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1 Getting to Know the Score: Using the First 20 Years to Plan the Next Peter Burnhill & Alison Bayley director & deputy director, EDINA national data.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Getting to Know the Score: Using the First 20 Years to Plan the Next Peter Burnhill & Alison Bayley director & deputy director, EDINA national data."— Presentation transcript:


2 1 Getting to Know the Score: Using the First 20 Years to Plan the Next Peter Burnhill & Alison Bayley director & deputy director, EDINA national data centre & Edinburgh University Data Library Ottawa, IASSIST 2003

3 2 “It was twenty years ago today...”  Internationally: mainframes & magnetic tapes ruled, but  Internet entering its modern age: email, ftp; remote log-on; TCP/IP  IBM PC newly out; MS-DOS version 2.0 ; Lotus 1-2-3, Wordstar, etc.  UK: rise of JANET & multi-access (file-based) computing  National (London & Manchester) & Regional Computing Centres (eg Edinburgh RCC); Government-backed ICL computers  Edinburgh: Program Library Unit (PLU) had national role  converted source code of ‘IBM mainframe’ software (eg SPSS) for ICL / VME  wrote SASPAC, census data extraction software (in use for over 20 years)

4 3 “So may [we] introduce to you, the act you’ve known for all these years” Edinburgh University Data Library (EUDL)...  ‘Data Library’ conceived in 1983 (Trevor Jones left for CACI))  researchers petitioned Library & PLU  University-wide provision for large data files  disk storage very expensive & file space strictly rationed  Peter Burnhill, social statistician, appointed Manager in 1984 started with 1.5 fte staff: programmer & computing assistant (Audrey Stacey as”fifth Beatle”)  Alison Bayley joined the Band as computer programmer in 1985

5 4 Factoids about the Band (EUDL)  3 piece band: statistician + programmer + librarian  based on top of extensive computing infrastructure  online disc files not magnetic tapes  told to get external funding for development  early holdings: censuses & big national surveys  e.g. Population & Agricultural Census; the GHS & the LFS  research data from Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow & Strathclyde  use UK Data Archive at Essex as clearinghouse  datalib (1985) early version of  online information about holdings & services  custom-written hypertext system, available to all university mainframe users

6 5 “Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play …” “A Little Help from (Our) Friends” (ie IASSIST)  1985: first overseas gig in Amsterdam at IASSIST’85  Sue Dodd visits UK as Guest Singer  ‘Towards the development of data libraries in the UK’ (NSF/ESRC)  1986: West Coast Tour  UC Berkeley, Stanford, Seatle, UCB Vancouver (Liane Ruus)  1989: metadata gig at Statistics Canada & 1990 ‘Learneds’  1991: played Moscow (with Laura Guy) before Paul  “Back in the USSR”  1993: IASSIST plays Edinburgh in 1993

7 6 Branching out into Jazz/Rock Fusion - preparing for the ‘digital library’ Many projects & services during 1980s & early 1990s ‘bridging conceptual gap between Library & Computing Services’  DATAC, SASPAC & CSO software development  RAPID  online database linking research activity to published ‘outputs’ (1988/1997)  monographs & journals, software, datasets & learning materials  SALSER  'virtual' catalogue of serials in Scotland’s university libraries (1992/94 -)  SCIMMS  web-based access to information on manuscript collections in University (1994) ‘Numbers, pictures, words & sounds: priorities for the 1990s’ (IASSIST 1990, in Poughkepsie)

8 7 Sing Something Spatial / Finding Our Place  Geographic information: particular focus from the beginning  convert parish-based agricultural census data to grid square estimates  contributed to 1986 BBC Domesday Disc (as did UKDA)  visualisation of land use & population change (ICA Prize, 1991)  ESRC Regional Research Laboratory for Scotland, 1987 -  GIS & large-scale data  UKBORDERS digital boundary map data server, 1994 -  Developed first as part of ESRC research grant, then launched as service in 1994 part of ESRC/JISC 1991 Census Programme  Laid foundation for later activity  Digimap : web-based delivery of digital map data (AGI Prize, 2000)

9 8 “Can I tell you a secret?... Will you promise not to tell?”  During first half of 1995, we considered breaking up the Band?  AwayDay among 10 staff to review SWOT & derive stragegy  strengths: could now be seen as preparation for role in ‘digital library’ movement  weaknesses: was there a role, or has the world taken over?  Data Library had become odd mix of services (local & national) & projects  ‘Crowded House’ or “(Can’t get no) Satisfaction”  Internationally, power of the desktop & emergence of World Wide Web, multimedia & client/server model  In UK, rise of BIDS & MIDAS (MIMAS) as two datacentres, respectively for national online bibliographic & numeric dataset services  Failure, at last hurdle, of bid to ESRC to become national resource centre

10 9 1995: Opportunity Knocks...  Data Library designated as 3rd National Data Centre, July 1995  remit for provision of data services to the entire UK academic community  mix of bibliographic (A & I) and geographic data services  began recruiting to host more services  critical mass of staff expertise & computing resource  new ‘functional’ management structure  EDINA launched on 25 January 1996 as National Data Centre  Edinburgh Data & INformation Access; old poetic name for Edinburgh  designated by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of UK funding bodies for higher, and now further, education

11 10 EDINA as National Ensemble...  plays to staff & students in all universities and colleges in UK  42 fte staff, based in Edinburgh & St Helens College, Merseyside  EDINA & MIMAS are both designated as UK National Data Centres  service delivery of online services for all disciplines, inc social sciences  collaborate, & required to compete for new service contracts  now combine to meet needs of Learning & Teaching in further as well as higher education  National Learning Network & JORUM (online repository for IMS-compliant learning materials)  EDINA had made ‘numbers, pictures, words & sounds’ its priority  via several ‘web-rooms’ on our new Web site

12 11 “ … it’s getting better all the time”  strategic role for geographic data services, based round delivery of access to Ordnance Survey mapping via Digimap (2000 -)  download of documentary films via Education Media OnLine (EMOL)  Collaborative project activities, leading to contracts to provide ‘shared services’ for UK Common Information Environment  eg National OpenURL Router; locate brokers for serials; Go-Geo Portal, Geo-Xwalk gazetteers; use of digital certificates for authentication  Support Partner, in association with GBHGIS, to British Library for ‘Collect Britain/A Sense of Place’  New project, with Ex Libris, to set-up SUNCAT: union catalogue of serials for UK

13 12 Reforming the Town Band  Town Band (3 fte staff) plays to University of Edinburgh  don’t neglect your roots: ensure local remit  Donald Morse first manager of the new Local Services team  (now with Computing Services)  Joan Fairgrieve University's first Data Librarian, 1996  Present Band line-up (library qualifications!!)  Robin Rice imported from US (Madison) as Data Librarian, 1999  Stuart Macdonald (local talent show) as Assistant, 2001  Town Band can call on players from National Ensemble (EDINA)  eg for computing infrastructure & delivery of GIS & Moving Picture services

14 13 What of the next twenty years? “Will you still be sending me a Valentine … Will you still need me, will you still feed me?” Just what does the future hold in the run-up to 2023? Let’s take the long view … “Imagine all the people …” Students & researchers, of uncertain age, sitting in corners of noisy canteen, trying to complete that overdue multimedia essay: fingers of eGlove tapping away; light reflecting on VideSpecs, doing what on the Internet? Fanciful, or conservative?

15 14 IASSI ST : Technology always moves on...  personal mobile workstations: wear-ables  even easier access to networks & to servers that can process / play / view / copy / amend / mix & more So, how will the need for Information Services persist?  Should we promote access to evidence (data) for use in learning & teaching, as well as for research?  Will the shape of library-like provision to remain for as long as we have a university?  How can effort spent on preservation lead to better access? (How to position ourselves to meet the new e-Demands?)

16 15 eLearning & eScience  will Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) succeed, and how should we serve these new intermediaries?  students demand online access to course materials, but will lecturers cope?  how will VLEs be managed to ensure that they are robust and given priority?  will the Grid & Internet2 succeed in their ambition, and will they have their own services?  The social sciences identified ‘data sharing’ but will there be new procedures and practices imposed from the physical & life science?

17 16  will open archive, pre-print and e-print movements succeed?  lessening dependence upon the appetites of commercial publishers, but demanding much of data publishing  will scholars get speedy dissemination?  backed by procedures that ensure enduring preservation and access BUT  scholars, as authors, rarely make good publishers  how should be assist researchers in make their stuff available  in electronic form, as finished works, with supporting material  need to look again at university infrastructure for ePublishing ePrints & Pre-Prints

18 17 Finally – a local twist  We have a new University Principal, schooled in Informatics, who is promoting eLearning, eScience & widening participation  We will report to a new Vice-Principal for Knowledge Management & Librarian to University (from Melbourne, Australia!!)  So, when we return, for another AwayDay, we must prepare for change, holding on to core beliefs  Edinburgh University will continue to endure and excel.  the term “digital library” should include - rather than exclude - 'data'  The Data Library adds value  Our long-time involvement with IASSIST should help us, to find a future that allows us both to deliver good quality services, and continue to have fun.

19 18 Thank you “We hope that you’ve enjoyed the show … We’re sorry but it’s time to go”

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