deal more than we gave them… They did four areas – horticultural, catering, brick laying and english language. Their stuff is available on their Moodle platform, but they will also be going into their campus in prison.

Each of the projects has their own page/site that you can look at. For instance Accrington and Rossendale College have an open Google site… Not all of the sites look glamorous but they have great content in there…

The other way to find this content, and you want to use/reuse/remix this content, much of which is in SCORM format… So you can go into Jorum and download the content… Now this search results screen will look better than this in the future, but it is all there…

There are also QA and publishing checklists on that site, a metadata checklist, model release forms for students under 18 who might be in a video etc.  We also created an accessibility checklist – actually a hard one to crack, as some requirements would be hard to actually achieve, so we had an element of pragmatism.

Q&A

Q) Would you go with making things open in the future?

A – Emily) We will continue doing this openly, because we want them to be open for reuse in our own college and by other colleges.

A – Belinda) It’s hard… For some things, where you have contacts you only have to pay a certain amount (e.g. the Olympic coaches)

A – Julie) I would absolutely. We all deliver similar curriculums so should be sharing… Wouldn’t necessarily use the same technology though, might use Moodle…

Comment – Ruth) I was told people wouldn’t share in Skills sector, but that just wasn’t true… I think that they know that time isn’t on their side… And if you trust each other, you’d be mad not to share it and use it really…

Q) Will there be a block on uploading to Jorum?

A – Ruth) Not for now, as Jorum being pensioned off… So upload as normal, and that info will follow for the new platform.

Q) How many learning objects or hours are there from that resource?

A – Ruth) There are 163 resources in Jorum… But some of those contents are one item that is a whole site being linked to… Others have maybe 40 items but they are smaller chunks… The average was about 5 or 6 items… How many is not that relevant. In terms of learning hours, there is a lot!

Q) Do you have learning technologists, elearning experts etc. in house?

A – Emily) We paired tutors with learning technologists.

A – Belinda) We brought in various experts to inform our work.

A – Julie) I was main learning technologist on this work, but pulled in experts and students from specialist courses etc.

Session one: capabilities: Meeting the FELTAG challenge 12 months on… one college’s journey – Presenter: David Scott (Kirklees College)

Why did Kirkless adopt 10% of all FT courses as blended learning by the start of or during academic year 2014/15? Well we wanted our students to develop the skills they need for university, for the workplace etc. And the sector is being squeezed… Although actually in the first year it was not less expensive, but there are efficiencies we may see in the future. We followed the Worcester (who did save 250k through online delivery recently) model – an hour lecture online, timetabled into the learning resource centre. And we did this via SOLA packs via the VLE.

We timetabled that into the learning resource centre – so all students had a focus on participating and a place to do that, but over the year learners gradually chose to participate from home, not always in the LRC.

We did this with 10% of all level 2 and 3 full time long courses. And that was a huge undertaking as we are a very large college, so that is about doing this for a lot of learners. To do this we undertook substantial planning… We ensured we added 140 PCs in the LRC, that staff there were trained in using these tools, and with “what if?â€� scenarios. We timetabled students – 170 groups in total per week – additional to what had come in previously. And we knew there would be many more people using the LRC than before, which meant we also did recruitment and timetabling of LRC staff to facilitate the blended learning, across our six centres. The principal mandated that English and Maths would be scheduled first, then blended learning, then everything else.

One of the biggest tasks was training 5000 tutors about what blended learning is…

Neil: Our VLE was kind of a filing cabinet before. Some staff were very keen, some really had a lot to learn… So we developed SOLA packs for self study on key features of the VLE such as assessment and monitoring usage – practising what we preach! We also created a training programme and rolled out to all staff over a 4 month period. And the ILT development unit developed and rolled specific training to over 30 SOLA coordinators – enthustiastic people. But it was a huge undertaking… We had people signing up but not attending… Eventually named and shamed to heads of departments to ensrure all were trined.

We also created SOLA Quality audits, although not all staff filled this out properly – left in defaults! But this documentation let SOLA coordinators carry out the audit termly and identify any further support or training requirements – they used the audit forms to identify fine, at risk, or problematic courses based on how ready and appropriately set up they were.

We decided to use the open badge system for these courses, already built into MOODLE, and you can set criteria to automatically reward badges. That’s allows us to pull out a report of which students have done what work – for reporting to funders etc. It has been quite effective and encouragingg for students… We were quite late issuing badges, so as staff built up SOLA packs throughout the year, we had less time to implement them. But if they are set up late, they will issue retrospective badges based on criteria achieved.

David: There are clearly other ways to undertake elearning and satisfy FELTAG requirements. But this worked well. Worcester have don this for two or three years, we have done it for a year at scale… If you are looking to get started, why reinvent the wheel? We support colleges in our area, and have been able to share back and forth with them. This isn’t the deficit way to do things, but it does work well…

So, what worked well in the first year?

Well, t was a whole cross-college approach to delivery – pretty much the whole college were part of this. And it was planned to perfection, so in September 2014 the infrastructure was in place, ILT/IT support was in place, timetabling was done, LRC staff had been recruited, trained and timetabled SOLA training had been rolled out across all curriculum areas. SOLA packs were prepared – but not all ready at the start of the year, some only came on board for January. Students arrived 1st September.

But there were challenges too. Staff time to develop the SOLA packs. Worcester have 12 staff on the ILT team – the model there is tutors prepare content, but ILT put it in place… Our model was different. We say preparation of content as part of tutor lesson planning, as part of tutor workload. But this was an issue of staff skill sets – we recruit many tutors from industry but they don’t necessarily have those sorts of skills, but we are feeding that into recruitment process. Staff also realise that the efficiencies of blended learning can cause tension with staff, with their engagement. So making it clear that this opens up staff time for new, innovative classes, european projects etc. We did take 5200 hours out of course curriculum so you do need to sell the benefits of that.

Student engagement wise we will have an induction programme, including a video about what blended learning is, so that they are prepared for what they see in the LRC – not all tutors shared the same amount of information this year. We also will have self-enrolment and enrolment keys…

Elona: For me I had 10% of teaching time ripped from my staff… We were not happy… But we had a lightbulb moment that we could make it work for us. So we had 4 months to train, and had 2 months to build everything. We grabbed all we good, and added in interactive elements, and borrowed some text from Health and Safety Act… (This is a health and safety section from a hair and beauty course). And we assess the knowledge and understanding through multiple choice questions, across week by week activities… Which means no marking! All my team do not mark… But that means that 10% time gives us time to do new innovative ideas… There was nothing out there for health and beauty really – because we had to make this in a panic… So we made content for one unit only, and did make use of a powerpoint we had used before. We’ve got a powerpoint that is already there, then a document from industry, a web link, and a quiz… So in that first task we tell them what we want them to do, what to engage with, and that they should then do the quiz.

So, for that video for instance we created our own content – avoiding Americanisms, licensing issues etc. My friend charlotte had a massage that we videoed as a demo for students. We will be videoing demonstrations from tutors in September. Students really engage with this demonstration video, in a way they don’t always do in person.

So, we structure content week by week along similar lines. And when students finish a unit, they get an badge. When learners have done the massage mock revision… When they are prepared with this, they go on and find the exam really easy.

And that free time means that I now have time to think about new ideas,,, And we find some of our adult learners were working ahead… So I now have an enrichment programme for those learners, which they will then be able to move onto in that LRC time. For instance on the Gender Pay Gap – which is really interesting in hair and beauty. With this growth… !

David: This is really embedded in what we do in Kirkless – so Careers are doing this too, our learning and resource staff have a resources page, its reaching every single department now… Everyone is becoming aware of what SOLA is and how it can be used.

Elona: I now have a progress bar in place to see how our students are progressing. There are a lot of quizzes in these SOLA packages and I can use that SOLA bar to see what they have/have not done, track progress, what time they are learning etc. Some are on at half eleven at night!

I also have an overall progress bar, that allows me to see how each tutor’s students are progressing – and they can also look in and check progress.

Because of all this content is there, I can ask students can study particular materials ahead of class, to prepare them for particular sessions etc.

But there are hiccoughs here… If students log in on their phone, they can do the test, get answers wrong… and then retake in the web version… But we are wise to that now… So we now do direct questioning in class to be sure they have understood that learning properly…

IT skills wise we are health and beauty, we aren’t huge fans of computers. We have found support from ILT necessary…

In that homepage for the course, there is also a link to our (VTCT) eportfolios – where badges appear!

I’m really proud of it, but getting staff on board was the challenge. We have exceeded the 10% now, with 30% online. If the government wanted 50% that might be challenging though – hair dressers do need to be able to cut hair!

David: When we started many of the SOLA stuff was in list form, but Elona and her team have created something more visually appealing here… I feel like we are light years ahead. The more colleges get involved, the more resources we have to share, the more our skills develop.

Elona: My team’s motivation has improved because they are no longer spending all of their time marking! And you see

Q&A

Q) What version of Moodle?

A – Neil) 2.6 but moving to 2.8

Q) How big is college support team?

A – Neil) It’s about 5 people, two and a bit in terms of time etc. are supporting this.

A – David) We also have two teaching qualified LRC team members. You should go back to your principal and be clear that if you go this way, you have to be all in and support it…

Q) Sharing resources?

A – Elona) Sharing them on the system

A – David) All are available on Moodle

Q) How did you get staff on board?

A – David) I think it helped a lot that principal has strong supported and driven this.

Q) Any copyright issues?

A – Elona) We worked with LRC staff to help us, and then made some stuff ourselves

A – David) Use those expert staff… But second year of running is about quality. Good open stuff is out there, so do use it.

Q) How many students come in at a time? How does that work in the LRC?

A – David) We have a room in LRC with 70 machines, and a block of 50 tend to be working at a time, LRC support that…

Q) What happens with block bookings if students aren’t coming in in person – as you say happens

A – David) Software kicks user off if not logged in after 15 mins – so PC becomes available…

Q) How long does it take to develop an hour of teaching

A – Elona) Varies, but we have fully refreshed our content here.

Q) How about entry level courses and part time courses?

A – David) We are letting people explore. Level 1 come on board next year but in class. We are looking at access to HE courses moving this way at the moment…

Q) We have some enthusiasts, but some are resistant. How have you managed that sort of issue?

A – Elona) For me, I found that selling the lack of marking as a carrot here, to get them to move content online.

A – Neil) I think t’s just a case of supporting them whenever possible. Some people are quite scared of computers, but our IT team are approachable, and show them one step at a time an whenever possible.

Q) So you are there to support teaching staff, you aren’t doing the content?

A – Neil) No, we are not a big enough team to do that – Worcester does that though.

David: We do work with other colleges… Neil, myself and Elona are happy to come out and speak to your senior leadership team… Grab us at any time during today.

Session one: capabilities: Digital capabilities and leadership – Presenter: Lawrie Phipps (Jisc)

By show of hands the room is a mix of HE, Colleges and skills.

I will be talking about Digital capabilities and leadership. I’m from Jisc Futures – we do the research and development, and my area is specifically the student experience. But the work I’m doing at the moment is all about leadership.

I will talk about what we are doing, some examples, and then also I will talk about the jisc digital capabilities and leadership project. Everyone is aware of our digital literacy work? We have been doing this since 2010, identifying seven areas of digital literacy. We have managed to embed this into the curriculum, focusing on it being a student focused programme, without really meaning to. As this started to create outputs, I began working on a project called the Changing the Learning Landscape project, working with ALT, HEA, NUS, and the Leadership Foundation… We spoke to staff at universities from senior managers through to cleaners.

Through this work, across interviews at 58 universities, we identified massive variation in technology enhanced learning, across various thematic areas.

In terms of Strategy and Leadership… Many places were using a VLE, but often as a repository… And many places had these tools, and felt they should increase the scale of TEL. All identified mobile as something they should be aware of, and doing something about. But we couldn’t get people to identify what they wanted to do with mobile… When you asked they said “well students have phonesâ€� – that was as far as it went for some of them.

We also saw Open and Distance learning coming up as an issue, we didn’t hear much about efficiency from leaders. But students talked about a huge lack of consistency in their experience… at all levels of that experience. We did see more and more of students as partners in FE and HE. But we also see students wanting to leverage value from their learning. Students wanted to understand practical and efficiency benefits of why they should use a tool – they were always looking for a reason.

Talking to lecturers we saw huge amounts of varietyn again. Some were very honest about what they did… Some just put slides in, some had a discussion board… Most used it for repository of sides. And majority had the essential descriptions and timetabling, that was their main use. There were a range of barriers to use… Last week I worked with Reading College – they switched off Moodle in their institution and no-one noticed!

Anyway… Whilst we hear about digital literacies, many didn’t see how they could embed them in their programmes. They didn’t always see themselves as digitally literate.

And looking ahead we saw various things coming… questions about Maker cultures… More and more students coming through with coding skills. And early questions about Internet of Things… Also seeing open learning, open code, open publishing, becoming prominent. And seeing students co-creating their learning, especially in FE actually. And funding changes and organisational changes – e.g. funding announcements on FE next week. And we see the rise of KPIs, globalisation etc.

So, talking to the sector – HE, FE and Skills – showed that we really need to build the digital capabilities of our staff. So that is our priority, in my team, to develop that in the next 12 months, with the first stuff coming in over the next 3 months…

So we have this idea of Digital identity and wellbeing as a surrounding concept, with ICT proficiency at the centre, supported by Information, data and media literacies; digital creation, innovation and scholarship; communication, collaboration and participation; digital learning and self development.

  • ICT proficiency is core skills, from use of style sheets, to how to get onto Eduroam.
  • Information, Media and data literacy is about critical use of content
  • Cretion, scholarship and innovation – is about creative production in all areas of our work
  • COmmunication, collaboration and participation
  • Learning and self-development
  • Idetity and well-being – and safety online, and the safety of staff identity.

And we have developed a model for an envisioned #digitalcapability service. There will be a digital capability online course, and materials for digital leadership. And this resource will be aimed at staff at all levels. So, IT managers tend to implement systems without consulting staff on what is needed… e.g. on the choice of VLE or ePortfolios.. They tend to talk to vendors, rather than staff…

This modelis a pyramid of leadership development, online courses, digital capability framework, and diagnostic tools.

The leadership development will be a course, starting in October. It is aimed at leaders at any level, or those who aspire to leadership. So if you run a project for instance…

So we’ve mapped the digital capability framework to digital leadership. And this course will work across two priority areas:

Being an effective digital leader/manager (personal/professional development)

Leading/managing an effective digital organisation or part of an organisation (organisational development).

We will run this as a two day course, then webinar, then another two day course. That will be free for the first pilot and that first pilot will run once for HE and once for FE.

The core skills around ICT proficiencies around being an effective digital leader/manager would include adopt and adapt digital devices, services and applications to meet your professional needs, Use digital applications/services to manage time and tasks. Stay up to date with organisational systems. Know how to find work-arounds, switch devices/services/applications and recover from technical failures; model confident use of digital technologies to others.

In terms of the second leading etc. section: develop and communicate a strategy for digital technologies, policy, etc.

Again there are core aspects around information, media and data literacy; and around creation, scholarship and innovation. On that area of creative production we had many asking about making a risk tolerant innovative environment – particularly a concern at FE. We have traditionally been risk averse in some of these contexts…

I’m guessing most of this room are digitally literate but the communication, collaboration and participation aspect will be the idea of how we lead, influence and participate in online communities of practice related to your role, building personal networks, and having an authentic voice in this space.

In terms of learning and self-development thinking about, for instance, using online courses for staff development.

Digital identity and wellbeing… So for instance who has a Twitter account… who has two? I wonder why people do that, if they are splitting personal and professional presences… But we will look at that, to ensure people make choices in an informed way. And we talk about brand, but that’s also about having an authentic voice. When it comes to online staff capabilities work we are doing, there will be case studies for different roles, practice mapping that against professional association for CILIP, SEDA, HEA, and FELTAG. All of this is coming online, first course runs in October…

Let me just go back to staff capabilities – do these map to your expectations?

Comment: I am tremendously excited about this, much better than 7 elements that were there before…

Are there any gaps here?  This is still draft until this year.

Comment: Where does mobility factor here – learning away from physical learning space?

I would put mobile in collaboration perhaps, but also creation, collaboration and participation… But we will write examples of practice in colleges and universities, and then map where those might sit for professional development. And we are desperate to speak to people who have recently made changes that we can speak to.

And we welcome your comments and input on the blog: www.digitalcapability.jiscinvolve.org/ or email me: lawrie.phipps@jisc.ac.uk or on Twitter @Lawrie.

Q&A

Q: What is the intention for the long term for this?

A: Right now the intention is for the online content to be available in chunks for you to download and use. The course will run once, be developed and rerun in Spring. Then, if successful, it will be handed over to the Jisc Customer Services team for them to look at options to role out.

Q: A few years ago you did work on digital literacies for schools. Our staff have gaps… But I don’t know the current status of students. Our staff report both very digitally literate, and other say not…

A: Are any of you aware of Dave ? Resident/Visitor thing, and Don, a US researcher has turned that into a tool to map digital literacies. And we are working with her to see how we can map that so that staff can map digital literacies of students, to capabilities and expectations of the students. To make sure that that maps to institutional strategy. So, for instance, you get answers about how students use content… download stuff in VLE, upload to Facebook and discuss, then upload to VLE… But in that institution they had mandated slides and discussion forum be used.. that was artificial to the set up… So we said you will save staff time and efficiency by changing environment. So Don’s tool will be available in October.

Parallel session: capabilities: “How to use social media effectively for student engagement – Presenter: Nicola Osborne” (EDINA)

That’s my session so you’ll be seeing no update here from me for this one!

Closing session: FELTAG – so what? – Presenter: Bob Harrison

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Datasets updated in OS Data Download – June 2015

OS Terrain 5

OS Terrain 5 DTM with contours and spot heights

A number of datasets have been updated recently bringing them up to date with the most recent versions available from Ordnance Survey. All datasets are available to download using the Digimap Data Download application in the Ordnance Survey collection.

The table below lists all the datasets that have been updated and includes the OS release date:

Product Name OS Release Date
Points of Interest June 2015
1:25,000 Colour Raster June 2015
1:250,000 Colour Raster June 2015
1:50,000 Scale Gazetteer June 2015
Code-Point May 2015
Code-Point With Polygons May 2015
Code-Point Open May 2015
OS Terrain 5 DTM April 2015
OS Terrain 5 (contours) April 2015

 

The data product updates help page is kept up to date with all dataset updates in the Ordnance Survey collection.

Of particular note at this time is that Ordnance Survey have announced the withdrawal of the 1:50 000 Scale Gazetteer and OS Locator products following the release of OS Open Names in March 2015.

  • The last product update for 1:50 000 Scale Gazetteer will be June 2016.
  • The last product update for OS Locator will be May 2016

Following these releases Ordnance Survey will no longer supply, maintain or support the use of either OS Locator or 1:50 000 Scale Gazetteer.

If you have any questions about the dataset updates or Digimap please contact us:

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

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GeoForum 2015 Summary

University of Greenwich Queen Anne Court

University of Greenwich Queen Anne Court

For this year’s GeoForum we were lucky enough to be in the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich, now home to the University of Greenwich. Around 60 delegates enjoyed a programme of talks and presentations aimed at keeping them up-to-date with the maps and mapping technology available to higher education.

The day began with Professor David Maguire, Jisc Chair, Vice principle of the University of Greenwich, former chief scientist at Esri and an acknowledged expert in computer mapping, outlining his vision of the future of  both Jisc and Geographic information science. There was emphasis in his talk about the need to incorporate the Cloud in both Jisc’s services and into the Geographic Data and software services.

  • Christopher Wesson, Ordnance Survey – Cartographic Principles
  • Jason Taylor, Ravensborne – Building a 3D model from Digimap Data
  • Emma Diffley, EDINA – Changes to the Ordnance Survey Licence
  • Guy McGarva, EDINA – Digimap Update
  • Ian Holmes, EDINA – Fieldtrip GB Excursion

Cartographic Design Principles

OS_Presentation

Slides will be added soon.

The first full presentation of the day came from Christopher Wesson, one of the founding members of Ordnance Survey’s digital Cartographic Design team.  Christopher gave some background about Ordnance Survey and the data they are now creating.  He then took us through eight key principles that used to create successful cartographic designs: User Requirements, Display Format, Visual Hierarchy, Simplicity, Legibility, Consistency, Accessibility and Good Composition.

Building a 3D Model

ravens_model

Slides will be added soon.

The Next presentation came from Jason Taylor, a technical tutor at Ravensbourne responsible for the production of physical models and prototypes. Janson took everyone through the step by step process of taking terrain data along with building foot prints and heights to create scale models of cityscapes.

The result of his work combined milling of MDF particle board and also 3D Printing of a miniature Millennium Dome.  Nearly all of the data used in the production of the model came from Digimap (the details of the Dome’s shape came from a different source), and Jason highlighted the help pages as a great resource for helping him and his students beging to create their models.

The Ordnance Survey Licence

emma_presentation

Slides will be added soon.

Emma Diffley, EDINA Geoservices Support team leader, then took the audience through the major changes made to the Digimap Licence for Ordnance Survey data. This important presentation highlighted the main differences between this agreement and the one it replaced, showing that it is more permissive than before, and that there is now an End User Licence Agreement (EULA) which places emphasis on the individuals to ensure they are abiding by the terms and conditions.

Lunch

During the Lunch break we had presentations from Esri‘s Addy Pope about the ArcGIS Online service; from the CadCorp team who highlighted their free GIS data viewer, MapExpress, and their discounts for educational use; and finally from the British Geological Survey who highlighted their subsurface data and Groundhog website.

Digimap Update

guy_presentation

Slides will be added soon.

After lunch the delegates were split into two groups with half doing the excursion while the other half was updated on the latest work going on with Digimap and the other Geoservices run by EDINA.

Guy McGarva, EDINA Geoservices Support, gave the Digimap Update presentation highlighting the past year’s achievements and the plans for the coming year. Much of the coming improvements are to do with improving access to the service for mobile devices and also to the data for CAD users.  There are also a lot of new products and cartographic improvements to old products going into the Roam online mapping interfaces.

Guy also highlighted some future trends including better integration between services and a shift to delivering more training through interactive webinars rather than face-to-face training.

Fieldtrip GB

ian_presentation

Slides will be added soon.

During the Fieldtrip GB excursion Ian Holmes, EDINA Geoservices Support, took the delegates through the process of designing a data collection form, deploying it to the groups mobile phones, collecting data points from around the Greenwich campus and then uploading the data and viewing it on a map.  The entire process was carried out live for each group with the minimum of fuss, highlighting the mobile app’s usefulness for carrying out citizen science or group fieldwork.

We also found out about a few of the enhancements coming to the app, including:

  • more stable data management
  • the ability to longer and more complicated multi-page data entry forms
  • an entirely new version with OpenStreetMap data for use worldwide
  • the ability to upload your own maps or way-points to highlight where to collect data

Final Summary

geoforum15_signWe’d like to thank all the speakers and delegates at this years conference for taking part in a very successful event.

All the presentations throughout the day highlighted the changes in the world of digital mapping occurring right now.  We hope that the changes highlighted in the Digimap Update presentation along with the rest of the planned at EDINA will mean the Digimap will continue to be relevant for it users and help them prepare for future work with maps and digital data.

Finally we’d also like to thank the University of Greenwich for providing a first class venue and event coordination team to ensure it was a memorable day.

 

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.

  • CONSER (24 Jun 15)
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (10 Jun 15)
  • Leeds University (17 Jun 15)
  • London School of Economics and Political Science (06 May 15)
  • Loughborough University (19 Jun 15)
  • NERC: Natural Environment Research Council (08 Jun 15)
  • Royal College of Music (16 Jun 15)
  • Royal Society of Medicine (08 Jun 15)
  • St Andrews University (12 Jun 15)
  • Southampton University (21 Jun 15)
  • Sussex University (11 Jun 15)
  • University of the West of England (UWE) (23 Jun 15)

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


New Release of the Keepers Registry

We are pleased to announce the latest release of the Keepers Registry at http://thekeepers.org. This release adds significant new features that will help research library staff make local collection management decisions.

New Features Available in the Keepers Registry

Our new Member Services area provides access to our added-value features.  Once you’re registered you will find:

  • Our Title List Comparison service, enabling a user to discover the archival status for a list of serials:  identifying those that are being archived and those that are “at risk”.
  • The first version of our SRU and Z39.50 machine-to-machine interfaces.  This will be of value to other service providers who may wish to report Keepers Registry information in their interface.
  • Direct Linking to Records to support bookmarking and sharing of specific records.

Access to our Member Services is free. To learn more and try out a Title List Comparison of your own, please register now.

How the Keepers Registry helps libraries

The Title List Comparison service lets you upload a list of titles identified by ISSN and receive a report with information on “who is archiving what” and what is not being archived.

Information from the Title List Comparison was used by one university to assist with local library collection management decisions.  They told us about the benefits:

  1. Identifying which of our e-journal titles are archived. We were very quickly able to see which of our journal titles had some archiving activity reported.
  2. Lobbying publishers to engage with archiving agencies. Now that we can understand which titles and publishers are not being progressed, there is an opportunity to tell publishers that we think this is an important part of the subscription service.
  3. Discussing coverage with the agencies. Where we have specific local priorities, we are now better informed to initiate a discussion with archiving agencies to see how our priorities can be met.
  4. Disposing of print. We collaborate with other university libraries to dispose of print; knowing that the complete run of a title is preserved in electronic form provides reassurance that we are not depending solely on a single print copy.
  5. Discovery of other agencies. We have discovered other agencies that hadn’t previously been on our radar, and it has made us think about our relationship with other agencies and how we should be working with them.

We would like to hear how the Keepers Registry is helping your institution with collection management decisions. Please get in touch with feedback and suggestions for further improvements to edina@ed.ac.uk.

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Exploring Jisc MediaHub – May 2015 Most Popular

It is great to have the opportunity to look more closely at what has been most popular in Jisc MediaHub over the past month. There are always fascinating themes running through the top 10 searches, items and subjects. In May 2015 the most active theme was ‘unrest, conflicts and war’, with the Rwandan Genocide, Spanish Civil War and Bloody Sunday being specific examples. Other notable themes are health, the environment and places. The month of May also brings with it several timely areas of interest, including May Day and VE Day. There was also a particular interest in the North Highland College’s Johnston Collection, as shown by the popularity of the subject ‘human interest’.

A screenshot of Jisc MediaHub’s “Most Popular� page, captured on Wednesday 27th May 2015.

Jisc MediaHub’s “Most Popular� page, captured on Wednesday 27th May 2015.

So, we begin our exploration of the May 2015 themes with our second most popular subject, after ‘environmental education’.

Unrest, Conflicts and War

This is a consistently active theme in MediaHub. Last month’s most popular lists all include searches, subjects and items on the Rwandan Genocide, a mass slaughter of Tutsi  and moderate Hutu in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority from April 7 to mid-July 1994, resulting in an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans being killed.  This interview from Channel 4 Early Evening News with Alvaro de Soto,  Adviser to the UN Secretary General at the time, talks about the Rwandan Civil War, genocide and the displacement of the Tutsi in Rwanda. Another popular item is this News At Ten report from the city of Goma in Zaire (now part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) which appeared to have been completely abandoned and was only a few miles away from the refugee camps where a million displaced Rwandans had fled to.

Image of Rwandan refugees in a refugee camp near Goma, Zaire.

Rwanda: Civil War. ITV News, 1996.

Bloody Sunday has been another popular search, likely because of ongoing interest in judicial process around the original event, as well as continued debate of the associated inquiry.

Bloody Sunday was an incident which took place on 30th January 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland. British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians during a protest march against internment (imprisonment without trial). Interest this month may well reflect press attention in the run up to June 15th, which marked the fifth anniversary of the publication of the report of that Inquiry into what happened that day. The Inquiry was chaired by Lord Saville and ran from 1998 to 2010 at an estimated cost of over £2 million, making both it’s findings and the process of undertaking the Inquiry the subject of debate and controversy.

In Jisc MediaHub there are a lot of resources – particularly news coverage – including footage from Bloody Sunday, reports on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and anniversary events. Below is one example of these, a photograph of a march in Londonderry on 3rd February 2002, where thousands gathered to retrace the steps of the Bloody Sunday marchers thirty years before.

A photograph of some of the thousands gathered in Londonderry 03 February 2002, to retrace the steps of the Bloody Sunday marchers of thirty years ago.

Thousands gather in Londonderry 03 February 2002, to retrace the steps of the Bloody Sunday marchers of thirty years ago. Getty (Still Images), 2002.

The sixth most popular search is ‘Spanish Civil War‘ (which took place from July 1936 to April 1939), with some very interesting search results, including posters from the Imperial War Museum Spanish Civil War Poster Collection found in the VADS/CultureGrid collection, news reports on the conflict such as Spanish Civil War 7th Edition (Gaumont British News collection), interviews with people who were there, and even commemorative plaques and sculptures! The sculpture below is of ‘La Pasionaria‘, Dolores Ibarruri (1895-1989), who was a Spanish communist who came to symbolise Republican resistance against fascism during the Spanish Civil War. It can be found in the City of Glasgow. On its pedestal it says it

pays tribute to the courage of those men and women who went to Spain to fight fascism / 1936-1939 / 2,100 volunteers went from Britain; 534 were killed, 65 of whom came from Glasgow.

Photoograph of the sculpture called 'La Pasionaria', a stylised female figure, representing Dolores Ibarruri, in a long dress, standing with legs apart and arms raised.

La Pasionaria VADS Collection: Public Monuments and Sculpture Association. Culture Grid.

This image is part of the National Recording Project (NRP) of the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association,  providing images and textual information giving core data on over 9,000 public sculptures and monuments in a geographical area covering 75% of Britain. This collection is part of VADS: the online resource for visual arts.

Environment

The environment – and environmental education – was a very popular subject area in May. A very wide range of environmental issues are covered in MediaHub, from pollution and climate change through to wildlife, natural phenomena and landscapes. In particular the images in our collections show how amazing the natural world is, for example the 2007 photograph of Antarctic icebergs shown below. There are also items in MediaHub directly covering the negative effects people are having on the planet, such as the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill off the Alaskan Coast in 1989.

A photograph of icebergs stranded in a shallow bay and an emerald pool of water in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Icebergs on the Antarctic Peninsula. Getty (Still Images), 2007.

‘Cheetah’ was the eighth most popular search last month. Here is a wonderful still image taken from a short film of a mother Cheetah standing guard over five young cubs in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. If you take a look at the record for this item you will notice the MediaHub location feature. This enables you to easily see where the Serengeti is located and click through to other items in MediaHub which have the same location.

An image of a mother cheetah on a mound in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, standing guard over five cubs

Mother Cheetah and Cubs. Getty (Moving Images), 2007.

Places

Italy, London and the more specific King of Prussia Hotel in Heanor are all popular places people have searched for in Jisc MediaHub. Heanor is a town in Derbyshire, where The Market Hotel on the Market Place was, until the outbreak of World War 1, called the King of Prussia when its name was changed for obvious reasons. In October 2009, the hotel had another revamp and is now just called The Market. As always with such specific and individual items it would be great if to find out why this particular image below was so popular last month! Just let us know in the comments below or share your theories on Twitter with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10.

A photograph of The King of Prussia PH, Market Street, Heanor, c 1890s.

The King of Prussia PH, Market Street, Heanor, c 1890s. Picture the Past (via Culture Grid).

Many people in May searched for items on Italy, probably as a result of the current migration crisis across the Mediterranean, particularly triggered by instability and conflict in Syria, Lybia, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Sudan and surrounding areas. Try selecting “Newsfilm” when you search MediaHub for footage around those countries to get a sense of historical context to the current spike in migration. Looking further at MediaHub’s substantial resources on the history and politics of migration and the UK , I was surprised to discover that women were only able to apply for visas to bring in their husbands or fiances in 1983 (under the British Nationality Act), before then only men could bring over their spouse from another country. Of course the law, processes, tests and costs of citizenship have, of course changed a great deal since then and continue to be the subject of animated public debate.

But for some people searching for this month maybe, like me, Italy has a special place in their hearts and they were planning to go on holiday there. Below is a still image taken from the wonderful short film showing a ceremony and football match which took place in Italy in 1931. I recognise the place where the football was being played as the Piazza Vecchio in Florence, as I have just visited there!  What a wonderful backdrop and just look at those stripy shorts!!

A still image taken from a short film showing a football match being played in the Piazza Vecchio in Florence, Italy in 1931.

Football in Costumes – Ceremony in Italy. Gaumont Graphic, 1931.

“May Specific” Items

There are always popular searches, subjects and items very specific to the time of year, and May is a particularly busy month for these. Victory in Europe (VE) Day was the Public Holiday celebrated on the 8th May 1945 to mark the end of World War II. Below is an image of a triptych, showing civilians gathered under the trees outside Buckingham Palace celebrating VE-Day. According to correspondence held by the Imperial War Museum this painting was one of several offered by the artist, Leila Faithfull, to the War Artists Advisory Committee, they purchased it for £45.

An image of a painted triptych showing civilians gathered under the trees outside Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE Day

VE-Day Celebrations Outside Buckingham Palace. Imperial War Museum, 1945.

There are another couple of May-related popular items. One is a short film called All Around the May Poll, showing people going to vote in the General Election of 1929 and the masses of people in London awaiting the results – the title is a clever play on words! The other item is a short piece of film reporting May Day in Havana, back in 2007, which shows thousands of Cubans taking part in the traditional May Day festivities in Revolution Square.

A image of Cubans in a May Day rally in Revolution Square, Havana.

May Day in Havana. Getty (Moving Images), 2007.

Health

‘Health’ was another popular subject last month, especially the programme called Outbreak! Case Studies in Clinical Infection: Commensals and Pathogens which provides visual, written and spoken descriptions of the many organisms which may be present in and on the body. The film, which is one of our restricted access medical materials, is part of the University of Sheffield Learning Media Unit collection which covers a wide range of subjects and programmes, and is useful across the academic subject range, including medicine, bio-medical science, chemistry, life sciences, biology, sociology, environmental and earth sciences, archaeology, music, law, geology, civil engineering, English language and the performing arts.

And finally…

You may have noticed that the eighth most popular subject is ‘human interest’ and wondered what results this would return. If you try searching for this you find, amongst other items, a large and fascinating collection of photographs from the North Highland College Johnston Collection. This collection represents the work of three generations of Caithness photographers who captured images of life in and around the area between 1863 and 1975, and so provides a unique record of this part of the far north of Scotland, its industries and people. Many of the photographs are studio portraits, including the one below of three children taken in around 1905.

A photograph of three children - one girl in white suit and hat, and her two brothers in black sailor suits with white collars, taken circa 1905.

Three children – one girl in white suit and hat, and her two brothers in black sailor suits with white collars. North Highland College, 1905.

It is really interesting to look at old photographs to see what people used to wear and what different locations used to look like, especially considering that at that time not many had cameras.  It certainly makes you realise how we take for granted the ability to take photographs, and not just using cameras but also our mobile phones! If you have any interesting photographs, old or new, why not  share them via the Jisc MediaHub community?

Did you know that you can also leave your own comments on interesting images, videos, or sound items? To view or add your own comments to an item just view the full record page – for example the photo above – and click on the “Comments” tab. From there you can either read what others have commented, or you can add your own comments to an item. If you are already logged in you just add your own comment and click “Submit”, otherwise you’ll be taken to the login box before seeing the comment form. You can choose to make your comments private, or you can share them with the whole MediaHub community.

As always, we would love to hear your thoughts on why some of the items above are popular, as well as in what ways you are using what you have found in MediaHub – leave your comments below or share your tweets with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10, alternatively you could choose to add your comments or responses on the items themselves!

County Surveys Project Launches Online Bibliographic Tool

We are pleased to report that the County Surveys of Great Britain 1793 – 1817 project, which is related to the Statistical Accounts, has now released an online bibliographic search tool. This is a key output of this pilot project and will be of wide interest to historians and researchers in many other fields.

Here we re-post of the County Surveys blog announcement:

We are delighted to announce that our bibliographic search tool is now live and accessible from the ‘Search’ tab in the menu above.

Our demonstrator includes bibliographic data from some of the best collections of the surveys and, where possible, provides links to library catalogue entries and  digital editions. Researchers can search by modern county name, by series, by county and by author. Results are presented in a new tab after each search, so that you can compare multiple search results by toggling between pages. There are also detailed analyses of collections, revealing the extent of holdings and coverage, and indicating which surveys would be needed to complete each collection.

demonstrator2

 

We hope that the demonstrator will be a useful finding aid and discovery tool for those interested in the County Surveys, the history of statistical reporting and British history more broadly. We would welcome any feedback on the tool, and would be very keen to hear about how it is used or whether it could usefully offer other features and information. If you have ideas, please get in touch with us at edina@ed.ac.uk.

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Fostering open science in social science

FOSTER_logoOn 10th of June, the Data Library team ran two workshops in association with the EU Horizon 2020 project, FOSTER (Facilitate Open Science Training for European Research), and the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science.

The aim of the morning workshop, “Good practice in data management & data sharing with social research,� was to provide new entrants into the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science with a grounding in research data management using our online interactive training resource MANTRA, which covers good practice in data management and issues associated with data sharing.

The morning started with a brief presentation by Robin Rice on ‘open science’ and its meaning for the social sciences. Pauline Ward then demonstrated the importance of data management plans to ensure work is safeguarded and that data sharing is made possible. I introduced MANTRA briefly, and then Laine Ruus assigned different MANTRA units to participants and asked them to briefly go through the units and extract one or two key messages and report back to the rest of the group. After the coffee break we had another presentation on ethics, informed consent and the barriers for sharing, and we finished the morning session with a ‘Do’s and Dont’s exercise where we asked participants to write in post-it notes the things they remembered, the things they were taking with them from the workshop: green for things they should DO, and pink for those they should NOT. Here are some of the points the learners posted:

DO
– consider your usernames & passwords
– read the Data Protection Act
– check funder/institution regulations/policies
– obtain informed consent
– design a clear consent form
– give participants info about the research
– inform participants of how we will manage data
– confidentiality
– label your data with enough info to retrieve it in future
– develop a data management plan
– follow the certain policies when you re-use dataset[s] created by others
– have a clear data storage plan
– think about how & how long you will store your data
– store data in at least 3 places, in at least 2 separate locations
– backup!
– consider how/where you back up your data
– delete or archive old versions
– data preservation
– keep your data safe and secure with the help of facilities of fund bodies or university
– think about sharing
– consider sharing at all stages. Think about who will use my data next
– share data (responsibly)

DON’T
– unclear informed consent
– a sense of forcing participants to be part of research
– do not store sensitive information unless necessary
– don’t staple consent forms to de-identified data records/store them together
– take information security for granted
– assume all software will be able to handle your data
– don’t assume you will remember stuff. Document your data
– assume people understand
– disclose participants’ identity
– leave computer on
– share confidential data
– leave your laptop on the bus!
– leave your laptop on the train!
– leave your files on a train!
– don’t forget it is not just my data, it is public data
– forget to future proof

Robin Rice presenting at FOSTERing Open Science workshop

Our message was that open science will thrive when researchers:

  • organise and version their data files effectively,
  • provide comprehensive and sufficient documentation for others to understand and replicate results and thus cite the source properly
  • know how to store and transport your data safely and securely (ensuring backup and encryption)
  • understand legal and ethical requirements for managing data about human subjects
  • Recognise the importance of good research data management practice in your own context

The afternoon workshop on “Overcoming obstacles to sharing data about human subjects� built on one of the main themes introduced in the morning, with a large overlap of attendees. The ethical and regulatory issues in this area can appear daunting. However, data created from research with human subjects are valuable, and therefore are worth sharing for all the same reasons as other research data (impact, transparency, validation etc). So it was heartening to find ourselves working with a group of mostly new PhD students, keen to find ways to anonymise, aggregate, or otherwise transform their data appropriately to allow sharing.

Robin Rice introduced the Data Protection Act, as it relates to research with human subjects, and ethical considerations. Naturally, we directed our participants to MANTRA, which has detailed information on the ethical and practical issues, with specific modules on “Data protection, rights & access� and “Sharing, preservation & licensing�. Of course not all data are suitable for sharing, and there are risks to be considered.

In many cases, data can be anonymised effectively, to allow the data to be shared. Richard Welpton from the UK Data Archive shared practical information on anonymisation approaches and tools for ‘statistical disclosure control’, recommending sdcMicroGUI (a graphical interface for carrying out anonymisation techniques, which is an R package, but should require no knowledge of the R language).

DrNiamhMooreFinally Dr Niamh Moore from University of Edinburgh shared her experiences of sharing qualitative data. She spoke about the need to respect the wishes of subjects, her research gathering oral history, and the enthusiasm of many of her human subjects to be named in her research outputs, in a sense to own their own story, their own words.

Links:

Rocio von Jungenfeld & Pauline Ward
EDINA and Data Library

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Changes to the Keepers Registry

The Keepers Registry has been upgraded.   The latest release contains a number of new features:

  • a Title List comparison service
  • SRU and Z39.50 machine-to-machine interfaces
  • direct linking to records

Register for the new Member Services area to find out more – it’s free, and only takes a few minutes.  If you have previously registered for our Preview service you can login using the same account.

We’ll be posting more information about the new features and how you might use them over the next few weeks.

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