UK Public Data Corporation

Friday, November 19, 2010 at 14:39:22

Interesting article over at The Guardian on the creation of a public data corporation next year potentially to include the OS, Met Office and Land Registry. This has the potential to reorganise Trading Funds as we know them at the moment and possibly sell of parts of the businesses to the private sector. If nothing else, this government is moving at a fast pace…

CrossRef Annual Meeting: what’s happening in the world of DOIs?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 08:49:44

I attended the CrossRef annual meeting yesterday (see previous post). It’s the first time it’s been held outside the USA and London was certainly a fitting venue. Hosted at One Great George Street just opposite the Treasury, it was very good day. Day 1 (which I didn’t attend) was based upon technical sessions, whilst Day 2 gave an overview of current “status” and up and coming developments, followed by invited speakers in the afternoon. It was an excellent balance of presentations in a relaxed setting. All credit to CrossRef, they got the pitch just right.

So what is happening at CrossRef?? Well clearly the biggest service is as a clearinghouse for academic publishers to lodge DOIs… and they are very reasonable priced, but they are now starting to produce lots of value added services, which include:

  • DOI Resolver: resolve a DOI to a landing page
  • DOI Lookup: you know the reference but not the DOI (and the excellent Simple Text Query)
  • CrossMark: soon to launch service identifying changes to the “status” of an article. Due to the nature of publisher, once a PDF is “published” it is a permanent record, but how do you inform readers of changes to the status of the article?? Corrections, addendum, erratum, letters etc?? Simple, more metadata linked to the article.
  • CrossCheck: plagiarism detection service using the iParadigms service which also forms the TurnItIn service. Publishers need to submit the full text of all articles for this to be good.
  • Cited-By Linking: count the number of citations any article receive. In an academic world which success is (at least in part) measured by the number of citations this is a service that aims to “compete” with Scopus and Web of Knowledge. It is a different service though and again relies upon publishers to deposit all there metadata correctly. So it really sits between Scopus, Web of Knowledge and other citation services. The big benefit being that it counts citations to all DOIs… so content not indexed by Web of Knowledge (e.g. data, books) or in places where there is no Impact Factor will be counted. Very useful!! Publishers need to deposits all references in all articles: a lot more work for small publishers!!
  • ORCID: this links very closely to the previous item. ORCID is an open version of ResearcherID and intends to provide researchers worldwide with a single ID which could be used by institutions and funders to identify individuals and their outputs. They are finalising the funding model and setup and have a beta underway based upon the ResearcherID setup.
  • CrossRef Labs: experimental work at CrossRef, including interesting items such as encoding DOIs as QR codes, TOI DOIs (tiny DOIs for tweeting etc), metadata search, PDFStamp and PDFMark. All interesting and useful.

AGI’10: Open Source GIS

Monday, November 8, 2010 at 10:53:02

I gave a talk at the AGI this year on Open Source GIS. I’ve now placed the slides online as there were loads of URLs in them. The talk is by no means comprehensive in terms of open source geospatial software, but I gave a broad-brush approach providing examples of software from a wide range of domains we often use in the geospatial world. One extra element (as I’m a proponent of portable apps) is that, where possible, I’ve given links to portable (USB) versions of the apps. Hopefully this will prove useful to people.

27,000 for a degree….

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 13:51:02

So there we have it, the cost of a degree looks set to march onwards to 27,000, plus living expenses. Not an insignificant amount of money. The BBC provides an alternative discussion, but in essence prices are rising to 6,000 pa, with an upper cap of 9,000, although this will come with requirements for fair access. The concern of many universities is that, with the removal of state funding, 9,000 will only allow them to tread water and probably slip back in real terms.

There are some other articles around the issue: $200,000 degree, 2yr degrees… I guess we’ll see if a market will develop and, indeed, if we see a rise in state-funded science courses.

Blackboard Woes: uploading marks

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 11:57:56

Spent ages going around in circles today trying to upload marks in Blackboard. I’ve just finished marking 80 odd essays, with comments, and wanted to upload this back in to the Grade Book. Easy I thought… I know BB is a bit fussy, so download the marks, add my entries then upload. Didn’t work (note: Firefox just bombs; IE and Chrome work fine). To cut a long story short and help other people who come across the same problem:

  • download the marks as a tab delimited file for the specific grade item of interest and make sure you tick “Include comments for this column”
  • load in to Excel and copy/paste your marks across (obviously make sure the marks go to the correct students!) and save
  • BB seems to like a slightly peculiar form of tab-delimited file where every field is enclosed in quotation marks. This is normally reserved for text fields and neither Open Office or Office97 maintain that. I ended adding these manually (using find/replace) in a text editor
  • upload back in to BB but make sure you select tab-delimited. The auto option doesnt work!

Voila! Your marks and feedback should now be in BB.

The Geospatial Revolution

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 14:31:56

For those who missed it first time around on the blogs, Penn State University Public Broadcasting are putting together a 4 episode series on The Geospatial Revolution. This is a (relatively!) high budget project that is executed to a very high standard. The first episode covers why geospatial is important, what it’s used for and where we are going. Almost a who’s who of interviews. Episode 2 is now out covering the use of geospatial in different “market” areas.

Not to be missed.

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