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Opening Plenary - 29th July 2010

Rachel Bruce gives an overview of Day 1 and Outline of Day 2

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28 July 2010

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Live blog of the opening plenary, 29 July 2010

Rachel Bruce, JISC acting director of e-infrastructure, is at the helm this morning with an overview of yesterday and a preview of the coming attractions, and the main auditorium is starting to fill with delegates who are looking surprisingly sprightly after last night's late night networking. The room is ringing with the sounds of 'good morning' and discussions continued from breakfast.

Right, Rachel is on and is recapping the highlights of yesterday and promises prizes for the best exhibition stand and best poster. There may also be a chance for the audience to  offer some reflections.

Going over the strands, the change management strands had a focus on project management. How do you make the change you are intending to happen? The discussion was around training - the projects wanted to take the discussion further into practical areas. Rachel then highlighted the JISC InfoKit that can help. There was also discussion around the Korn+Oppenheim IPR white paper.  'There were some tough questions!' says Rachel, especially around the current property framework. The paper will be on JISC Press for further comments.

The sustainability strand covered a wide range of areas from software to case studies. A theme that came up was about the centrality of users to the success of projects and innovation. 'We need to ensure that what we do is useful'. The requirement for senior management buy-in was also seen as crucial. But it's also valid to undertake grassroots innovation and it might not always be appropriate to have senior management buy-in at that stage. There will be newsletters available for delegates to pick up and also in the virtual goodybag (you can find that here on Cloudworks)

The communications strand took a very practical route and there will be a Top 10 Tips in the goodybag. The two sessions in this strand were liveblogged and can be found here on Cloudworks. (Writing to Get Your Project Noticed, Promoting Your Project To Different Audiences)

The Thunderbolts and Lightning session was fascinating: five minute pitches and then discussions. It was kept to time and the conversation really flowed. The artists in the  room did an incredible job. Subjects that came up included consultants and how JISC can work as an agency or a broker in that relationship, to save money. Another was a pitch around repositories and how to get things right before you get the stuff in the repository. We really need to look at the filter being on the outside - to just get the stuff in there and then make judgements about it. We need to start to think about 'just good enough' and make it available and then deal with the detail later. Another good discussion was around the JISC Elevator (there is a mock-up for feedback) - it's a new way to pitch ideas and a community experiment. Micro-payments came up and the need to look at mixed models and how micro-funding can enable teams to be brought together. This session was live blogged and can be found here on Cloudworks and today's follow-up session on solutions will also be liveblogged - follow it here!

For Rachel, the themes that really came out for her were around open and putting users at the heart. What did the audience think?

Elevator and micro-projects got the thumbs-up from one delegate who said that her institution wasn't traditionally very skilled at the big JISC bids and starting smaller might be helpful for institutions such as hers.

Rachel highlighted the JISC repository start up programme that had also targetted smaller institutions and they had learnt a huge amount from bringing other people into the community.

Alison Allden spoke up and said that the open discussion raised qustions about where it's going and feels that stuck in a rhetoric that is becoming slightly problematic and is looking for next generation that means Open Access but is not Open Acess - perhaps we are over-simplifying what is really a complex demand. Perhaps it's the word 'access' that is creating a problem. We need a new rhetoric that captures the complexity. Things have moved on and we may not be ready to communicate where w are because of the difficulty of 'Open Access'. Provenance is key to the whole concept. 'Open' for me is now becoming a problem. We need to innovate the language around that!

Now it's the turn of JISC programme managers to outline the areas they are looking at over the next year or so.

Neil Jacobs steps up and says that his programmes will be looking at open data, geospatial data, bibliographic data, and good practice with identifiers (URIs etc).

Liz Lakewood, from e-learning, highlights learning and teaching innovation grants, e-aessment and feedback and digital literacy (a cross programme so not just learning and teaching aspects).

Craig Wentworth mentions ICT-asssment in conjucntion with Leadership Foundation, business intelligence, greening ICT, business and community engagement.

Catherine Grout from e-content highlights the changes to the Strategic Content Alliance and need to work with agencies in the public sector to tackle issues such as business models and sustainability; highlighting the digital content that exists, more work on digging into data with US partners, more work on enhancing collections through crowdsourcing and community work.

And now it's prize time! The winner of the Best Exhibition Stand is...drum roll...the University of Derby!

The winner of Best Poster is...the Pineapple Project.

Delegates are dismissed and stream out of the room and on to the next sessions.



Michelle Pauli
09:01 on 29 July 2010 (Edited 11:55 on 29 July 2010)

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Gráinne Conole
9:09am 29 July 2010

Would it be possible to summarise some of the key findings/themes so far from the conference for those of us unable to attend?



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