CeRch awarded 1.3 Million Pounds in JISC funding


(A VRE is a Virtual Research Environment…like a blackboard, well not really)

The following press release is from the Centre that I work within at King’s College; London. A lot of these projects won’t be of that much interest to researchers (as they are infrastructure grants, not research), however the TEXTvre project may be of extraordinary interest to researchers.  Although JISC (Joint Information Services Committee) does not fund research as a matter of course, on occasions the projects undertaken under its auspices are in fact research. The TEXTvre project is one of these and is a collaboration between CeRch and our sister organiastion the Centre for Computing in the Humanities (CCH).  It is the aim of this project to build a Virtual Research Environment to encode texts using the TEI (Text Encoding Inititaive) standard. I will blog about this project more as it develops.

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King’s College London, Centre for e-Research

Enhancing and Supporting e-Research King’s College London is pleased to announce the establishment of the KCL Centre for e-Research. Based in Information Systems and Services, the Centre will lead on building an e-research environment and data management infrastructure at King’s, seeking to harness the potential of IT to enhance research and teaching practice across the College. The Centre also has a remit to make a significant contribution to national, European and international agendas for e-research, and in particular to carry forward in a new context the work of the AHDS across the arts and humanities.

To that end, the Centre will incorporate the Arts and Humanities Data Service Executive and its related projects, thus providing a secure institutional framework for the projects, and a platform for developing future services and projects when funding for the AHDS ceases at the end of March 2008. The Centre will seek to carry forward the legacy of the AHDS and to use its expertise and skills to explore a new framework and funding model for the support of ICT based around communities of practice, a network of expert centres, and the emerging set of institutional repositories.

The Centre will be directed by Sheila Anderson, currently Director of the Arts and Humanities Data Service. Lorna Hughes (currently Manager of the Methods Network) and Mark Hedges (currently Technical Manager at the AHDS) will join the Centre as Deputy Directors.

Planning for the new Centre began on 1st October 2007 and a major launch event is planned for Spring 2008. Further information and news about the Centre and its activities will be released over the coming months.

Sheila Anderson

Google rolls out its Facebook killer

Google will offer internet developers an open system to create applications across websites, a move that could challenge the features behind the explosive popularity of social network Facebook. Google’s OpenSocial system gives developers standardised tools to build applications and embed them in many sites, eliminating the need for small startups or even one-person shops to customise their programs for each site (From the Melbourne Age, link)

‘I get the feeling this isn’t about me!’

A good review from the Times Higher Education Supplement by William Dutton, head of the Oxford Internet Institute, on the book Republic.com 2.0 by Cass R Sunstein. Sunstein is arguing that too much information is bad for democracy (as I did in the recent paper I published for FastCapitalism. I proposed a way of designing for ‘information abundance’ and am also presenting a paper on this subject next week in Prato Italy at the Community Informatics Research Network Conference).

Blogging live from Prato

I am at the Community Informatics Research Network conference (CIRN) at Prato in Italy. It is still early into the first day of the conference, but I think that the conference will be fruitful in terms of addressing the question that I came here to deliberate upon. This is how do we design software for use in a community context that can is both goal-orientated and deliberative? I am proposing a project to do this in the paper that I am presenting, and there are a lot of people here that have a wealth of experience in the use of social software in various community contexts. Many of the people here are involved in communities with low ‘technical capital’ and are using communication technologies for development and community engagement. I am interested the broader definition of community; such a ‘communities of practice’ and am also presenting a poster from the Methods Network at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at King’s College in London on ‘communities of practice’ and their attempt to create a virtual manifestation of this through the content management system Drupal.

Australian Research Enabling Environment

The ARCHER project will setup dedicated task forces for a number of NCRIS priority research capabilities to analyse their e Research data and information management needs and requirements, taking special note of existing IT services available and applicable to each research area. Adapting the generic DART middleware/software tools to suit each research area, these dedicated task forces will further develop the tools to suit the needs of each area, and where possible build and incorporate customised research portals. Part of the ARCHER project methodology will be to productionise the DART software tools, through operational testing, usability and reliability trials, so as to produce robust industrial-strength software tools. There is a need in the future to setup appropriate support mechanisms, maintenance and future development strategies, to ensure that outcomes of short term funded projects like DART and ARCHER can be effectively used and supported long term. It is useful to restate what the DART objectives are:

  • collect, capture and retain large data sets and streams from a range of different sources;
  • deal with the infrastructural issues of scale, sustainability and interoperability between repositories;
  • support deposit into, access to, and annotation by a range of actors, to a set of digital libraries which include publications, datasets, simulations, software and dynamic knowledge representations;
  • assist researchers in dealing with intellectual property issues during the research process; and
  • adopt next-generation methods for research publication, dissemination and access. (Link)