Posted on October 22nd, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp
Just in time for tomorrow’s official launch of Find it at Lincoln, I’ve made a couple of tweaks to its default search limiters. These changes were agreed at a meeting with the Academic Subject Librarians this morning (22 October).
- Under the search box on the Library website, there’s now a tick box to limit your search to only those resources for which the full text is available to University of Lincoln users (either online, or physically in the Library). If you want to search a wider range of resources, including those that are not immediately available to University of Lincoln students and staff, then you can un-tick this box before you search.
By default, this option is ticked – we’ll review how people are using the search, to make sure this is the most appropriate setting for all users and subjects.
- Within the Find it at Lincoln application itself, we’ve changed the names of the three main limiters – we hope so that it’s clearer what each one does. The limiters are now called:
- Limit to full text (print and online) – was “Available through the Library”. Ticked by default, to include results only where we have access to the full text online, OR where an item is physically available in our library collection.
- Full text online only
- Books and ebooks only – was “Library Catalogue only”. The new description is a bit of an oversimplification, in that our catalogue includes physical items other than books—DVDs, dissertations, print journals, etc.—but lots of users don’t know what the “Library Catalogue” is. “Books and ebooks” are terms people understand, and they’re what most people are looking for.
If you have any queries/comments about these changes, please leave feedback!
Posted on August 24th, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp
Our new Library website is now finally live at: http://library.lincoln.ac.uk/
(Or www.library.lincoln.ac.uk works just as well.)
This is the Library’s new ‘home’ on the web, and the place where we’ll link to all of our other new services. From now on, we’ll start referring all students and staff to the new website and not to the Portal for information about the Library. Information on the Portal will be gradually phased out of existence. Initially we’ll replace the content on the Portal with links to the new website, before eventually removing the Portal sites entirely. The whole Portal (University-wide) is due to be replaced by c.2014.
We’ll continue to use Blackboard to offer specific, teaching-and-learning-focused Library services to students and staff.
Because of this change, our library catalogue has been relegated to a new web address: http://catalogue.library.lincoln.ac.uk/ – automatic redirects are in place for existing links to catalogue records from Blackboard, etc. There’s also a prominent image displaying a link to the catalogue, on the new website home page.
The new site runs on the University of Lincoln’s WordPress ‘blogging’ platform, which is useful for far more than just blogging. Many thanks to all the people in the Library and ICT services who have worked so hard in putting the new site together, in particular: Adele Beeken, Andrew Beeken, Alex Bilbie, Debbie Clarvis, and Simon Tompkins.
We intend that this site will be subject to constant development and improvement, and we need to hear all of your comments about the design and/or content – please use the feedback form in the bottom-right of the new website.
Posted on March 8th, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp
Note of apology: early in December 2011 we attended the launch event of the JISC Managing Research Data programme at the National College for School Leadership in Nottingham. I managed to blog day 1 of the event there and then. Unfortunately my notes on day 2 fell into an abyss. Here they are: late, but unscathed.
The first exercise (on this second day of the programme launch event) was to examine the benefits and metrics checklists provided by the KRDS frameworks project, and to identify the benefits that Orbital will provide & that we can measure. Then to blog a first statement of the benefits we expect Orbital will generate.
KRDS = Keeping Research Data Safe
Notes from Neil Beagrie‘s presentation on the benefits analysis toolkit (which I have already blogged about at the RDMF7 event, but noted here in more detail.)
- There are two strands to the KRDS toolkit. These tools can be combined for maximum effect (and to reduce wasted effort); tools can also be customised to specific project needs:
- The KRDS Benefits Framework (guide + worksheet)
- The KRDS/I2S2 value chain and benefit impact tool (guide + impact statement + impact analysis worksheet)
- Designed for use by wide audience over the full RDM project lifecycle.
- Conisider the KRDS Benefits Framework ‘triangle’
- What is outcome? direct/indirect
- When is it received? near-term/long-term
- Who benefits? internal/external
- Tips: quantitative benefits must be measurable (“cashable“) – if not within the project lifecycle then longer-term benchmarking… qualitative benefits could take the form of case studies (working in a team can help to tone down the subjectivity of benefit assessments. Don’t go it alone!)
- More information at: http://beagrie.com/krds-i2s2.php
- Previous RMD programme produced benefits report & case studies which can be useful reference points.
The KRDS benefits and metrics handouts provided here were extremely useful in developing this first statement of benefits for the Orbital project.
Points from the round-table discussion:
- Checklist v useful brainstorming exercise – not a to do list!
- Want to do everything and world peace too
- But how make relevant to project? Target useful examples of top-level things
- How evidence?
- Lack of evidence/measurement not a reason not to do it – think of a way of measuring!”
- Don’t rely on q’aires
- Think of benefits from the programme as a whole into which orbital can feed in
- Practical time & efficiency savings for researcher – i.e. not having to go to london with a USB in pocket
- Similarities engineering with other applied – e.g. NHS
- Case studies/user story – iterative method - as user requirements change (become more mature) – that’s a way of measuring benefit!
- Set actions for the steering group / RIEC
Benefits of Orbital
This is the list of benefits we came up with. Bear in mind, some of them are benefits specific to an MRD project, such as Orbital, but some of benefits of any large project where the institution has a vested interest. Note that some of these can also be found in the ‘Anticipated Outputs and Outcomes’ section of our Project Plan. As Joss mentions in the post on awareness of open source, not all benefits can be anticipated and there may be outcomes of the project, which are quite tangential to the original objectives. We especially look forward to those!
- Very mention of Orbital attracting expressions of interest from research staff applying for funding. Researchers have to consider RDM when writing bids. We’re doing their work for them!
- Knock on effect on other university services: authentication, repository, staff profiles, cloud computing, software development environment and methodology, open source awareness and guidance.
- Supports the development of RDM plans and policies.
- MRD programme activity is akin to staff training and development of a community of practice.
- Combines and improves our understanding about research administration, research methods, research data and research outputs.
- Changes to researcher practices. Improves RDM practices.
- Should reduce institutional risk (legal liabilities of commercial contracts)
- Simplifies collaboration among researchers
- Produces open source software for re-use
- Provides rapid access to results and derived data
- Increases awareness of support among researchers. e.g. Aids grant writing.
- Produces reliable citations of research data
- Embeds institutional support and training
- No recreation of existing data. Better security, greater efficiency.
- Improved version control and transparency.
- Improved understanding of research methods.
- Further thinking about and planning for the sustainability of institution-wide services. Who pays?
Posted on February 2nd, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp
JISC formally launched phase two of the Information and library infrastructure: Resource discovery programme on 11 January 2012 in Birmingham. CLOCK weren’t able to attend in person, but we sent these slides in our absence. They’re good for a quick overview of the aims of the CLOCK project.
Posted on December 1st, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp
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.)
Slides from this workshop will be posted online. When they’re available I’ll link to them here.
The tools being discussed were:
1. DAF – the Data Asset Framework (www.data-audit.eu)
- A methodology for identifying gaps in an institution’s data management practices; designed to help institutions ‘clarify their thinking’ around how they manage research data.
- N.B. We are already planning to use this methodology within the user requirements analysis workpackage of the Orbital project.
- DAF arose out of recommendations made in the JISC/UKOLN Dealing with Data report (2007): initially the Data Audit Framework, the name was changed because ‘Audit’ was felt to be off-putting, and not an accurate reflection of what DAF is for – now DAF = Data Asset Framework.
- “It’s worth looking at the four DAF pilot implementation projects” (carried out in 2008), because there’s likely to be one that has subject-relevance to your #jiscmrd project. The pilot projects found that most HEIs were at a very early stage (lack of RDM infrastructure; an emphasis on needs-scoping).
- (N.B. the ERIM project at the University of Bath [engineering] used DAF but found it rather daunting and “stopped halfway down the page”(!): since then it has been condensed from a 60-page handbook into a shorter implementation guide. However the Dublin Core-based metadata requirements for datasets in DAF are still rather complex – one suggestion is to “ask fewer questions about more things”: the University of Northampton did something like this; running their own tailored ‘mini-DAF’: broadly following the DAF methodology, but tweaking it to meet their own end and the available resources.)
- Key points:
- Speak to lots of people in as many different roles as possible.
- Use a variety of datagathering techniques (desk research, questionnaires, shadowing researchers, etc.)
- Ask the DCC for tips!
- A freely-available benchmarking tool, designed to help institutions assess strengths and weaknesses in their RDM infrastructure. Developed out of the IDMP: Integrated Data Management Planning toolkit and support project.
- Based on a ‘three legged stool’ model’; i.e. a successful RDM infrastructure will be based on three stable ‘legs’: technical infrastructure, appropriate resources (e.g. staff & skills), and commitment from the institution. An imbalance in any of these ‘legs’ leads to unstable RDM. The tool helps institutions to identify short ‘legs’ and plan to improve them. Identifying these imbalances can also be helpful in providing evidence to your institution that further investment needs to be made in a particular area.
- CARDIO is still effectively in beta, with some tweaks still to make (and perhaps a lack of documentation?) – however some institutions have already found it useful.
- How it works… a co-ordinator registers with the system and initiates the CARDIO assessments. (“If the scale and nature of your research data holdings isn’t known, run a DAF assessment first.”) CARDIO emails participants and asks them to rate a series of statements relating to their institution’s RDM infrastructure. Only once someone has entered their own ratings are they able to view what other people have put. Takes from 30-60 minutes for a full assessment, though it is possible to target shorter sets of questions at particular groups. CARDIO then automatically generates a [customisable] PDF report complete with charts/visualisations of the data.
- A shorther, nine-question ‘mini-CARDIO’ is also available: see the latest issue of JISC Inform.
- A practical, browser-based tool which allows researchers to create and store Data Management Plans (DMPs) for research projects – increasingly, research funders explicity require a DMP (e.g. the Wellcome Trust’s policy on data management).
- Funder- and institution-specific guidance is provided through the website, along with help (“pointers”) on filling in a DMP. Completed plans can be exported in a number of formats.
- Researchers may also be interested in the JISC guidance document, How to develop a Data Management and Sharing Plan – complementary to DMP Online.
- The impression I get is that DMP Online is a tool which will be of practical, day-to-day utility to researchers/groups engaged in funded projects (and to the research offices that support them), whereas the other two tools (DAF/CARDIO) are perhaps aimed more at institutions starting out on the road to developing institutional RDM policies & systems, and/or looking to improve on current practice.
- Some interesting discussions in the workshop:
- Can DMP Online be ‘scaled up’ to work at the level of the institution, rather than the individual researcher? (A couple of projects—at UCL and Oxford—are already looking at extending the toolkit to form a more institutional service.)
- If DMP Online (or other similar tools) make it easier for academics to routinely create DMPs by copying/pasting boilerplate text, is there a danger that writing a DMP becomes a box-ticking exercise (less meaningful/less useful for funders if less consideration given by the researcher)?
- “Who is qualified to peer-review DMPs!?”
More information and help on using all three of these tools can be got by emailing: email@example.com
Then: a cup of tea, a quick catch-up with some colleagues, and to the road/rails again. I’ll be back tomorrow for day 2.
Posted on November 22nd, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp
“The 2011 UKeiG Jason Farradane Award has been awarded to the United Kingdom Council of Research Repositories (UKCoRR). Founded in 2007, UKCoRR is a professional membership-driven organisation managed for and by those staff working throughout the UK as Open Access repository administrators and managers.”
The Jason Farradane award is “made by UKeiG to an individual or a group of people in recognition of outstanding contribution to the information profession“. UKeiG are the UK e-Information Group, a more-than-usually-autonomous special interest group of CILIP.
In other news, we’ve finally managed to get the new UKCoRR website launched. You can see it for yourself, at:
Posted on September 26th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp
Since an initial preview in 2009 and a public launch in May last year, users of the personal reference/bibliography management tool RefWorks have had the option to try out a new RefWorks 2.0 interface, in addition to the familiar, ‘Classic’ version of RefWorks.
(If you haven’t tried the new version yet, you can take a look at it by logging in to RefWorks, then clicking on the ‘RefWorks 2.0′ link in the top right-hand corner of the screen.)
Now, RefWorks have announced that RefWorks ‘Classic’ is to be phased out by the end of 2011.
- On 29 October 2011, RefWorks 2.0 will become the default view of RefWorks (with the option to switch back to RefWorks Classic if you still want to)
- On or around 31 December 2011, RefWorks Classic will be switched off for good.
Goodbye old RefWorks…
…hello new RefWorks!
Here are some useful links for getting to grips with RefWorks 2.0:
RefWorks have also announced that they’ll shortly be releasing a new version of the Write-N-Cite software for Windows and Mac, to go with RefWorks 2.0. (“Until then… Write-N-Cite remains available, and is fully compatible with the RefWorks 2.0 interface.“)
If you have any questions about RefWorks in general or the move to version 2.0 in particular, please email RefWorks@lincoln.ac.uk
Posted on May 13th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp
I’ve just returned from the formal launch event for Lincs to the Past, the new flagship website from Lincolnshire County Council which provides online access to “the cultural heritage collections” of the county.
The launch party was held at the Collection museum in Lincoln.
Lincs to the Past builds on a previous project of the county council called ‘Cultural Collections‘, which provided a unified search interface for resources held in various cultural-service catalogues (library, museums, archives).
The new website adds a whole load of interesting functionality on top of that single search, including:
- Records collected together to form exhibitions
- Very-high-quality digitised image browse (example) including rich navigation using Zoomify
- User tagging and commenting
- Faceted search (by date period, subject term, and domain: i.e. library, museum, or archives)
- Online help
You can find Lincs to the Past at: www.lincstothepast.com