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Cooperative Open Access eXchange (COAX)

(This is the second of two posts forming my contribution to Open Access Week 2015.) The following proposal was written as a thought-experiment to test, in a recognisable problem-space, the idea outlined in my previous post, The Active Repository Pattern. I was able to call on the the advice of colleagues at EDINA who have world-class expertise in the area of ‘routing’ open-access metadata and content. The United Kingdom Council of Research Repositories (UKCoRR) was invited to comment, and many members of that organisation provided some very valuable feedback, for which I am very grateful! read more

The Active Repository Pattern

(This is the first of two posts forming my contribution to Open Access Week 2015.) Context Institutional repositories It is easy to overlook, or take for granted, the way in which the drive towards open-access (over the last decade or more) has succeeded not only in creating several viable “institutional-repository” software packages, but also in encouraging libraries and IT departments in universities to deploy them. It should be recognised that individual universities have shown, and continue to show commitment to maintaining their repositories in spite of shrinking budgets. read more

Virtual reality on a shoestring

A while ago, Google released Cardboard, an inexpensive virtual-reality system for smartphones running Android. As well as the software, Google has made available the plans for building a viewer which is designed to wrap around the smart-phone, producing a set of virtual-reality ‘goggles’. I found this intriguing - but I don’t own an Android-based smartphone. I do have an iPhone, and it turns out that there are a few compatible apps available for iOS, including the two which I downloaded onto my iPhone 6: Dive City Rollercoaster Moorente Long story short, I referred to a good set of instructions, downloaded the official plans for the viewer, bought lenses from Bangood (60 pence each!), and constructed the ‘goggles’ out of some corrugated cardboard and gaffer tape. read more

What (Organisational) Strategy Isn't

At EDINA we are just entering into that period where we review and revise our organisational strategy. In the course of a little light research this afternoon to refresh my thinking about and understanding of approaches to doing this, I came across a briefing paper by Ken Chad called Developing and reviewing strategy. Making reference to a book by Richard Rumelt called Good strategy, bad strategy. The difference and why it matters, Ken offers a short and clear list of things which are confused with, but which are not, strategy: vision : where we want to be - an indeterminate future goal mission: why the organization exists -the motivation for being in the business values: what we believe in and how we will behave I think I have in the past encountered all of these masquerading as organisational strategy, so this is a concise and useful checklist. read more

Buzzed by a drone on the London Eye

Yesterday, I went on the London Eye with the family. We were very lucky with the weather which provided excellent visibility - so good in fact that I noticed a small drone in the distance. The drone came gradually closer until it hovered a few tens of metres away (although it’s difficult to estimate distance when all available points of reference are so far away). I guess it says something about me that I found this more fascinating than the lovely view of the Thames and North London. read more

EDINA Geoforum 2014

I attended EDINA’s Geoforum 2014, described as: … a free all day event aimed at lecturers, researchers and support staff who promote and support the use of geo-services at their institution. I came along primarily to learn more about the services that my own organisation, EDINA, provides in this space. These are my notes from the day - I had to dip in and out of parts of the day to deal with other things so my notes are quite selective - my aim is to give a flavour of the day. read more

BL Labs and AHRC Digital Transformations

Last week I attended an event, organised by BL Labs working with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, at the British Library’s Centre for Conservation. The event, described as a showcase event for British Library Labs and AHRC Digital Transformations, consisted of a packed series of presentations - I won’t describe them all (and I missed Bill Thompson’s talk anyway) but will, instead, pull out some snippets which interested me in particular. read more

Joining EDINA

I’m delighted to announce that I will be joining EDINA in August as Head of Technology Strategy and Planning I have long admired EDINA, having had several opportunities to collaborate with them in the past few years. EDINA is a powerhouse of technical service delivery and innovation, and has carved out an enviable national and international reputation in several fields. I’m excited to be joining this successful and innovative organisation, and am looking forward to what I have no doubt will be a challenging role. read more

Call for feedback to the ResourceSync specification for synchronisation of web resources

I have been slightly involved (through Jisc funding) with the ResourceSync specification project, being led by Herbert Van de Sompel of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The project has just released a draft specification, which is available at The draft will be available for public comment until March 15th 2013 - you are invited to comment via the ResourceSync Google Group. Group discussions are openly accessible; posting requires group membership. read more

RIOXX application profile - draft 1

Together with Sheridan Brown, I have been tasked with developing some guidelines and a metadata ‘application’ profile for institutional repositories (IRs) in the UK. We are calling this work RIOXX. This post focusses on the application profile more than the guidelines, and describes phase 1 of the project, which aims to deploy this application profile across IRs in the UK by the first quarter of 2013. Objectives to develop an application profile which enables open access repositories to expose metadata more consistently and which, in particular, conveys information about how the item being described in the metadata was funded to develop general guidelines for repositories which support the use of the application profile to support such technical development as is necessary to implement these recommendations and the application profile in common repository platforms to develop these such that they pave the way for a likely CERIF-based solution in the medium-long term. read more

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