Sep 212011

Welcome to the liveblog for the Social Media & Academia Event at Social Media Week Glasgow.

This panel discussion, arranged by Edinburgh Beltane, Beacon for Public Engagement and EDINA, will focus on the opportunities for using social media in academia, particularly for public engagement where collaboration and communicating research to wider audience can create greater social impact of your work.

The hashtag for the event is #socac and we’ll be watching those tweets so do let us know what you’d like to ask our panellists!


This is an outline of what we will be including in the session – the timings are approximate but should help you get an idea of how the afternoon will work:

3:30 Live poll: What do you currently use Social Media for?

This is currently running – please send in your answers!

And William is doing some housekeeping announcements…

We’ve opened with a brief Introduction from Heather Rea, Project Manager for Edinburgh Beltane, Beacon for Public Engagement and Nicola Osborne, Social Media Officer for EDINA.

Now, meet the panelists! Introductions on who they are and how they are using social media. Continue reading »

 September 21, 2011  Posted by at 3:34 pm Events Attended, LiveBlogs, Social Media at EDINA Tagged with: , , , ,  3 Responses »
Sep 142011

In my last post I briefly mentioned that I was helping to put together an event for Social Media Week Glasgow with Edinburgh Beltane.  Having now worked out a lot more of the details, confirmed our speakers and made our event available for booking I thought I’d say a bit more about the session and why we are running it.

Social Media Week Banner

The Social Media Week Logo and Banner

EDINA and Edinburgh Beltane, Beacon for Public Engagement, will be jointly running the Social Media in Academia (#socac) event from 3.30pm on Wednesday 21st September at the University of Glasgow Library. The event is part of  Social Media Week Glasgow (SMAgla) which takes place from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd September 2011. Glasgow is one of 12 cities taking part in this Social Media Week (they take place every 6 months) with others  including Berlin, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Moscow and Vancouver. The last SMW took place in London and there was only one offshoot Social Media Week event in Scotland – a drinks reception from Big Mouth Media – so it’s very exciting that Glasgow is playing host this time.

I was really keen to put on something for an academic audience and delighted that Edinburgh Beltane were keen to join EDINA in organising an event as Social Media Week is a high profile affair and almost all sessions are free and open to all making it a great opportunity to raise the profile of academic use of social media and public engagement. The programme also looked likely to have relatively few events lined up be/for those  wanting to discuss specific academia related social media issues.

The event will begin with a panel discussion and be followed by a social media surgery which will allow opportunity for attendees to get more personalised advice and ask more detailed questions. So often when you run a training session or talk all the great questions and issues get raised at or after the end so this extra hour is intended to ensure there is an informal space available to continue discussions and hit those “this is only relavent to my organisation but…” or “I’m sure it’s not interesting to others but how do you do…”

Images of our speakers for the social media week event

Our marvellous speakers!

The particularly focus for the event is the use of social media in academia, particularly for public engagement where collaboration and communicating research to wider audience can create greater social impact for research. With that in mind we have assembled a fantastic line up of speakers:

  • Dr Peter Matthews, lecturer in the School of the Built Environment, Heriot-Watt University. Peter tweets and blogs and, bravely, blogged his most recent research bid in draft form so that he could obtain feedback and suggestions online. Peter will be of particular interest to those looking at how to engage fellow academics and wider publics in their work, and for anyone interested in thinking about effective ways to make their work more collaborative and/or transparent.
  • Dr Chris Speed, researcher in Digital Architecture, Human Geography and Social Computing, Edinburgh College of Art. Chis has worked on the Walking Through Time and Tales of Things projects and has a real passion for novel uses of phones, ipads and similarly disruptive interfaces. We think his talk will be of interest to anyone needing a little inspiration in weaving social and mobile technology into their own practice.
  • Jen Ross, Associate Lecturer on the MSc in E-Learning programme and part of the Digital Cultures and Education research group at the School of Education, University of Edinburgh. Jen does some fantastic innovative teaching and research work via social media and we know her contribution will be of particular interest to those involved in teaching and learning, elearning, and research into digital culture and media.
  • William Nixon, Digital Library Development Manager at the University of Glasgow. William is a keen social media user for his own professional networking and will bring a library perspective to our panel. The University of Glasgow repository has been experimenting with social media, such as tweeting links to newly deposited content and we think that William’s contribution will therefore be of particular interest to academics, researchers, and librarians thinking about how to make their research outputs more visible, sharable and available to wider publics.

Myself and Heather Rea, Project Manager for Edinburgh Beltane, Beacon for Public Engagement will be joining forces with the panel at the end to answer questions, give individual advice and give practical support on social media for academic and public engagement uses.

We still have places available for the session so please do book now – and/or pass on to friends – via the Social Media Week page:

image of booking page

Click here to Register!

We will be liveblogging and tweeting the event so do keep an eye here and on the #socac hashtag on Wednesday afternoon!

Mar 242011

Tomorrow I am attending the ScraperWiki Hacks & Hackers Day Glasgow (#hhhglas) and thought I would gather some resources here on the blog for my own reference and for any fellow social media types who like to play around with mashing up various APIs, feeds, data etc.

ScraperWiki are the organisers for tomorrow’s events but I’m pretty new to ScraperWiki and most of my data munging experience has been with UNIX scripting and Perl (rather than Python or Ruby). I really do like the visual pseudocode experience of tools like Yahoo! Pipes but there are loads of online tools for transforming, manipulating and combining data and even Google Docs can be deceptively useful for working with data.

I gave a presentation at Haggis and Mash this year highlighting various EDINA APIs so for more information on our APIs and machine harvest-able services (not all listed below) take a look at my slides:

  • AddressingHistory API (Query 1765, 1865 and 1905 Edinburgh Post Office Directory data with geolocation info)
  • Jorum API (Access educational resources in Jorum based on collection, submitter, etc.)
  • Open Access Repository Junction APIs (information on HE and FE organisations and their repositories, mainly but not exclusively UK)
  • OpenStream API (Ordnance Survey Open Data products for UK HE – requires free registration)
  • Unlock (middleware service) lets you geocode text and placenames – you can do similar with the Data Science Toolkit

Obviously I have omitted a lot of very useful social APIs and tools like Google maps etc. I’ll try to add to this list with other (less obvious) useful APIs and tools but if you have some ideas for using any of the above or can recommend some great data or tools I should be trying out do leave a comment below.

 March 24, 2011  Posted by at 6:50 pm Social Media at EDINA Tagged with: , , , , ,  No Responses »
Mar 222011

EDINA are currently running a project called “Linked Data Focus” which is exploring how our projects and services can engage with Linked Data – whether as new published data sets or schema or as a way to enhance and improve our own content and services through connections to other data.

Part of my role is to look at new technologies and ideas that we could be working with. Linked Data offers some really fantastic opportunities for creating new services, tools and websites from data that is distributed across the web and across institutions. There is fluctuating interest in these technologies but the core concept that data should have context, should be interoperable (something I particularly appreciate as a former data munger* for SUNCAT) and should connect to other relevant data/metadata/resources seems very robust.

Last month I was delighted to be able to attend a “Linked Data Learn-In” held by the LD Focus tean as I was keen to hear how our own work was taking shape and to hear from the guest speaker Wilbert Kraan of JISC Cetis.  I have just posted up my notes from the session on the Linked Data Focus Blog – do take a look. (Although the notes may look quite technical/acronym filled non techies can be reassured that I have loaded the post with through to project and tool pages, documentation and Wikipedia definitions.)

*Yes, “munging” is a real word and it refers to programmatically tweaking, manipulating and standardising data or metadata. SUNCAT collects data from almost 80 libraries so there is a fair bit of behind the scenes magic required to make all that metadata work together in one catalogue.

 March 22, 2011  Posted by at 4:02 pm Social Media at EDINA Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Feb 032011

As many of you may already know I’ve been working with my colleagues to create a set of guidelines on blogging and social media for some time. I am therefore very excited to let you know that we have just published version 1.0 of the EDINA Social Media Guidelines on the EDINA website under a CC (Attribution-ShareAlike) license.

The guidelines are intended to encourage and support use of social media but also to provide some common sense advice about getting presences set up, dealing with difficult comments, etc.  We have been using various draft versions of the guidelines internally for some time in order to gather feedback on how well they work, what else should be covered, etc. and this has been an invaluable process. I think the guidelines that have emerged are much stronger for the community input we’ve had and this first full version feel really compact, really relevant and cover a lot of ground, or, as my colleague Paul puts it: the guidelines are “a short but meaty” document.

Obviously social media moves fast and to stay relevant these guidelines will continue to develop, iterating regularly to take account of new tools and technologies and to take account of the feedback we receive back. With that in mind I would love to hear your comments and feedback on this first version.

Publishing the guidelines means we are not only being transparent about our own processes of adopting and using social media but it also means we can learn from others’ experiences and feedback. We are also sharing what we have learned over a roughly two year process. When I began drafting the guidelines I reviewed other social media guidelines (for which Jeremiah Oywang’s blog is always a useful source) including those from IBM, the UK Government Twitter guidance (links to Guardian coverage as the original copy is no longer available), various local councils policies, the BBC guidelines and, curiously but very usefully, the US Air Force flow chart for dealing with comments (which has inspired our own comment moderation guide).

We’ve also used the guidelines as an opportunity to flag up some of our current social media activity. We already have a social media page on the EDINA website but we’ve also posted a news item today to highlight some of the recent activity on those blogs, twitter accounts, Facebook pages, etc. that we list. My colleagues at EDINA share their substantial expertise and experiences through project, service and team social media presences and I highly recommend taking a wee look around the blogs in particular.

I hope you’ll find the guidelines interesting and if you think they might be useful for your own organisation please do have a look, grab a copy and adapt as you’d like – though I’d love to hear how you’re using them – do leave me a comment or drop me an email!