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21 April 2015
1
Enhancing life-long learning, teaching and research through
information resources and services
21 April 2015
2
Open information in need of liberation:
Aspire and the conundrum of linked data
Richard Cross, Nottingham ...
21 April 2015
3
Abstract
Talis Aspire's applications are built on the foundation of open linked data (a widely
heralded 'p...
21 April 2015
4
Agenda
• Talis, linked data and open data
• Talis Aspire: the openness conundrum
• Open information: lists...
21 April 2015
5
Talis: linked data and openness
• Talis Aspire as ground-breaking, sector leading design, especially in
te...
21 April 2015
6
Linked data
• But if linked open data is the language of the semantic web…
21 April 2015
7
Resource lists
• … resource list services are primarily institutional service offers
21 April 2015
8
Talis: linked data and openness
• Key challenge remains that linked data enthusiasm has not yet
become pop...
21 April 2015
9
Talis Aspire: open data
• If the linked data
component of Talis Aspire
is less visible and less
strongly p...
21 April 2015
10
Talis Aspire: openness
• Aspire made available through software-as-a-service (SaaS)
• Not built upon a tr...
21 April 2015
11
Talis Aspire: the openness conundrum
• So Aspire data is held remotely (in the cloud) and Aspire data is
...
21 April 2015
12Open information in need of liberation: Aspire and the conundrum of linked data
Open information: lists an...
21 April 2015
13
Talis Aspire: tenancy openness
• Guest visitors can view list data in an open Talis Aspire tenancy
21 April 2015
14
Talis Aspire: tenancy openness
• Guest visitors can view a history of list changes in an open Talis
Aspir...
21 April 2015
15
Talis Aspire: tenancy openness
• Guest visitors can
review, in detail, list item
changes
• Guests an grab...
21 April 2015
16
Talis Aspire: cross-tenancy openness
• Guest visitors can export list and item data from an Aspire Tenancy
21 April 2015
17
Talis Aspire: cross-tenancy openness
• Guest visitors can export list and item data from an Aspire Tenancy
21 April 2015
18
Talis Aspire: Google
21 April 2015
19
Talis Aspire: Google
21 April 2015
20Open information in need of liberation: Aspire and the conundrum of linked data
Accessing Aspire informati...
21 April 2015
21
Using the Aspire APIs
• Possible to use the limited Aspire APIs (Application Programming
Interfaces) to r...
21 April 2015
22
Talis Aspire: local tools
• Relic as a single item look-up
21 April 2015
23
Talis Aspire: local tools
• Relic as a single item look-up – returns items specific information
21 April 2015
24
Talis Aspire: local tools
• Experiments with multi-value look-ups, but process does not scale
• Nature of...
21 April 2015
25Open information in need of liberation: Aspire and the conundrum of linked data
Tracking activity and usag...
21 April 2015
26
Usage and management information
• No expectation that usage and management information in Aspire
should ...
21 April 2015
27
Talis Aspire: Google Analytics
• Wealth of information about access to, navigation through, and
views of ...
21 April 2015
28
Talis Aspire: Dashboard
• List and item access figures, viewable by academic and librarian
21 April 2015
29
Talis Aspire: Reports
• Report information – access managed by Aspire permissions
21 April 2015
30
Talis Aspire: Reports
• All item report: the most wide-ranging and re-purposable
21 April 2015
31Open information in need of liberation: Aspire and the conundrum of linked data
Leveraging reportable data...
21 April 2015
32
What questions might the library want to be
able to answer?
• We’ve completed a small stock review – can ...
21 April 2015
33
Adding an Aspire flag to the LMS
• Based on a bespoke report from Talis; uploaded by LMS batch update
21 April 2015
34
What it is not possible for the library to do?
• Create original reports (no report writing functionality...
21 April 2015
35
Clear reasons why these restrictions exist
• Hosted tenancies offered through SaaS –
normal for direct da...
21 April 2015
36
Consequences clear as well
• Libraries lack access to management
information, reporting and tracking
metr...
21 April 2015
37
What is to be done?
Assumptions and expectations
• Talis Aspire will remain a linked-data, open-on-the-we...
21 April 2015
38
What is to be done?
One approach – extend the permeability of data in Aspire
• Enable APIs for batch data...
21 April 2015
39
What is to be done?
Another approach – integrate with a reporting dashboard
• Develop (or integrate a thi...
21 April 2015
40
What is to be done?
Another approach – improve the capability of routine export
• Provide customers with ...
21 April 2015
41
Questions and comments?
Open information in need of liberation:
Aspire and the conundrum of linked data
R...
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Open Information in need of liberation: Aspire and the conundrum of linked data

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Richard Cross from NTU presents at Talis Insight 2015

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Open Information in need of liberation: Aspire and the conundrum of linked data

  1. 1. 21 April 2015 1 Enhancing life-long learning, teaching and research through information resources and services
  2. 2. 21 April 2015 2 Open information in need of liberation: Aspire and the conundrum of linked data Richard Cross, Nottingham Trent University Talis Aspire User Group – Talis Insights 2015 - Birmingham
  3. 3. 21 April 2015 3 Abstract Talis Aspire's applications are built on the foundation of open linked data (a widely heralded 'public good' in the information realm) and cloud hosted SaaS (the increasing norm in the information industry sector). But the ability to open up, share, link and compare resource list information on the open web is far less well reflected when it comes to the needs of librarians attempting to 'resource the resource lists'. The ability to repurpose list data outside of the Aspire interfaces is limited; and independent reporting access to item information is even more constrained. This presentation will outline some of issues raised by the difficulty of extracting tailored management information from Aspire; explain some of the steps which Nottingham Trent University's library service have introduced in response; and suggest other developments which might extend the availability of enticingly inaccessible (but hugely powerful) resource list information which currently exists just beyond the librarian's reach.
  4. 4. 21 April 2015 4 Agenda • Talis, linked data and open data • Talis Aspire: the openness conundrum • Open information: lists and items on the web • Accessing Aspire information through APIs • Tracking activity and usage within Aspire • Leveraging reportable data from Aspire • The data beyond the library’s easy reach • What might be done to improve things?
  5. 5. 21 April 2015 5 Talis: linked data and openness • Talis Aspire as ground-breaking, sector leading design, especially in terms of HE software development • Built on principles of openness and linked data • Prescient, in many respects – ahead of the curve • Advocacy and projection of openness and linked data as clear ‘public goods’ • Focus on the ability to compare, identify patterns, traverse relationships between entities, build recommendation trails: an eco- system which supports cross-organisational comparison and which opens up resource list data on the open web
  6. 6. 21 April 2015 6 Linked data • But if linked open data is the language of the semantic web…
  7. 7. 21 April 2015 7 Resource lists • … resource list services are primarily institutional service offers
  8. 8. 21 April 2015 8 Talis: linked data and openness • Key challenge remains that linked data enthusiasm has not yet become popularised – or commonly understood • Aspire customers have not necessarily recognised intrinsic value in linked data for an institutionally-focused service • Talis have yet to identify a irrefutable use case to demonstrate the utility of Aspire linked-data • Talis has made some organisational and strategy changes as a result of the lack of widespread take-up
  9. 9. 21 April 2015 9 Talis Aspire: open data • If the linked data component of Talis Aspire is less visible and less strongly projected – the openness of Aspire data remains decisive • Although opt-outs exist (and some academic anxieties about IP retain their currency), openness of item and list data remains the Aspire default
  10. 10. 21 April 2015 10 Talis Aspire: openness • Aspire made available through software-as-a-service (SaaS) • Not built upon a traditional relational database; but upon a linked data triple store
  11. 11. 21 April 2015 11 Talis Aspire: the openness conundrum • So Aspire data is held remotely (in the cloud) and Aspire data is structured and stored in a way (while completely standards- based) remains atypical amongst library applications and services • The openness, the permeability, of the data of list data available in the Aspire user interface is not matched by and equal degree accessibility ‘in the back-end’ for the library
  12. 12. 21 April 2015 12Open information in need of liberation: Aspire and the conundrum of linked data Open information: lists and items on the web
  13. 13. 21 April 2015 13 Talis Aspire: tenancy openness • Guest visitors can view list data in an open Talis Aspire tenancy
  14. 14. 21 April 2015 14 Talis Aspire: tenancy openness • Guest visitors can view a history of list changes in an open Talis Aspire tenancy
  15. 15. 21 April 2015 15 Talis Aspire: tenancy openness • Guest visitors can review, in detail, list item changes • Guests an grab (and manipulate) an RSS feed
  16. 16. 21 April 2015 16 Talis Aspire: cross-tenancy openness • Guest visitors can export list and item data from an Aspire Tenancy
  17. 17. 21 April 2015 17 Talis Aspire: cross-tenancy openness • Guest visitors can export list and item data from an Aspire Tenancy
  18. 18. 21 April 2015 18 Talis Aspire: Google
  19. 19. 21 April 2015 19 Talis Aspire: Google
  20. 20. 21 April 2015 20Open information in need of liberation: Aspire and the conundrum of linked data Accessing Aspire information through APIs
  21. 21. 21 April 2015 21 Using the Aspire APIs • Possible to use the limited Aspire APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to request data outside of the main Aspire interface • This allows Aspire data to be requested and mixed-in or merged with other data streams or services – most obviously on a single- item, single-request basis
  22. 22. 21 April 2015 22 Talis Aspire: local tools • Relic as a single item look-up
  23. 23. 21 April 2015 23 Talis Aspire: local tools • Relic as a single item look-up – returns items specific information
  24. 24. 21 April 2015 24 Talis Aspire: local tools • Experiments with multi-value look-ups, but process does not scale • Nature of the linked data structure makes it hard to carry out look- ups in bulk • APIs remain read-only: no facility to make data changes
  25. 25. 21 April 2015 25Open information in need of liberation: Aspire and the conundrum of linked data Tracking activity and usage within Aspire
  26. 26. 21 April 2015 26 Usage and management information • No expectation that usage and management information in Aspire should be open data – or freely published on the web • Issue is that it is data which is fragmented, not easily accessible and not easy to interrogate • So while list content is freely accessible, information to help libraries support and resource lists is not
  27. 27. 21 April 2015 27 Talis Aspire: Google Analytics • Wealth of information about access to, navigation through, and views of lists
  28. 28. 21 April 2015 28 Talis Aspire: Dashboard • List and item access figures, viewable by academic and librarian
  29. 29. 21 April 2015 29 Talis Aspire: Reports • Report information – access managed by Aspire permissions
  30. 30. 21 April 2015 30 Talis Aspire: Reports • All item report: the most wide-ranging and re-purposable
  31. 31. 21 April 2015 31Open information in need of liberation: Aspire and the conundrum of linked data Leveraging reportable data from Aspire
  32. 32. 21 April 2015 32 What questions might the library want to be able to answer? • We’ve completed a small stock review – can we confirm that none of the 1200 books we’re about to discard are on resource lists? • We’ve got data on several hundred high reservation stock items – can we correlate these items with current resource lists in Education and in Art & Design • If I can extract the LCNs from Aspire for my target lists, can I track the circulation figures for the matching items • I’ve got the ISBNs of 10,000 eBooks in a PDA package. Can I find out which of these are on which current lists? • Can I get a comprehensive feed of all new items added to Science lists this semester?
  33. 33. 21 April 2015 33 Adding an Aspire flag to the LMS • Based on a bespoke report from Talis; uploaded by LMS batch update
  34. 34. 21 April 2015 34 What it is not possible for the library to do? • Create original reports (no report writing functionality exists) • Construct and run queries on the Aspire dataset (‘Let me have all ISBNs added to Art & Design lists since…’) • Schedule reporting events (‘Each Tuesday morning, circulate the following) • Upload a file of values for batch matching of items (‘Which of these ISBNs are on which lists’) • Use APIs to pull item data streams into other services (‘Into our tracking application load the following Aspire data…’) • Merge Dashboard and Item reporting information (to augment item data with click-through counts)
  35. 35. 21 April 2015 35 Clear reasons why these restrictions exist • Hosted tenancies offered through SaaS – normal for direct data access to be constrained • Aspire is based on a triple-store, not a traditional relational database – significant structural and technical challenges
  36. 36. 21 April 2015 36 Consequences clear as well • Libraries lack access to management information, reporting and tracking metrics which would enable them to better leverage Aspire data • Libraries are compelled to use workarounds and local inventions to accommodate for (and to try to patch) the gaps • A great deal of the rich information that Aspire holds is unfree • Libraries’ Aspire data needs to be secure (where necessary), but the Aspire data store needs fewer locked gates and far more helpful gatekeepers
  37. 37. 21 April 2015 37 What is to be done? Assumptions and expectations • Talis Aspire will remain a linked-data, open-on-the-web application • Direct access to the data-store will not be enabled for customers • Current levels of accessibility to list data is insufficient; and does not meet the needs of libraries wanting to resource the resource lists; and to validate their fulfilment practices • The tension between the openness of linked-data list information on the web; and the relatively inaccessibility of list data for management is recognised and acknowledged
  38. 38. 21 April 2015 38 What is to be done? One approach – extend the permeability of data in Aspire • Enable APIs for batch data requests • Extend the ability of librarians to interrogate data in Aspire and to ask customisable questions Positioning Aspire as a library reporting engine; expecting to develop functionality to track evolving management information needs
  39. 39. 21 April 2015 39 What is to be done? Another approach – integrate with a reporting dashboard • Develop (or integrate a third party) reporting layer, mapping the Aspire triples to data tables Positioning Aspire as a data source; outsourcing reporting to a single, supported cloud-based dashboard accessed by all customers
  40. 40. 21 April 2015 40 What is to be done? Another approach – improve the capability of routine export • Provide customers with access to a structured data export • Support the customer community in developing local reporting and management applications, based on the exported dataset Positioning Aspire as a source of library reporting information; developing exporting capabilities to match evolving Aspire functionality
  41. 41. 21 April 2015 41 Questions and comments? Open information in need of liberation: Aspire and the conundrum of linked data Richard Cross, Resource Discovery and Innovation Manager Libraries and Learning Resources, Nottingham Trent University +44(0)115 848 4878 | richard.cross@ntu.ac.uk

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