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shared academic knowledge base: Approach and Vision


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A presentation given by Liam Earney on the approach and vision of the shared academic knowledge base for UK HE (KB+)

A presentation given by Liam Earney on the approach and vision of the shared academic knowledge base for UK HE (KB+)

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  • I’d like to thank all of you for coming today, it’s very heartening to see the level of interest in this activity and it’s objectives.I’ve been with JISC Collections for over 8 years and it was back in 1996 that I saw my first ERM being tested at LSE.At that time, I thought how brilliant it would be for us if we could start to use one as the source of all of our administrative and publication information, rather than try to manage it in spreadsheets, web pages and the like.Two years later we licensed an ERM in jisc collections for that reason, and I guess the issues that we faced and the reasons we failed are a small part of why we’re here today.I hope that what I present today will seem sensible, cohesive and achievable.
  • This is not a new problem, and whether we called it ERM or something else, the issues that we’ll be starting to address in this project are ones that we have been facing up to for a long while.It was back in 2005 that the old JISC Collections team in JISC commissioned a study on the value of NESLI2 agreements which made a recommendation for a usage stats portal.In 2007 SCONUL started to become interested in the challenges facing library management systems and uncovered widespread interest from its members in approaching these issues at the consortium level.And whilst the direction of travel has been maintained over that period, it has been maintained in fits and starts, through a variety of disparate projects tools and services, often operating in isolation from or ignorance of each other.As such, whilst we may not realise it, we’ve taken alot of the first steps, be it around post cancellation access, usage statistics, or licensing.But it does seem as though we now have a confluence of services, requirements from those services, demand from the community and all importantly funding to really try to address some of the issues
  • I don’t intend to spend very long on the problems and challenges associated with ERM, but I think that these three are the key ones for me:DataIn some ways this isn’t a technology project at all, this is a data project and no matter how good the service, if the underlying data is inaccurate then it’s all for nothing.Knowledge bases are beset by problems of inaccurate data. In JISC Collections we receive numerous queries about them and have made efforts to overcome them, but this is the first time that we’ve ever been in a position where we could assign dedicated manpower to the problem.Then there is the problem of interoperability or rather the lack of it. Too often where data does exist it is impossible to get it to somewhere else where you may need it. – Usage stats are a case in point, but I could just as easily speak about licence terms, be they locked away in filing cabinets or locked away in word documents.And even when we develop standards that can help us overcome the problems of silos, and the lack of data flows between them, we find that those standards either aren’t implemented at all, or have been implemented in such an inconsistent way as to render them all but useless.3. Finally, and I suspect most importantly is the huge and wasteful duplication of effort by so many people undertaking the same tasks, on the same data, often on the same systems.It is no surprise that so many institutions have opted for home grown approached to ERM, or left those theyve purchased unused.Put simply, the level of effort needed to achieve anything is out of all proportion to the benefits to be realised.
  • Sector Specialists During ProjectAny technical co-ordinator will need access to sector specialists with knowledge of the data, functions and processes that we hope to provide for within the KB+. I propose employing on a part-time basis 2 or 3 sector specialists for the life of the project who can provide timely advice, guidance and corrections to the technical lead and any software developers employed. They would also be available to test the KB+ as it comes together and any software that it develops.These would help keep us honest, prioritise work and provide a useful sanity check against an work packages.Prioritisation of title listsI feel that an initial focus by the project on A-Z title lists for link resolvers will not only deliver benefits to the community, but be an early demonstration of the focussed approach the project is taking to resolving existing issues and lightening the existing load on institutions. In such a way we intend to build momentum and put in place an ongoing schedule of deliverables. We will need to prioritise this work though and the community would seem to be the best way to go about this.Data cleaning and verificationLinked to the work above, JISC Collections via the project, intends to undertake the work involved in getting a-z lists right – and use this in the evidence for the business model. However, we can’t do all of it and we would like to see a process where different institutions take responsibility for cleaning up the metadata for different lists of titles in such a way as to reduce duplication and share benefits.A n instant place for us to start would be on the entitlements registryLicence mapping/prioritisationWe want to create more ONIX licence expressions. Which ones should we choose? How can we make the process more efficient – would groups be willing to take on the work associated with a subset of licence expressions? What resources might institutions be willing to contribute in phase 1?  What are the key issues around those commitments from the institutional perspective?
  • Transcript

    • 1. KB+
      Towards a Shared Knowledge Base for UK Academic Institutions
    • 2. Introduction
      Issues with ERM
      Recommendations to HEFCE
      JISC Collections role
      Business Models
    • 3. We’ve been interested in ERM for a while…
    • 4. Issues with ERM
      Data silos and flows
      Implementation of standards
      Duplication of effort
      Population of knowledge bases
      Maintenance of link resolvers
    • 5. Recommendation to HEFCE
      Hosted and Mediated Knowledge Base Plus
      Community centric ‘above campus’ knowledge base
      Mediation and validation by a trusted third party
      Integrated management tools
      Linked to UK licensing initiatives
      Works in conjunction with existing market offerings
      Knowledge Base Plus – a shared service for subscription resources.
      David Kay and Owen Stephens 2011
    • 6. JISC Collections
      Appointed by HEFCE and JISC as managing agent for the shared services project
      Commence implementation of KB
      Investigate and implement sustainability plan
      Very tight budget
      Very tight timetable
      Very high community expectations
    • 7. approach
    • 8.
    • 9.
    • 10.
    • 11. Interoperability
      Investing in the enhancement and improvement of existing services whilst supporting
      the needs and viability of local systems and new services
    • 12. How do we ensure that benefits outweigh the investment of staff time?
    • 13. Two things you won’t see...
      Not about inventing a new ERM product
      We don’t have the money
      We don’t have the time
      We don’t have the manpower
      More articles restating the challenges of ERM
      This is a practical project focussed on building a service
    • 14. Deliverables
      Accurate Publication Information
      NESLi2 A-Z title lists
      Core Databases
      Holdings and Entitlements
      Entitlement Registry
      Subscription Data and Management
      Alerting services etc
      Licensing Management and Information
      Licence comparison tool, ONIX-PL
      Usage Data and Analysis
    • 15. Business Models
      Potential models
      Funding availability
      Existing expenditure on ERM & LMS
      Size of potential market
      Structure of JISC
      Sustainability of other services
      JUSP, El-cat etc
      Timetable to achieve sustainability
      Central funding
      Loss of policy control
      Harmonisation of current funding
      Subscriptions from sector
      Part of a wider offering from JISC Collections/JISC?
      Licence fees from suppliers
      We populate their KBs
      ‘KB+ Foundation’
      Funding members set priorities etc
    • 16. Time Scale
      Phase One
      August 2011 to August 2012
      Outputs throughout the year
      Business plan by April 2012
      Decision on phase two and transition to service by July 2012
      Phase Two
      From August 2012 KB+ Service?
    • 17. Project Lead
      Independent Adviser
      Independent Adviser
    • 18. Thank you
      Liam Earney
    • 19. Open discussion
    • 20. How can institutions contribute?
      Subject Specialists
      Prioritisation of activity
      Publication activity
      Data Cleaning and Verification
      Information sharing
      Entitlement Registry
      Encourage suppliers to engage constructively with the project
    • 21. What would you like to see as part of future developments for the service?
      What are priorities for the service in phase 2 from August 2012 onwards?
    • 22. What happens next?
      We would like institutions or groups of institutions to indicate their willingness to participate in the project, and the work areas that they are most interested in.
      We will communicate the outcomes of this meeting to all of you and those who couldn’t attend.
      We will start contacting institutions to seek their input on specific issues.