The Activity Data programme was able to engage in ongoing dialogue with a number of North American projects, especially through the four online information sessions organised by the synthesis project. Whilst these collaborations were informal and restricted to sharing ideas rather than joint actions, they proved an important mutual asset, which we hope will continue and expand.
Harvard Library Cloud
The Library Cloud project is directed by David Weinberger and Kim Dullin of the Harvard Library Innovation Laboratory and the Harvard Law School.
In the words of co-director David Weinberger, the Library Cloud project aims “to make metadata from multiple libraries openly available in order to spur innovative applications. We're starting with circulation data and hope to move on to include other sorts of metadata as well. So far we've contacted local libraries and are just now getting our first data from them. Whilst we're quite early in the process, it is clear that we are facing issues you've been working on for a while.”
LibraryCloud.local is focused on metadata about book use and reader contributions. LibraryCloud.global is intended to be an open resource built by a consortium of libraries and other knowledge- based institutions. It has no commercial aims.
What types of applications might LibraryCloud enable with reference to scholarly materials?
- Browsing and discovery tools (such as ShelfLife)
- Semantic-related webs
- Recommendation engines
- Social networks
- Data browsing and analysis tools for librarians and those researching scholarly activities
- Delivery systems based on profiles, recommendations, and availability
Meanwhile the Learning Registry , a joint initiative between the US Departments of Defense and Education, is seeking to make federal learning resources easier to find, easier to access and easier to integrate wherever they are stored - and therefore more interconnected and personalized learning solutions.
The Learning Registry is creating the infrastructure that will enable projects to share their data in the public (or within a secure environment if required). This is based on a schema-free (or ‘noSQL’) database, which means that projects can donate their datasets without needing to transform them to meet the requirements of a specific database schema.
Steve Midgley, Deputy Director at the Office of Education Technology, is open to sharing data and exploring technical models for aggregation with any activity data projects, offering to give technical support to anyone who has data that they would like to put into the registry.
To aid the research library community in addressing a wide of range assessment requirements and in building infrastructure for decision support and planning, the Penn University Libraries is developing Metridoc (http://code.google.com/p/metridoc/ ).
Metridoc is a data integration / job framework to assist libraries with data ingestion and normalization, with the end result being a repository to help deal with usage reporting. Although the API focuses on libraries, it is also useful for writing job scripts to address database migrations, data loading and other system integration needs.
Support has come from Institute for Museum and Libraries Services (IMLS) for key portions of the project, including the development of demonstration project, a generalizable IT framework, and mechanism to disseminate code and documentation as part of an open source release of the software.
Joe Zucca (Project Lead) and Mike Winkler (University of Pennsylvania Director of Information Technologies and Digital Development) presented the project at our July workshop.