Tag Archives: innovation

Beyond Repositories: Problem-solving-oriented #or2017

Beyond Repositories: From Resource-oriented towards Problem-solving-oriented by Dr Xiaolin Zhang, National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences

With the ubiquitous deployment of digital ecosystems, developing repositories to meet next generation needs and functions become an imperative and increasingly active efforts. However, a paradigmatic shift may be needed to prepare repositories to go outside the resource-orientation box, as JISC report “The future of data-driven decision making” puts it, “[I]t is not sufficient simply to focus on exposing, collecting, storing, and sharing data in the raw. It is what you do with it (and when) that counts”.

The presentation first discusses the emerging digital ecosystems in research, learning, publishing, smart campus/cities, knowledge analytics, etc. where traditional content/repositories are just a small part of stories.

Then an exploration is made about making repositories embedded into, integrated with, and proactively contributing to user problem-solving workflows in digital ecosystems such as scholar hub, research informatics, open science, learning analytics, research management, and other situations.

Further effort is attempted to understand (admittedly preliminarily) strategies for repositories to be transformed into part of problem-solving-oriented services, including, but not limited to, 1) enhancing the interoperability to be re-usable to third part “users”, 2) developing repositories into smart content with application contexts, and 3) developing smart contextualization capabilities to better serve multiple, varied, and dynamically integrating problem-solving processes.

[I’ve previously blogged a keynote by Dr Zhang at THETA 2015.] He has a new perspective since moving jobs two years ago.

104 research institutes, 55,000 researchers. Various repositories eg NSFC Repository for Basic Research, CALIS IR portal of 40+ universities. Research data sharing platform, and Chinese Academy of Science distributed research data management and integrative service platform.

  1. Changes in the digital ecosystems
    • Steady progress of repositories but numbers don’t tell the story – better to look at how users use it. Most still collection based and local applications are the main service. What if we move away from repository-based approach. Imagine new scenarios out in society. What do they need?
    • All media and content can be data (including processes, relations, IoT devices, tweets). Can be smart – and semantic publishing will be the new normal. Knowlege as a Service.
    • Transformation from subscription to open access. Born digital = born linkable.
    • eScience is the knowledge system – opening up data-intensive scientific discovery. Not just about access, it’s a different way of doing science
    • Open Science again more than open access, but open evaluation, open process, open collaboration. (Displays open science taxonomy). Even social science now incorporating computational methods.
    • eLearning creating a new knowledge ecosystem. Things changing quickly. In the classroom everyone (200 students) uploading content and system going down even though made plans for it only 2 years ago. Flipped classrooms where students do work before the class in digitally collaborative environments, multimedia-rich laboratories so students can interact with each other. Requires intelligent campus and services. eStudent Center where student’s whole learning life is together to be analysed; university center can look at trends etc
    • Knowledge analytics – converging data science, computer science, information science. Open source tools for data visualisation and analysis. Data analytics can become new infrastructure
    • Moving into the Machine Learning Age? 7.5 million university graduates every year in China
  2. Explorations to re-orient repositories
    • Towards working labs: Elsevier Knowledge Platform; WDCM
    • From resources to problem solving, eg digital healthcare needing knowledge from literature but also from wearables and other devices; eg intelligent cities with data, linking, analysis, to answer questions.
  3. Challenges in re-developing repositories
    • Re-purpose and reposition repositories? but outside the scholarly communication environment? Eg using big data in smart cities – scholarly knowledge plays a huge role here. Eg learning analytics where we combine data on students (grades, interactions on Moodle).
    • Cycle: environmental scanning -> idea/design/testing -> R&D -> data management -> Data analysis -> dissemination -> preservation/reuse -> evaluation -> environmental scanning
    • Interoperability cf W3C recommendations
    • Identify/select/developed/integrate value-added services (not all work together, but some aren’t meant to). How to turn content into computable data? how to develop rich and smart media resources? eg How to turn powerpoints into actionable data?
    • Working on automatic translation, domain interaction dynamics, scientometrics tools, social network metrics, automatic thesaurus/k-graph development. Hard for students to select a topic when there’s open-source tools already out there about it! Calculations and results become objects to be reused.
    • Representing knowledge with knowledge graphs. which can enable intelligent applications. Text analytics, RDF data management. eg SpringerNature SciGraph – turning all papers into semantic network of knowledge.
    • Too many vocabularies! Some used by many people, some very common (eg Schema.org ) and general – but also very specific ones eg neuron ontology; Internet of Things developing their own. Ontology mapping tools? Cross-language linking of knowledge graphs and smart data eg Chinese/English Wikipedia pages.
    • What about when live machines join the integration and we put our data into real-life processes? Geospatial/temporal/event/methods/workflows-identifiable.

Are these real life scenarios really relevant to our repositories? If not we’ve got a problem! Is what we’re doing now getting us into these scenarios? Are we talking/collaborating with people in these scenarios? They’re not necessarily going to approach us! Time for us to think and act before it’s too late.

Ideas Challenge presentations #or2017

Challenge to solve an existing problem with emerging technologies.

Data Pickle

Research wanted to upload data but didn’t know how to wrap it up. So cf ThisToThat for gluing thing A to thing B. Let’s make this for data.

Package Shapefiles for Preservation. click “PICKLE!” and it recommends a) the best practice and b) the minimum requirements.

Crowdsourced but curated information for various options.

Technology handshake to achieve Australasia PMC

Right now have EuropePMC and CanadaPMC (child nodes of US PubMed Central which has 27million references). So create AustralasiaPMC so PMC can link to OA articles. Can populate PMC with clumsy markup so need clever handshake technology  to make full-text available in children and parent nodes simultaneously.

Simple

Museum is an interface for scientific information to general public. But takes too long for simplified explanations of science (from eg journals) to general public, and journalists don’t always guard scientific integrity.

Want to do a better job of spreading info through social media. Natural language processing to create automated simplified summaries from technical abstracts; push notification to simple.wikipedia.org proposal pages so they can create or add to articles; Google translate for other languages.

Put it all together and you get communication immediately after acceptance, being picked up correctly by major news outlets.

(In Q&A: hard to contextualise. Audience notes researchers want to say ‘further researcher needed while lay people want to know what the answer is.)

FuturEpa

The technology we’ll use in future repositories has already been written – GitHub is full of work in progress – some people know about it but not all of us. Pull code automatically from everywhere, put it together, throw data in, see if it works.

Plan A – artificial intelligence – most advanced AI right now is self-driving car, so jump in front of one with the repository and the car can evaluate it and then run you over.

Plan B – use humans

(In Q&A: Kim Shepherd suggests when on GitHub and look at number of forks on projects – what percentage might be active, what percentage should we have merged in.)

Global Connections

Deep learning for repository deposit – use existing repository PDFs and metadata to train AI to a) create structured metadata for unstructured content (ie articles), find relevant articles, add structured metadata.

Slice ‘n’ Dice: API-X + XProc-Z

XProc-Z is a simple web server framework HTTP request -> -> -> HTTP response (especially useful for proxies)

API-X for plumbing together microservices.

GET request for info on resource – API-X intercepts/proxies, tweaks, and makes request to server, retrieves result, wraps in a header, tweaks and returns to user.

Don’t need to develop code, just write a text file in XProc language so you can test out what it looks like and you don’t need to wait for repository support. Signposting; generating IIIF manifests; add OAuth authenticating; adding CSS.

Brisbane Declaration ON the Elimination Of Keywords (B-DONEOK)

Keywords can’t express the complexity of language the way full-text can. We spend time doing it anyway. So let’s stop. Instead just use sophisticated full-text search and indexing. SIgn on to the declaration at http://bit.ly/2u4KjMm

(In Q&A audience asks if there’s evidence keywords aren’t useful; team asks in return if there’s evidence keywords are useful.)

 

Wrap up #ndf2012

Wrap up
Andy Neale (@andyhkn), NDF Board
Andy Neale is the Manager of DigitalNZ at the National Library of New Zealand and Department of Internal Affairs. He is a current member of the NDF Board, and is most well known as the founding technical lead of DigitalNZ and New Zealand’s Mix and Mash competitions.

Risk with conferences like this is if it’s too inspirational it can seem out of reach, detached from everyday life. Don’t be put off by this, by lack of funding, no designer, whatever limitation.

It’s okay to beg and borrow if necessary – that’s how we all get started. No-one comes along with a bucket of cash and time. All have to find a way.

Don’t need to do everything. Used to come away buzzing and wanting to do it all. Digital envy. We want all these amazing things for our customers and institutions but neither possible nor necessary to do everything.

If you like something and think it’s relevant to you, talk to the people involved and find out if they can share / extend it. None of the stuff seen here was achieved on their own. Everything built on top of the work of others.

Take whatever ideas you’ve got – talk to someone in another organisation – pick up the phone, email, tweet until they respond… and continue the conversation. Turn it into collaboration and new ways of working.

The Future of Products #ndf2012

The Future of Products
Dave ten Have, Ponoko, davetenhave
How digital fabrication and distributed manufacturing changes the way products are designed and used.

We sit at the centre of a supercollider – social, cultural and technical changes in the way things are made. The orthodox of getting something made on the other side of the world is changing. Looping back around to the way things used to be made – by ourselves. A manner focused on relevance, “customer of one”.

What if the carbon component of a product/transportation were transparent, priced into the product? How do you design a factory with all we know today?

Keep the point of instantiation as close to point of consumption as possible. Instead of putting factory in China, smear it across the surface of the Earth. A distributed manufacturing system.

Built the Ponoko platform made up of

  • a catalogue of digital product designs
  • catalogue of materials
  • digital fabrication hardware (eg 3d printing but other tools too)
  • buyers

This last part is the hard part. Etsy was and remains dominant in this space…

At core, system is a file checking mechanism. Designed a design language – design checking in order to allow credit card charging. Have relationships with eg electronics components producers so people can develop very complex products.

Achievements: Have moved amateurs to professionals – people using this to run their own business. Tapped into inter-generational shift and cultural shift around the maker movement.

Diagram showing level of need of something crossed with degree of effort to create it – intersection is point of relevance.

Use the network to give you reach. Move fast, iterate, eschew IP protection. Quotes someone saying “If I were to apply for a patent, by the time I got it I’d be onto my 10th product.”

Someone using Kickstarter to determine whether people want it and whether people would fund it. TechShop for local prototyping, fabrication, and Ponoko for digital prototyping and fabrication.

Future of products – that people can build their physical environment in same way as digital environment.

Beyond social #ndf2012

Beyond Social
DK @justadandak
If social (media) is no longer the new shiny set of tools that everyone gasps at then what are the next set of questions? In this fast-paced session, DK will balance his presentation with overarching cross-sector ‘big picture’ strategies right through to platform-specific tools and techniques which deliver.
DK (yes, just a D and a K) is a social media advisor who has helped people like UNICEF, BBC, the Gates Foundation, Welsh National Assembly etc. He lives on the internet at justadandak.com. @justadandak

Not going to talk about “Why Twitter is cool” because assumes we already know that.

Shows interactive TV from 1953 Winky Dink where kids had printouts and at some point in show it told them to join the dots.

April 20th someone became first person to edit Wikipedia 1,000,000 times – rewarded by Wikipedia with a day named for him.

Quick dirty simple ideas for museums (people are already aggregating stuff for you- why not borrow/steal/embed existing work?). Problem is at conference people get excited and then realise they have to go back to work.

“Culture eats strategy for lunch” – Peter Drucker. We need a culture that embraces social media – it’s not one person’s job. Doesn’t mean everyone needs a Twitter account, but everyone needs to embrace idea.

(Lots of animated gifs in this slideshow.)

We need to become a lot more curious about other people’s work. Not just within GLAM but outside the sector. Social media lets us do that with RSS feeds.

Currently we think of our website as a destination. But the most popular places on the planet are not destinations, they’re intersections. Google’s popular but we don’t go there to stay there – we go there to go somewhere else. Same with Twitter. We should be an “intersection of amazingness”.

“Trust people to know that there’s a back button on their browser.”

Recommends Rework by Fried. DK wrote notes as read it summarising it, posted to blog. Two weeks later retweeted by author (who “could have gone a different way with that”) and got tens of thousands of hits on his blog – and was then remixed by someone else adding colour; and then someone in Sweden remixed that into a more corporate-style format. Nothing the author could have planned!

Ideas – “Social media Tuesday” once a month for social media geeks to get together over lunch and share – build culture

For a long time Mr Potato was sold without the potato because they assumed you already had one.

Clip of William Gibson talking about how we can get a bit “iPads, meh. gene therapy, whatever” about the present. DK says instead of looking forward to future, should sometimes focus on using the cool stuff that already exists.

Could ask us “Who’s got a social media strategy?” and hands would go up. But what if he asked “Who’s got a cultural strategy?”

Walking backwards into the future – #ndf2012 opening by @vikram_nz

Am at National Digital Forum 2012 doing my liveblogging thing…

Opening address
Vikram Kumar (@vikram_nz), InternetNZ

[ETA: Vikram’s posted slides (and will link to video when available.]

Vikram Kumar is currently Chief Executive of InternetNZ and has previously worked with government (State Services Commission) and the private sector (Telecom). He writes regularly at http://internetnz.net.nz/news/blog on a range of issues related to the future of internet in New Zealand. Recent topics have included re-invention and evolution of the internet, piracy, privacy and cyber-security. A regular at NDF over the years, he’s interested in how the GLAM sector can support new creative and commercial models online.

“I curate stories about the internet – how it changes individuals, organisations, countries.” Internet driving massive disruptive change. Such change has happened before, eg television.

Quotes: Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore from The Medium is the Massage: “When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”

Disruptive change like a midlife crisis – does God exist? why am I here?

Shows excerpt from TED talk Thomas P. Campbell: Weaving narratives in museum galleries

How do we look forward and use digital technologies in context of social, political, economic change. When looking at technologies we wonder, “What can I do with this?” Sometimes this is wrong question – should ask, “What should I be doing?” Don’t extrapolate the past to define the future.

Look at what we want to achieve, don’t worry about how we’re going to do it.

New media affect society not just by the content, but by the characteristics of the medium itself. Eg how does the internet affect copyright? Copyright from an age when cost of producing copies was high. Internet disrupts this – copying becomes not just cheap and easy but inherent to how the internet transmits information.

Internet is:

  • ubiquitous – especially with APNK. What does it mean when people are constantly connected? Need to think of ourselves not as a destination – we can go where our community is. Eg Quake Stories. Organisations coming together to deliver virtual reality – overlaying past street images over present empty lots.
  • End-to-end principle, layered architecture – internet itself is simple, just moving bits around, but it allows all sorts of things to be built on top of this. Need to permission to innovate. Semantic web emerging slowly. 1762 means nothing by itself – but add context/metadata and (a year), it gives meaning.
  • Everyone can be a producer – people we’re trying to reach needn’t be passive consumers. We don’t have to do all the education/preservation on our own.
  • Openness – goes back to not needing permission. Lets us experiment. Deep engagement. Get people involved in projects – even to put in money. Pledge Me to crowdfund NZ creativity. But only works if you’ve got engagement.
  • Bottom-up evolution – new areas of collaboration all the time.
  • Global and universal

What future do you want?

Wild ideas free to a good home

1.You know in sf you get to say “Oh hi computer, calculate this for me / find me information about this thing / make me some hot Earl Grey tea!” and the computer says “Sure thing, my friend!” and does it?

Here’s how that could work in the near future:

  • speech recognition – this is fairly well developed already (I’ve recently started using it myself for navigating and dictating on my home computer) and will continue to improve
  • + a search engine
  • + a whole lot of aps for different functions, with associated metadata which can be matched against what the user’s asked for.

The computer, like a librarian, doesn’t have to know everything, it just needs to know where to find everything. Ask it a calculating-type question and it gets a Wolfram|Alpha-style widget that can calculate the answer. Ask it an encyclopaedic-type question and it brings you an answer from a Wikipedia-type source. Ask it to convert your word processing document into pdf and it finds the appropriate ap to do that. Tell it you want a pizza, it finds the aps from the local pizza places, asks (or remembers) your price/quality/toppings preferences, and places the order for you. In due course, your doorbell rings.

I wouldn’t be surprised if something like this was working within five years. I also wouldn’t be overly surprised if it wasn’t; while we’ve got all the pieces, gluing it together mightn’t be quite so straightforward as an idealist would think.

2.Dynamic/adaptive website navigation. For sprawling websites: instead of having the traditional static navigation links, have the server generate the links based on the most popular recent destinations for visitors to the same page.

This one’s easier to program (I think, if I put the work in, I could come up with a clunky implementation myself) – you just need server-side scripting with access to stats of a) links clicked and b) keywords searched. I’d weight keywords searched a bit higher than links clicked (partly to keep things dynamic but mostly because people will tend to click a link first if it looks even halfway relevant, so just the fact of searching will indicate that the current links are useless).

So when you go to (say) the uni library’s homepage at the start of term it’ll show links to the catalogue, and tutorials, and computer workrooms. Towards exam time people will start searching for “past exam papers” so that’ll soon appear on the homepage, while “tutorials” will drop off, but people will click the “computer workrooms” more so that’ll stay on.

There are obvious downsides to this approach. Confusion about links shifting around, for one. Also ideally it should be customisable so postgrads can see a view which isn’t overwhelmed by the preferences of undergraduates for most of the year. But. It would be interesting. I’d like to try it sometime (or see someone else try it).

Review: Journal of Library Innovation

My favouritest new journal ever is currently the Journal of Library Innovation. I have vague memories of issue 1 being decent but issue 2’s contents are totally awesome. They include:

  • an editorial (pdf) pointing out that: a) when we innovate we don’t have to seize on every expensive new technology, and b) on the other hand sometimes failing to use a new technology can be expensive too
  • Quick and Dirty Library Promotions That Really Work – whee, fortune cookies!

    [I would really like to amplify this squee. I think we should do this: it puts a smile on people’s face and it 99% guarantees they’ll actually read the promotional message, which is at least 90% more than traditional signage. (Fudge factor because I can’t remember the number I saw the other day, though I think it was less than 10% and included primarily mature students.]

  • Accommodating Community Users in an Authenticated Library Technology Environment – making a computer kiosk for non-members to use which respects database license agreements; not my thing at present but cool enough that I nevertheless recognise the super utility of it.
  • Making Physical Objects Clickable: Using Mobile Tags to Enhance Library Displays – QR tags in book displays – evidence that these increase usage of promoted materials/webpages

    [See also Embedding tutorials into physical objects – using a QR code on a photocopier to link to video instructions. I think here I’d use QR codes in conjunction with a bit.ly link for people who don’t have the right hardware/software combo to make it work, but this caveat shouldn’t be construed as decreasing my enthusiasm for the idea.]

  • The Library is Undead: Information Seeking During the Zombie Apocalypse – another quick and dirty library promotion, jumping off a student event.

    [Why do we insist that big promotions have to be planned months in advance? Maybe it’s Parkinson’s Law (“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”) – when you plan 3 months in advance, it still feels rushed at the end so you figure next time you should plan 4 months in advance. But if you start planning 6 days in advance (as this library did), sure you’re rushed at the end, but the short timeframe has forced you to forgo normal inefficiencies and brush off the temptation to perfectionism, so you save thousands of staff time and in the end you’ve still got it done.]

  • and also book reviews which seem genuinely helpful and balanced evaluations of how useful the books are and for what purposes.

Why reinvent the wheel? (a photo essay)


Stone wheel in a trough (by Vincent Jones, CC-BY-SA)


Wagon wheel (by Richard Sonnen, CC-BY-NC-ND)


Steamroller (by Rog Frost, CC-BY-SA)


Car wheel (by Mr T. in DC, CC-BY-ND)


Bicycle wheel (from Soil-Net, CC-BY-NC-SA)


Bulldozer tread (by John Schilling, CC-BY-NC-ND)


Eggbeater (by Candice Wouters, CC-BY-NC-ND)


Table saw (by Patrick Fitzgerald, CC-BY)


Wheel of Fortune (by Paul Stack, CC-BY-ND)


Ferris wheel (by Josh McGinn, CC-BY-ND)

Links of interest 22/9/10

Assessing the (Enduring) Value of Libraries

MIT Libraries has created a Beta Graveyard for trial projects that aren’t being continued – nice to see what’s happened to old ideas.

Cyberpunk Librarian, part 1 – a librarian and a library robot; a problem and a cunning solution.

The launch of Foursquare buttons for websites – a button you can easily add to any website that lets users link your site and your physical location on their phone.

Hacking Summon in Code4Lib describes how OSU made their data display more tidily