Ensemble project presentation

Article dated: 18 June 2009

In March 2009 the Ensemble project (co-funded by the ESRC with partners from the University of Cambridge, City University, London, and UK Data Archive) gave the first public outing of its Fedora Repository and associated Mulgara Semantic Triplestore at a lunchtime seminar for staff at the UK Data Archive. Ensemble project image

Patrick Carmichael, project director and lead researcher, University of Cambridge, presented an overview of the project and Agustina Martinez Garcia, University of Cambridge, demonstrated how an appropriately constructed digital repository could serve both data and metadata to web applications.

Agustina showed how large datasets could be accessed, ‘rules’ applied and the results could then be presented using the visualisation tools developed by the Semantic Interoperability of Metadata and Information in unLike Environments (SIMILE) project at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

They showed how data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) can be viewed using the SIMILE ‘Exhibit’ Tool and its Google Map element. Users can select observations of plants and use these as the starting points of further investigations, queries and hypothesis formulation. Patrick Carmichael explained: “these developments mark an important move forward for the project: they enable us to deal with much larger datasets then previously, which will allow teachers and learners to engage with real data rather than small exemplary collections. Supporting this kind of authentic learning is an important component of the case based approaches we are finding in the research settings in which we are working.”