It’s been very quiet here at media empire ptsefton.com. I’m still alive, and working, just not blogging a lot during a house and job move, and over the break. Thought I’d quickly sum up 2011.

To put the end at the beginning, in November I started at the University of Western Sydney as the Manager, eResearch. Whatever that is. I’ll post soon about the things that I’m thinking about now which should make that a bit clearer:

  1. How to license research data for re-use (this is hard ‘cos copyright doesn’t always apply and the advice from those in the know here Australia is at odds with that coming from abroad).

  2. A new eResearch infrastructure project for UWS – “The Research Data Repository”.

  3. Issues around ‘the death of files’ and the threat to open enquiry posed by vertically integrated computing platforms (like, you know, the iBooks Author play to make iPads compulsory in schools via license restrictions about re-selling content, if that approach starts creeping into tools used for research).

  4. The usual stuff, like the global politics of open research, such as the threatening US Research Works Act, put here into an Australian context by Danny Kingsley.

As of February 2012, the family is installed in a new house in the Blue Mountains – we have a lovely view of some parts of the mountains, but I want my money back, they’re not blue. Not really. And half the time they’re missing in the clouds, you  know like research data is likely to be circa 2014 if we don’t plan properly. (If you embrace “the end of files” then make sure you know where the cp –r ./my-cloud-service ~ command is.)

Figure 1 Be careful with clouds, make sure that you always have all the data management services needed to see your data

In January 2011 Professor Gilly Salmon arrived in Toowoomba and led a re-vamp of the Australian Digital Futures Institute, which involved removing the technical team I used to lead there. With the exception of Ron Ward, who found other work at USQ that meant everyone in the software R&D lab was either redundant or, if they were on contract, just gone. Congratulations to Linda Octalina Lucido and Oliver Lucido on the birth of their daughter just after the house cleaning – she was so very nearly an ADFI baby.

Sadly, for those at USQ who were so excited to have attracted international talent of such stature, Gilly has now moved on to Swinburne in Melbourne.  Anyway, I’m sure the other ex-ADFI peeps all wish Gilly well in her new role Down South.

(Gilly and Swinburne, if I could be so bold as to make a suggestion: why not follow up the zoo metaphor at Leicester and space at USQ with a CIRCUS theme at Swinburne. It is, after all the only Australian university with its own circus institute. I know, it’s easy to make jokes about some of the clowns we’ve all known in our time at university, but I think Gilly might bring something special to the circus metaphor with her special talent for branding and her research degree in change management.)

Figure 2 The ADFI home page, with its retro space look