Author Archives: Deborah Fitchett

Dataset published on access to conference proceedings – thank you!

Thanks to all who’ve helped —

(Andrea, apm, Catherine Fitchett, Sarah Gallagher, Alison Fields, KNB, Manja Pieters, Brendan Smith, Dave, Hadrian Taylor, Theresa Rielly, Jacinta Osman, Poppa-Bear, Richard White, Sierra de la Croix, Christina Pikas, Jo Simons, and Ruth Lewis, plus some anonymous benefactors)

— all the conferences I was investigating have been investigated. 🙂  I’ve since checked everything for consistency and link rot, added in a set of references that I had to research myself as I couldn’t anonymise them sufficiently in the initial run; deduplicated a few more times – conference names vary ridiculously – and finally ended up with a total of 1849 conferences which I’ve now published at

The immediately obvious stats from this dataset include:

Access to proceedings

  • 23.36% of conferences in the dataset had some form of free online proceedings – full-text papers, slides, or audiovisual recordings.
  • 21.85% had a non-free online proceedings
  • 30.72% had a physical proceedings available – printed book, CD/DVD, USB stick, etc, but not including generic references to proceedings having been given to delegates
  • 45.27% had no proceedings identifiable

(Percentages don’t add to 100% as some conferences had proceedings in multiple forms.)

Access to free online proceedings by year

This doesn’t seem to have varied much over the 6 years most of the conferences took place in:

2006: 39 / 173 = 22.54%
2007: 39 / 177 = 22.03%
2008: 62 / 258 = 24.03%
2009: 63 / 284 = 22.18%
2010: 105 / 428 = 24.53%
2011: 123 / 520 = 23.65%

Conferences attended by country

Conferences attended were in 75 different countries, including those with more than 20 conferences:

New Zealand: 429
USA: 297
Australia: 286
UK: 130
Canada: 67
China: 66
Germany: 44
France: 41
Italy: 35
Portugal: 31
Japan: 29
Spain: 28
Netherlands: 27
Singapore: 25

I won’t break down access to proceedings here, because this data is inherently skewed by the nature of the sample: conferences attended by New Zealand researchers. This means that small conferences in or near New Zealand are much more likely to be included than small conferences in other parts of the world. If a small conference is less resourced to put together and maintain a free online proceedings – or conversely a large society conference is prone to more traditional (non-free) publication options – this variation by conference size/type could easily outweigh any actual variation by country. So I need to do some thinking and discussing with people to see if there’s any actual meaning that can be pulled from the data as it stands. If you’ve got any thoughts on this I’d love to hear from you!

Further analysis now continues….

Progress report on how you’ve helped my research

At this point at least 20 people have helped me look for conference proceedings (some haven’t left a name so it’s somewhere between 20 and 42), which is awesome: thank you all so much! Last week saw us pass the halfway mark, an exciting moment. As of this morning, statistics are:

  • 1187 out of 1958 conferences investigated = 59% done
  • 312 have proceedings free online (26%)
  • of those without free proceedings, 292 have non-free proceedings online
  • of those without any online proceedings, 109 have physical proceedings (especially books or CDs)
  • 472 have no identifiable proceedings (40%)

I’ve got locations for all 1958, pending some checking. Remember this is out of conferences that New Zealand researchers presented at and nominated for their 2012 PBRF portfolio.

The top countries are:
New Zealand    492
Australia    315
USA    304
UK    133
Canada    69
(with China close behind at 68)

In New Zealand, top cities are predictably:
Auckland    154
Wellington    98
Christchurch    53
Dunedin    38
Hamilton    35

Along the way I’ve noticed some things that make the search harder:

  • sometimes authors, or the people verifying their sources, made mistakes in the citation
  • or sometimes people cited the proceedings instead of the conference itself – this isn’t a mistake in the context of the original data entry but makes reconciling the year and the city difficult.
  • or sometimes their citation was perfectly clear, but my attempt to extract the data into tidy columns introduced… misunderstandings (aka terrible, terrible mistakes).
  • or we’ve ended up searching for the same conference a whole pile of times because various people call it the Annual Conference of X, the Annual X Conference, the X Annual Conference, the International Conference of X, the Annual Meeting of X, etc etc.

On the other hand I’ve also noticed some things that make the search easier – either for me:

  • having done so many, I’m starting to recognise titles, so I can search the spreadsheet and often copy/paste a line
  • when all else fails I have access to the source data, so I can look up the title of the paper if I need to figure out whether I’m trying to find the 2008 or 2009 conference.

And things that could be generally helpful:

  • if a conference makes any mention of ACM, whether in the title or as a sponsor, then chances are the proceedings are listed in
  • if it mentions IEEE, try  If it’s there, then on the page for the appropriate year, scroll down and look on the right for the “Purchase print from partner” link – chances are you’ll get a page with an ISBN for the print option; plus confirming the location which is harder to find on IEEEXplore itself.
  • if it’s about computer science in any way, shape or form, then can probably point you to the source(s). This is the best way to find anything published as a Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) because Springer’s site doesn’t search for conferences very well.
  • if you do a web search and see a search result for, this will confirm the year/title/location of a conference, and give you an event website (which may or may not still be around, but it’s a start). Unfortunately I haven’t found a way to search the site directly for past conferences.
  • a search result for WorldCat will usually confirm year/title/location and (if you scroll down past the holding libraries) often give you the ISBN for the print proceedings.

And two things that have delighted me:

  • Finding some online proceedings in the form of a page listing all the papers’ DOIs – which resolve to the papers on Dropbox.
  • Two of the conferences in the dataset have no identifiable city/country – because they were held entirely online.

I I am of course still eagerly soliciting help, if anyone has 10 minutes here or there over the next month (take a break from the silly season? 🙂  Check out my original post for more, or jump straight to the spreadsheet.

Help me research conference proceedings and open access

I’ve been interested for a while in the amount of scientific/academic knowledge that gets lost to the world due to conference proceedings not being open access / disappearing off the face of the internet. My main question at the moment is, just how much is lost and how much is still available?

Unfortunately googling 1,955 conferences will rapidly give me RSI, so I’m hoping I can convince you to do a few for me – in the interests of science!

Background: I’ve written elsewhere about Open Access to conference literature (short version: conferences are where a huge amount of research gets its first public airing, yet conference papers are notoriously hard to track down after the fact) and Open Access and the PBRF (short version: if conference papers were all OA, PBRF verification/auditing would become a lot easier). Here I’m wanting to quantify the situation.

The data: The original dataset was sourced from TEC, from the list of conference-related NROs (nominated research outputs) from the 2012 PBRF round. There are obvious and non-obvious limitations but basically I feel this makes it a fairly good listing of conferences between 2006-2011 that New Zealand academics presented at and felt that presentation was worthy of being included among their best work for the period. The original dataset is confidential, but I’ve received permission to post a derived, anonymised dataset publically for collaborative purposes, and in due course publish it on figshare.

How you can help:
(Note: by contributing to the spreadsheet you’re agreeing to licence your contribution under a Creative Commons Zero licence, meaning anyone can later reuse it in any way with or without attribution. (Though I’ll be attributing it in the first instance – see below.))

  1. Go to the spreadsheet containing the list of conferences
  2. Pick a conference that doesn’t have any URLs/notes/name-to-credit
  3. SearchGoogle/DuckDuckGo/your search engine of choice for the conference name, year, and city to find a conference website. Assuming you find one:
  4. Correct any details that are wrong or missing: eg expand the acronym; add in missing locations; if the website says it’s the 23rd annual conference put “23” in the “No.” column, etc.
  5. Browse on the website for proceedings, list of papers, table of contents, etc. If you find:
    • a list of papers including links to the full text of each paper freely accessible, paste the URL in “Proceedings URL: free online”
    • a list of papers including links to the full text but requiring a login (including in a database or special journal issue), paste the URL in “Proceedings URL: non-free online”
    • information about offline proceedings eg a CD or book, paste the URL in “Proceedings URL/info re print/CD/etc”
    • none of the above, paste the URL of the conference website for that year in “Other URL: conference website”
  6. If you can’t find any conference website at all, write that in “Any notes” so others don’t try endlessly repeating the futile search!
  7. Sign with a “Name to credit” for your work. If you’d prefer to remain anonymous, put in n/a.
  8. If you like, return to step 2. 🙂
  9. Share this link around!

What I’ll do with it:
First I’ll check it all! And obviously I’ll pull it back into my research and finish that up. I’ll also publish the final checked dataset on figshare under Creative Commons Zero licence so others can use it in their research. I’ll acknowledge everyone who helps and provides a name, in the creation of the dataset and in the paper I’m working on. And if someone wants to do a whole pile and/or be otherwise involved in the research then talk to me about coauthorship!

Why don’t I just use…

  • Mechanical Turk: I’m boycotting Amazon, for various reasons. Plus I consider a fair price for the work would be at least US$0.50 a conference (possibly double that) and as that’s a bit harder to afford I feel more ethical being upfront about asking folk to do it for free.
  • Library assistants: I am doing this a bit but there’s a limited period where they’re still working before summer hours and things have got quiet enough that they have time.
  • Something else: Ask me, I may want to!

Other questions
Please comment or email me.

Summary of 26 #theta2015 sessions

So yes, it turns out that I attended 26 sessions at #theta2015. This link is to the tag here on my blog, so in addition to all my live-blogged notes it self-referentially includes this post and any future thoughts arising (I have at least one post planned on altmetrics and oral presentations). For those daunted by the thought of that much reading (including my future self, for when asked what I got out of it), here’s a more scannable summary.

Highlighted are those titles that I particularly want to refer back to for one reason or another, which may bear only passing resemblance to those titles that will be of interest to others.

Day 1:

  1. Waves of the Future: Possibilities for Higher Education: throws out a bunch of exciting/terrifying trends affecting higher education and posits some provocative scenarios for the future (open wins; closed wins; automation wins; creative renaissance). Much to think about.
  2. Changing times, emerging generations: a snapshot of the megatrends affecting higher education: more trends, (Australian) demographics-focused. My notes were brief, just reflecting my own discomfort with this kind of lumping which can neglect vulnerable groups. To which I’d now add that I could see the value of saying “Most people are comfortable with this technology and it’s the new way of the world” if you immediately follow it up with “So how do we support people who aren’t?”
  3. Integrating user support for eResearch services within institutions. Lessons learned from AeRO Stage 2 User Support Project: successfully introduced a maturity model for services to provide user support as realised a completely centralised approach wasn’t workable. I’ve come across the maturity model idea before so great to hear more about it and its advantages here; it seems like something that could be useful in all sorts of contexts both in getting ourselves/other institutions up to scratch, and in supporting researchers and other staff (and students too, why not?) to upskill in all sorts of areas of expertise.
  4. 264 students, eight courses, 792 High Definition video streams, no walls: primarily a ‘look at our awesome technology/learning space’ presentation (re a wet lab that can accommodate 8 simultaneous classes – it is in fact awesome) but also good takeaways about the power of stakeholder engagement and prototyping in a successful project.
  5. Forging productive partnerships between learning, teaching, library, and IT: panel discussion about value of collaboration between these groups. Executive summary: it’s super valuable, let’s all do more of that (but also some challenges).
  6. Where does Campus Learning become Online Learning? Emerging trends in learning space design and usage: panel discussion on developing good learning space from various perspectives (academic and IT definitely in the mix). I noted a linkage to the value of collaboration panel above; also now note the link to maturity models implied by idea that putting slides online, while not actual online teaching, can be a starting point.
  7. A Real-time Step into Space: Reducing complaints about study space by providing monitored “satellite” spaces (with “shushing”) and creating an app linked to gatecount cameras to tell students where they can find free spaces. This spawned a brief Twitter discussion in which @GraemeO28 asked if there was an app to shush students and I suggested (accidentally under the wrong Twitter account) a shushing librarian avatar on a wall screen activated by decibel levels.
  8. Video-conferencing and teaching – From outback Queensland to Ireland and back again: looked at student engagement with lectures using video-conferencing a) class from one campus to another and b) video-conferencing to enable lectures by industry experts. Some good discussion about challenges and benefits (especially with the industry engagement).
  9. Connecting data to actions for improved learning: Scan of much-increased sources of data that can be used for learning analytics to predict and head-off failure/drop-outs. Idea of letting students track own data along with health, cf Fitbit-style wearables. (I’d point out that health-monitoring wearables have fallen prey to unconscious bias: male designers fail to include monitoring of periods; white designers accidentally make the pulse detection fail with dark skin. So we’d need to be careful of things like this.) In questions the ‘creepy’ factor was also discussed.
  10. Innovations in publishing; giving control back to authors: I didn’t write down much detail of this good overview of the trend to open in publishing. Being familiar with that, for me the interesting part is the question raised by the conclusion about how we need to shift the power from the publishers (who still have it, even under open access) to the authors. The question being: how do we do this? given that it requires authors to have knowledge, do they even want it? Sometimes with great power comes great mental fatigue…

Day 2

  1. Learning Sciences & the Impact on Learning Technologies and Learning Activities: This turned out to be the session I’d come for: a great introduction to how we know a whole lot about learning and we should be designing learning tools around good learning practices. People aren’t good at estimating their own competence – but increasingly there are adaptive learning solutions out there that can.
  2. How will digital humanities in the future use cultural data?: primarily an overview of how digital humanities scholars use data now. Suggests talking to researchers about what materials they need, investigate APIs, and provide training.
  3. B(uild)YO skilled Data Librarian: flipped classroom so I was too busy participating to take notes
  4. ‘Let’s be brief(ed)’: Library design, education pedagogy and service delivery: participatory design and built pedagogy in redesigning library space for an architecture library. The library as reference material for architecture students, as well as including varied learning/study spaces.
  5. Evolving customer engagement: Using mobile technology and gamification to improve awareness of and access to library services: used Blogger and Google Forms to make their regular library orientation tour more self-directed and fun. So evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Appreciated that they mentioned the (significant) time it took to do the work at various stages, also the demo with a custom-designed ‘game’ for the session.
  6. Towards a New Library of Resources for Higher Education Learning and Teaching: presentation focused on the choice of a vocabulary (to improve search effectiveness) and work involved in mapping terms.
  7. Curtin Library Rocking the (meta)data: a nice point about the line between data and metadata not being clear. Mostly about a specific digitisation project; interesting take away that this was seen as the best way for librarians to develop data skills ‘on the job’, and that they would need to learn new skills for each new project. So then does that mean we shouldn’t worry about generic upskilling, but just jump in? It certainly implies that we shouldn’t assume learning curve (and the time/training/money needed for that) will be less on second or subsequent projects.
  8. Elements Integration – lets chat about Research Repository and populating Researcher Profiles: unfortunately garnered far more prospective Elements users than current ones, which unbalanced the desired discussion and probably didn’t turn out to be very helpful for anyone.
  9. KISS Goodbye to roadblocks in scholarly infrastructure: a bit about open access, but particularly interesting discussion on the need for persistent identifiers especially in the context of the proliferation of standards. ORCID’s tried to avoid pitfalls but early days…
  10. Reimaging the University Helpdesk for the Next Generation of Digital Research Skills: introduced various support services including software/data carpentry workshops, research tool ‘speed dating’, hacky hour at the bar, Research Bazaar. Idea that everyone works in different ways so need different methods. This is resource intensive so I especially liked the idea of essentially matchmaking researchers who know a tool with those who want to learn it to develop a sustainable research community. In later discussion @kairos001 pointed out this is also hard to sustain in a small environment where there isn’t a critical mass of researchers knowing any basic tools. So maybe we need to collaborate with other local unis/CRIs, or even facilitate bringing in external experts.

Day 3:

  1. From Information to Meta Knowledge: Embracing the Digitally and Computable Open Knowledge Future: state of the nation of research libraries in China which are rapidly changing to support research. Culminated in a shocking mention that these libraries are currently hiring more STEM grads than library grads – seen as easier to teach STEM grads library skills than to teach library grads the needed STEM skills. This was clarified as a temporary situation – ideally want to get library schools to restructure somehow to support needed skills. Still felt to me like the focus on STEM might be at the expense of other important aspects of librarianship and even of research viewed more broadly.
  2. Creating Connections in Complexity: discussions at the intersection of big data & learning: flipped presentation but I got a few notes down on the question of where is the ‘human’ in analytics. Provided me with thinky thoughts about not losing the individual in the pattern, and about not devaluing creativity in favour of empirical/quantifiable analyses.
  3. Design Develop Implement – A team-based approach to learning design: helped people wanting to design new learning objects / programs through a short program of workshops and consultations. I didn’t get a lot out of this session but there may be more of use from their website.
  4. Copyright and compliance when the law can’t keep up: Issues with innovation in online classrooms: a good discussion of navigating a middle way between hyper-compliance and total disregard of copyright law, by focusing on managing risk. Gave a useful checklist of things to think about when making decisions, with examples.
  5. Flexible, Secure and Sharable Storage for Researchers: overview of the storage solution they developed for research data and some of the features they built in. Developed for working data – not intended to provide storage for published data – but some thought put into archival (primarily taking the “long-term storage space is cheap, let’s keep everything” approach and figuring they’ll deal with the long-term costs of this if it gets popular enough).
  6. Better connected education – The future classroom & campus: high-level overview of trends in ICT as affecting higher ed. Not in a style I was able to easily note-take so hopefully there’ll be slides online.

And finally:

Better connected education: future classroom & campus #theta2015

Better connected education – The future classroom & campus
Sue Bryant (Huawei)

Education, its role, and its delivery is changing especially with respect to ICT (as is everything else in the world). It’s starting to become more like a business. [This is my sadface: 🙁 ] Rise in number of foreign students, and increase in offshore branches [especially for Australia]. “Technology is the equaliser” [for those that have the technology].

How we learn is changing: passive learning vs proactive learning.
Learning pyramid from lower to higher retention rates: lecture, reading, av, demo, discussion, practice, teaching others.

Virtual interactive campus – need to think about pre-class preparation; in-class teaching; after-class coaching; extracurricular learning.
Collaborative learning platforms to support interactive classrooms: primary classroom but also remote classroom; learning at home; mobile technology [learning on the bus, in the waiting room, etc]
Envisaging everything cloud-based so teacher can create lesson or preview and send to class before / during. Different teaching aids. Homework / discussion forums post-class. Students can go to portal to see schedule, who’s in class, tools to manage education.

[Slides reference “ICT in education in New Zealand, agenda for the future” but I only find ICT in schools.] China has an “ICT in Education” 10-year plan.

[Vast amount of data on slides here; everyone’s frantically taking photos; I’m assuming the slides will go up somewhere sometime.]

Internet of Things may not be huge at universities, but many looking at smart cities. Hi-def video not currently developing over a network but in future could do so over 5G. Students expect to BYOD and use these so need to accommodate them as we move forward (and work out there are security mechanisms in place!) eBooks and ereaders/”ebook tablets”. Community clouds – virtual private clouds, an ‘ecosystem’ of people. Image / data management – enabling the digital library. SDN (software defined networking) – creating a network that’s application-aware – eg when there’s requirements around latency.

Back to 5G: currently we’re limited to thousands of connections per cellsite; on 5G we’re talking millions. Lagency is 50 times lower. Transfer speed 60 timex quicker.

“[technology] is the pen and paper of our time” – David Warlick

Flexible, Secure and Sharable Storage for Researchers #theta2015

Flexible, Secure and Sharable Storage for Researchers (abstract)
Andrew Nielson and Stephen McGregor

Talked a lot to researchers. Quarter of researchers didn’t know how much storage needed. Few needed more than 10TB. Built

Found existing services were uni-focused – hard to give access to external collaborators. Need to be competitive with cloud services. Want to let people collaborate with everyone, but not everyone. So there’s a form that lets researchers invite other users to sign in using a uni, Google, or LinkedIn account.

Needed multiple ways to share. Internal sharing – share with people by name. External sharing – provide a web URL with password protection / expiration date.

Device support: web interface plus apps including desktop sync apps.

Project spaces – you get 5GB storage by default but set up a project and storage space is unlimited. Space is a folder / “logical grouping of data”. When creating, have to include metadata for admin purposes (owner, project name, funder, backup contact). Instant approval and provision – don’t want to get in the way. Unless told to delete old / unaccessed data, just move to cheaper storage – effectively archiving off.

Block level deduplication (basically store a reference to previously stored data) better than single-instancing and lower overhead than compression. Have managed to save 46% space this way. This is needed because software stores entire new version, instead of a diff. “Don’t keep backups” but do replicate/sync between their geographically separated datacenters.

Used by Sciences but also Arts/Ed/Law, Business, and Health.
30% of projects (18 researchers) unfunded – data that would otherwise be on hard drives and uni wouldn’t even know it exists.

Developing and piloting more services including storage for use by instruments.
Currently administrators need to be hands-on to setup service – want to automate.

Q: Mandate?
A: If you force it people get annoyed. Providing option.

Q: Funding going forward given that new data probably bigger?
A: Yeah… basically want to build it well, get data off hard drives, show popularity, and then write business case if/when new space needed. Nowhere near this need yet.

Audience comment that fantastic usability for researchers.
A: Getting feedback from researchers has helped this.

Q: Any data publication service in development?
A: Project focused on working storage. eResearch Services department are working on a system for post-publication storage.

Q: Is it accessible to computational services?
A: Another project in early stages working on computational needs. Data in this format isn’t ideal for putting on servers – technically possible but usually when people are doing stuff on a server they want their storage there too.

Copyright vs innovation in online classrooms #theta2015

Copyright and compliance when the law can’t keep up: Issues with innovation in online classrooms (abstract)
Alison Makins

Some parts of copyright law are too narrow – eg “broadcast” in Aus defined as radio and TV and doesn’t cover iTunesU, Tumblr, Vine, etc etc etc. Some parts are too broad. Change in the law is slow! So copyright can be a huge barrier to innovation. However this shouldn’t hold us back.

Universities tend to end up on ends of spectrum:
Hyper-compliance <--------------------> Total disregard

Alison advocates:

  1. taking copyright out of the picture so people don’t have to think about it. Use open access material and just read the licenses which were designed for users, easier to understand. Sells OA to instructors by stressing flexibility. Copyright exceptions use if locked up in LMS, but no good if you want to be portable. Or often easier to create original content and suggest additional readings.
  2. managing the risk – Some questions are clear-cut; some aren’t. Hyper-compliance says don’t do it (depriving students); total disregard says go for it (possible legal risk) – so middle road of managing the risk.

Think about:

  • What’s the likelihood of consequences? Think: identity of rightsholder; nature of use; scope of use; profitability; mitigating steps – only require reasonable analysis. eg a photo taken by restauranteur, used in full, cited and linked to restaurant website, in a MOOC, clear not trying to profit as taken casually and not trying to profit.

    Secure it (lock it down)
    Clip it (crop it)
    Attribute it
    Put endusers on Notice (so students know what they should do about it
    And also provide a way for people to contact you if they want it taken down so they don’t have to resort to suing.

  • What’s the severity of consequences? Consider: nature of work (how much effort put in?); value of work (proprietary information? market?); damage your use will do to value; scope of use; nature of likely consequences (eg takedown notice – but unlikely if already over internet)

Gives power back to users and takes it away from lawyers. 😀

Encourages everyone to do their own risk assessment – not sustainable to have a single copyright officer deciding everything. Try to walk them through the process.

Most creators (except for scholarly publishers) are comfortable having content used in educational settings.

A team-based approach to learning design #theta2015

Design Develop Implement – A team-based approach to learning design (abstract)
Deidre Seeto and Panos Vlachopoulos

DDI work with teams on learning design – collaborative approach to rapid program design development. Sessions followed by consultations, including preparation for after these sessions are concluded.

Sometimes through story-boarding come up with ideas that requires grants or faculty-partnership.

Case-study: Academic interested in flipping classroom. Came up with idea; wanted to explore feasibility, cost. DDI workshop helped a lot. Well-structured.

Case-study: Wanted to explore infolit design. Got to meet with staff and find out what they wanted to deliver to students. Didn’t realise until went through programme how much goes into designing usable modules. Got much that could pass to colleagues too.

Value of using external facilitators in it. Ongoing relationships important. Had to have a readiness interview – some not really ready. All about dialogue and tools fit for purpose. Practice underpinned by theory. People appreciated the space and time to really think and focus. And were very clear on outcomes; check on them later about their action plans.

See also:

Intersection of big data and learning #theta2015 #bright-dark

Creating Connections in Complexity: discussions at the intersection of big data & learning (abstract and bibliography)
Theresa Anderson @uts_mdsi and Simon Buckingham Shum

“Data is explosive, evolving and infinite” – connecting the dots is important but happens at the expense of things that aren’t connected. Ubiquitous technologies often grab the spotlight, but the ‘invisible hand’ of big data and analytics is important. “datapoints in a graph are tiny portholes onto a rich human world” (Buckingham Shum 2015)

Risk of assumptions and values getting baked into data. Tools don’t just provide access to reality but can shape reality. [Yet] “Raw data is both an oxymoron and a bad idea” (Bowker 2015)

[Flipped classroom presentation – here we start playing with picture cards and post-its to brainstorm and discuss:]

  • where is the ‘human’ in analytics?
  • what human/machine partnerships can/should we enable in computationally intensive work?
  • can the analytics of curation help us support creativity and learning?

[My brainstormed image]

From Information to Meta Knowledge in China #theta2015

From Information to Meta Knowledge: Embracing the Digitally and Computable Open Knowledge Future (abstract)
Dr. Xiaolin Zhang, Director, National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Science

In China average distance of a user to a library is 1000km. Main body of students is graduate students. No broad variety of courses – taught what advisors know.
Chinese Academy of Sciences now taking lead in research and innovation, education etc – dividing institutes into four categories: centres for Excellence; for Innovation; for Big Science Facility; for Special [regional] Needs.

National Science Library coordinates institutional libraries. From beginning of digital library development taking an “e-first” approach to push resources to where researchers are. Federated searching, integrated browsing, ChinaCat, ILL, real-time digital reference. Most print subscriptions cancelled. Can’t subscribe to everything for everyone so organising consortia.

Subject librarians embedded in research institutes. Information analysts. Embedded info systems.

Challenge now:
Print-based communication is a mistake borne out of historical practicality. Knowledge is inherently multi-media. Only e-journals are real journals; only smart books are real books. Transition from subscription journals to open access journals.

Research more inter-disciplinary, collaborative, open. Means most researchers are ignorant of most of the stuff they’re working on! Great need for research informatics: have to quickly analyse unfamiliar field. Tech trends: the machine is the new reader.

What’s the place of the library? Embed in R&D processes: environmental scanning, idea and design testing, data management and analysis, etc. Analyse needs of researchers – not just those in lab (need help with search and retrieval) but also primary investigators (help with discovering, exploring, designing) and deans and directors (help with trend-detecting, road-mapping). Variation between kinds of institutes too. Have to work out who needs what.

So repurposing the library: informational productivity; R&D win by analytics; support open innovation. Huge focus on open accessUser-driven digital information systems – knowledge mapping services and research profiling services based on institutional repositories.

Building teams with domain knowledge – resources for data mining, networks of experts, embedded mechanisms. Hiring scientists more than library school graduates. (Library school recruits from undergrads so these students have no STEM background. Traininable over 5 years but need them to work in field now. Suggesting library school change structure to get needed experience in there.) Developing from a collection library to a creation library to a R&D knowledge service provider.