Times Higher Education
After much deliberation, Sarah Porter head of innovation has chosen to leave Jisc in order to pursue her research innovation interests in higher education and work with higher education institutions on developing their digital strategies.
Sarah has brought tremendous commitment and passion to Jisc over the last twelve years. She initially joined from the University of Oxford where she led a team of e-learning developers and directed Jisc’s work on managed learning environments.
It was 2004 when Sarah was appointed to lead the Jisc innovation group. The group’s agenda focused upon identifying opportunities for the UK to maximise the potential of technology to support better learning, teaching and research. Sarah has encouraged experimentation and new and innovative approaches to technological development, including most recently the Summer of Innovation project, which is inviting students to submit innovative ideas on how the student experience can be improved through technology.
Under Sarah’s leadership, and with support from Jisc’s funders, the UK and countries from overseas have benefited from programmes in:
• Leading work in digital libraries
• The creation of many millions of digital content assets
• The creation of new virtual research environments
• National services to support research management.
Some of her key successes have been the Sustaining Digital Resources series carried out jointly with Ithaka; work on supporting technical standards with CETIS and UKOLN; taking forward the UK’s engagement with open educations resources (OERs); promotion of the service oriented architecture and the e-framework with Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Canada.
Professor Martyn Harrow, chief executive of Jisc said: “We will all greatly miss Sarah’s leadership and vision. Jisc has made tremendous progress through its innovation programmes that has put the UK in a leading position with its use of technology in education and research. We will build on this precious legacy as we move to Jisc’s new future.”
2013 sees the launch of the Summer of Student Innovation pilot, to put the power to enhance the learner experience directly into the hands of teams of students, academics and experts across the UK.
Students who join the Summer of Innovation will get the chance to create real technology solutions and have the technology they create adopted by universities, colleges and learning providers. They will also have the option to join events where they can meet the other student teams as well as technical experts.
The Futures Forum, a group of five UK education and research organisations are joining forces to encourage teams of developers and innovators to use their skills to enhance the UK’s higher education experience.
Andrew McGregor, Jisc programme manager and Futures Forum member explains, “We are offering £5,000 per student team, to develop new technology that could improve education, research and their studying life. The teams will be selected through an open call for ideas. Successful teams will also be given opportunities to join workshops to allow them to network with fellow students and experts to further their ideas.
“After the projects have run, the technology developed by the teams will be embedded for a trial period in volunteer education organisations. Products that are successful in the trials will be provided to other interested parties through sustainable routes.”
The Summer of Student Innovation has emerged from the pilot Jisc co-design programme. This programme has enabled Jisc, RLUK, RUGIT, SCONUL, and UCISA to work together to identify a selection of strategic innovations that could benefit the HE sector. The Summer of Student Innovation has been designed as an experiment to see if students can develop technology that can improve the student experience.
Homepage image: CC BY flickr/hamptonroadspartnership
In research conducted this month, NUS has found that of 1,200 higher education students surveyed, 20 per cent consider themselves to have a mental health problem, while 13 per cent have suicidal thoughts.
More than 18 million students, staff and researchers at institutions across the UK could start to benefit from a faster and more secure connection when using their institution’s cloud-based IT services, thanks to a new peering arrangement being signed today between Microsoft and Janet, the UK’s research and education network.
This new agreement enables improved access to infrastructure and application services such as websites, virtual learning environments and research projects.
Connecting the networks privately eliminates the need to traverse data over the public internet. This enables a high bandwidth connection for students and staff to use Windows Azure. Bandwidth is managed, ensuring high-speed delivery with no delay or latency.
The move to peer the Microsoft Windows Azure data centre to the Janet network comes as part of a new strategic alliance between the two organisations, being signed at Goldsmiths, University of London today.
Professor of Computing Science at Newcastle University Paul Watson comments: “Cloud computing has the potential to revolutionise research by offering vast compute resources on-demand. At Newcastle University, we already have over £20M of research projects that are supported by the cloud. However, one of the major barriers holding back further cloud adoption is the time it takes to transfer large datasets from the lab to the cloud for analysis. This new link between Janet and the Azure Cloud removes this barrier, and will allow a far greater range of research projects to fully exploit the benefits of cloud computing.”
The alliance agreement also means any UK education institution can benefit from standard terms and conditions on Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity software suite Office 365, negotiated by Janet.
An early beneficiary of this arrangement is Goldsmiths, which is also one of a select group of institutions responsible for initiating work on the alliance. Basem El-Haddadeh, Director of IT Services at Goldsmiths said: “The work on Office 365 will save the sector considerable time and money in legal due diligence and speed up adoption of Office 365. We’re really pleased with the roll-out at Goldsmiths and our staff and students are already enjoying using the new system. I’m looking forward to the benefits the strategic alliance can bring.”
“Through the peering and strategic alliance, we are demonstrating our commitment to UK research and education institutes’ increasing desire to access cloud technologies and we are complementing our world class fibre network with Microsoft’s leading technologies to support the sector,” said Dan Perry, Director of Product and Marketing at Janet.
Steve Beswick, Director of Education, Microsoft Ltd said: “We are delighted to be working with Janet to provide additional value-added products and services to the research and education community. We have a long-standing relationship with this sector and are looking forward to more collaborative working with Janet to grow our offering.”
Joanna Lumley helped the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) launch a Jisc-funded digital archive of work by world-renowned fashion designer Zandra Rhodes.
Famous designs worn by global icons, such as Princess Diana, Jackie Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor, during Zandra’s half a century in fashion are just some of the 500 dresses and garments that have been painstakingly prepared, catalogued and photographed over the past 18 months.
The Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection has been created for the education community through a collaborative project between UCA and the Zandra Rhodes Studio with funding from Jisc.
Zandra said: "I am tremendously proud to announce that the Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection is now available to the world.
“I am absolutely thrilled to unveil this high quality digital archive of 500 of my most famous designs, as well as drawings and behind-the-scenes footage in my studio, for access by today's fashion and textile students, designers, and researchers, and I hope that it will be an inspiration worldwide.
“I would like to thank the University for the Creative Arts, Jisc, the team at my studio and VADS for believing in the project and making this happen – it’s not easy to locate, prep, photograph, research, and catalogue 50 years of fashion collections but they have done a fantastic job."
Famous for her bright pink hair and cutting-edge designs, Zandra Rhodes has remained one of the most recognisable names in fashion over the last five decades and remains relevant with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Sarah Jessica Parker and Paris Hilton wearing her dresses today.
She was appointed UCA’s first Chancellor in 2010 and studied at Medway College of Art - one of the Kent and Surrey colleges that formed UCA.
Researchers and students at UCA have worked with Zandra Rhodes and her studio to not only catalogue her designs for future generations but also create contextual learning materials which explore her creative processes and production techniques, through video interviews, tutorials, and exquisite original drawings.
Professor Kerstin Mey, Director of Research and Enterprise at UCA, said: "We are proud and excited to launch the Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection.
“Zandra gave our researchers and students unprecedented access to her studio which has enabled them to catalogue 500 famous items from her personal archive that we will make available to a global audience.
“I am certain that this accessible, open education resource featuring one of the most influential British fashion designers over the past 50 years will stimulate and inform future generations.”
The project has been funded by a £110,000 grant from the charity, Jisc. Their aim is to make the UK the most digitally advanced education and research nation in the world.
Paola Marchionni, Jisc’s programme manager for digitisation, explained: “This project represents another excellent partnership that Jisc is proud to have supported.
“Zandra Rhodes’ generosity in opening up her studio and archives to the UCA team has made possible the creation of a beautiful and high quality digital resource to support students and teachers, and which is also available to the public at large.
“This project, however, has not just been about digitisation: students have played an active role, gaining ‘real world’ work experience and skills which will be an invaluable asset to them in the future.”
The Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection is now available at: www.zandrarhodes.ucreative.ac.uk
Launch event film
JISC EMBEDDED OBJECT
Banner image © Zandra Rhodes; garment photos by Jon Stokes
Image of Zandra in her studio © Hannah Kells
In the era of YouTube, podcasts and vidcasts new pioneering guidelines, launched today, will be crucial for students, researchers and academics when they cite moving image and sound sources, or provide advice on referencing them.
The British Universities Film & Video Council’s (BUFVC) guidelines respond to the 2011 Jisc report, Film and Sound in Higher and Further Education: A Progress Report with Ten Strategic Recommendations. The report found that despite the exponential increase in the use of audiovisual material in teaching, learning and research in higher and further education, existing guidelines for the referencing of moving image and sound are often insufficient as they are based on standards developed for the written word. This has the effect of discouraging the citing of moving image and sound, as well as creating barriers in its discovery, use and re-use.
Professor John Ellis, professor of media arts, University of London, says: “Citation exists so that you can find the source of any quotation. The rules have long since been worked out for print sources. However, for moving image and sound, no-one quite knows what to do, so references are usually imprecise and sometimes left out completely. This guide now makes it possible for any writer (even a student) to lead their readers to the exact audiovisual source they are discussing. It might seem a simple problem to solve, until you realise that there are a multitude of different types of audiovisual source!”
The guidelines are practical, accessible and applicable to a wide range of different users across all disciplines. They encourage best practice in citing any kind of audiovisual item. They cover film; television programmes; radio programmes; audio recordings; DVD extras; clips; trailers; adverts; idents; non-broadcast, amateur and archive material; podcasts; vodcasts and games.
Professor Miles Taylor, director, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, says: “The difficulty of referencing such important sources has only been compounded by the increasing availability of much of this material online. The wonderful new guide produced by the BUFVC cuts through the uncertainty and complexity and will undoubtedly encourage historians and researchers in other disciplines to make greater use of audiovisual source materials – whether a computer game, a television channel ident, a previously unaired radio programme or a Hollywood film. I strongly encourage journal editors in particular to add it to the guidance that they provide for authors.”
To produce these guidelines, BUFVC established a working group of academics, researchers, journal editors and archivists, formed as part of the HEFCE-funded Shared Services project.
Richard Ranft, head of sound and vision, The British Library, says: "From the beginning of the 20th century, sound and moving image media in all their various formats have captured the most significant moments in human creativity and endeavour. Yet even in the present century, there remains doubt over the validity of referencing sound and moving images, whether in academic publishing or the popular media, due in part to the absence of accepted citation guidelines. By establishing clear instructions that are on a par with traditional bibliographic citation styles, this new publication will help unlock the vast resource that is preserved in sound and moving image archives."
This is the first edition of the guidelines and it will be reviewed periodically to respond to advances in technology, the development of new media platforms and the needs of the user. The BUFVC welcomes comments and feedback via email@example.com, or join the discussion by tweeting @bufvc #AVcitation.
An interactive version of the guidelines is available to download from the BUFVC website.
Seven European countries are launching 4C (the Collaboration to Clarify the Costs of Curation) to help public and private European organisations invest more effectively in digital curation and preservation, sustaining the long-term value of all types of digital information.
Curation ensures digital objects remain understandable, accessible, useable and safe over time. 4C will provide practical guidance to help organisations estimate the cost of digital curation work and demonstrate the long and short term benefits.
Alex Thirifays, National Archives of Denmark, explains: “As well as bringing together a fragmented research landscape, the project will create an online ‘curation costs exchange’ which will help users to model their costs and in this way predict more accurately the sorts of costs and benefits that are likely to result from the positive decision to preserve. This will be useful for managers in major archives and data centres and we hope it will support preservation planning functions. These tools will be particularly useful for policy-makers concerned about long-term access to data. In addition we will publish a roadmap for future work in modelling costs which will help to clarify the areas which need more support.”
Neil Grindley, project co-ordinator from Jisc in the UK, explains: “It can be difficult to make a convincing case for investment in digital curation for two reasons. Firstly the costs of curation are currently hard to predict and secondly the short term benefits are hard to define because curation implicitly addresses long-term challenges.” 4C will address both concerns and provide practical guidance that will help practitioners persuade executives to invest in new services.
4C is described as ‘open and social’ and rather than waiting for perfect and polished results, they will be blogging and sharing findings as they go. 4C hope that this will encourage debate and increase the likelihood that their findings and guidance are useful.
Sabine Schrimpf of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Germany, says: “We are looking to engage with many different kinds of organisations and to set up partnerships and have discussions with everyone who would like to get involved in the development of these tools. We’ll be inviting people to workshops and focus groups during the next two years, and we’ll be organising a conference to share our results at the end of the process.”
The partners involved are: Danish National Archives (Denmark), DANS - Data Archiving and Network Service (Netherlands), Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (Germany), Digital Curation Centre (UK), Digital Preservation Coalition (UK), Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (UK), Institute for Information Systems and Computing Research (Portugal), Jisc (UK), Keep Solutions (Portugal), National Library of (Estonia), Royal Library of Denmark (Denmark), Secure Business (Austria), UK Data Archive (UK).
A major survey of UK Academics released today examines the attitudes of researchers and practitioners working within higher education. It sheds light on their behaviours, including their reliance on digital technologies, the Internet and open access.
The survey, funded and guided by Jisc and RLUK and conducted on their behalf by the not-for-profit research organisation Ithaka S+R, received 3,498 responses, (a response rate of 7.9%). The survey covers a range of areas from how academics discover and stay abreast of research, to their teaching of undergraduates. How they choose research topics and publication channels, to their views on learned societies and university libraries, and their collections.
Overarching themes are an increasing reliance on the Internet for their research and publishing activities and the strong role that openness is playing in their work. Key findings include:
- Access limitations – While 86% of respondents report relying on their college or university library collections and subscriptions, 49% indicated that they would often like to use journal articles that are not in those collections. (Figure 19, page 37)
- Use of open resources - If researchers can’t find the resources or information they need through their university library, 90% of respondents often or occasionally look online for a freely available version. (Figure 21, page 40)
- The Internet as starting point – 40% of researchers surveyed said that when beginning a project they start by searching the Internet for relevant materials, with only 2% visiting the physical library as a first port of call. (Figure 6, page 22)
- Following one’s peers – The findings suggest that the majority of researchers track the work of colleagues and leading researchers as a way of keeping up to date with developments in their field. (Figure 9, page 26)
- Emergence of e-publications – The findings show that e-journals have largely replaced physical usage for research, but that contrasting views exist on replacement of print by e-publications, where print still holds importance within the Humanities and Social Sciences and for in-depth reading in general. (Figure 16, page 34 and Figures 10-13, pages 28-31)
Rachel Bruce, innovation director for digital infrastructure, Jisc, explains: “Across the findings, this survey confirms that the open web is the first port of call for academics starting research. If an article is not available through the library the majority of academics will go straight to the web to look for a free copy, suggesting that open access is becoming a critical component of the research process. It also confirms our expectation that libraries have an important role to play in both surfacing open content on the web and ensuring open content is accessible through library systems.”
Chair of RLUK, Stella Butler, commented: “University libraries have long ceased to be passive repositories of information. Our role as gateways to research findings and as curators of knowledge, including data, is clearly expanding. The results of this survey will help all libraries explore the changing needs of one of our key customer groups and help RLUK re-define the research library model.”
Deanna Marcum, managing director, Ithaka S+R, added: “Across the UK, organisations are deeply focused on the development of new policies and their implementation to transform research and higher education in the wake of emerging technologies and the charge to deliver the impact that the public expects. We hope this survey provides meaningful insight and will help in strategic decision-making as the future unfolds.”
Higher education leaders will gather at a workshop in London on the 20th May to discuss the survey results and consider the ways in which their organisations can align their efforts more closely with what academics say they need.
Homepage image: CC BY flickr/dailyfortnight .
Responding to the findings of the latest Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) report, jointly produced with Which?, on the academic experience of students in higher education, NUS said it was no surprise that there had been a rise in students feeling their courses weren’t good value for money but that they had little power to act on their dissatisfaction.
However, with its focus on ‘face-to-face contact hours’, the report may be missing the many ways in which institutions and academics are using technology to guide and support students, and ultimately transform the student experience.
In the digital age, the nature of the student experience is changing rapidly and access to resources and to teaching staff has been transformed. Contact time need no longer mean students and staff sitting in the same seminar room – lectures can be filmed and watched online at a time that suits the learner, academics may engage with and offer feedback to students via email, Facebook and even twitter rather than in time-constrained seminars or tutorials. In this type of model students can engage with digital resources ahead of face-to-face sessions and then use the contact time more fruitfully for discussion and interaction.
"The report's headline figures do not distinguish between different kinds of contact time, so there is a danger that an institution that primarily engages in old-fashioned 'chalk and talk' transmission-style lecturing might appear to be offering more contact hours than an institution that is using technology to deploy resources and contact time more strategically and effectively," said Martyn Harrow, chief executive of Jisc.
"As the student body becomes more diverse, so institutions need to find ways to ensure that their teaching modes and materials reflect different learning preferences and types of study and attendance. Technology offers a range of ways to do this and to enhance student access to resources and staff both inside and outside university owned systems."
Jisc has been supporting institutions to enhance the student experience for over 20 years. It offers advice and guidance on how technology can wrap the institution around the learner, providing accurate and personalised resources and services. It funds projects to help institutions better understand their learners' needs, from learning analytics and comparative course data to creating a seamless student experience.
Learning providers, supported by Jisc Regional Support Centres across the UK, are being urged to take the opportunity to influence the future products and services to be offered.
Jisc regularly polls the further education and skills community to make sure that the products and services offered by the organisation meets the needs of the sector.
In 2011 the survey highlighted a number of different priorities, including:
- Improving the learning experience
- Advice on staff development
- Maximising shared services and
- Improving classroom, work-based and mobile learning.
Robert Haymon-Collins, Jisc executive director customer experience, said, “This year’s survey went out in April to many thousands of individuals and organisations and early response rates have been good, but there is still time to make your views known to us, and to help us improve our services.
“In the past few years the results of the surveys have helped us to shape what we do for our users and customers, in particular how to improve the student experience and how organisations can best take advantage of the fast moving world of digital technologies. We have developed toolkits, run webinars and offered staff development resources in direct response to the survey’s findings.
“2013 is a major year for Jisc in creating a more customer focused organisation. The survey is part of the process that will inform and drive our operational and strategic priorities – moving Jisc increasingly from a ‘product’ organisation to a ‘solution’ organisation,” added Robert.
If you are one of the 2000 learning providers supported by the UK network of Jisc Regional Support Centres you can complete the survey here.
Manufacturing Pasts, a project led by the University of Leicester and funded by Jisc, today releases over 1,700 historical sources for learning and teaching. The resources tell the story of what life was like and how quickly it changed in British industrial cities during the second half of the twentieth century.
Taking Leicester as a powerful example of these changes, the historical sources include photographs, maps, architectural drawings, oral history interviews, company publications and newspaper articles.
The related learning resources include videos, visual guides and selected historical sources.
All the resources have been released under a Creative Commons open licence (CC BY-NC). This means that they can be re-used and adapted by anyone, providing the creator of the work is acknowledged and the use is for non-commercial purposes.
Four major themes are used to illustrate the changing industrial city:
- Conservation and Regeneration
- Social Life of the Factory
- The Factory and the Community
Simon Gunn, professor of urban history at the University of Leicester, comments: “Go into any major library and you will find lots of books on British industrial cities during the nineteenth century. But you will be hard pressed to find much on the 1930s onwards. Manufacturing Pasts fills that gap. Having these materials online has all sorts of other benefits as well, such as seeing connections between different kinds of historical sources that you might not otherwise notice – between maps and photographs, for example. Manufacturing Pasts is relevant to higher education students at all levels – supporting both dissertations and projects exploring one of the historical themes.”
Paola Marchionni, programme manager of digitisation at Jisc says: “Manufacturing Pasts is a great example of partnership work that has brought together knowledge and expertise from historians, librarians, archivists and learning technologists in the creation of versatile digital resources. The team has done an excellent job in providing easy access to both primary historical material as well as contextual background through imaginative resources such as virtual tours, timelines, videos, and cleverly used PowerPoint presentations. This project has opened up material to a variety of users, from undergraduate and postgraduate students to colleges, local groups and historians, and has already attracted a good degree of public interest.”
As well as being used in teaching, these resources are also intended to appeal to historians generally.
Manufacturing Pasts featured at a conference on Leicester’s industrial past, present and future on 27 April organised by the University of Leicester and the Leicestershire Industrial History Society. It will be presented at the Transformation of Urban Britain conference which takes place at the University of Leicester from 9 – 10 July.
Selected resources from Manufacturing Pasts can also be viewed on the University of Leicester’s new iTunes U site.
JISC EMBEDDED OBJECT
Jisc invites tenders for an individual or organisation to be the Jisc ‘Wikimedia Ambassador' and run a nine month training and coordination project for the use of Wikimedia tools and techniques for educational purposes.
The purpose of the training is to disseminate skills and knowledge leading to improved coverage and accuracy of articles relating to information produced by Jisc funded programmes presented on Wikimedia projects. The purpose of the coordination project is to promote open knowledge and to increase the uptake and use of Wikimedia tools for the dissemination of academic knowledge and content.
The deadline for tenders is 12 noon UK time on Wednesday 22 May 2013. The final work under this contract should be completed by 14 March 2014.
Insights into the social history and cultural change of those living in the 1980s give a fascinating overview of life in Thatcher’s Britain.
The Observing the 1980s project at the University of Sussex, funded by Jisc, collates first-hand accounts, written by volunteers, of their daily lives and views which were collected throughout the decade as part of the Mass Observation Archive. This material offers a unique and inspiring insight into the lives and opinions of British people from all social classes and regions during the 80s period.
The project brings together ‘voices’ from the Mass Observation Project and the British Library’s Oral history collections alongside 1980s documents and ephemera such as public information leaflets, pamphlets, posters and tickets from the University of Sussex Library’s archives. As well as Margaret Thatcher, the Falklands War and the miners’ strike, other topics covered include Charles and Diana’s wedding, terrorism, AIDS, unemployment and immigration.
Paola Marchionni, programme manager at Jisc, says: “Jisc has invested in this project in recognition of the value of how people’s stories can enrich the teaching and learning of recent history. Observing the 1980s is a truly collaborative effort that brings together different departments and expertise within the University of Sussex along with external partners, such as the British Library, in the delivery of innovative open educational resources.”
The material is also embedded into the University of Sussex Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) using open Moodle software. A variety of open education resources have been created including one titled, ‘Thatcher's Britain: Observing the 1980s’, this contains videos, images and slides and can be accessed by anyone through a guest login with no need sign up. There are also several infographics covering the Falklands Conflict, unemployment, the miners’ strike and sexuality in Thatcher’s Britain on the website.
Historian Dr Lucy Robinson, academic lead for the project who created the 1984: Thatcher's Britain course at the University of Sussex and developed the new open version, says: “The 1980s is attractive to historians because the decade is both close enough and far away enough to allow us to explore the limits of historical perspective and offers a diverse range of subjects in what was the last era before the internet revolution. A lot of the material comprises the personal memories of people who lived through the Thatcher era, making this resource seem all the more resonant now.”
Additionally, a key benefit for educators is in the raw nature of the information and its potential use across subject areas such as politics, sociology, oral history, cultural and media studies, linguistics, gender studies, narrative and memory studies, migration studies, folklore studies, anthropology and contemporary history. Currently no established historiography of the 1980s exists, which adds to the value of digitising these collections and disseminating them as open educational resources.
It will also be available through HumBox and JORUM as well as via other educational resource sites such as the British Library.
Hear Dr Robinson talk about the Observing the 80s project on YouTube.
Today researchers at UK universities will carry out 3D demonstrations on a ‘virtual patient’, showing how groundbreaking ultra high definition (UHD) technology is making a real difference to medical training and diagnosis.
Already used by trainee radiographers at Cardiff University, UHD technology, using the UK’s research and education high-speed data network Janet, has the potential to revolutionise the way medical training is conducted. It will not only free up treatment rooms for patients but also enable students to grow their competences in a virtual world before treating 'actual' patients. By sharing resources with other university sites significant savings could be made, as well as enabling shared expertise.
This showcase is the first of two run by the UK Ultra High Definition Consortium consisting of the universities of Cardiff, Bristol and Strathclyde, and Glasgow School of Art. Today’s demonstration shows radiographers at Cardiff’s Healthcare Studies undergoing training on a ‘virtual patient’ using 3D technology, bringing to life an area of the body in need of treatment. The streams, of 4-8K content (that’s 4 – 8 times the resolution of normal HD) will also be shared with other sites at Bristol and PSNC (The Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Centre in Poland). It will also show computational modelling on arterial cells - the results of collaboration with the Cardiovascular Sciences Research Group based at the Wales Heart Research Institute in Cardiff.
Nick Avis, professor of interactive visualization and virtual environments at Cardiff University’s School of Computer Science & Informatics explains: “The great thing about UHD video is that it enables us to use high fidelity visuals to replicate the human body, which are critical for modern diagnostics. However, delivering this data-intensive digital media to remote users, whilst retaining high visual quality, requires high-speed networking and infrastructure.
“We are fortunate to be able to use Janet’s high capacity data network to collaborate with research partners and push the boundaries of this technology, not only in the UK but internationally too.”
Dimitra Simeonidou, professor of high performance networks at the University of Bristol explains: “For remote applications, such as real time medical training to thrive, the network infrastructure must become dynamic and readily consumable. A fundamentally new approach is required in the way we design today's networks.
“The High Performance Networks group at Bristol develops ground-breaking technology which automates any network infrastructure, transforming it into a reflexive environment that instantaneously establishes network services at global scales. Today we demonstrate the benefits of such technologies using the medical training platform at Cardiff as exemplary application.”
The UK Ultra High Definition Consortium is the first of its kind in the country to build an integrated networked infrastructure for research into novel multimedia techniques and networking architectures. Through their work, the group aims to develop and deploy the next generation of networked UHD applications.
Emma Smith, video projects co-ordinator at Janet, member of the UK Ultra High Definition Consortium explains: “Ultra High Definition is the next generation of high fidelity digital media. Until now it has been most heavily associated with the entertainment industry and more recently large-screen coverage of the 2012 Olympics.
“This research will not only benefit research and education, but also has the potential to enable virtual museums/tourism, performing arts collaborations and many more. We are pleased to be able to support these types of collaborations through Janet.”
Already other research into UHD technology is taking shape as a direct result of this project. This includes a proposal for an EU/Brazil partnership to explore the infrastructure requirements to combine technical developments in cloud technology and the use of high definition content. It may yet be some years off, but as research in this area develops we may start to see its deployment across a wider range of disciplines and eventually across mainstream video.
A second showcase will take place later in the year at Glasgow School of Arts to further demonstrate the use of this technology.
Portfolio boosting national recognition and a major grand prize – can you create an eye catching poster for the National Student Survey (NSS) that will be seen in every university in the country?
This year’s NSS poster competition is your opportunity to showcase your creative skills and have your design included in its high profile national marketing campaign.
This month sees the UK’s Research Councils’ (RCUK) revised policy on open access (OA) come into force for publicly-funded research to be disseminated through OA routes. A new metadata application profile called RIOXX has been developed by Jisc and UKOLN to ensure that university Institutional Repositories can start to comply with this policy.
Currently key information about research outputs are not systematically recorded and funders and universities face a challenge in tracking research across systems. The first release of RIOXX and the associated guidance focuses on applying consistency to the metadata fields used to record research funder and project/grant identifiers. This will allow research outputs to be consistently tracked between systems thus saving time and effort for activates such as research reporting, compliance checking and gathering business intelligence.
Neil Jacobs, Jisc’s digital infrastructure programme director says: “The UK research community punches well above its weight in terms of the quality and quantity of research outputs. However, these are not systematically recorded and attributed to research grants, so it can be hard to demonstrate that impact. Researchers, universities and funders have a common interest in ensuring that the outputs from UK research are visible and correctly attributed to units of funding.”
RIOXX also takes into account the need for interoperability between repositories, current research information systems (CRISs) and the Outcome Collection Systems (ROS), and Researchfish operated by research funders. It is has taken into consideration other metadata schemas such as ETHoS and OpenAIRE. Future releases of the profile and guidelines will also include the agreed language to track OA publications, and support compliance monitoring with the Research Councils’ policy on OA.
Neil adds: “It is important for UK universities to start to plan to engage and implement the RIOXX metadata application profile as soon as possible as it will support greater automation of collection of information on publications and other research outcomes. Associated software enhancements will also be available to support easy implementation.”
Dr Mari Williams, chair of the RCUK Research Outcomes Project comments: “The RIOXX guidelines offer clear and practical guidance to organisations wanting to attribute research outcome information to specific funders and research grants in their repositories. We look forward to agreed Open Access vocabularies being included in the RIOXX Profile within the near future.”