Regional Ethnology of Scotland | New site

Delighted to announce the publication of a new website for the Regional Ethnology of Scotland research group in collaboration with European Ethnology Research Centre.

http://www.regionalethnologyscotland.llc.ed.ac.uk/

This site was developed and designed by the Digital Innovation team using Drupal 8 and Bootstrap , as a visually pleasing and interactive reference guide for the activities of the Centre as it extends it reach from Dumfries and Galloway to the whole of Scotland.

The site has been revamped visually and structurally to support the user to refine geographically, and direct towards different media content. Rich media content in the form of an interactive map, oral history recordings and image and video content support the Centre in showcasing research output in a user-first approach.

“I just wanted to thank you on behalf of the EERC for all your work in creating the Regional Ethnology of Scotland website. Its comprehensive search facility and straightforward navigation is a real boon; it also looks fantastic. All in all, it’s the ideal platform for both promoting the project and disseminating its various outputs.

I’d also like to add a note of personal thanks to Ann and Gavin, who at all times have been happy to share their expertise and ideas, and to answer any questions – all in a way that made it understandable to someone who knows little about computing.”

Kenneth Veitch, EERC

#cahssdigitalinnovationteam #eerc #killingit #giveusashout

The Space and The Place | Creative Industries Interdisciplinary Conference

This week the Centre for Research Collections hosted a conference bringing interdisciplinary world class scholars from various institutions together to discuss state of the art research on creative industries with a focus on the relationship between space and place.

Looking at the relationship between space and place, the Digital Innovation team were tasked with developing an asset suite and a narrative direction for the conference artwork, tying together the Edinburgh Futures Institute redevelopment with innovation and interdisciplinarity.

Edinburgh Futures Institute building video shot

Creative Industries Interdisciplinary Conference

Rachel Hosker, Louise Williams and Clare Button from CRC could not have been more generous with their time and knowledge as we were putting together ideas and suggested some excellent candidates: Conrad Hal Waddington, Norman Dott, Gertrude Helzfeld and Isabella Pringle. All associated with the Old Royal Infirmary on Lauriston Place and all alumni or former employees of the University of Edinburgh.

Barry Topping, College videographer put together a video, we created take-home postcard sets from vintage ORI images from the Lothian Health Services Archive (thanks Louise!), a digital timeline of the history of the ORI and a set of posters.

Take a look at the timeline here

https://time.graphics/line/103130

(TIP: you can shrink the timeline down using the minus arrow to see it all on one screen!)

#killingit #getintouch #CAHSSdigitalinnovationteam #efi

Excel at Drupal 8 structuring

For large-scale Drupal projects, one of the tools we use at the requirements-gathering stage is a build spec document. Previously, we used the one from palantir.net’s blog post. But with the arrival of Drupal 8, having Media in core, and the Paragraphs module, we needed an updated version.

Drupal 8 Build Spec 1.0

Although this is a technical document, mainly for use by developers, producing it at an early stage helps to inform the whole project by raising questions about how the system will work. For example:

  • “What page templates do we need?” – By listing likely content types, as well as views, we have an idea of what templates will need to be designed, and what fields are likely to appear.
  • “Is this vocabulary really a content type?” – If you find that a vocabulary is being given fields and is likely to have its own templates, you might consider making it a content type instead.
  • “Should the banner image in news/events items be mandatory?” – If clients don’t have appropriate images, will they be able to use default images, or will the design need to accommodate items without images?
  • “Can programmes belong to more than one theme?” – If the design uses colour-coding, what happens if an item can have more than one theme attached (or none)? Can the design accommodate this?
  • “How will the site be structured and what should URLs look like?” – In addition to sitemaps, there’s a philosophical question of how to structure paths and where each item of content should live. By nesting destination pages under a theme, you risk limiting the flexibility of these pages and creating unwieldy URLs. Defining simple paths based on content type is often cleaner and more flexible.
  • “Should this intro text include HTML?” – The intro text in a design may be plain paragraph text, but will users want to use simple formatting?
  • “What image styles do we require?” – How should the system scale and crop images, and will content editors need to find images in specific dimensions?

This is a sample of the types of question that are prompted by filling in the spreadsheet, and all require input from clients, copywriters, designers, and front-end and back-end developers. For this reason, it’s useful to complete the spreadsheet early in the process. Whilst the document itself is technical and geared towards Drupal developers, it can be shared with all parties, alongside other requirements documentation such as a more traditional functional specification document (with MoSCoW prioritisation) or user stories.

The CAHSS Web Team is now the Digital Innovation Team

It is official – the Web Team is now the Digital Innovation Team.

Firstly, colleagues from the Digital Scholarship Team have joined our office – so a big welcome to Helen Bradley and Emma Cockburn who are the Digital Scholarship Assistants.

More information about their work in the College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences can be found on the Digital Scholarship website.

I think we can justify why “digital” rather than “web” easily.  For the past few years, we have refined our process of designing for mobiles and tablets as well as desktops. Services provided by the team include multimedia design, digital publications and infographics, intranet applications, online chat, social media and email marketing. Quite a diverse remit for a relatively small team.

Now, how about “innovation”?  I agree that this is an ambitious title. It is also aspirational. Not every single aspect of our work is necessary innovative, and we are not setting ourselves apart from other digital teams claiming that our processes or products are somehow more cutting-edge. This would be a tall order. We do however get the opportunity of working on a very diverse set of projects across the College and the opportunity to grow and develop our skills.

What is required of us is the understanding of how the latest technologies can support research. By listening to and supporting our academic colleagues in CAHSS we are hoping to collectively find (and share) novel approaches and novel solutions. Funding bodies such as the Arts and Humanities Research Council place a high value in innovation: http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/innovation/.

We will also need to be more aware of the interesting work created by Information Services and other digital teams in house and in a wider context.

The next months will see further communications about this change with more details to follow.

The University of Edinburgh Open Knowledge Network #uoeokn – Event 2 (28 April 2017)

# uoeokn 2: a great day to catch up with what colleagues have been working on in this expanding field of ‘open knowledge’.

A morning of lightning talks

First, all morning lightning talks emphasize the natural and ever-present connections between research and teaching, and how they cross-fertilize.

Colleagues from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences point out key aspects and issues associated with adventuring into open knowledge territory. Challenging and fascinating question arise from the School of Divinity, Edinburgh College of Art, and Moray House School of Education.

University colleagues beyond bring a lot to the conversation on open knowledge too. They contribute valuable projects and resources to increase the University’s impact. Great things happening in Information Services and the School of Informatics.

Workshops on data use

Finally, the afternoon workshops focus on two different tools. DataShare and WikiData focus on using research data and opening them up to the widest audience possible.

Find out more about the University’s Open Knowledge Network