Notes from my ‘personal pitch’ (#rdtf in Manchester)

Posted on April 20th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

At the JISC/RLUK Opening Data – Opening Doors event in Manchester on Monday I was asked to deliver a five-minute ‘personal pitch’ relating to why the Open Data approach is important/relevant to people/institutions/communities, based around the philosophy driving work at Lincoln.

I didn’t use slides, but here is a verbatim transcription of my handwritten notes (original on Google Docs):

  1. Lincoln has mixture of internal + JISC-funded projects including Jerome, needs two pages of flipchart paper to list all projects —> leading to a project ‘ecology’.
  2. We’re developing platforms for access to space/time (location, room bookings, calendaring), asset, bibliographic, activity, user, course, research data.
  3. It’s less about open data per se (though we are opening up our data!) – more about building openly-accessible platforms for manipulating that data.
  4. ‘Nucleus’ – one platform for services on all opened institutional data. Documented APIs. Inherently rights-based.
  5. ‘Eating our own dog food’. New institutional apps are built on the Nucleus (rather than by exporting and copying data between back-office systems); internal SOA – ‘hearts and minds’ to be won in uni data teams to this approach, but ICT are committed.
  6. Easier migration. Flexible. Integration with third-party services on the same basis.
  7. Concept of Student as Producer – students as active participants in teaching and learning, research, AND in institutional service development & delivery. Conscious rejection of student as passive consumer.
  8. Students building some of the first applications of Lincoln’s open data services – we didn’t ask them to! – stuff we’d never have thought of or not had time to do.
  9. Related: the way we develop open data platforms and services in the first place. Rapid innovation. Joss Winn has approval to establish a new free-floating technology & pedagogy group; will have responsibility to develop + embed new systems.
  10. Benefits – new tools; new methods of working. Quick responses to changes in HE (essential agility!). Partnerships. Active students.
  11. Challenges – licensing (complex history of institution. Many of our MARC records are older than we are!). Too many possibilities? Where do we start?! How to communicate the benefits of this approach succinctly and convincingly. Technical challenges not trivial, but “the great thing about library data standards is that there are so many of them…”

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