The FishDelish Project: Open linked data for species description

A sample fishdelish page

Events today made me realise that we never blogged about FishDelish here, a project that we performed June 2010 to July 2011, in partnership with the University of Manchester’s School of Computer Science (UMCS) and the FishBase Information and Research Group Inc (FIN), a not-for-profit NGO.

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Finished Jorum contracts

Hedtek are pleased to announce that they have finished their third contract for Jorum, an Open Educational Resource repository run by Mimas, a JISC funded National Data Centre.

As the major part of that work we designed and developed a very clean user interface to replace Jorum’s rather arcane and frustrating user interface. The new user interface was implemented by the provision of a new front-end webservice to handle all user interaction including new navigation and discovery features. The new front end was  implemented in Ruby on Rails, and used the DSpace REST and SWORD APIs to communicate with Jorum’s DSpace core.

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Hedtek’s new developer blog and some newly open sourced gems

dev blog title

Announcing that we’ve started a developer blog for notes on the technologies we use, experiments we have performed, etc.

One post is on Ember.js , which we are using in a current development project.  As part of that project, we have recently open sourced four gems that we are using to help us deploy Ember in our Ruby on Rails technology stack.

To date, these gems have been downloaded at an average rate of 35/day, with, to date, 467 downloads. That’s good :).

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A day in the country with the Enhancing Fieldwork Learning Advisory Board

FSC Shropshire

I enjoy my role as a member of the Advisory Board for the HEA funded Enhancing Fieldwork Learning project. Today was no exception; our most recent meeting was held at the Field Studies Center at Preston Montford in Shropshire, and offered the opportunity of a post-prandial stroll round the Center’s 12ha grounds.

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Hedtek now has a dream team

It’s been a while, in fact a couple of years since Dave Workman and I decided that we wanted to employ more developers. As essentially a two person company, Dave and I used to bemoan how we couldn’t find anyone that we wanted to work with. From experience with one company we used to outsource to, we were all too aware of the negative effects that less than expert developers have on code and system quality. And all of the developers who we met and thought of as potential candidates were either happily working elsewhere, or simply didn’t have the right mix of technical skills.

But quietly and unannounced, Hedtek has been expanding over previous months.

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Third consecutive Jorum contract

Mimas at the University of Manchester and Hedtek recently signed the third consecutive contract for Hedtek to provide technical assistance to Jorum.

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Work in progress for Jorum

Jorum is a national repository that provides Open Educational Resources. Over the past five months, JISC has been funding Jorum to engage in extensive technical work aimed at bringing a better user experience to Jorum’s users. This post, adapted from a post written for the Jorum blog, describes work we’ve been engaged in to assist in bringing about this change.

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DSpace REST API testing

While funded by JISC via Mimas, Hedtek has recently providing assistance to Jorum, the UK’s Open Educational Resources repository; this varies from architectural to development assistance that is aimed at transforming the Jorum user experience.

Jorum is built on the DSpace repository, and part of our work involves building a new front end to Jorum. For this we need an API to DSpace, and while, conveniently, there is the DSpace REST API [1] module available for DSpace, it has not been used with the version of DSpace that Jorum uses, and until recently, it had no automated tests available for it. Given the centrality of this API for Jorum’s future development, we have started developing a suite of automated tests for the API. This post discusses progress, and mentions where our tests can be found on github.

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#uniproj and #wikiquals

Here I am at the University Project weekend in London, sitting with Fred Garnett, blogging at the wikiquals table in the ‘Pro action cafe‘ where we are talking about learners self-organising and self-certifying their qualifications. We’ve just had a few rounds of people throwing around and discussing ideas of where wikiquals should go/be/do.

So as a record, simply a list of highlights of some of the things that came out of the sessions:

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COMP61511 and learning Ruby

This is a post that may disappear from this blog, it’s for COMP61511, a postgraduate course unit that we teach annually to postgraduate computer scientists at the University of Manchester.

This is a course that will be unlike any others you have done in your education to date; co-operative peer-assisted looms large: you end up working and learning co-operatively in teams.

The agile component of the course will have lab work in Ruby and RSpec. You learn the Ruby with some help from us, we teach you the fundamentals of how to use RSpec and then, again, you help yourself and others to learn.

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