Weekly-ish update 23rd-27th October

I’m much better at this weekly blogging thing when I’m not so busy!

So, last week I was mostly….

Presenting and facilitating at the Jisc/HESA Analytics Labs Community Dashboards Expert Group. This brought together a lot of the analysts involved in previous BI labs, and we had lots of fantastic ideas for future analytics work. We also got to view the latest dashboards in pipeline for release by HESA and get feedback from analysts on their priorities (the Brexit Impact dashboard was a pretty high priority as you might imagine). It was great to see people I’ve worked with from around the country over the past few years coming back and participating – one of the achievements of this programme has been building a fantastic culture of cooperation among analysts and data wonks from institutions across the UK.

Supporting the work of the Jisc/HESA Community Dashboards Strategic Advisory Group the very next day. Some very important discussions and ideas here on taking forwards BI initiatives in the sector. I worked on a resulting paper with colleagues from HESA and Jisc, also drawing together and visualising data from the programme (BI about BI!) to go alongside the paper and inform the recommendations.

Connecting with colleagues over at Fossa.io about collaborating around due diligence in open source software. They’ve bee developing automated approaches to checking licensing policies, while with my OSS Watch hat on I’ve been mostly focussed on the more holistic issues around open source sustainability. Sounds like we can work together nicely!

Preparing materials for our startup meetings with DfE for their analytics labs experience – we’re bringing together analysts from across the department, most of whom haven’t worked together previously – to develop prototypes pulling together datasets from across government. Hopefully we can help them deliver some great insights around topics such as apprenticeships.

Planning an internal data orchestration project for a client, harmonising the data models used across their different services, and building common data dictionaries, vocabularies and reference dimensions.

Prototyping a mechanism for connecting multiple BI dashboards with a common competitor cohort in HE. Basically, the idea is that you use multiple datasets and measures to identify a set of competitor institutions that is more precise than broad categories such as mission groups or AUDE bands. Then, you take this competitor group and make it available as a filter in all the other dashboards you access. Needless to say, Tableau wasn’t exactly designed with this in mind, so it involves a fair bit of custom coding.

Organising some teaching and training sessions. I’ll be giving a guest lecture in November, and will be delivering some training for PraxisAuril for tech transfer professional around software licensing. This will be the third time I’ll be delivering this particular course!

Voting in a new partner at Cetis LLP, the one and only Phil Barker of schema.org fame.

Planting garlic. I had a really good harvest this year, so didn’t need to buy any garlic for planting.

Cooking with chillies. My final harvest of Cayennes has been put to good use – I now have a jar of chilli flakes and a pot of hot sauce.

Watching Breaking Bad. Finally binge-watched this and finished it. Also finally got to watch The Martian. Great film, though any mention of space potatoes always reminds me of a story by Stanislaw Lem.

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