CIP software download

If you are developer interested in reviewing or developing with CIP’s open source software please see the CIP Pilot Software page on this website.

Posted in CIP pilot | 3 Comments

CIP team talks with the JISC funded BRII project team

During January 2009 the CIP project team met several times with Oxford’s Building the Research Information Infrastructure (BRII) project team to discuss links between the two projects. Both are using a semantic web solution to achieve information integration within their large institutions and both are seeking or have sought to identify and involve a wide range of stakeholder groups in their development.

The BRII team found CIP’s online pilot a very useful tool and say they now plan to use it in early discussions with Oxford stakeholder groups to help quickly illustrate what can be achieved with a powerful, semantically-driven, integration tool – and to stimulate further discussion.

Future collaboration between the two teams would be useful in order to continue to compare and contrast approaches, document commonality across solutions implemented and to share expertise.

Posted in CIP pilot, semantic web, user engagement | 2 Comments

CIP pilot is online

We are delighted to announce that the CIP pilot is online at You can read more about the pilot at that link. If you use OpenID you can log in and try out the social software aspect to our tool by making “user annotations”.

Posted in CIP pilot, social software | 3 Comments

CIP User Engagement

During September 2008 we are rounding up our consultation with stakeholder groups at the University of Bristol in order to evaluate the CIP pilot software and produce final reporting for our funders, the JISC.

A separation of concerns emerged early on between the requirements of research managers who need to be able to review research grants and perform strategic planning for funding and so on, finance managers who manipulate personnel information and salary data and regularly need to reconcile changes in grant status or staffing against central system records, and researchers who need to easily populate their personal pages with research information and discover related research information, across both their department and the wider university.

We are using the pilot software’s user interface in discussions with stakeholders. Some key new features created during this project – such as the ability to contribute private, public or group-specific annotations, using openID for authentication, and an on-click function to export whole “result sets” to spreadsheet software on the end-user’s PC – are proving popular with our potential users.

More information will be forthcoming in the Stakeholder and Final reports for this project, due in the next weeks.

Posted in social software, user engagement | Tagged , | 1 Comment

CIP Diagram

A diagram used as a discussion point for the CIP (Content Integration) project.

A diagram used as a discussion point for the CIP (Content Integration) project.

This diagram offers a talking point around what we mean by content integration in a large organisation such as the University of Bristol and has been used recently in discussions with CIP stakeholders at the University. 

Data in our system can be acquired from central systems within the University (such as Oracle databases holding staff and research data), external “services” such as funder websites, or via social software means – from University researchers, say.  As there are multiple central systems at the University of Bristol, we note that a systems integration layer may well need to be present for the ‘local’ aspect of data acquisition.

The content integration layer is where we position our CIP pilot software in the main. It is responsible for interpreting the semantics that describe “what this is” for the content being integrated during data acquisition.  We are using semantic web technology to perform the required functionality at this stage. We use it to map relational database schemas in use in the University’s central systems and to describe and therefore easily aggregate external content.  Hence the CIP system can semantically interpret data according to such concepts as “researcher”, “funder”, “research output”, across all its heterogeneous data sources. 

The presentation layer represents components that can provide flexible views onto all or part of the data offered via the content integration layer.  These views could be customised for several purposes such as a departmental content management system, the external – public -, web-based view of University research, or via a toolkit for internal business intelligence activity and research management.

We understand that access control and data privacy are likely to be important concerns in a CIP-like system.  Our project links with the Web Futures team’s Caboto project on this aspect. We are also developing OpenId support for CIP.

Posted in data integration, semantic web, social software, view layers | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

CIP in 100 words

CIP is a JISC-funded Pilot project tackling the problem of information integration in large organisations. It focuses on maximising the value of obtaining flexible views of Bristol University research information derived from the range of departmental databases and University central systems, with added external content (such as from funder websites). CIP software aims to provide instant answers to questions such as “Who are all the researchers with an interest in subject X?”, “Which research across the University has been funded by sponsor Y?” or “The Vice Chancellor is visiting University Z next week, what are all the projects that the University of Bristol collaborates on with University Z?”.

Posted in CIP overview, data integration, semantic web, social software, view layers | 2 Comments