From Michael Conlon, VIVO Project Director
It's been a month This fall has been a big one for natural disasters in the southern United States and the islands of the Caribbean. First we had Hurricane Harvey in Houston and southeastern Texas, with its enormous flooding, then Hurricane Irma with flooding and wind damage across the entire state of Florida, followed by Hurricane Maria with its tremendous damage to Puerto Rico and other islands. Many, many millions of people were left homeless, without power, water, food, transportation, medical care, and other necessities. And some people lost their lives.
My own experience was rather minor – our home was undamaged. Our power was out for 2.5 days, along with running water. Our wifi service was interrupted for nine days. We have numerous trees down. The bridge to our property was washed away and required 18 days to repair – in the meantime we had limited ability to get around – things are far apart where I live, and there is no public transportation. But Florida is very well prepared for such storms and the response to the storm was remarkable – tens of thousands of people from across the country, and from other countries, assisted tens of thousand of Floridians in rescue efforts, clearing streets, restoring power, and in repairing and rebuilding roads, bridges, and buildings. Neighbors helped neighbors and strangers. The work of returning to normal is on-going. My own work was disrupted while we took care of repairs, and thankfully we had the means to make repairs. All is almost back to normal – the bridge is driveable and final repairs should be completed this week. I appreciate everyone's patience.
But more than patience is needed for people who lost more in the storms. Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the islands of the Caribbean are in need of additional help. If you are able to help, please consider supporting your local charities, and all those providing assistance to those in need.
Roadmap comments Thanks to all who left comments on the Roadmap Poster at the VIVO conference. Making VIVO better for scholarship is on-going work. We are always looking for ideas to make VIVO more open, more useful for everyone, particularly scholars and their institutions. Let's face it – getting data together for VIVO – getting permissions to use everything – working with the faculty to insure they are represented properly and engaged in the VIVO process – cleaning data to a level suitable for public display by VIVO – transforming data from existing formats to VIVO RDF – updating data as new faculty, grants, papers, courses, data, and other artifacts of scholarship are created – it's all real work. Not particularly technical, but very caring of the people whose work is being represented, and very detailed. When you have data in VIVO, you have a strong desire to use it to help people improve scholarship via expert finding, showcasing individual and program work, evaluation, analysis, and assessment. We need much better ways to get data into VIVO, and there need to be many more ways to get data out – packaged ways such as visualizations and reports, and open ways such as data publication and APIs. We are always engaged in an open, on-going conversation about how to improve the representation of scholarship, how to have data about such representations, and how to use data about scholarship to improve scholarship. We welcome your comments and look forward to making VIVO more useful for all.
VIVO Camp, Durham, NC, Nov 9-11, 2017. VIVO Camp is an opportunity to learn from VIVO experts. Come join Mike Conlon, Graham Triggs, Violeta Ilik, Paul Albert, and Julia Trimmer for an intense, hands-on training experience in VIVO administration, VIVO data, and VIVO community. Participants will run VIVO on their own machines, develop input procedures, discuss their institutional environments with campers, and do lots of homework. Toasted marshmallows, ghost stories, and two and a half days of VIVO training! Ready to learn about VIVO? Registration is open here: https://goo.gl/ocvznb
Membership in Duraspace Membership in Duraspace is critically important to continue to move VIVO forward. As we consider how to make VIVO better, please consider supporting VIVO through membership in Duraspace. It's easy to become a member. See http://bit.ly/dura-join If you are a member already, thank you for your support!
RDA As airports in Florida were cleared, I had an opportunity to attend the 10th Plenary of the Research Data Alliance in Montreal. This was my first RDA meeting. I very much enjoyed the purpose and structure of RDA – as a statistician by training, I have been involved in the creation and management of research data throughout my career – meeting so many people with similar interests was fantastic. Research data is, of course, just one of the kinds of things that VIVO is interested in representing and facilitating, showcasing, and using as indicators of expertise, productivity, and impact. There is much we can do to improve VIVO's ability to represent and use research data. The structure of RDA is also fascinating – very few prepared talks – almost all the time is spent in Birds of a Feather sessions (organizing future interest groups), Interest groups (planning future work), and working groups (doing work). I like work, so this structure was very appealing to me. The plenaries are held every six months which provides strong accountability for the entire process. I can't speak to results (I'm new). I'd love to hear from others about their RDA experiences.
Outreach and Engagement The Outreach and Engagement Interest Group will have its regular call this Thursday, October 5 at 1 PM US Eastern time. Here's a link for webex: https://goo.gl/PKuxNg Have ideas, questions, comments? Please join the call!