Activity Data Synthesis

Monday, 13 June 2011

Tabbloid news digest: 13 June 2011

Lo and behold, my Tabbloid resuscitation skills have worked this week:

Some of the projects have reported on unexpected project hiccups which will no doubt resonate with anyone who has worked on a similar project:
- A 'regime change' at Leeds Met means that they're having to regain buy-in for the project and the project team have been asked to submit a paper to the Vice Chancellors Group containing a proposal for an extended trial of STAR-Trak.
- The EVAD team have been retrieving archived data and having to deal with corrupt and missing data. As they say, their experiences "illustrates the problems of dealing with data that’s collected but not looked at very often", which reminded me of things I've seen around digital preservation and 'data rot', which says that data stored becomes less reliable as the ability to store it increases. Unfortunately it's only when we find a use for that data that we discover whether the data we think we've been collecting is actually there at all/how intact it is.

One of the news highlights last week was the release of OpenUrl data and it's good to see that an initial exploration of that data has already happened. Tony Hirst shared how he's been using nothing more than the command line to explore OpenUrl's hefty dataset. Mark van Harmelen was inspired by Tony's efforts to have a play with the data himself and selected Ruby as his data digging weapon of choice. What struck me as interesting was that both Tony and Mark's curiousity was picqued by the fact that there was data on Mendeley (which makes me wonder how long it will be before one of the guys at Mendeley get tempted into digging around in the data themselves). Also of interest to me was the fact that because more than two people were delving into the data and publishing what they found that meant they could cross-check what they found with each others results - very useful!

Tony Hirst has also been using a tool called Gourse to create hypnotically watchable videos of OpenURL data visualisations [see post one and post two on Tony's blog for further information]. e.g.:

It certainly puts a new spin on the 'let a thousand flowers bloom' phrase that I hear so often in the world of open data.

A couple of other highlights from the last week of JISC AD project blogs:
- The AGtivity project published a 'recipe' for producing a basic activity diary report. They also shared their thoughts on users, serendipity and use cases.
- The AEIOU project reported on the suggestions which came out of their first focus group.

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