Recent and current projects

Over the last months we’ve been busy with a variety of projects large and small. This is a roundup of these activities, from strategy formulation, through feasibility and scoping work, to the construction of increasingly large systems.

  • We are very close to releasing a strategy report we have been commissioned to write for Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) on library user experience for users of Higher Education Libraries. We are pleased that thanks to work by Dave Randall, we have incorporated some limited-scope ethnographic work to underpin the strategic material that is brought out in the report.  So far well received, this report is out for review at the moment. If you’d like to help in that process please email mark -a-t-
  • In February we finished our work on the  JISC-funded fishDelish Project. We partnered with the University of Manchester’s School of Computer and the FishBase Information and Research Group Inc (FIN) to convert FishBase’s relational data to linked data, and to build two innovative systems around the linked data. Hedtek was responsible for all technical work, and during the course we created about 1.4T (109) linked data triples from FIN’s relational data and built two the systems that exploited that data, one to create ‘live documents’ based on the data, and one to support field observations.
  • We have become involved in planning aspects of a large JISC Collections ERM system funded by the University Modernisation Fund. This project is, at the most fundamental level, directed at increasing the quality of scholarly resources in Higher Education. The system itself is a shared service to support electronic resource licensing and management information for JISC Collections and participating Higher Education institutions. So far, Hedtek have been involved in scoping and early design activities for this service.
  • We are participating in a project to synthesise the outputs of JISC Activity Data Programme, where we have particular responsibility for the technical synthesis. Exploitation of activity data is an area that we first brought to JISC’s attention in the DPIE 1 Project (way back when we were called Personal Learning Environments Ltd). Eventually will host this work, for not it is strictly a site in progress.In a Higher Education context, attention data enables the construction of a variety of different kinds of services, from search engines and recommenders based on cohort activity (eg a prototype social search engine we developed for the MOSAIC Project) to learning analytics, where the idea is to identify students at risk of failing or dropping out from their behaviours, and then to intervene to help and try to retain the students in education.
  • Recently we have been appointed to contribute to the technical direction and assist in the development of Jorum, a national web service to share learning and teaching resources within the UK Further and Higher Education community.  So far our work has been divided between operational and technical topics, soon we will turn to questions of the future development and assist in producing the next Jorum roadmap.
  • In part, we’ve also been heads down in semi-stealth mode developing a large WebApp application for our product portfolio. Less said at the moment the better.
  • We are starting to gear up for our annual hands-on postgraduate course on Agile Development in the University of Manchester’s School of Computer Science. For technical readers, this year we are changing the technologies we use in this course from Java and JBehave, and instead using Ruby with RSpec.
  • In fact, the last six months have pleasingly seen somewhat of a blossoming of our activities in promoting agile methods: We are about to run our second agile event for the JISC/UKOLN DevCSI, we gave two master classes at Harper Adams, and together with Robert Burrell Donkin we ran two community events, one for XP-Manchester, and one for Agile Yorkshire.
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