New activity data project
I blogged back in November on some reflections on preparing and submitting a funding bid.  Well, we’ve recently received word that we are one of eight projects to be funded as part of the JISC programme and we’re really pleased to be successful.  It’s a fairly short six month project but is working in an area that I find particularly interesting, that of user activity data and how it can (and should be used) to improve services.

Our new project RISE is part of the JISC Activity Data programme and the projects cover quite a wide range of data from VLEs, library systems and other corporate systems so it will be really interesting to see what comes out of them.  We’re going to be looking at data from our ezproxy system which we use as the primary method of getting students and staff access to licenced library resources.   As most of our use is remote (unsurprisingly as I work at a distance learning institution) it’s a critical system for us.  We’ve recently put in place a new aggregated search system (Ebsco Discovery Solution) and we are going to explore how we can use our ezproxy search data to provide recommendations to searchers and see what difference it makes to their behaviour.  Using data to provide recommendations are an everyday part of commercial life and taken for granted if you’re a regular user of services such as Amazon.  But libraries (with notable exceptions such as Huddersfield) have been strangely reluctant to exploit the rich store of activity data that they can collect to improve the user experience.

RISE gives us the opportunity to see what we can do with the data in terms of making recommendations, what the challenges are, what we can’t do with it, and whether it is of interest to anyone else.  It’s going to be an interesting few month. RISE will shortly have it’s own project blog and twitter tag #ourise and I’m aiming to blog some personal reflections and notes on how we get on here.