Southampton wins University ‚ÄėOscar‚Äô for Open Data Service
The University of Southampton has won the coveted award for Outstanding ICT Initiative of the Year at the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) awards for the second successive year.
The award recognises the benefits of the University‚Äôs Open Data Service http://data.southampton.ac.uk/, which provides open access to University data to help improve the life of the University community and our visitors while increasing the transparency of our operations.
One of the judges, Chris Cobb, Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary at the University of London, said that Southampton‚Äôs development of open standards was going from strength to strength. ‚ÄúThis innovation demonstrates a practical application for their web service protocols ‚Äď a real case of ‚Äėwalking the talk‚Äô and leading by example. It‚Äôs even more impressive that it‚Äôs been adopted so widely on campus.‚ÄĚ
Chris Gutteridge, a member of the University‚Äôs iSolutions technical innovation and development team in the Faculty of Physical and applied sciences, and the architect who designed and built the data.southampton.ac.uk website, collected the prize at London‚Äôs Grosvenor House Hotel. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre very proud of what we have achieved in creating the University of Southampton‚Äôs Open Data Service,‚ÄĚ said Chris.
‚ÄúThe reason this service has been a success is that we've had by-in and support at all levels, from students and the student union, the academics, the professional services, the Web and Internet Science Research Group (WAIS) and right up to the senior management. It's the positive culture at the University that has enabled us at every step.
‚ÄúThe tools and techniques we used, and in many cases built, are all open source and while this initiative might be ground-breaking now we envisage that in a few years‚Äô time this is going to be business as usual for all organisations, just like having a website is in 2012.‚ÄĚ
The data the University is making available under an open government licence via the Internet and through associated applications is transforming student life. ‚ÄúThe open data site tells students what‚Äôs on (the Events Calendar combines 73 different information feeds to provide a comprehensive overview of university activity), where things are (interactive maps show all teaching, leisure and catering facilities and links to all the data about them) and even how to get there (with real time bus data from the Council linked to maps showing bus stops).
‚ÄúBy drawing data from other open data sources, such as Unistats, we have linked information about our courses with NSS scores and other key data, giving prospective students more information than ever before, and easily available in one place,‚ÄĚ Chris concluded. ‚ÄúWe are also extending the benefits to academic peers and industry who can also use data.southampton.ac.uk to find out more about the University‚Äôs research facilities and major items of equipment, which could lead to future collaborations and arrangements for working more closely together on academic and commercial projects.‚ÄĚ
In 2011, Southampton won the THE Award for Outstanding ICT Initiative for the innovative Synote web-based annotation tool, which makes multimedia resources easier to access, search, manage and exploit for learners, teachers and other users.
The University of Southampton was also short-listed for this year‚Äôs THE Award for Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development for the Uni-Cycle project. This scheme enhances the University‚Äôs commitment to increase recycling and reduce its environmental impact by refurbishing unwanted and donated bikes from around Southampton and putting them back into active use.
Professor Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, said: ‚ÄúThe University of Southampton is exceptionally proud and delighted to have received these nominations and to win the award for Outstanding ICT Initiative. This is a reflection of the outstanding effort and continual dedication of our staff, and the pioneering work going on in Southampton.‚ÄĚ