Thursday, 26 March 2009

What do people want from ICT? - the e-IUS project

As promised here are some of my notes from the session earlier this week at the JISC conference. This set of notes will concentrate on the first presentation from the e-IUS project (e-Infrastructure Use Cases and Service Usage Models).

e-IUS examined how e-infrastructure is being used in academia and aimed to promote its use as well as encouraging people to develop services and tools. They had 4 main ways of doing this –

1. experience reports
2. use cases (non-technical)
3. videos
4. service usage models

People selected to take part in the project participated in all 4 methods above. A list of participants was shown in the presentation and there were a lot of them! It wasn’t just individual researchers that were interviewed as services were also involved in the project as participants. The experience reports or interviews were the starting point for the project and they found that the initial contacts were happy to recommend services and other researchers to take part in the study.

A video was shown of an archaeology project which has benefited from e-infrastructure out in the field and in the lab by cutting down the amount of time it takes to record finds etc. The video can be seen here.

The presentation was interesting but I felt it focused too much on the methods rather than the end results and conclusions – perhaps this is because it was given by a social scientist who is obviously interested in the methodology. Also as someone who is tasked with getting more people to take advantage of the services offered by the NGS, I have a vested interest in knowing what people want! However there were a few “take home” messages.

1. Researchers adopt e-infrastructure tools if they provide over-all benefits and not just research benefits.
2. Personalisation is needed and co-ownership to encourage people to adopt e-infrastructure tools.

More information and project outputs from e-IUS can be found here.

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