Learning and research - systems and technologies

  • The amplified event ... March 14, 2011 – I introduced the phrase The Amplfied Conference several years ago to describe the way in which a conference experience might be shared by people who were not physically present, through the amplification provided by a range of network tools. On reflection, of course, such amplification is also a way of...read full entry...
  • 3 stages of library websites ...August 22, 2010 – While writing about subject pages and library websites the other day, it occurred to me that we might think of library websites in three stages - which emerged successively and continue to exist together. Always mindful of the rule of three ;-) We might clumsily call these stages: [1] fragmentary,...read full entry...
  • Outside-in and inside-out reduxJune 06, 2010 – I have been using this phrase, outside-in and inside-out, to discuss a contrast in information management practices that is becoming more important. Here is how I spoke about it a little while ago in these pages: Think, for example, of a distinction between outside-in resources, where the library is buying...read full entry...
  • 'Reading at Library-scale'/'distant reading'May 30, 2010 – Franco Moretti has an interesting short book called Graphs, maps, trees: abstract models for literary history. He proposes a way of reading literary history which involves abstracting patterns across large stretches of a literary field rather than examining "concrete, individual works". In particular, he works with three organizing models: graphs,...read full entry...
  • Reading lists, citation management and bibliographic tissueMay 22, 2010 – Here is something I wrote a couple of years ago under the title Personal reference collections as digital libraries. A little updating of examples and I think it still holds: We will see much more activity connecting user environments and bibliographic resources. I am thinking of citation managers, reading lists,...read full entry...
  • QR codes again ...May 02, 2010 – Andy Walsh of the University of Huddersfield gave a very nice presentation on QR Codes at the recent EMTACL10 conference at NTNU in Trondheim. I particularly liked his introduction in which he provided some motivating context for his work. He noted that as library spaces became places for social activity,...read full entry...
  • Lam-inating libraries ....March 28, 2010 – The shared interests between libraries, archives and museums (LAMs) is an important line of work for OCLC Research. However, a related issue is also of considerable interest for libraries. As we move into a digital environment, library work increasingly needs to understand and benefit from archival and museum perspectives. As...read full entry...
  • Research assessment and the library ...December 27, 2009 – I am pleased to note the appearance of a new report on research assessment and the role of libraries. This has been prepared as part of our Research Information Management stream of work in support of the RLG Partnership. The study is a comparative review of formal assessment regimes in...read full entry...
  • Research support servicesOctober 26, 2009 – I am pleased to note a collaboration between OCLC Research and the Research Information Network in the UK to explore changing research support needs in universities. We tend to focus on how technology changes library practices, but the impact of technology on libraries will be less important in the long...read full entry...
  • Untangling the library systems environmentOctober 25, 2009 – NISO organized a meeting on library resource management a couple of weeks ago: I notice that the presentations are now available on the web. They make an interesting collection, and I return to them in a moment. I have written about the library systems environment in these pages from time...read full entry...
  • Dura-sellMay 12, 2009 – The organizational coalescence of Dspace and Fedora, announced yesterday, is welcome and not too surprising. This arrangement concentrates the resources of two organizations with similar missions and should strengthen their joint ability to secure future resources and to improve their products and services. The new organization is to be called...read full entry...
  • The changing education experienceDecember 03, 2008 – The Guardian published a supplement on the 'digital student' the other day. There is some general context and there is a range of short pieces on specific approaches or projects. This is all written for a general audience so there is no great detail and it is quite anecdotal. As...read full entry...
  • Social networks and citation tools for scientistsDecember 01, 2008 – And speaking of Nature Network, I was interested to see this list of 'social networks' for scientists at the Science@Cambridge site. Science Social Networks Research Gate Nature Networks 2collab Within3 (for Medics) [science@cambridge: science portal for Cambridge students | Cambridge University Library] And the following list of citation tools, including...read full entry...
  • Institutional social networksJuly 12, 2008 – Tony Hirst has an interesting post pointing to Ning-based institutional social networks at The University of Wales, Newport, and at The University of Bradford. He cites some colleagues reporting "Yeah, it's happening all over the place". As Tony points out the Bradford site is part of a more general online...read full entry...
  • Research Repository SystemsJuly 02, 2008 – Chris Rusbridge writes about Research Repository Systems: I promised to be more specific about what I would like to see in repositories that presented more value for less work overall, by offering facilities that allow it to become part of the researcher’s workflow. I’m going to refer to this as...read full entry...
  • Two from Elsevier: Article 2.0 and interdisciplinaryJune 30, 2008 – Two unrelated notes about Elsevier initiatives. The first about a competition in which they are making available an article-based data set for recombination in external environments or applications. The second about a study of Science Direct usage which shows different patterns of interdisciplinary behavior across disciplines. Although, one could push...read full entry...
  • Academic library and organizationJune 15, 2008 – Being in the UK for a few days has reminded me of how common the 'merged service' is in UK universities. This is where IT services, library, possibly management information services, and various other services may be combined in one unit. Of course, organizational boundaries and labels vary from institution...read full entry...
  • Beyond actually existing Institutional Repositories ...June 10, 2008 – Repositories and Web 2.0 discusses the relative merits of existing institutional repositories and putative network level shared repositories which provide more incentives for depositers. It continues an argument in favor of network level shared repositories that Andy Powell has been making for a while. Andy has made the presentation available...read full entry...
  • Long Room HubJune 04, 2008 – The picture selected to accompany Robert Darnton's article about research libraries in the New York Review of Books was of the Long Room in Trinity College Dublin. Robin Adams mentioned this at the RLG Programs Digitization and the Humanities: Impact on Libraries and Special Collections Symposium earlier today. He also...read full entry...
  • Analytics: mind the gapMay 23, 2008 – In a digital environment our actions shed data which can be collected and mined. We leave traces. In this context it is not surprising that 'analytics' has emerged as a central interest. 'Analytics' is often used to refer to how organizations analyse the data they collect to improve decisions or...read full entry...
  • Keeping research dataMay 14, 2008 – The JISC has made a report on digital preservation costs available. "This study has investigated the medium to long term costs to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) of the preservation of research data". One aim was to provide a methodological foundation on research data costs for national and institutional initiatives. Our...read full entry...
  • FRBR and Learning Objects (FLOR?)January 30, 2008 – Phil Barker looks at FRBR in the context of learning object metadata. The proposed object model borrows from the scholarly works application profile (SWAP) application model, which in turn is based on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) entity model. The rationale behind this was that, firstly, scholarly works...read full entry...
  • Library website analyticsNovember 01, 2007 – Our activities in the network world leave traces. The analysis of these traces is now a major undertaking as organizations mine this data to understand behaviors, to improve their systems, and to refine their offer. Tony Hirst has a series of posts about 'course analytics': In contrast to the academic...read full entry...
  • Collections grid and digital conservancyOctober 09, 2007 – We use the following collections grid from time to time to help focus attention on particular collecting patterns in libraries. The bottom right hand corner represents materials that have not been highly stewarded and which are usually unique to a particular institution. The types of material which go in here...read full entry...
  • Research behaviors and the libraryOctober 09, 2007 – An interesting report [pdf] from the University of Minnesota Libraries looks at the behaviors of researchers in the sciences. It extends the earlier work done by the Libraries on researchers in the humanities and social sciences. Not unsurprisingly there is a major focus on having resources available online and when...read full entry...
  • Open UniversityOctober 08, 2007 – The Open University has one of the best logos I know. It does actually communicate something about the institution. And as an institution it is a significant achievement. At one time, TV programs were a major way the OU delivered courses. And for people of my generation, the off-peak OU...read full entry...
  • Life as it is livedSeptember 19, 2007 – A report on the use of information and communications technologies among prospective university students was commissioned by JISC from Ipsos MORI. The findings have just been published [pdf]. I was interested in the popularity of social networking sites. 501 people responded to an online survey. 65% used social networking sites...read full entry...
  • The academic library and its usersAugust 30, 2007 – I mentioned Jim Collins' book on the social sectors the other day. I have just acquired Susan Gibbons' book, The academic library and the net gen student: making the connections. I was interested to see her make use of Collins' material in the opening chapter where she suggests the following...read full entry...
  • Top ten toolsJuly 28, 2007 – Jane Hart is compiling a list of the top tools folks use in their learning and working lives. It is aggregated from the top tens of contributors active in e-learning. It is broadly what you would expect near the top, with Firefox, Skype, Delicious and Google stuff heading the list....read full entry...
  • Eduserv and Second LifeJune 01, 2007 – And while talking about other lives, those interested in thinking more about Second Life in an educational setting can follow the discussion on the Eduserv Foundation blog (second life on eFoundations) where this is a particular interest. They held a dual-world symposium (rl-sl does not quite have the ring about...read full entry...
  • OpenIDMay 11, 2007 – OpenID has been generating quite a bit of interest as a lightweight decentralized approach to identity management on the web. There is a nice overview article by Andy Powell (Eduserv) and David Recordon (VeriSign) in the current issue of Ariadne, with some reflections on OpenID in an e-learning environment. In...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Libraries and learning management systemsApril 06, 2007 – I have just acquired Virtual learning environments: using choosing and developing your VLE by Martin Weller. VLE is a term popular in the UK for Course or Learning Management System. Weller is Professor of Educational Technology at the Open University where he directed their VLE project. The Open University is...read full entry...
  • Student useApril 02, 2007 – I was very interested to read (via eFoundations) a note on the Ancient Geeks blog by Martin Poulter. He talks about what the students at the University of Bristol use the network for according to the University's network management folks. Facebook is the most popular site by hits, accounting for...read full entry...
  • Our digital identities: bricolage, prefabrication and disclosureMarch 28, 2007 – In recent presentations I talk about workflow in quite general terms. I suggest that we have seen the focus of our attention shift from the database, to the website to workflow as the web environment becomes richer. We want to get things done on the network, not just find things....read full entry...
  • Institutional cyberinfrastructureFebruary 26, 2007 – Thomas J. Hacker and Bradley C. Wheeler describe how changing research practices are creating new support demands and argue for the benefits of centralized cyberinfrastructure on campus. They talk about strategies for managing the conversation with schools who are developing their own infrastructure. This is in an article, Making Research...read full entry...
  • Data curationNovember 20, 2006 – Chris Rusbridge is the Director of the Digital Curation Centre at the University of Edinburgh. About the DCC:Scientists, researchers and scholars across the UK generate increasingly vast amounts of digital data, with further investment in digitisation and purchase of digital content and information. The scientific record and the documentary heritage...read full entry...
  • A little learning ...August 21, 2006 – A couple of resources about learning, services and the network:Scott Wilson has a nice roundup of thoughts and examples under the heading elearning and web services [pdf].Edufilter is a new blog from Dave Tosh and Ben Werdmuller, the principals in Elgg:Edufilter has been set up as a resource for those...read full entry...
  • A learning experienceJune 17, 2006 – We have just come back from seeing X-Men: the last stand at the very congenial Studio 35 (where you can have beer and pizza while watching movies). In the opening action sequence, Wolverine seems more casual than his life-threatening situation warrants. However, it turns out that they are participating in...read full entry...
  • Top ten IT issuesMay 14, 2006 – Educause Review publishes its latest top ten IT issues list:The elevation of Security and Identity Management to the number-one spot among the top-ten IT issues caps a steady four-year rise. Whether it retains this ranking will depend on its perceived importance relative to Funding IT and Administrative/ERP/Information Systems, which have...read full entry...
  • Conferring about learningApril 20, 2006 – It is always interesting seeing how conferences are shaped. Sometimes you will just have a list of speakers strung around various social events. Sometimes you can actually sense the emerging shape of an area or a good overview of its concerns from a well-designed conference program. I am not quite...read full entry...
  • Open Content InitiativeMarch 13, 2006 – The Open University, supported by the Hewlett Foundation ($4.45M), is going to make learning materials freely available for use and reuse on the web. This continues the OU tradition of open broadcast of its television teaching materials.The Open University will draw on its experience in supported open learning to provide...read full entry...
  • Stanford and iTunesOctober 23, 2005 – An interesting announcement from Stanford and Apple about making Stanford materials available on iTunes:Stanford on iTunes will provide alumni--as well as the general public--with a new and versatile way of staying connected to the university through downloads of faculty lectures, campus events, performances, book readings, music recorded by Stanford students...read full entry...
  • In the flowJune 24, 2005 – Workflow is important. We often think of the network as multiple individual opportunities: a mass of websites. However, just as we increasingly work, learn, research, and play in a network environment, so will services evolve to reduce effort and improve effectiveness. These services will support flow construction and resource integration...read full entry...
  • Services, repositories, elearning, metadata, ...February 17, 2005 – Wilbert Kraan of CETIS has a nice overview of some recent meetings surrounding the IMS Melbourne meeting. Discussion about service-oriented-architectures, repositories, metadata and all the usual suspects. Having said all of that, John's main argument is that the e-learning is in the middle of a second wave. The first was...read full entry...
  • Dspace for learning materialsJanuary 23, 2005 – From the CWSpace website: CWSpace is an MIT iCampus project conducted by the MIT Libraries' Digital Library Research Group and MIT OpenCourseWare staff. The research is based on MIT's DSpace digital archive system, and takes as its principal focus the archiving of educational materials found in MIT OpenCourseWare. [CWSpace, an...read full entry...
  • Learning object repository in WordJanuary 15, 2005 – CETIS notes an interesting development from Sentient Learning.The solution consists of a central repository (LearnBase) and a content creation tool (LearnBuild). Claimed to be able to create IMS Content Packages, LearnBuild allows users to do most content creation and publishing operations from within Microsoft Word. [CETIS-Sentient launch repository with Word...read full entry...
  • Digital natives and digital immigrantsDecember 01, 2004 – An Ecar report contains findings of a survey of students at several universities. It looks at use of technologies in learning, and more generally. They quote a distinction made by Marc Prensky between digital natives (who grew up with the technology) and digital immigrants (who did not). The findings are...read full entry...
  • Learning object repositoriesNovember 28, 2004 – A review of six learning object repositories from EduTools has been made available. It appears as a Word document and an associated Excel spreadsheet with feature comparisons. Six products are chosen for comparison: HarvestRoad Hive; Intrallect Intralibrary; NorthPlains Telescope Enterprise; Ex Libris Digitool; Concord Masterfile; Dspace. They are compared under...read full entry...
  • Discussion extractorOctober 17, 2004 – The Learningtools site from Faculty of Arts Instructional Support at the University of British Columbia has some interesting looking tools. In particular, I noticed:This tool addresses the problem of re-usability of student interactions in WebCT Discussions, and allows an instructor or a student to export a fully threaded discussion object...read full entry...
  • Rehak's papersOctober 03, 2004 – Dan Rehak is very active in the development of specifications in the learning technology arena. He is based at the Learning Systems Architecture Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon. Two recent papers intersect with our interests. Good&plenty, Googlezon, your grandmother and Nike: challenges for ubiquitous learning & learning technology [PDF]. This caught...read full entry...
  • eLearning clearinghouseSeptember 19, 2004 – An eLearning resource is part of the Bush re-election platform:If he is re-elected come Nov. 2, President George W. Bush's education proposals for his second term would include plans to build an eLearning Clearinghouse to promote all the online courses available to students and adults from both public and private...read full entry...
  • Value and interoperabilityJuly 30, 2004 – A second discontinuity for vendors is the double-edged sword of creating true interoperability while selling unique value. Customers want open systems using open standards, but the very act of truly achieving this commoditizes the proprietary value of a system's uniqueness. Community source projects also create viable reference implementations of open...read full entry...
  • Alt-i-labJuly 30, 2004 – For an overview of current state-of-the-art and issues in the learning technology domain see the presentations and program from the recent alt-i-lab meeting. Alt-i-lab 2004 is the 2nd annual meeting of creators, vendors, users, and buyers of learning technology. The purpose of the meeting was advancing learning technology interoperability. The...read full entry...
  • Standards, buyers and sellersJuly 24, 2004 – We tend to think of standards as a good thing without always thinking about the incentives for adoption among various stakeholders. Brad Wheeler (Indiana University and SAKAI) argues an interesting case, as reported by Wilbert Kraan on the CETIS website. Brad argued that the relation boils down to the question...read full entry...
  • Institutional portalsJuly 18, 2004 – Several case studies of institutional and library portals are available. The institutional cases are especially interesting as the library increasingly has to be visible in these spaces. To support these aims, the JISC has funded a number of case studies in the assessment and implementation of portal solutions within an...read full entry...
  • Open source VLE at DCUJuly 16, 2004 – Moodle is an open source course management system (aka learning management system or - in the UK - virtual learning environment). It has been deployed at Dublin City University in preference to the existing WebCT pilot.The field of VLE/MLE systems is still evolving rapidly. However, there is already clear consensus...read full entry...
  • GlossariesJune 20, 2004 – In general, there seems little point in trying to define terms for use except within some closely knit community of practice. Nevertheless, glossaries are often interesting attempts to clarify the conceptual context of activities. This is the case with the RDN discussion of structured and unstructured services, brokers and portals,...read full entry...
  • UK e-University dismantledJune 09, 2004 – There have been some high profile failures in higher education in the shared distance learning space. The UK eUniversity is the latest casualty. Dr Ian Gibson, who chairs the science and technology committee at the Commons, called the UK's e-university "an absolute disaster". [BBC NEWS | Education | 'Shameful waste'...read full entry...
  • Data curationMay 09, 2004 – Interesting overview of survey of scientists, librarians and others about need for research data curation services. Includes a schematic of future e-research data flows. [ppt in pdf]...read full entry...
  • Vendor integration - libraries and learningApril 04, 2004 – A major recent issue for libraries has been the relationship of library services to emerging instructional technology environments. Increasingly, on many campuses, the course management system facilitates the relationship between learners and between learner and teacher. Interestingly, there is now a systems vendor who povides integrating solutions between the worlds...read full entry...
  • A science commonsApril 04, 2004 – Concerned about the potential effect of recent policy on the conduct of science, the Creative Commons initiative is looking to explore a Science Commons:The sciences depend on access to and use of factual data. Powered by developments in electronic storage and computational capability, scientific inquiry is becoming more data-intensive in...read full entry...
  • Institutional repositoriesJanuary 29, 2004 – Some suggestive observations about institutional repositories in the summary of a CNI roundtable discussion. In many ways, discussing "institutional repositories" is misleading, in that the term is too limiting and focuses on a tool rather than the strategic imperative, which is planning for institution-wide digital asset management and developing both...read full entry...
  • Metadata and institutional repositoriesDecember 18, 2003 – Some interesting presentations at the 2003-2004 RLG Members' Forum. Discussion of Cornell and Indiana repository and digital library issues. Examples of the growing interest in rationalising repository initiatives within overall institutional perspective....read full entry...
  • Digicult reportsNovember 10, 2003 – Several interesting reports on the Digicult pages. Most recently, Learning Objects from Cultural and Scientific Heritage Resources....read full entry...