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Jisc Data Spring: Integrated RDM for Small and Specialist insitutions

Phase 1 completed

Phase 1 of the Jisc data spring programme came to an end at the start of last week with an event at Imperial College London. After pooling our ideas at an initial workshop in February, ULCC partnered with CREST, UCA, Arkivum and Leeds Trinity University for an initial 3 month period to explore integrated research data management solutions for the sort of small and specialist institutions that make up much of the CREST membership.

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Making sense of the new EPSRC guidelines

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) guidelines: What are they and how can you meet them?

After receiving an increasing number of enquiries about the new EPSRC guidelines which are coming into effect in May 2015, I decided to catch up with Kevin Ashley, Director, Digital Curation Centre, my colleagues Rory McNicholl and Timothy Miles-Board, and Matthew Addis, CTO at Arkivum to get a better understanding of what the requirements are and how institutions can meet them.

Q: When looking into the EPSRC guidelines on research funding, I couldn’t help but notice them being not as tightly defined as I would have thought. Is that deliberate?

KA: I think it is, and there are perfectly valid reasons for it, but some are uncomfortable with that. The flexibility allows for different responses from larger and smaller institutions – you just need to be able to defend what you do.

MA: This largely due to the variety of research projects and their differing objectives, both in terms of brief and data output. Some might have a mandate to be publicly accessible first, others will focus on the safety and security of the research data before being concerned about dissemination of research findings.

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ULCC hosts inaugural EPrints Developer Pow-wow

Today saw the inaugural meeting at ULCC of what we hope will become an ongoing series, intended to complement the successful EPrints UK User Group meeting.

The pow-wow will bring together developers from universities around the UK to learn about the next generation of features and functionality offered by the EPrints repository platform.

The event gives developers a chance to look “under the hood” of EPrints and better understand how to effectively implement and deploy new features at their own institutions. Developers discussed how they can actively contribute to the platform by feeding back changes and enhancements to the EPrints github repository.



The Web of Data

From the KCL/AHRC Language of Access project blog


Participants in the LOA project might be interested to listen back to today’s instalment of The Life Scientific on BBC Radio 4. It featured Professor Dame Wendy Hall, one of the pioneers of the World Wide Web and hypermedia, talking about a career spent at the forefront of web and digital media developments.

In particular Dame Wendy explains the significance of the growing “Web of Data” which increasingly exists in parallel with the more familiar “Web of Documents”. By using techniques such as linked open data, we can enable web searches and applications that make intelligent and useful links between sets of data. Mobile phone applications, for example, use the web to relate  a person’s exact location (from GPS) to any number of datasets, including street maps, public transport timetables and historical events.

No matter how small or specialised a dataset may be – even a ‘simple’ bibliography – taking care to represent it as data using increasingly accessible tools and techniques – ensures that it can contribute to the “Web of Data” and participate in who-knows-what  future connections and queries.  (It’s also worth mentioning that the data generated from social networking activities is already a rich part of the Web of Data.)

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Handling handles in EPrints

(for Otto) handle and keyhole by bootpainter on FlickrVersion 7 of the Handle System brings template handles, which make it much easier than before to provide an EPrints repository with persistent URLs.

While previous versions required a new record to be created in the local Handle server database for every persistent URL like<prefix>/<item_id> to be resolved, we are now able to simply define a template that will map any<your_prefix>/xyz



Assuming the following scenario:

  • 7.x Handle server set up and running
  • A prefix (institutional id registered in the Handle System) homed on that server. We’ll use 123456 for this example
  • Your EPrints repository is located at http://your.repo.url

Here is how:

  1. For handle 123456: create a Simple URL with the value http://your.repo.url
  2. For handle 0.NA/123456: add an HS_NAMESPACE entry with the following UTF8 Text value:
      <template delimiter="/">
          <if value="type" test="equals" expression="URL">
              <value data= "${data}/${extension}" />
              <value />

And we’re done! Any URL with the format* will be resolved as http://your.repo.url/*

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Roll your own e-books… what’s not to love?

Richard talking about E-books at FOTE12 conference, Senate House, University of London

From the Anthologizr project blog

I enjoyed presenting some of the early Anthologizr work to ULCC’s Future of Technology in Education (FOTE12) conference, as well as the general e-book message of earlier posts here. Slides embedded below (and also available in our repository.)

One backchannel tweet I saw described me (I presume) as “some guy who thought e-books were great”, which I don’t think entirely represents the complexity of what I was trying to convey. It’s all relative, to where we’ve arrived at, and the success of the devices that now frame e-books is so well-established that there’s no way back: what iPods and their successors did for physical audio media, iPads, Kindles and their ilk will surely do to printed media, no matter that it may have been “the most stable and mature market for creative works that exists”.

The FOTE event also yielded some smashing photos, thanks to ULCC’s excellent marketing and photography team.

Richard talking about e-books at FOTE12, Senate House, University of London

Next stop for the project, I have been looking at a couple of e-book creating environments, and hope to write them up. And our next hackathon with our excellent development team will be upon us soon.

Anthologizr: Towards a Simple Chronology of E-book Evolution

From the Anthologizr project blog

As some of you may know, this project is now inextricably intertwined with work on my dissertation for the MSc E-Learning programme at Edinburgh University. In the process of reviewing the published literature and research about the uses of E-books, I frequently discovered articles with seemingly essential titles (“Survey of student attitudes to E-books”, etc) that turned out to be of little use to my deliberations as they were written in the 1990s, and equated e-books with CD-ROMs and floppy disks. Historically interesting, and potentially informative about the development of technologies and concepts. but clearly irrelevant to the current state of play in a post-iPad, post-Kindle era.

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Countdown to IRMW12!

Senate Room, Senate House, University of London

Senate Room, Senate House, University of London

We’re busy putting the finishing touches to IRMW12, the first London-wide Institutional Repository Managers’ Workshop, which will be held at Senate House on Friday June 15th, in the oak-panelled splendour of the University of London Senate Room.

IRMW12 is a one-day workshop for the community of London-based managers of institutional research repositories. We hope to address key topics of interest in the IR community, including REF 2014, Open Access, research information management,  research data management, e-Theses, semantic searching, special collections and digital preservation.

We have a full programme for the event, including a great line-up of speakers, many of them friends and associates of longstanding, including Balviar Notay and Josh Brown from JISC, Jackie Wickham from RSP, Owen Stephens from the CoRe project, and DCC Director, Kevin Ashley.  Repository managers who have agreed to talk about their experiences include Dominic Tate (RHUL), Beth Clark and Huei-Lan Liu (SOAS) and Bernard Scaife (IOE).

We will also have plenty of opportunities for discussion and networking, and hope to explore synergies and collaboration opportunities. Technical advice will also available from ULCC’s Repositories team, which manages IRs for many of the universities and colleges attending.

ULCC is organising this event in association with our friends at SHERPA-LEAP, and we believe it is the first repositories event specifically for London-based repository managers. Institutions invited include not only University of London colleges, but also our neighbours in and around the capital.

Booking for the event is closed now, but there may be cancellations or returns, if you would like to add your name to the waiting list. A full event report will follow.


Cor! It’s time for CORE!

I was very excited recently when our friend Peter Webster drew my attention to the Open University’s CORE (COnnecting REpositories) project.

You can read all about the project at the CORE Project Website. Without going into the clever system architecture and knowledge-management algorithms, there seem to me to be two especially important and interesting outcomes for Institutional Repositories:

  • A CORE Plugin that can be easily dropped onto pretty much any repository web template, into the item’s abstract page. It will show a list of “Similar Items” selected from across the whole UK OA repository system (any repository registered with OpenDOAR, I think).
  • A CORE Mobile app, providing keyword search across the UK OA repository corpus, also offering the “Similar Items” functionality.

Petr Knoth, Owen Stephens and the project team are working on improving both of these. You can see the Plugin working on EPrints at the Open University’s ORO repository (be patient, it takes a few extra seconds to load, something that’s being worked on right now).

The Mobile App is available from Google Play (formerly the Android Marketplace), and works fine on my HTC phone. An Iphone/Ipad version is expected in the ITunes store in the next few days.

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