KAPTUR one year on – (2/3)

This is our update for the end of the twelfth month of KAPTUR; we are just past the two-thirds mark! For an overview of the past year, please visit the KAPTUR Prezi.

WP1: Project Management

  • The Project team have been in contact by telephone and email; four colleagues will be attending the JISCMRD Programme meeting this week in Nottingham.

WP3: Technical Infrastructure

WP4: Modelling

  • The four policies are going through several rounds of committees and are to schedule; this has been the focus of the past month.
  • In addition the University of the Arts London’s draft policy is available online: http://www.arts.ac.uk/research/data-management/

WP5: Training and Support

  • The KAPTUR training plan is now publicly available.
  • The Pinterest links have been linked to via UAL’s RDM pages and DCC’s Marieke Guy’s excellent blog post on The value of video in getting the RDM message across
  • The GSA Project Officer taught MRes students about research terminology covering research data and promoting the KAPTUR project; this will feed into our training materials. Blog post about this: Getting to grips with research terminology
  • The Project Officers have been in contact with their Research Offices to arrange a half-day training session for Research Office staff and Librarians in order to pilot the KAPTUR training materials.

WP6: Evaluation and Sustainability

  • The Project Officers have received a short Word document and model costings template (Excel) and will be piloting this within their own institutions.
  • Detailed case study templates have been created and shared with the Project Officers. The case studies will be presented at the end-of-project conference on Wednesday 6th March 2013.

WP7: Dissemination

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Getting to grips with research terminology (MRes Creative Practices)

With thanks to Dr Robin Burgess, KAPTUR Project Officer, The Glasgow School of Art, for this blog post.

On the 4th and 5th of October I taught 10 MRes students a session titled ‘Getting to grips with research terminology’, this was to present methods and methodologies to prepare them for their Masters research projects.

The first day comprised of a lecture about different aspects of research, terminology that the students might be faced with and the decisions they might have to make when managing research data. The second day comprised of a workshop enabling the students to put into practice the information they had learnt the day before and apply this to actual research situations.

The aim was to provide an overview of aspects related to research terminology that students studying within an Arts context might encounter; quantitative, qualitative and mixed method terms were explored alongside approaches to data capture and analysis terms. I drew examples from the social sciences and mathematical sciences, discussing how these could be applied in the context of arts based research.

Three principle areas were covered:

  1. Philosophical worldviews: Investigating the concepts of postpositivism, constructivism, advocacy/participatory, and pragmatism
  2. Selected strategies of inquiry: Quantitative, qualitative and Mixed methods
  3. Research methods: The actual approaches that could be used for gathering and analysing information

A fundamental area considered was the criteria which might influence the research design being undertaken, such as understanding the research problem, the effects of personal experience, positionality, and the actual audience for the research. This proved to be very topical and raised many questions from the students.

As part of this area, the following quotes were discussed:

“I don’t have to concern myself with how I’m going to analyse my survey data until after I’ve collected my data. I’ll leave thinking about it until then, because it doesn’t impinge on how I collect my data”

“every research tool or procedure is inextricably embedded in commitments to particular versions of the world. To use a questionnaire, to use an attitude scale, to take the role of participant observer, to select a random sample, to measure rates of population growth, and so on, is to be involved in conceptions of the world which allow these instruments to be used for the purpose conceived”

Dissemination and presentation of information was commented on, highlighting the need for good communication of data and the importance of data management during research projects. This is where I discussed the work of KAPTUR and the need for data management policies.

The workshop session consisted of three tasks that were undertaken individually and in groups. Firstly I wanted the students to think about the research plans they had and apply the information they had learnt so far to this research proposal, thinking about the data they might collect, how it might be stored and analysed, determining the audience for the work and what worldview they might look at adopting. The students then reported back to the rest of the group and I gave suggestions and advice for further considerations. As a class we then looked at art work by two unknown artists (myself and a friend of mine) to determine the merits of the work and try and understand what could be deduced from the work. Looking at what analysis could be applied, such as the type of art – conventional and digital – and the colours used etc. This proved insightful as the students really began to delve into the art and explore the meaning of the pieces, looking below the surface. We then looked at works by established artists – Rothko and Magritte – and reviewed them in the same way. The final task was looking at two poems written by Wendy Cope. I wanted the students to critically review these, to determine the nature of the poems, look at the wording and language used, think about the audience and the message being conveyed. This task proved to be very enjoyable and highlighted much debate with regard to the audience for the pieces and who had potentially written them. Conflicting ideas were expressed and argued with sound evidence on both sides, illustrating how written text can be interpreted differently. It was great to really see the students engaging with the task.

All in all the two sessions (lecture and workshop) were successful and the students provided positive feedback.


Working in Stages with DataStage and Figshare

With thanks to Carlos Silva, Technical Manager, for the following blog post:

The KAPTUR Technical Analysis report (PDF) recommended the piloting and further investigation of two different systems: DataStage to EPrints; and Figshare to EPrints.

Figshare to Eprints

Some of the advantages of integrating Figshare with EPrints are:

  • The upload tool to Figshare allows multiple uploads using WebDAV and javascript.
  • The Figshare team is currently working on a desktop uploading tool to allow users a streamlined process of submission.
  • Feedback from the Steering Group was that the user interface of Figshare was attractive and clear; it is already being used by researchers to store and manage research data and therefore the integration with EPrints would enable many institutions (as EPrints is the major repository platform in the UK) to encourage researchers to better manage their research data and then upload selectively to an institutional repository for publication.

Following telephone and Skype chats with the Figshare team a requirements document was created and shared with project partners and Simon Hodson. The idea was to create an API which would be free for use by any institution who wanted to link Figshare with an EPrints repository using the SWORD 2 protocol.  Additional features included the development of the desktop uploader; a custom user interface design; back-end application development; and custom user accounts for the KAPTUR project partners to test the system.

Currently, negotiations are still in progress and further thought has been given to the infrastructure and pricing models that will eventually have an impact when adopting a commercial approach with technologies such as Figshare and that if not considered could lead to an unsustainable solution for the sector.

DataStage to EPrints

The second pilot recommended by the report was to link DataStage (from the JISC funded DataFlow project* with EPrints.  The technical implementation of this pilot started in June 2012 when the Technical Manager set-up DataStage and DataBank on a local machine; demonstrated this to the Project Officers (in June) and the Steering Group (in July) and started collecting feedback on this.  After testing the DataFlow software internally, the team started to explore the best way of linking DataStage with EPrints directly.

The advantages of integrating DataStage with EPrints are:

  • DataStage offers the potential of being institutionally based, and therefore tighter control.
  • It provides a structured metadata collection interface.
  • It also provides flexibility when uploading, for example with the integration of a shared drive which uses a popular storage approach similar to Dropbox but with the advantages that the data is held on the institution’s servers.

Proposed integration of DataStage with EPrints, July 2012 (SlideShare)

The Technical Manager through VADS’  host institution – the University for the Creative Arts – set-up a test environment for the KAPTUR project (http://kaptur.ucreative.ac.uk).  Test accounts have been given to project partners and an online feedback form set-up to capture this information.

To test the DataStage connection with EPrints, a test repository with the latest EPrints version (3.3.10) was needed in order to use the SWORD 2 protocol; this was created (http://kaptur_repo.ucreative.ac.uk).

Both systems have been tested separately, and both systems have performed well.

The DataStage software should allow users to submit entire folders as ‘packages’ to a repository using the SWORD2 protocol, however currently there is an issue** with the default version of DataStage and no transfers can be done on any other repository other than into Databank (the DataFlow project’s repository).

As well as contacting DataFlow and EPrints, the Technical Manager has been in contact with various colleagues across the sector, from the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary, University of London (see blog post about connecting DataStage with DSpace) to other colleagues who have also looked into connecting DataStage with EPrints such as the UK Data Archive, University of Essex and the RoaDMaP project, University of Leeds.

At this point there are the following conclusions:

  1. EPrints 3.3 is required in order to have SWORD 2 fully enabled [completed].
  2. EPrints have tested the SWORD 2 protocol successfully with other EPrints repositories, however connectivity with other types of repositories hasn’t been tested by EPrints yet.
  3. The DataFlow project manager replied saying that there were issues with the SWORD submission on the DataStage side, however they were expecting to come up with a workaround for their V 1.0 release [It is noted that Richard Jones will be presenting about DataFlow at the JISCMRD Nottingham programme event so this is hopeful!!].
  4. The lead DataStage developer mentioned that SWORD2 was envisioned to fully work with DataStage and EPrints when it becomes available and that previous versions of DataStage managed to work okay with EPrints, however due to new developments and enhancements at either end some changes in the DataStage side need to happen before it fully complies and can connect with EPrints.

*DataFlow was funded by JISC, under the University Modernisation Fund, from June 2011 – May 2012 to further develop a prototype out of the JISC-funded ADMIRAL project (2009-11).

**A blog post at the end of August noted the action “Review Sword access problems, isolate and fix (getting external help if needed).”