Tag Archives: universities

Linking University Data – the open way

Warning: Liveblogging – prone to error, inaccuracy, and howling affronts to grammar. This post will be improved over the course of a few days.

What should the university-centric data.ac.uk site be? It’s still a matter of debate, but in the meantime, Chris Gutteridge from the University of Southampton has it up and running while that’s resolved.

The starting point was a list of Universities – one more loved that the one on the UK government site. He strongly believes that every time you publish data, you should create something that ordinary people can use, not just the files.

The hub is really, really noddy – but it is a hub, and others can link to it. And that enables linked data around universities. They’ve been funded to the tune of £250,000 over two years. So what did they do with the money?

Open university data – so far

Equipment resourse

They built equipment.data.ac.uk – and they insisted that there was a contact link for whom you should tell if the data was wrong. They’re getting better at finding the equipment from the webpage – so they’re insisting that after the discovery phase, the equipment data should be auto discoverable. The bronze/silver/gold ranking helps motivate authorities.

They scan every ac.uk homepage once a week. If you’re not part of this at the moment – you can just add the data, and they’ll find it

University Web Observatory

They’ve built a web observatory, analysing how ac.uk domains use the web.

Searchable university news feed

They’re scraping the RSS feeds of the sites, too, to create a combined, searchable news feed of University information.

Purchasing codes

CPV Codes – could be incredibly useful for university purchasing information.

What next?

They have 2/3rds of the Russell Group involved – not because they believe in Open Data, but because they want their equipment advertised, and this is the easiest way for them to do it. But it acts as a trojan horse for the idea.

Next? Maybe university experts for media appearances. Hospitals ward data? Auto-discovery of that from hospital homepages would replace the idea of a central source. In fact. all of these distributed efforts mean that you replace dependence on a central broker whose funding – or interest – may wane.

Lincoln has developed an idea of a semantic site map, by marking up types of pages, called Linking-You.

“You can’t force people to use standards. you want them to embrace them because they’re better”