Thursday, 21 February 2008

Nature Publishing Group and Web2.0

The Feb/Mar issue of Research Information features a story on the Web2.0 initiatives coming from the Nature Publishing Group to promote sharing and collaboration. It mentions:

NPG also has a page on Facebook and a presence in SecondLife. It would be interesting to get some info on the demographics of the users of these different services.

ACRL environmental scan 2007

The Association of College and Research Libraries in the US recently published their Environmental Scan 2007 ( Their Top 10 Assumptions are:

  1. There will be an increased emphasis on digitizing collections, preserving digital archives, and improving methods of data storage, retrieval, curation, and service.
  2. The skill set for librarians will continue to evolve in response to the changing needs and expectations of the populations they serve, and the professional background of library staff will become increasingly diverse in support of expanded service programs and administrative needs. Mentions the idea of a "blended librarian" a hybrid of traditional professional competencies along with increasingly significant skills related to teaching and to the application of technology to library service - similar to the "data scientist" role advocated by Liz Lyon. Also mentions evidence-based practice.
  3. Students and faculty will continue to demand increasing access to library resources and services, and to expect to find a rich digital library presence both in enterprise academic systems and as a feature of social computing.
  4. Debates about intellectual property will become increasingly common in higher education, and resources and educational programming related to intellectual property management will become an important part of library service to the academic community.
  5. The evolution of information technology will shape both the practice of scholarly inquiry and the daily routine of students and faculty, and demands for technology-related services and technology-rich user environments will continue to grow and will require additional funding. Mentions cyberinfrastructure (3 reports specifically: "To Stand the Test of Time: Long-term Stewardship of Digital Data Sets in Science and Engineering" (ARL, 2006); "Our Cultural Commonwealth: The Final Report of the American Council of Learned Societies Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences" (American Council of Learned Societies, 2006; "Cyberinfrastructure Vision for 21st Century Discovery" (National Science Foundation, 2007).
  6. Higher education will be increasingly viewed as a business, and calls for accountability and for quantitative measures of library contributions to the research, teaching, and service missions of the institution will shape library assessment programs and approaches to the allocation of institutional resources.
  7. As part of the "business of higher education," students will increasingly view themselves as "customers" of the academic library and will demand high-quality facilities, resources, and services attuned to their needs and concerns.
  8. Online learning will continue to expand as an option for students and faculty – both on campus and off – and libraries will gear resources and services for delivery to a distributed academic community.
  9. Demands for free, public access to data collected, and research completed, as part of publicly funded research programs will continue to grow.
  10. The protection of privacy and support for intellectual freedom will continue to be defining issues for academic libraries and librarians.

The Research Committee also identified a number of emergent issues including:

  • Library facilities and services will become increasingly integrated with research, teaching, and learning programs.
  • The ability to meet the needs of e-science and e-scholarship in the social sciences and the humanities will increase and require new approaches to the design and delivery of core library services.
  • The focus for academic libraries will shift from the creation and management of large, on-site library collections to the design and delivery of library services.
  • The tools and techniques of social computing will provide new opportunities for the design and delivery of library resources and services, but will also make increasing demands on library staff and systems.
  • Library patrons will use semantic Web search techniques to locate information resources

Emerging trends

Technology Review has published its 10 emerging technologies for 2008 ( It covers technology in the widest sense but includes ICT. The 10 technologies are:

cellulolytic enzymes
atomic magnetometers
surprise modeling
probabilistic CMOS
reality mining
offline Web applications
graphene transistors
wireless power

The feature on offline web applications is interesting although focuses on Adobe's Integrated Runtime (AIR) which is in beta mode and plans to offer developers the ability to develop software which will run in either offline or online mode. The idea is to stretch the benefits of the web and cloud computing and provide users with the best of both worlds.

Grid: resources listing

Marcus Zillman has compiled a list of web sites related to Grid computing at

Managing assumptions

An interesting post on PM Hut from last month ( recommends managing assumptions as part of risk management, giving the following tips:

  • consider risks from a range of perspectives (brainstorm with colleagues to avoid missing key risks)
  • think broadly (work with stakeholders)
  • think deeply (work with colleagues at all levels in the organisation)
  • document all assumptions
  • keep scanning as the project progresses
  • update the assumptions document

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

JISC and research data

Research data gets a mention in latest JISC Inform:

A brief summary of recently commissioned work - hopefully to be followed up in more detail when the various studies start reporting...

New JISC briefing papers

Two new briefing papers:

This adds to the collection of briefing papers aimed at researchers:

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

eInfrastructure programme meeting

Earlier this month, we organised a Programme Meeting, for new projects (funded through the Capital Programme) and existing projects. It was a great opportunity to get projects talking together and we need to think about what events will be useful in the future...

The presentations, notes and soon-to-be-uploaded audio available online here.

News from RIN

News from RIN this month includes:

Monday, 18 February 2008

Harvard goes open access

Presentation tips - learning from cognitive science

This is a fun but useful way of presenting some tips to make sure your messages are remembered:

NeSC news Jan/Feb 08

Some interesting stories in the latest NeSC News (
  • an overview of trust and security (to introduce the NeSC theme) which gives a good plain english account of the key issues
  • an article on SciSpace ( a social networking application developed in Cambridge
  • a news item on the Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data

Good to see the viznet Showcase and JISC Conference getting a mention too ;-)

Open chemistry

I picked this up a few weeks ago but what with all that's been going on so far this year, it's taken me till now to take a look:
"Most chemical information on the web is published in closed journals and databases which guarantee high quality but also require a subscription to view. Pre-print servers, collaborative documents, open databases, video sites, online lab notebooks and blogs provide other ways of communicating research. Combining the lot offers the enticing prospect of a vast, free-to-access repository. This could transform the sharing of scientific research if the disparate data sources were machine-readable, so that a search engine could automatically gather data about a particular molecule from a crystal structure, a movie, an online lab book, and an archived article, for example. "

The project will be using standards developed by the Open Archives Initiative Object Reuse and Exchange Project (OAI-ORE) - model protocols are expected to launch next month.

Monday, 11 February 2008


Just picked up on this in a story in last week's Computing (7 feb) which mentions development of a light-version of PRINCE2, recognising the fact that in IT, at least, many organisations are not really using PRINCE2 in its entirety but still want some kind of framework to follow. Am going to have to take a look at this when I have a bit more time....

Friday, 1 February 2008

Grid in the news

National Grid Service supports 'virtual human' in HIV drug simulation from JISC Headlines:

"The combined supercomputing power of the JISC-funded UK National Grid Service and the US national grid has enabled UCL (University College London) scientists to simulate the efficacy of an HIV drug in blocking a key protein used by the lethal virus, it was announced today. The method – an early example of the Virtual Physiological Human in action – could one day be used to tailor personal drug treatments, for example for HIV patients developing resistance to their drugs."

Project steering groups

Some interesting tips from BCS pages on what to do when the Steering Group isn't working - from a corporate perspective but still useful: