Introducing new support team members

Since mid-January, two new Research Data Service Assistants have joined the busy ‘virtual team’ working across divisions of Information Services to provide user support for RDM and Data Library enquiries and to quality assure DataShare submissions. You may have already come in contact with them, but a brief welcome is in order nonetheless.

Both new team members have a research background but surprisingly, from the same field and institution! Nevertheless they had not met until they arrived at our offices in Argyle House for their first day of work. Diarmuid joins us full-time, commuting daily from Glasgow, and Bob works half-time, taking advantage of a short walk from home.

mcdonnellDiarmuid McDonnell has taught a variety of research design, data management and analysis courses across a number of Scottish universities and levels. He is proficient in the use of Stata, SPSS and SAS for research and teaching purposes and is particularly experienced in the use of administrative data for social science research, which he used for his recently completed PhD thesis at Stirling University.

sandersBob Sanders recently completed his PhD at Stirling University looking at the relationship between dependency and care receipt in later life. He has extensive experience undertaking quantitative research, including the routine and advanced management and statistical analysis of large-scale longitudinal data. He is capable of conducting end-to-end data preparation, management and analysis using syntax-driven commands in Stata, with experience using other statistical software packages such as SPSS and Excel.

In addition to their repository and user support work for EDINA and Data Library, they have already made unique contributions to the service. Diarmuid has revised and taught our Data Handling in SPSS half-day workshop, as well as piloted an Introduction to Statistical Literacy workshop for Humanists. Bob has joined the Data Safe Haven development project, helping to work out operational processes and user documentation, as well as giving the online MANTRA course a thorough editing job.

Robin Rice
Data Librarian and Head, Research Data Support
EDINA and Data Library

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Research Data Management Forum: Third meeting – 28/03/2017

Harkening back to a bygone era of libraries, when books were printed on paper and research data management meant not accidentally burning your notes with your candle, the third meeting of the university RDM forum was held in the impressively aged Old Library in Geography’s Old Infirmary building at the end of March.

As a regular participant, I find the RDM forum is a very useful platform for everyone who has an interest in supporting research data management. It is an opportunity for me to update myself on the support and services that the university has in place in this area, to ask the daft questions but get a sensible answer and more generally, to meet the others in the university who are working in the same area as myself and face the same issues and challenges.

This edition of the RDM forum was no different. After a quick introduction of the participants, Cuna, leading the forum, took us through the following agenda:

  • Cuna Ekmekcioglu – RDM update
  • Dominic Tate – DataVault update
  • Pauline Ward – DataShare new features
  • Cuna Ekmekcioglu – development of Data Safe Haven

The session began with the RDM update which went into detail about the RDM Sharepoint site and some of the tools and documents that have been uploaded to the site. There are some useful threads looking to collect information about the different types of data that we have, as well as some guidance on recording datasets in PURE, RDM journey flowchart and sample Data Management Plans amongst other things. The Sharepoint site can be accessed by request, and can be found here: https://uoe.sharepoint.com/sites/rdmforum (access is only for UoE staff and students).

We had updates on the existing services such as DataShare and details about the development of both DataVault and the future Data Safe Haven, a system which will allow the storage and analysis of very sensitive data. There were some discussions around the new systems and practical issues such as cost and training/guidance for the new services.

It was a very worthwhile event and I shall be looking forward to the next forum.

Michelle O’Hara
Research Data & Information Officer
School of Social and Political Science

 

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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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DATA-X Pioneering Research Data Exhibition & Symposium

DATA-X has been a University of Edinburgh IS Innovation Fund project, also supported by the Data Lab and ASCUS. The project provided a dynamic platform for University of Edinburgh student researchers across all schools to come together and develop collaborate installations that explore data re-use and interdisciplinary boundaries. Research data are often invisible and complex to comprehend by the public and academic peers, with evolving technology and researcher-driving environments, DATA-X facilitate student researchers with the opportunity to visualize and communicate their research in a user-friendly format to audiences from within and outside the university.

After a series of successful and engaging DATA-X workshops, aimed to inform, shape and create ‘installations’ linked to digital data, the multidisciplinary teams (including students from the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh College of Art, Reid School of Music, the School of Engineering, The Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology, the School of Chemistry, the Centre for Integrative Physiology and the Queen’s Medical Research Institute) continued to work on their installations throughout the summer in preparation for the DATA-X exhibition and Symposium.

DATA-X Exhibition: 

The DATA-X Exhibition ran from 26 November to 6 December 2016, in the Sculpture Court of the Edinburgh College of Art. A total of six physical installations were installed:

eTunes by Dr Siraj Sabihuddin

etunes1A collaborate project for novices to experience the process and creative input required in constructing a musical instrument from start to finish.

 

 

 

Feel the Heat by Nathalie Vladis and Julia Zaenker

feel-the-heatA data quilt, visualising world temperatures between 1961 to 1990. The installation included temperature data sets and interactive colouring maps for audience participation.

 

 

Inside the black box by Luis Fernando Montaño and Bohdan Mykhaylyk

black-boxAn installation simulating bacterial infections. The audience controls the bacterial infection by interactively administering treatment.

 

 

PUROS Sound Box by Dr. Sophia Banou, Dr. Christos Kakalis and Matt Giannotti

D:PDSound BoxSound Box 1_SB Model (1)An installation that ‘defines’ an ambient musical environment, that is conditioned by the movement of users on an interactive floor.

 

 

 

 

Sinterbot by Adela Rabell Montiell and Dr. Siraj Sabihuddin

sintering-process-300x179A hands on demonstration on the alternative use of an ordinary household microwave for sintering, in order to alter material by heat.

 

 

Surface of Significance by Lucas Godfrey and Matt Giannotti

SOS_PROMO1-300x240An audio-visual installation that reconceptualise geographic space. The installation explores the relationship between space, materiality and process.

 

 

 

The exhibition launch, on 26 November, also included three performance installations that serenaded the audience throughout the evening:

  • o ire by Prof. Nick Fells

A live audio performance during which the performance controller sculpt and shape sounds as the piece unfolds.

A composition based on wind data captured during Hurricane Matthew. Musicians captured the chaotic nature of the storm by moving around and inflecting sporadic sound intensity.

An excerpt of Oli Jan’s composition project ‘The Carnival of the Endangered Animals‘. The piece features sounds of endangered species on the IUCN Red List.

DATA-X Symposium

To accompany the exhibition, a DATA-X symposium was held on 1 December 2016 in the Main Lecture Theatre of the Edinburgh College of Art. PhD researchers presented their ‘installations’ and demonstrated the tools, processes and techniques behind the installation. This was an informal event and an open forum to facilitate discussion with an academic and non-academic audience. Guest speakers included Dr Jane Haley, Scientific Coordinator for Edinburgh Neuroscience and FUSION, and Dr James Howie, co-founder of ASCUS. Their talks entitled ‘FUSION –where art meets neuroscience’ and ‘ASCUS and the ASCUS Lab: catalysts for Artisience’, illustrated the efficacy of bridging the gap between the arts and sciences and how innovative, multidisciplinary projects can engage wider audiences and create novel public engagement initiatives.

The next and final phase of the project includes the creation of a DataShare Collection: the electronic equivalent of an Exhibition Catalogue in which the students will publish the data associated with their installations. Updates to follow soon.

Project Team

Data-X Project Manager: Stuart Macdonald (Associate Data Librarian at Edinburgh University Data Library)

Exhibition Coordinator: Dr. Rocio von Jungenfeld (Supported Research Data services at EDINA & Data Library)

Data-X PhD Interns:

Scully Beaver Lynch – PhD candidate in Architecture by Design, Edinburgh College of Art

Adela Rabell Montiel – PhD candidate in Cardiovascular Sciences, Edinburgh Medical School: Clinical Sciences

Cindy Nelson-Viljoen – PhD candidate in Archaeology, School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Dr. Siraj Sabihuddin – PhD in Electronic engineering, School of Engineering

Image credit: DATA-X blog. http://data-x.blogs.edina.ac.uk/

by Cindy Nelson-Viljoen
PhD Student Intern
EDINA and Data Library

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