The Digital Infrastructure Team and Blog …

Introducing the Digital Infrastructure Team… welcome to the new JISC Digital Infrastructure Team blog! which replaces the former Information Environment Team blog.

Over the past two years we have been managing the Information Environment and the Research innovation programmes at JISC together, as they are so inter- related. We have now brought these activities together under the banner of the Digital Infrastructure Portfolio. We’re now ready to launch our new programmes for this academic year 2011 – 12; these include:

Digital Infrastructure Directions; Information and Library Infrastructure; Research Management, and Research. For more information on these please see the work plan document referred to below.

So what is Digital Infrastructure?

Digital Infrastructure includes technical services, standards, software tools, supporting policies, practice and regulatory frameworks. It allows for the appropriate creation, management and exploitation of information, resources and services to enable effective and high quality research and education.

So yes we have a broad take on the meaning of digital infrastructure, and it is fair to say I think, that you could describe the work as developing and implementing a “library and research infrastructure”, however I should emphasise that we work on learning areas too; for example we work on activities related to open educational resources with the JISC e-learning team.

We’re approaching the work by:
*Developing shared infrastructure, which may be
centralised (often, but not always, provided by JISC) or distributed across universities and the web, for example digital repositories or virtual research environments.

*Building capacity and skills in universities and colleges and developing policy and technical practice to maximise sharing and re-use of information and technology for education and research.

*Sharing experiences of new technical approaches, such as cloud for research and the use of linked data through our Expose programme.

We have been working towards this view of a digital infrastructure over the past year through activities like the Managing Research Data Programme, Resource Discovery Programme, Access and Identity Management, Digital Preservation, Open Access and our work with developers under the DevCsi project at UKOLN. All of these activities will continue into new phases.

Within our current innovation work we are developing shared infrastructures, for example, for research data management, a shared repository and curation service environment and a number of shared library services, such as the Journals Usage Statistics Portal, e-journal archiving services and electronic resource management and discovery. Some of this activity will lead to on-going sustainable services.

Right now, some new programme activities are being established, including: mobile libraries, a new phase of research information management and the second phase of research data management. We’re also just about to release a new call for proposals that will cover a number of areas including: identifiers, new research tools, sustainability of digital collections and access and identity management.

So to the team – we are: Rachel Bruce (that’s me), Matthew Dovey, Neil Jacobs, Amber Thomas, Andy Mcgregor, Balviar Notay, Ben Showers, Chris Brown, David Flanders, Josh Brown, Judy Redfearn, Neil Grindley, Simon Hodson and Torsten Reimer.

Please read the Digital Infrastructure workplan 11-12 and do keep an eye on our blog. We think that our transformation into a digital infrastructure team makes more sense in terms of current institutional concerns and makes it easier to communicate the big picture of what we are doing through our innovation programmes. It allows us to design joined up programmes that should result in helping institutions be more effective and in a richer experience for researchers, teachers and students. We’ll be providing more information on the strategic thrust of our work on the JISC website soon. We look forward to working with you and to a busy and fruitful 2011/12 year ahead.