Author Archives:

Open for all⤴

from @

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Another visit to my beloved Mansfield Traquair Centre this evening. 17 years on and it still takes my breath away. To have the responsibility and the stewardship of a place like this a privilege.

This evening was the Friends AGM. Formal business was blessedly succinct. A conversation between Susy Kirk and Elizabeth Cumming was delightful.

Chatting afterwards I confessed to a slight girl-crush at the moment for Dr Bendor Grosvenor.

What’s not to like about fighting for open access to the nation’s cultural heritage? The Chairman of our Board of Trustees (Dr Duncan Thomson) clearly agrees as he was one of the signatories to this letter in The Times.

This is a subject close to my own heart, and to friends in the room with me this evening. I’ve written about the Royal Hospital for Sick Children Mortuary Chapel murals before.* Many of us this evening remain concerned and worried for their future.

Fundamentally though, how do you raise awareness of the murals uncertain future when so few people know about them now?

One of the problems with public awareness is the location of the murals. They have remained largely inaccessible for over 100 years as they form an integral part of an incredibly intimate, private, and moving place. A mortuary chapel in a children’s hospital.

The most obvious way of making such a space more accessible, without being intrusive, is to make good quality images available online under open licenses. Until recently the only images that existed either belong to NHS Lothian (all rights reserved – mostly 35mm slides), or to Historic Environment Scotland (crown copyright – majority of images listed in Canmore date from 1982 and are not available online even to view).

I’m pleased to say that’s not the case any more. There are now 62 high quality images** of the murals, all available on Wikimedia Commons for immediate use under a CC-BY 4.0 license. Since initial upload they have already had their categorisation data enhanced and been linked up to Phoebe Traquair’s Wikidata profile by a keen editor (not me!).

I can already see the images appearing in Google image searches, and we know from other experiences that Wikimedia Commons is proving rich pickings for press articles.

My next steps are to complete the Wikipedia article I have been writing about the murals. Once that has been published the Google secret sauce will push it very swiftly to the top of the page rankings and the murals and their story will slowly start to become more open to all.

“What can be done, here and there, with moderate means and ordinary folk with such labour as they can spare […] open space amid the slums ” (Patrick Geddes)


* It’s worth briefly saying why these murals in particular are important and why they merit their Category A listing. They are the first mural scheme by Phoebe Anna Traquair. Traquair was a key figure in the Arts and Crafts movement in Scotland. She worked as an embroiderer, enamellist, book binder, illustrator and painter. She was the first important professional female artist in Scotland, and in recognition of this was the first female honorary member of the Royal Scottish Academy. The murals are also the product of a commission by the Edinburgh Social Union, founded by Patrick Geddes. They are the sole survivor of around 20 commissions instigated by the ESU. In 1899 in a published interview, Traquair herself considered them to be her finest work.

** Honourable mention for several ladies is required here. Dr Sally Ann Huxtable of the National Museums of Scotland who recommended the superb Diane Holdsworth’s photographic skills; Diane for doing the work pro-bono; and Sorrel Cossens of NHS Lothian for facilitating access. As with Phoebe herself, women of determination can achieve great things.

Poetical escapades⤴

from @

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I made 2 visits to Little Sparta this year.

The first was on the most glorious summers day, blue skies, bird song and the landscape in hyper-sharp technicolour. Little Sparta is best described as a garden in attack, not a rural retreat. It is the definitive work of poet and conceptual artist Ian Hamilton Finlay and over 200 works are seated within the landscape, most of which involve complex interplays of words, form and environment.


I found it quite overwhelming.

My second visit was in September, with some friends. The weather had turned, the day was more overcast and rain broke as we were leaving. I was mentally better prepared this time. We also had more time, more snacks, a better camera.


To try to write anything about the relationship between the sublime and terror, in a landscape garden filled with poem-objects based on the words and symbols of the French Revolution and the Second World War would be a level of pretension that’s beyond me.

I also can’t attempt anything about the collaborative nature of most of the pieces. Hamilton Finlay conceived, but did not create most of these works and he was scrupulous about crediting his collaborators publicly.

I can’t begin to describe my response to pieces like this as a native of the part of Scotland where our decommissioned nuclear submarine fleet lies berthed, it’s half-life slowly ticking away.

(Nuclear Sail)

I remain overwhelmed.

The best I can attempt to do is to reflect upon one piece that I spent time with on my second visit that appealed to me on a more manageable level.


“The horizontals representing the land, the verticals the sea” (Little Sparta: A Guide to the Garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay)

The nature of time at sea.
The need for time at sea.
A sundial that works neither on sea or land.
A sundial hidden under trees in a woodland glade.
A pole, but unclear whether it’s north or south.

Even the the suggestion of a fixed point on earth offers no clear perspective.

I remain overwhelmed, and not a little lost at sea.


Japanese plate⤴

from @

Reading Time: 1 minute

A visit to an antiques fair yesterday prompted me to finish this thought…


Japanese plate, 18th century. Called Imari-ware after the export port, but most likely made in kilns in Arita. Probably exported to Europe by a Dutch trading company in the 1700s, maybe before Chinese kilns came back into serious export production at the start of the Qing dynasty. A pretty standard object of it’s time and likely one of hundreds of thousands similar. A thing of vague origin and provenance. Now prized for it’s longevity and handmade aesthetic.

I love these objects, but I’m also very aware that the handmade artistry I so admire obfuscates the likely realities of it’s production.


Another 18th century plate, this time Chinese. This sublime scholarly landscape (there are many tropes in this image) suggests a calm artistic hand, working in peace and with the luxury of time. The reality is likely very different. I am fetishising the labour inherent in these objects.

I need to remember that “making” is culturally specific and isn’t always cool.



Disorder of the future⤴

from @

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Some stuff went down on the internet around an op-ed that Cathy O’Neil wrote in the New York Times about algorithms and accountability. I’ve no interest in being drawn into the kick-back, but it did force me to think about the extent to which the response to this issue has to be one of civic engagement as well as academic engagement (there is plenty of academic engagement – as the kick-back evidenced in spades, but I see fewer examples of that activity translating into civic or legal activity – but maybe I’m just not looking hard enough).

This will continue to go round in my brain for a while yet, but a few interesting things that I’ve read recently are worth gathering together.

“Our data is ours, but it also is not ours. We trade it away for so much of our experience on the internet. Money from a data tax could begin to counter this trade imbalance.

The money should go toward improving privacy of our information on the internet, countering identity theft, improving connectivity and internet literacy, all causes that would help create a more equitable internet for all.”

It’s Time to Tax Companies for Using Our Personal Data (New York Times)

“The biggest problem also is that privacy and security don’t seem to be the responsibility of the manufacturer, but rather that of the consumer.”

Those New Connected Holiday Gifts May Be Spying on You!

“Digital understanding is the root of fairness — it means people can know how the technology of the internet works, it makes them aware of its power structures, and it enables them to question what these mean for their choices, rights, and lives.”

This is Digital Understanding (Doteveryone – Medium)

“Research in queer theory, race and privilege, and gender studies is exactly what is needed to advance fairness in algorithms. But this work, and the many scholars from underrepresented groups who have brought attention to these problems, have a long history of marginalization both within the academy and without.”

We’re Awake — But We’re Not At the Wheel (PERVADE – Medium)

“It should finally be noted that the nature of the data is also becoming less and less static; rather, data increasingly goes through a lifecycle in which its nature might change constantly. While the current legal system is focused on relatively static stages of data, and linked to them specific forms of protection (e.g. for personal data, sensitive data, private data, statistical data, anonymous data, non-identifying information, metadata, etc.), in reality, data go through a circular process: data is linked, aggregated and anonymized and then again de-anonymized, enriched with other data and profiles, so that it becomes personally identifying information again, and potentially even sensitive data, and is then once again pseudonymised, used for statistical analysis and group profiles, etc.”

Ten Questions for Future Regulation of Big Data: A Comparative and Empirical Legal Study (JIPITEC – Journal of Intellectual Property, Information Technology and E-Commerce Law)

Internet Transmitted Infections – I’ve got the SPLOTS⤴

from @

Reading Time: 2 minutes

After noodling about on my own domain a while ago with various formats, I created a real live SPLOT using the Splotpoint theme to support a participatory session that I ran, and it’s worth picking into what about it worked for me, because I think it worked on a few levels:

  1. It was a resource I could point to in advance of the event.
  2. It was my presentation slides.
  3. It was the workbook for the session.
  4. It’s the resource for participants to return to after the session.

I ran the session with Alice White. We had never met until that morning, and never run a session together before. Sharing the slides in advance with her was a way of helping us both and because all the instructions for participants were baked in, it was hopefully really clear what was going to happen.

The sequenced slides element is obviously important for me. It kept me right on the day. Plus having instructions written out clearly and simply was my aide-memoir for demoing things.

Being a web resource it was loaded up by participants there and then and used to support the activity in real time. I was expecting non-native English speakers in the audience so having instructions written down was going to be important. I have a funny accent after all. It’s was the alternative format to me talking at people, and it’s more accessible than a printed workbook as it can be resized etc.

What’s missing? Maybe the ability for participants to make their own notes as they go along. So maybe adding annotation would be the next place to go?

I got a lot of positive and generous feedback on it, not least from various Wikimedians via my colleague Ewan McAndrew. It sparked a really good conversation about simple and clear resources to support getting started with Wikipedia. What exists now is comprehensive to the extent that it’s overwhelming to the novice (we feel).

Editathons have also gotten pretty popular – so much so that we’re double booked on 24 November*. So now we’ve built a second Splotpoint site and are prepping some “Wikipedia Basics” content to support us both.

* Ewan will be leading Scottish Living Artists 2017 – A Wikipedia edit-a-thon’ in a nutshell at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh

I will be co-leading Lost Literary Edinburgh – a Wikipedia editathon as part of the Being Human Festival with Sara Thomas, Wikimedian in Residence at Scottish Library and Information Council.

MozFest Reflections⤴

from @

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This post was also posted on the Association for Learning Technologists blog.

This year was my fourth trip to MozFest – the annual global gathering of the Mozilla Foundation. The event has been held in Ravensbourne College in London for the last 7 years and is a nine stories high extravaganza of participatory sessions and speaker talks covering hacking, making, data, digital art and culture, ethics and privacy, the open web, open science, data journalism, social justice, access and inclusion and many other things too numerous to list. This year there were 338 sessions spread across two days. The programme is available online to browse for a flavour of the sessions on offer.

Sessions take place in themed areas within the venue, with each space aligned to an area of strategic focus for Mozilla:

  • Decentralization
  • Digital Inclusion
  • Open Innovation
  • Privacy and Security
  • Web Literacy
  • Youth Zone

MozFest isn’t heavily marketed to the HE sector, and so I suspect a number of colleagues aren’t aware of it. However this event is the one that breaks me out of my Higher Education bubble and into thinking about open and the impact of the web in the broadest sense. I leave fired up and excited having learned completely new things and collected practical ideas and information that I can I contribute back into my own institution.

MozFest is also the most diverse event that I attend. Participants come from across the world and can be all ages and all languages. Although the event is conducted in English, participants are actively encouraged to flag other languages that they speak via stickers on their badges or in their session descriptions. Travel to London is surely prohibitive for many still, but there is usually better representation from the global south at this event than at any other I go to.

MozFest 17 slogan. Photo by @ammienoot CC-BY 4.0

Each year there’s a slightly different emphasis, and this year the overall theme was about what makes a healthy internet.

Today, the concept of Internet health reaches far beyond the realm of open source code: it’s linked to civil liberties and public policy, free expression and inclusion. Discussions about the state of the web include engineers, but now also teachers, lawmakers, community organizers and artists.

(Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation)

It was noticeable this year that there were more sessions on data sovereignty and combatting fake news. Online privacy and web literacy have been a strong focus of MozFest since the start, but it felt like this year there was a bit of an inflection point – the events of the past 12 months have brought these issues into sharp focus perhaps, making it clear that they are societal challenges and not niche issues. Developing information literacy skills has been a core part of learning in an Higher Education environment and digital literacy is probably in all our graduate attributes in some form or another. These talks and sessions brought into sharp relief how much more quickly we need to move on developing these skills within our institutions, particularly as we consider new areas of activity such as learning analytics.

MozFest 17 FakeNews Poster. Photo by @ammienoot CC-BY 4.0

Whilst there was no dedicated digital arts and culture track this year, there was still strong representation through 5 digital artists in residence for the weekend, and a whole programme of hands-on activities in the Youth Zone (not just for kids!).

There is so much choice in terms of sessions that it can be overwhelming, so on Saturday after an excellent first session crowd-sourcing ideas for pathways and career tracks into civic technology, I spent a couple of hours exploring each of the spaces. I picked up a copy of the Mozilla Internet Health Report and had an interesting conversation about how one goes about trying to measure such a thing and the feedback that they are using to develop the next iteration of it.

I also picked up a Data Detox kit developed by the Tactical Technology Collective at a Data Detox Bar (part of the larger “The Glass Room” project – a series of interactive exhibits that pose questions about our relationships with technology). The kit is an 8 day program, beautifully designed, printed onto cards and packaged in a small box. Chatting to the “barrista” at the Detox Bar he explained that the kit is designed to tap into our emotional response to technology products, in particular the sort of “unboxing” pleasure that comes with something like a brand new Apple product. Part of the problem they had identified was the inaccessibility of many existing online InfoSec and privacy resources both in terms of language and design. In this case they had found that a well designed physical resource was getting more traction with less technical audiences. They also had a great tips sheet outlining how to run Data Detox sessions in libraries, based on some experience within the Swedish public library system.

I visited the Meme Lab (exploring how memes are made and a little about the relationship of memes to social movements) and the Humans of the Internet podcast lounge and then it was pretty much time to run my own session “Wikipedia Games” along with Alice White, the Wikimedian in Residence from the Wellcome Library.

Saturday was rounded off with a Virtually Connecting session featuring Josie Fraser, along with ALT’s very own Maren Deepwell and Martin Hawksey – both themselves fresh from running a session on professional development for learning technologists.

Sunday started (for me) with a series of short talks by Audrey Tang, Emily May and Nighat Dad covering topics around using technology for civic engagement, practical tips for combating online harassment, and a sobering reminder that access to the web is not available without consequence for everyone.

My next session choice was NefertitiBot – exploring the possibilities for museum artefacts to curate themselves via chatbots, rather than being constrained to the interpretation given to them by museum curators. We had a lively discussion about the extent to which bots could break free of being scripted and the potential for them to develop in ways that we might not like. With an increasing interest in chatbots in Higher Education in student support roles it was a useful and practical discussion and left me wondering about the extent to which we need to ‘perfect’ such bots versus be open about exactly what they are.

The final speakers session that I went to on Sunday was opened by Gillian Crampton Smith who talked about the emotional elements of technology design and where artists fit into the technology development process. It reminded me again of the Data Detox conversation the day before. She was followed by Sarah Jeong and Emily Gorcenski in conversation with each other talking about fake news and fake data. It served to remind me once again of how vital events like this are, where not only are the issues discussed, but solutions are crowd-sourced, discussed and hacked out across various sessions.

MozFest Data Poster. Photo by @ammienoot CC-BY 4.0




Finding Purpose with Girl Geeks⤴

from @

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I promised last night at the Girl Geek Scotland event that I would write up a blog post about the workshop that I ran, so here it is.

I’ve been volunteering with Girl Geek Scotland’s Mentoring strand of activities during 2017 and last night was my turn to stand up and run the event. As well as pulling the overall event together (which is made much less daunting by working with a bunch of seriously competent and kick-ass women) this time 3 of us came forward to run the regular break-out workshops too.

You can read more about the session itself here, including details of the other 2 workshops run by Morna Simpson and Gail Logan (click View Details as the event has now ended).

My workshop was framed around being clear about your purpose and drew on experiences I’ve had in my own leadership development and in research I’ve read. These are the notes I wrote for my pitch:

Leadership roles, particularly senior leadership roles involve tough decisions. There’s a lot been written about likeability versus capability – and I think we can look at last year’s US Elections and Hilary Clinton for a good example of where that debate can go at it’s very worst.

Likeability is important – but investing lots of time in thinking about how others see us can also be emotionally and mentally exhausting.

A more productive route, research suggests, is to focus on being clear about our purpose. If we know our strengths and are playing to them we will be more effective, and probably happier too.

In my session we’re going to work through the steps you can take to develop your own personal purpose statement, and then how you can align your work goals to that. It’s going to be a fast, practical, hands-on session. I’m going to make you read some research to get started, then I’m going to make you talk to each other, and do some writing and a bit of sharing back if you’re okay with that. To keep it equitable and fair, I have personal purpose statements from each of the workshop leaders to share with you!

You probably won’t get a polished end product out of it, but you will break the back of it, get some peer feedback, and leave with something you can refine. You’ll also leave with a process that you can repeat in the future.

Being clear about your purpose – your super-power as a leader – is a critical skill, and so is having the tools you need to re-calibrate it every few years.

It was tough to pack this into an hour, but I think most participants managed to make a good start and took something away that they could continue to work on. I really enjoyed running the session and the quick feedback poll we did suggested that others found it useful. I also had the added delight of knowing at least one person in the group already. I also had a good conversation with another participant after the session about making something around goal setting a regular feature each year – feedback that I’ve shared back into the Mentoring volunteers group already.

Replaying highlights from the last year⤴

from @

Reading Time: 6 minutes

This is largely a paper that I wrote for our September 2017 Learning and Teaching Committee. The paper is available as Paper K here. Just in case anyone wants to know what I’ve been working on for the last 12 months…


Information Services Group has been working to launch a centrally-supported lecture recording service for the start of the academic year 2017/18 and to scale up the service over 2 subsequent years to provide a highly integrated, highly automated service in 400 general teaching spaces across campus.

Lecture Recording Programme Phases

Lecture recording rollout is spread over 3 phases, recognising that there are limited windows of opportunity during the academic year to equip many of our teaching spaces, and to allow the programme sufficient time to take feedback and adjust plans to ensure the service delivers the required benefits for all.

For the start of academic year 2017/18 the focus has firmly been on transitioning those users who currently rely on lecture recording into the new service.

Phase 1 timeline

One of the biggest challenges has been the length of time that a public procurement process requires. In this project it took 9 months to complete what was a complex and highly competitive procurement. The willingness of our chosen supplier – Echo360 – to work with us on rolling out the service even whilst we were finalising terms and conditions has been vital to achieving a service for the start of 17/18.

Phase 1 Service

The new service is called ‘Media Hopper Replay’. The service was made available to staff from 5 September to allow VLE courses to be linked to the new service in good time, and for staff to familiarize themselves with the Replay software.

All courses that relied on the previous Panopto lecture recording service have been contacted personally to ensure they are transitioned over to the new service. Additionally, where possible, a small number of additional courses have been included in the service. Typically this has been where they are already scheduled into an enabled room or are being taught by someone already using the service on another course.

For the start of term 17/18 the service will be available in 114 general teaching spaces across the campus. This includes all of our largest lecture theatres. Commissioning of rooms will take place right up to the end of Welcome Week, reflecting the use of many teaching spaces in the Central Area by the Fringe Festival, and the more general programme of refurbishment of our estate.

Along with lecture recording equipment, additional cameras and microphones have been installed. In larger spaces we have also doubled up the number of microphones. Each room has an indicator light that is used to signal when recording is taking place. The light also functions as a button to allow recordings to be easily paused. 50 ‘Catchbox’ throwable microphones will be in larger teaching spaces to aid recording of questions from students.

New room signage is being installed to clearly indicate which rooms are equipped. Telephones are being installed in teaching spaces as part of the rollout to allow issues to be reported to support more quickly.

Media Hopper Replay has been integrated with the Learn and Moodle VLEs. Academic colleagues will be able to manually start and stop ad-hoc recordings as per the previous lecture recording service. Additionally around 75 courses have requested to be part of a pilot for scheduling of recording. This process has been defined and documented and tested with colleagues in the Timetabling Unit.

Several lecture theatres in Kings Buildings have been equipped specifically to record chalkboards. A significant amount of effort has gone into this activity, led by a cross-College Technical Special Interest Group. A number of courses in Maths and Physics have signed up to pilot the service in 17/18.

Examples of recording light and new room signage

Phase 1 Support

Equipping our academic colleagues and students with the appropriate digital skills to make best use of lecture recording technology has been integral to the programme and we have taken a broad approach based on early School feedback.

To support the new service two new training courses have been developed and are being delivered both face to face and via webinars:

  • “Preparing for Lecture Recording” covers accessibility and copyright topics – these were identified by academic colleagues as areas where more guidance was needed.
  • “Delivering Lectures using Lecture Recording” explains how to use the Replay system itself and how it links to the Learn VLE.

Feedback from training courses so far has been that the service is simple and easy to use. A series of drop-in sessions are scheduled for w/b 11 September and w/b 18 September to give academic colleagues an opportunity to try out a ‘hands-on’ recording process in an equipped teaching space.

Online help materials for staff have been published on the ISG website, including demonstrations videos. Similar materials for students will be published during Welcome Week. An extensive set of FAQs are also published online, and are being regularly updated as the service rolls out.

Operating procedures inside Information Services Group with key support teams such as the IS Helpline have been agreed. Preview sessions for School IT and learning technology colleagues and teams within Information Services Group have been held. Staff who support teaching spaces, both in ISG and in Schools have been trained on swap-out procedures and spare lecture recording boxes are being held at several points across campus for rapid response. IT and learning technology colleagues in Schools who have devolved administrator roles have been identified and trained. The programme has benefitted enormously from both the support and advice of School colleagues who have been supporting the previous Panopto lecture recording service.

Student helpers are being recruited to provide hands-on assistance in lecture theatres for the first week of teaching.

The Timetabling Unit have worked to ensure that courses that require lecture recording are booked into appropriate spaces. This has been challenging in so far as the rollout of lecture recording has begun after final room requirements data is normally required by the Timetabling Unit. The working partnership between ISG and the Timetabling Unit within this programme has been absolutely key to success.

Phase 1 Communications

An extensive communications programme has underpinned all of this work, with a monthly newsletter, plus regular key messages information distributed to comms colleagues in Schools, Colleges and EUSA for inclusion in local newsletters or emails. Articles have appeared in Bulletin and BITs, the student newsletter, and on the IS News pages. An article will be also be published in Teaching Matters in September. Comms has also been distributed through College IT and academic representatives on various projects boards, steering groups and task groups. A student intern has been working with us over the summer and has created a series of videos featuring student and staff perspectives on the service, along with developing a flyer to go in the welcome pack for all new students, and marketing materials. This is key to managing student expectations as we rollout over several years.

Academic Champions

The Academic User Group has been formally convened, chaired by Professor Susan Rhind. Heads of Schools have been contacted to provide the name of a Lecture Recording champion in each School. 14 nominations have been received so far. The next User Group meeting will be on the 2nd of October.

Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley will lead the Engagement and Evaluation Group, which will meet for the first time in October. Three PTAS projects have been funded so far to evaluate lecture recording ( and a further call is open until 26 October for projects starting in 2018.

MVM Timetabling

Recognising that use of the central Timetabling system was key to allowing the service to scale, the programme also includes work to assist the College of MVM to migrate over. Migration of the Vet School to central Timetabling is on track for September 2017 although some work is still needed to define the ongoing support model. A review of the Medical School timetabling/room booking requirements has been presented and a review report will be delivered in October 2017.

Next Steps

Once the first 114 rooms are operational for the start of term the programme will move on to focus on the delivery of automated Timetabling integration. This will allow courses to signal whether they need a lecture recording enabled room, and whether they would like their recordings automatically started and stopped as part of the annual Timetabling scheduling process. We are recruiting additional resources during September to assist with this work so that it begins quickly. We will also continue analysis and development work with the Medical School to help integrate them into the Central Timetabling System.

Phase 1 has focussed on supporting the core recording use cases for lecture recording. As we move into the next phase of the project we will develop and rollout further training courses to support more advanced use of the service. We have recruited additional resource to support this and input from the Academic User Group champions will help ensure this activity aligns well to academic needs in Schools. We also continue to make sure that lecture recording training is complimented by the wider training offered in within ISG and the Institute for Academic Development by cross-marketing relevant events (Flipped classroom; lecturing skills etc).

Additionally we will continue to install AV and IT equipment into teaching spaces across campus. During Phase 1 we have also identified several areas where front-line support for teaching spaces could be improved either by new processes or with additional staffing resources.

By the start of 2018/19 the service will be installed in around 300 teaching spaces, along with a more automated and integrated process for booking rooms and recording lectures. This will complement the new lecture recording policy being developed by the LTC task group.

Another story about maps⤴

from @

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I’m on my way to London for my fourth #MozFest and as I’ve already written about, this year I’m running a session along with Alice White, the Wikimedian in Residence for the Wellcome Library. We’re doing a session in which we hope to make the case for why more people need to edit Wikipedia, and through some fun games introduce light touch ways in which folks can get started. Small edits can have big impact.

Whilst pulling together my materials last night I decided to use an image from our University Collections – a 17th Century map of Iceland that I uploaded during a Women in Medicine Editathon in February 2016. Sometimes when inspiration leaves me or my energy is flagging I focus on uploading into Wikimedia Commons many of the lovely openly licensed collections of images that are shared out on Flickr. There’s an excellent Flickr2Commons upload tool that makes the business of importing very simple.

By Centre for Research Collections University of Edinburgh [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

This image was one of a number I uploaded on the day and because we have a very knowledgable Wikimedian in Residence he made sure all the images uploaded were tagged as coming from the University of Edinburgh. A colleague at Wikimedia UK spotted this new collection of tagged images and thought this map of Iceland in particular would be a suitable addition to some of the existing articles about Iceland. It was added to English Wikipedia, German Wikipedia and Simple Wikipedia.

Shortly after this the football World Cup kicked off, and a certain plucky northerly island nation started to do much better than expected (no, not Scotland – this isn’t a fantasy story I’m writing). Ewan our Wikimedian looked at the correlation between views and matches at the time.

Iceland’s Euro 2016 matches were on 14 June (1-1 with Portugal), 18 June (1-1 Hungary), 22 June (2-1 victory over Austria), 27 June (2-1 win over England), and 3 July (2-5 defeat to France). Around each of these events people all over the world were keen to learn about this surprising nation. Viewing numbers ( numbers of hits) show appreciable spikes for the matches against Portugal, England, and France.

On German Wikipedia spikes against each of the matches regularly exceeded 100,000 page views.

The biggest spike was for the victory over England!

Since then, the image has been added to Afrikaanes Wikipedia and Welsh Wikipedia and has been viewed over 10,000,000 times.

It was also featured earlier this in Creative Commons “State of the Commons 2016” report as one of the spotlight features for Wikipedia.


Small edits can have big impact.

(I said this was another story about maps – here is the first story about openly licensed maps and how great they are.

#MozFest Cometh⤴

from @

Reading Time: 1 minute

This time next week I should be in London at Ravensbourne art college for my fourth MozFest experience. *Finally* Martin Hawksey is attending and he’s gone all out and is even running a session. The lovely people of ALT will be there talking about CMALT. I’m also going to take the plunge this year and run a short session to introduce the wonderful world of Wikipedia editing and Alice White from the Wellcome Library has kindly volunteered to co-facilitate. I’ve had so much from the sessions I’ve attended in the past that it’s really long overdue to give something back.

Last year I didn’t write a lot about MozFest because I got mugged and had my phone stolen and lost all my notes and photos. It was a bit of a downer. This year I’m not only going to try write something for myself, but also hopefully something for the ALT blog because frankly more learning technologists should be at this event. It is hands-down the best fun, if you’re into hacking, making, art, data, ethics, privacy, the open web, everything open that you can do on the open web, social justice and all the other things that are too numerous to list.

Look at the speaker line-up alone for goodness sake.

Then there’s the scheduled sessions. How do I even choose and this is about 1/5 of what’s in the 10:00 – 11:00 slot.


Okay. I’m over-stimulated already. Going to have a cup of tea and sit down.