Jisc’s call for research data management ideas (Research Data Spring). Please cast your vote for the Cloud Work Bench proposal


As part of their effort to create new solutions to common research problems, Jisc are looking for ideas from individuals and groups with an interest in research data. Please submit your ideas to promote solutions, and offer fresh perspectives for facilitating research data management. Everyone is also invited to vote for their favourite idea, or against other ideas! A simple registration is required in order to participate.

In particular, Research Data Spring is interested in ideas that make it easier to manage research data, especially from the researchers’ perspective (in addition to protocols mentioned within the first theme); in this context, it includes the re-use of data. In other words, Research Data Spring is seeking ideas that will smooth the processes of data management, deposit and re-use within the research lifecycle. This area is closely related with “data creation, deposit and re-use�, but the two are split in order to emphasize that some ideas might be focusing on generic data management support and related protocols and solutions for deposit and re-use, while others would address key disciplinary and cross-disciplinary research aspects.

As of today, the following 25 ideas have been submitted for voters’ considerations:

  • Streamlining Deposit: An OJS to Repository Plugin
  • Badges as a proxy for peer review of data
  • Standards and Schemas for Digital Research Notebooks
  • The Lab Box: Solve local backup, work towards rich metadata
  • Exchanging experience on RDM integration and interoperability
  • Research Data Infrastructure for the Visual Arts (RDIVA)
  • Provenance and Packaging
  • Standard protocol for research equipment
  • A metadata standard to enable automated genealogy generation
  • Mock idea: note that title is limited to 68 characters
  • Integrated RDM toolkit/service
  • Data browsing tools for repositories
  • Collaboration tool for qualitative data analysis
  • One page micro repositories
  • Symplectic for RDM purposes
  • DAF Question Bank
  • BOOKISH: Infrastructure Sharing for the NLS
  • Workshops/Training on Stakeholder Support of Researchers
  • Data retrieval via persistent identifiers (DOIs)
  • Exporting from DMPonline to data journals
  • Linked data notebook
  • Use semantic desktop to capture contextual research data
  • Streamline repository submissions from Zotero profiles
  • Research Data requirements vocabulary
  • Cloud Work Bench

The one idea submitted that is relevant to the geo-community comes from EDINA at the University of Edinburgh, and below is a summary of the proposal. If you find it an idea worth supporting, please visit the Research Data Spring website and cast your vote.

Cloud Work Bench

The concept of Cloud Work Bench (CWB) is quite simple – to provide researchers in the geospatial domain (GI Scientists, geomaticians, GIS experts, spatial disciplines) the tools, storage and data persistence they require to conduct research without the need to manage the same in a local context that can be fraught with socio-technical barriers that impede the actual research. By streamlining the availability and deployment of open source software tools, by supporting auto-generated web services and using open data, the work bench concept is geared towards removing the barriers that are inherent in geospatial research workflows – how to deploy the tools you want and have the storage and data management capabilities without the overhead of doing it all yourself. Think of it as an academic Dropbox with additional geospatial software tools and data thrown in…

We propose piloting the CWB approach within the geospatial research community which has a well established and broad user base across academia and industry (reflected for example via the uptake of Jisc’s flagship Digimap service), and also has a mature open source toolset and data stack which are prerequisites to conducting research e.g. Open Street Map, Ordnance Survey Open data, Postgis, Geoserver, GDAL/OGR.

We anticipate that the CWB concept will be transferable to other domain and disciplinary contexts e.g. statistics.

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EDINA Geo Services at GeoDATA London Showcase 2014

Early this month, EDINA Geodata Services held an exhibit at the GeoDATA Showcase 2014 event in London. This was our second time to exhibit at this event which is aimed primarily at the commercial end of the GI industry covering current data and technology topics. This follows on from other events in the series as described previously on the GoGeo Blog.

A summary of the talks can be found online.

We had a small stand, but the positive responses we got from visitors was very encouraging: from students who are currently using Digimap in their studies, to the lecturer in a university who said that Digimap was a great resource and essential to his teaching. Even more encouraging was the number of delegates and staff on other stands, with successful careers in the GI industry, who came up and said that they had used Digimap during their studies and it was a vital to their degree. It’s good to know that the future generations in the GI industry have the expectation that they will have easy access to high quality geospatial data, readily available from Digimap (at least while they are in education!).

We talked to delegates from a wide range of industries including environmental consultancies, government, data providers, local councils, defence and education as well as visiting and talking to many of the other exhibitors. We got a lot of useful feedback on what we’re doing and ideas for what we could be doing in the future including potential opportunities for collaboration. Of particular interest to delegates was the Fieldtrip GB app we were demonstrating which is a mobile data collection platform – especially once the magic word ‘free’ was mentioned, and also that there is an Open version available on Github.

Mince pies and mulled wine near the end were a welcome break from a long day, so busy that we didn’t actually get a chance to attend any of the talks, many of which looked very interesting, however it was a very useful event to attend. We look forward to next year’s event on the 3rd December 2015.

Open Geographies from the UK Data Service

UKDataServiceThe UK Data Service Census Support team is pleased to announce the recent release of a major update to its services.

In line with enabling wider access to open data resources the existing Census geography services have been updated to provide full open access without registration to all users.

Data which is openly licensed is thus available to any user without restriction through all the various Census geography services.

A list of the full range of data available can be viewed at the Census Support Boundary Data Selector.

Those data which fall under Open Government Licence (OGL) are available to all users, free of charge at point of use.

Some Non-OGL data is still subject to access restrictions that require login and existing service users with registered accounts may login as normal to access these.

We have also revised our online service help, provided access to a range of eLearning modules on various aspects of UK geographies and also harmonised some of the nomenclature in use so it aligns better with that promoted by the Office of National Statistics Geography policies.

UK Data Service Census Geography Team welcome feedback on these changes and any suggestions on how they might improve their range of services.


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The ultimate survival kit for your spatial data


“Ubi amici, ibi opes: Where you find friends, there you’ll find riches.”
Plautus, 200 BC

“Where you find metadata, there you’ll find data.â€�
Antonius Mathus, AD 2014

Research is fundamental to all disciplines in academia and data output is often the result of this endeavour. Most universities view research data as a valuable asset that requires a management strategy to promote and support long-term data curation, preservation, access and re-use.

Universities need the resources to tie together the policies, infrastructure, tools, processes and training to support research data management. The Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc) has played a key role in providing these resources to many universities through a range of programmes including the following:

  • Repositories and Preservation Programme, which provided an investment of £14 million in Higher Education repository and digital content infrastructure.
  • Information Environment supporting digital repositories and preservation, including cross-searching facilities across repositories; funding for institutions to develop a critical mass of content, preservation solutions and advice for the development of repositories.
  • Jisc Managing Research Data (JiscMRD) programme, which supported UK academic institutions in their efforts to develop internal research data management policies to ensure data re-use.

The GoGeo service is another example of the Jisc commitment to UK academia to provide resources to securely manage and share research data that have a geographical (spatial) component. The free service offers the following resources for managing research data:

  • Geodoc metadata editor tool, which allows users to create, edit, store, import, export and publish standards-compliant (ISO 19115, UK GEMINI, INSPIRE, Dublin Core, DDI) metadata records;
  • GoGeo portal, which offers users the option of publishing their geospatial metadata records to public or private catalogues, the latter for those who want to control and restrict access to information about their spatial data;
  • ShareGeo, a repository for users to upload and download spatial data; and
  • geospatial metadata workshops, which use presentations and hands-on practicals to introduce attendees to geospatial standards, metadata, geoportals and the GoGeo service.

The ultimate survival kit for your spatial data is a guide that provides a concise overview of these GoGeo service resources which can serve as a complement to your current research data management practices if your datasets have a spatial component. This guide also shows how the GoGeo service resources can be used to manage your spatial data information (metadata) and share it with your project colleagues, or with researchers and students in your department or academic institution.

You’ll discover that

  • it’s much easier and more efficient to use Geodoc to create and export a metadata record to bundle with its spatial dataset than it is to send the dataset without any information to a colleague who might return with questions. Your colleague can also import your metadata record to Geodoc to update if edits are made to your shared dataset.
  • it’s much easier and more efficient to use Geodoc to create and publish metadata records to a private research metadata catalogue on the GoGeo portal than it is to send bundles of metadata records or spatial data information to fellow researchers.

The ultimate survival kit for your spatial data document offers more in detail about the possibilities, the potential that the GoGeo service has to offer for spatial data management and sharing, whether at the personal level, amongst trusted colleagues or visible to the world if you have no further need of your spatial data and wish to share it with others who could benefit from your research endeavours. There could be others who have data that could benefit your research as well?

Please contact me to request a copy of this guide. The guide will include a questionnaire, and if you answer the 10 questions, you will receive a GoGeo-Geodoc coffee mug filled with chocolates. There is nothing to write other than your name and address; each question can be answered with the tick of a box.


Thank you very much.

Tony Mathys
Geospatial Metadata Co-ordinator
The University of Edinburgh
160 Causewayside
Edinburgh EH9 1PR

My Desk tel: (0)131 651 1443
EDINA Help Desk tel: (0)131 650 3302

email: tony.mathys@ed.ac.uk

An electronic version of the The ultimate survival kit for your spatial data guide can be found on the GoGeo portal’s Geodoc login page at http://www.gogeo.ac.uk/gogeo/metadata/geodoc.htm



RJ Broker Webinar Wednesday, 29th May

Muriel Mewissen of EDINA will be presenting the RepNet R-J Broker service enabling automatic deposit of research articles from publisher and subject repositories into relevant institutional repositories. Muriel will be discussing recent tests carried out with Europe PMC where the RJ Broker mediated deposit of over 60,000 articles to IRs worldwide. The webinar will take place at 15.00 GMT on Wednesday 29th May – to register, go to http://rsp.ac.uk/events/the-repository-junction-broker-a-tool-to-automate-delivery-of-research-output-to-institutional-repositories/


Interface Upgrade; New Collection – Easter 2013 release

We are pleased to be able to offer some preview screenshots of the new JISC MediaHub interface which is due to go into service on Friday April 5th. We have made a series of changes in line with the Roadmap of forthcoming features. The main new areas are:

  • Simpler classification of collection types
  • Advanced Search: time/date, people/organisations
  • My MediaHub: bookmarking and tagging, commenting.

We have taken the opportunity to update the homepage by enlarging the showcase panel which now includes both content highlights and interface features. It is dynamic and refreshes during a user session as well as being regularly updated with new images.

Screenshot of our new homepage.

Screenshot of our new homepage.

We have also added a social media panel to highlight tweets and blogposts we have written about the service.

The links which appeared on the right hand side of the page are now all available elsewhere, either as links in the menu bar (Explore, My MediaHub) or under other headings (Most Popular under Explore; Useful links now under Help).

Simpler classification of collection types

There are now four Access icons describing content from the different collections.

Items covered by the JISC eCollections licence.
You can view and download the video, image or audio if your college or university subscribes to the JISC eCollections service.

Items requiring a login
These resources have restricted access. Some information will be freely available, but a log in may be required to access and download the video, image, or audio files.

Items held at JISC MediaHub
These resources are held at JISC MediaHub. You can view and download these resources directly from the website provided you have logged in (if required).

Items held on other websites
These resources are held on external websites. You can search for these and access some information within JISC MediaHub, but to view or download the resource you must follow a link to another web site. You may or may not be required to login.

Many resources will be labelled with more than one icon. In the image below, for example, we have a video with 3 icons at the top right; it is covered by the JISC eCollections licence, you have to login for access, and it is held at JISC MediaHub.

Full record with new icons

Full record with new icons

We have also added accompanying icons for the various Explore options:

explore icons

Advanced Search: date, duration, people/organisations

The new advanced search page is accessible either as an Explore option or via the More options link in the Search area at the top of most pages.

The additional options are to search by people/organisations (where records contain such information), duration (of video clip) and by date range.

Bookmarking and Tagging

Bookmark adds a record to My MediaHub permanently. You must be logged in with your college or university login to use the facility and Bookmarks will remain available as long as your login is active. The Bookmark option is available on the full record screen e.g. by clicking on the star under the image, as shown in the image below:

bookmark links screenshot

bookmark links screenshot

As part of the bookmarking process users are able to add tags. This makes it easier to find bookmarks later, in My MediaHub. You can click on any of the suggested tags to add them, or add your own tags. There is also a Private box if you do not wish your bookmarks to appear on any public lists.


You can now view comments and add your own via the full record page. You must be logged in with your individual login to add or edit comments. The process is simply to Click the Comments tab under the large image. Click Add comment, as shown in the image below.

comments page screenshot

comments page screenshot

Comments can be marked private via a check box. You can view and delete comments that you have added via the My MediaHub comments screen.

We have updated the various help & support guides and these will be available as part of the new release. These fully document all aspects of the new interface, including more detail on the features shown above. We look forward to receiving feedback from users once it is live.

New collection: Bioscience ImageBank

Bioscience ImageBank is an online collection of over 6,000 bioscience images which are freely available and licensed for use in learning and teaching. The content of ImageBank covers a wide range of subjects from Agriculture to Zoology and includes images from all the major taxonomic groups. Many images are accompanied by a short description and the species name and common name where appropriate, and all images and accompanying information have been checked for accuracy by those with substantial knowledge of the subject matter, which gives ImageBank a considerable advantage over other online collections.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly
Bioscience ImageBank


Explore Newsfilm

To coincide with the ending of the predecessor “NewsFilm Online” service, which provided access to much of the same content, we have introduced an “Explore Newsfilm” section in JISC MediaHub which offers several additional ways to browse content:

* By date, including a timeline, “it happened today” and user-defined date ranges
* By subject category (IPTC)
* By newsfilm collection, including those formerly in NewsFilm Online, plus two collections available separately in JISC MediaHub: Associated Press and ITN
* ITN studio scripts, formerly available only in NewsFilm Online.

In addition, all searches in MediaHub can now be filtered for newsfilm.

We hope you find this a useful additional feature and welcome feedback on it or any other aspect of the service.