Background

The recommendations of the 2010 MOSAIC project report are strongly embedded in the Activity Data programme: “The project encountered genuine interest in the value of activity data. Students demonstrated intuitive recognition and expressed few reservations … University librarians and lecturers typically balanced recognition of value with the necessary challenges regarding data availability and service business case … In order to build critical mass of adoption, based on interest, business case and confidence, it is therefore important not to undervalue the local use of library activity data in its simplest form … In parallel work can be done nationally to demonstrate the benefits of the network effect (aggregation) and open data.”
These recommendations suggested that the development of user and management services based on activity data is highly desirable to the UK HE sector and to individual institutions in terms of service economy, effectiveness and user satisfaction. The July 2010 JISC event confirmed the view that this should not be left to ‘web scale’ operations, notably content services (such as Amazon), discovery services (such as Google) or global domain equivalents. The UK HE sector has the ability to gather ‘context’ data (e.g. ‘Other students on this course / similar courses also read), which could uniquely add value for the user, the course designer, the lecturer and the library, learning resource and repository manager. The event further emphasised the value in identifying what data exists or could exist in other systems (eg VLE, Repository, publisher services), thus establishing the institutional potential of this type of business intelligence.