This week sees the formal two-day launch event for the JISC Managing Research Data programme 2011–2013 (the programme which is funding Orbital). It’s being held in the National College for School Leadership, next to the University of Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus.
Unfortunately, after schlepping it from the furthest fringes of Lincolnshire (and then having to go back home for the evening), I was only able to attend a couple of hours of day 1. But it was worth it.
I arrived just in time for a workshop about a number of research data management tools developed/provided by the Digital Curation Centre (DCC). Dr Mansur Darlington, who’s acting as external assessor/consultant to the Orbital project, was also in this workshop and contributed greatly to the discussions. (My Orbital colleagues Joss Winn and Nick Jackson attended the [parallel] workshop on various JANET, Eduserv and UMF SaaS/cloud storage services.)
Continue reading “#jiscmrd programme launch; day 1 – DCC tools workshop”
Last week Joss and I had a chat with one of our engineering researchers about the kinds of data he handles in his research. This was an incredibly useful meeting, leading to a whole bunch of notes on data types, requirements and workflows. The one I’m taking a look at today is the flow that data takes from its source, through storage and processing, and into a useful research conclusion.
The existing workflow looks something like that shown above. Source data is manually transferred (often using ‘in-the-clear’ methods) from its point of origin to local storage on a researcher’s machine, where it will reside on the hard disk until it’s used. From there the data is processed (Engineering love using MATLAB, as do a lot of other science disciplines, so that’s the example here) and potentially the results of that analysis are recombined with the local storage for further work. At some point the processing will arrive at conclusions for the data, and from those an output can be drawn.
Continue reading “Let’s Look At Data”
Yesterday I was at Clare College, University of Cambridge for a meeting organised by USTLG, the University Science & Technology Librarians Group. The group—open to any librarians involved with engineering, science or technology in UK universities—has meetings once or twice a year. The theme of yesterday’s meeting (free to attend, thanks to sponsorship from the IEEE) was data management, with an implied focus on research data.
The meeting consisted of a series of presentations (plus a fantastic lunchtime diversion, below) with plenty of time for networking – there were about 40 people there, all with an interest in research data management – though interestingly, a show of hands suggested very few people were actively engaged in looking after their own institution’s researchers’ data.
As usual, this blog post has been partially reconstructed from the Twitter stream (hashtag #ustlg).
First up, Laura Molloy, substituting for Joy Davidson of the Digital Curation Centre (DCC), on a project called the Data Management Skills Support Initiative (DaMSSI), looking at the [shades of information literacy] skills needed by different people involved in the research data curation process. “DaMSSI aims to facilitate the use of tools like Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework (RDF) and the Seven Pillars of Information Literacy model” developed by SCONUL. Key question: how do you assess the effectiveness of research data management training?
Continue reading “USTLG meeting on research data management”
Hi everyone! For those who don’t know me (this is my first blog post for Orbital) I’m Nick Jackson, the lead web developer for the project. I’ll be blogging about all kinds of bits and pieces, ranging from discussion of user requirements through to the rationale for features, how certain bits of Orbital fit together with the wider world, overviews of technologies that we’re using and the minutiae of implementation.
If you’re interested in this kind of stuff at an institutional level you may also be interested in following my other blog, where I discuss things I’m working on in a wider context along with the occasional opinion piece on technology in education.
For those of you who enjoy Twitter you can find me at @jacksonj04, and don’t forget that you can keep up with the latest from Orbital at #OrbitalMRD. If you’re more a face-to-face person then you can find me most days at the University of Lincoln’s Brayford campus, and I’m open to being plied with coffee.
Attending: Nick Jackson, Annalisa Jones, Bev Jones, Chris Leach, Paul Stainthorp, Joss Winn
Apologies: Lee Mitchell, David Young
- Review Project Plan and Workpackages
- Status updates: Literature Review, User Requirements Analysis, Technology/Standards evaluation
- Forthcoming meetings and conferences (Agile method, Open Source policy, ERIM, Engineers, OR12, DCC, Start-up)
- Poster, papers, website
- Staffing and accommodation
Joss Winn (JW) reported in detail:
- JW reported on the work done to date (mostly relating to workpackage WP1), and reported back on:
- The successful first meeting with users from the School of Engineering
- The first Steering Group meeting on 3 November
- The submission of the project plan
- The appointment of NJ as lead developer
- The relocation of NJ and PS (part-time) to CERD’s offices to work on Orbital
- JW ran through the project outputs and workpackages in detail, identifying deadlines – most notably the Implementation Plan, which must be submitted by February 2012, with the following four pieces of work completed by then:
- Data sources (NJ/CL)
- User requirements (NJ)
- Literature review (PS/BJ/CL)
- Technical review (NJ/JW)
- The group discussed the further user-engagement work to be completed in workpackages WP5, including Nick Jackson’s work with the School of Engineering to assess their requirements (through workshops, questionnaires, observation, and use of the Data Asset Framework – DAF), and on a planned round-table meeting about ERIM in late January
- ACTION (NJ): dates needs to be set for user requirements exercises.
- ACTION (PS): Date in late January needs to be set for ERIM workshop with Engineers.
- PS reported on the work that he and NJ have begun to benchmark against the EPrints deposit workflow (WP8). NJ will work closely with BJ on this.
- The group discussed WP9—the planned assessment of data sources—and CL’s role as library user. There are three obvious areas where Orbital crosses over with the Library’s priorities:
- Integration with the Library’s Discovery selection & implementation project (CL)
- Integration with the Repository (BJ)
- Authentication (CL)
- The Research & Enterprise office (i.e. AJ) will lead on WP11 – developing training materials & workshops.
- JW will carry on the work with the University’s IP manager, James Murray on the correct approach to Open Sourcing code from Orbital – WP13.
- ACTION: JW to follow up contacts with EPrints Services and OSSWatch.
- Dissemination (WP14):
- PS has been invited to speak at two events in January/February. The group will aim to have a publishable conference paper ready by Summer 2012. Submit abstract to OR12 by ?.
- NJ, PS and JW are attending the project startup meeting in Nottingham on 1-2 December; presenting a poster. Also attending the DCC roadshow in Cardiff in mid-December.
- Any other business:
- JW is convening a meeting (8th December) about agile software and project development methods.
- ACTION: as many people as possible from Orbital to attend ‘agile’ meeting.