EDINA’s ShareGeo Open content into DataShare

Many fascinating datasets can be found in our new ShareGeo Open Collection: http://datashare.is.ed.ac.uk/handle/10283/2345  .

This data represents the entire contents of EDINA’s geospatial repository, ShareGeo Open, successfully imported into DataShare. We took this step to preserve the ShareGeo Open data, after the decision was taken to end the service. Not only have we maintained the accessibility of the data but we also successfully redirected all the handle persistent identifiers so that any existing links to the data, including those included in academic journal articles, have been preserved, such as the one in this paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10393-016-1131-y .

Similarly, should the day ever arrive when DataShare was to be closed, we would endeavour to find a suitable repository to which we could migrate our data to ensure its preservation, as per item 13 of our Preservation policy.

We were able to copy the content of almost all metadata fields from ShareGeo to DataShare. The fact both repositories use the Dublin Core metadata standard, and both were running on DSpace, made the task a little easier. The University of Edinburgh supports the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. DataShare’s metadata schema can be found at https://www.wiki.ed.ac.uk/display/datashare/Current+metadata+schema setting out what our metadata fields are and which values are permitted in them.

Our EDINA sysadmin (and developer) George was very helpful with all our questions and discussions that took place while the team settled on the most appropriate correspondence between the two schemas. The existing documentation was a great help too. George then produced a Python script to harvest the data, using OAI-PMH to get a list of ShareGeo items, then METS for the metadata and bitstreams. He then used SWORD to deposit them all in DataShare.

The team took the opportunity to use DSpace’s batch metadata editing utility and web interface to clean up some of the metadata: adding dates to the temporal coverage field and adding placenames and country abbreviations to the spatial coverage field, to enhance the discoverability of the data.

For example “GB Postcode Areas” can be found using the original handle persistent identifier: http://hdl.handle.net/10672/51 as well as the new DOI which DataShare has given it – DOI: 10.7488/ds/1755. Each of the 255 items migrated to our ShareGeo Open Collection contains a file called metadata.xml which contains all the metadata exactly as it was when exported from ShareGeo itself. I have manually added placenames in the spatial coverage field (which was used differently in ShareGeo, with a bounding box i.e. “northlimit=60.7837;eastlimit=2.7043;southlimit=49.8176;westlimit=-7.4856;”). Many of these datasets cover Great Britain, so they don’t include Northern Ireland but do include Scotland, England and Wales. In this case I’ve added the words “Scotland”, “England” and “Wales” in Spatial Coverage (‘dc.coverage.spatial’), even though these are already implicit in the “Great Britain” value in the same field, because I believe doing so:

  • enhanced the accessibility of the data (by making the geographical extent clearer for users unfamiliar with Great Britain) and…
  • enhanced the discoverability of the data (users searching Google for “Wales” now have a chance of seeing this dataset among the hits).

James Crone who compiled this “GB Postcode Areas” data is part of EDINA’s highly renowned geospatial services team.

Part of James’ work for EDINA involves producing census geography data for the UK DataService. He has recently added updated boundary data for use with the latest anonymised census microdata (that’s from the 2011 census): see the Boundary Data Selector at https://census.ukdataservice.ac.uk/get-data/boundary-data .

Pauline Ward is a Research Data Service Assistant for the University of Edinburgh, based at EDINA.

Detail from GB Postcode Areas data, viewed using QGIS.

Detail from GB Postcode Areas data, viewed using QGIS.

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