Launch of new ORCID education and outreach resources!

Today (16 October 2017) is ORCID’s fifth birthday, and the launch of the new education and outreach resources – the products of the project I’ve been working on since joining ORCID in March 2017.  Find out more on the ORCID blog: Celebrating ORCID@5 with the launch of new resources!

I’ve learned a lot during the process, including how to add .srt captions to videos, organise and manage working groups across 18 hours’ time difference, and wrangling metadata in Figshare.

Many people were involved in bringing all this together: members of the Meerkat, Giraffe, and Eagle working groups, ORCID Ambassadors, colleagues in the Community Team and Development Team at ORCID, film stars of the future who participated in the Why ORCID? video, people who worked on translations, and those who are now spreading the word about these new materials across the world…

To mark the occasion and thank everyone who contributed, I hosted two (for different time zones) virtual launch parties, and here is the order of service:

Arrival: have ORCID@5 video playing | Introductions: people introduce themselves and tell the group about their role in the project | Canapés: guided tour of Welcome to ORCID | Refreshments: serve virtual drinks e.g. [Gabriela served an ORCIDinha to Laura], and people share any dressing up or drinks/snacks they’ve prepared for the party | Tapas: tour of outreach resources | Entertainment: play Why ORCID? video | Thank guests, and close.

Education & outreach launch party menu

Thanks to my colleague Gabi for the artwork and the inspired drinks list 🙂 I’m off to enjoy something suitably alcoholic before starting work on phase two of this project tomorrow…




UKSG webinar – Blockchain in research and education

Thanks to Martin Hamilton, Futurist at Jisc, for an excellent overview of how we got here, where we are, and what might be next.  Catch up with the slides from this webinar, and here’s a reading list of things mentioned:

  • History of bitcoin
  • Ethereum is “an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality.”
  • Namecoin is “an experimental open-source technology which improves decentralization, security, censorship resistance, privacy, and speed of certain components of the Internet infrastructure such as DNS and identities.”
  • Blockcerts – “The Open Initiative for Blockchain Certificates: Build apps that issue and verify blockchain-based certificates for academic credentials, professional certifications, workforce development, and civic records.”
  • Blockchain for Science  – “To bring science towards reproducible results, autonomous and free data handling and incentivisation of true innovation; to guide the social, technical, cultural, political, economical and legal impacts of the blockchain (r)evolution to science; to support scientific communication and education; to free science from any kind of censorship, central point of failure or other potential deadends.”
  • Provenance – “We enable great businesses to build trust in their goods and supply chain. Provenance powered data helps shoppers choose your product.”
  • Sovrin is “a global, decentralized identity network. It delivers the Internet’s missing identity layer. Sovrin allows people and organisations to create portable, self-sovereign digital identities which they control, and which can’t be taken away by any government or organisation. It uses a public permissioned ledger which is governed by the Sovrin Foundation.”
  • Avoiding the pointless blockchain project
1. Must be a database, 2. Must have multiple writers/updaters, 3. You don't trust the folk updating the database, 4. You don't need a trsuted intermediary to vouch for updates / updaters, 5. Transactions are often dependent on each other, 6. Database contains rules for assessing the legitimacy of transactions, 7. Database contains a mechanism for conflict resolution, 8. Information / asset in database can be drawn down e.g. funds transfer

Avoiding the pointless blockchain project – 8 rules

Find out more about UKSG and UKSG events

Consumer democracy?

I have recently discovered the documentary films of Adam Curtis and can highly recommend “The Century of the Self” (2002) – it’s available on YouTube and the four 1-hour episodes are:

  1. Happiness Machines
  2. The Engineering of Consent
  3. There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads; He Must Be Destroyed
  4. Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering

The last 10 minutes gives an excellent summary of how politicians adopt methods used by business (e.g. focus groups) to give voters what they said they wanted, but this consumerism allows people only the illusion of control.  Rather than people being in charge,  their desires are.  They exercise no decision-making power, and democracy demands no acts of citzenry but treats the public as passive consumers.  Responding to a mass of ever-changing and out-of-context individual opinions is very different from having a leader with a coherent plan.

This made me think of the way student feedback may be treated in universities, and whether it is used to inform or guide planning.  I’m all for a higher education sector which responds to student feedback, but I think consumer-driven universities risk focusing on students’ short-term desires at the expense of delivering the kind of challenging and transformative experience that produces confident graduates with useful skills.

See also last Friday’s episode of The Now Show, in particular Andy Zaltzman’s segment (begins at 17:45) about improv politics, and Pippa Evans’ song (26:42) “I’ve got an opinion, everybody listen to me…”

Curtis’ more recent films Bitter Lake and HyperNormalisation are currently available on BBC iPlayer.

The internet bus “Netti-Nysse”

Parked outside the building where the conference was held, the Internet Bus “Netti-Nysse” attracted many visitors during a coffee break.

Internet bus Netti-Nysse

Netti-Nysse is a local, Tampere way to say “internet bus”.  The bright yellow bus is familiar to all and frightening to none.

10-seat auditorium inside the bus

The bus has a modern auditorium with 10 seats, and 11 computer workstations.

Workstations at the other end of the bus

The Netti-Nysse is operated by Tampere Public Library and may be booked for groups of people, or individuals can sign up for open classes.  Any group of people who want to learn to use a computer can book the bus, which will then come to visit them in their neighbourhood.

Staff at Netti-Nysse give classes in basic computer use, and education about media and safe use of the internet.

What a great way to take this education to people and present it in a fun, welcoming environment!