Part of the Digital Resources Division at Jisc, our purpose is to develop technology that makes information accessible to those who need it for education and research – whatever their field, and in the way that works best for them. Find out more about Mimas and our expertise, meet the team, or contact us to explore how we can work together to develop exciting new ways to access and disseminate your data.
Areas of Expertise
We provide access to a wide variety of learning and teaching resources, both online and on the move. Our free to use and highly valued resources range from Open Educational Resources to online video tutorials to Augmented Reality apps.
We’re undertaking significant research and development in the area of Linked Data, working to understand what this approach can offer to researchers, and what it takes to undertake RDF Linked Data modelling.
User and market research is at the heart of everything we do. We never begin a project or make a service change without speaking to our users first, and we monitor and analyse our usage constantly so that we know exactly how our services are used.
6 October 2014
Hairdressing students and their lecturers are now able to access our award winning Hairdressing Training videos any time, anywhere through their mobile. The new mobile app showcases our portfolio of hairdressing and barbering training videos.
23 September 2014
Jisc is inviting proposals from training providers in the further education and skills sector in England to develop online interactive resources for apprentices. This new content will be deposited in our Jorum service, the national repository for open educational resources, and made available for teachers and learners to share and reuse.
Bids should be between £5K and £30K, with over £400,000 available in total for the development of learning content.
24 June 2014
We’re delighted to announce the release of Historical Texts. Replacing Jisc Historic Books, the new website and interface brings together over 350,000 late 15th to 19th century texts from three historically significant collections for the first time: Early English Books Online (EEBO), Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) and 65,000 texts from the British Library 19th Century collection.
Developed with Knowledge Integration, the new site is the result of months of development and consultation with service users, and incorporates a range of new features requested by the community:
- Instant PDF download
- Images and full text side by side
- Smooth zooming
- Full screen view
- Browse feature
- Illustration search
- Image rotation
Tell us what you think
This is just the beginning for Historical Texts, and further details of what’s ahead can be found on the Development Roadmap. If you have any comments or ideas for future developments, then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you think.
Historical Texts is available to UK HE and FE Institutions and Research Councils via subscription.
5 June 2014
Introducing the ‘Virtual Vivarium’
Launched on 31st May, the Virtual Vivarium uses satellite images, 3D mapping, and multimedia content to help museum visitors find out more about the amphibians and reptiles in the Museum. Developed using Google Earth, the app helps people to understand the spatial distribution of amphibians and reptiles and highlights the impact of environmental issues such as deforestation and climate change.
The Virtual Vivarium is available in the Museum, and you can also download it and try it at home to explore:
- Where amphibian species can be found in their natural habitat, by viewing distribution maps from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- Species descriptions including photographs, videos and links to relevant content in the Museum’s Frog Blog
- Information about the threats amphibians are facing, including a case study of Madagascar which shows how their habitat has changed over time due to deforestation
- Details of frog conservation work that the Vivarium is involved in, specifically Costa Rican leaf and monkey frogs
We’ve had some great feedback about the app so far – here’s project manager Gail Millin Chalabi’s report of the launch event at the Manchester Museum Reptile Big Saturday .
Fabulous Frogs App: Splendid & Native
We’re also developing the ‘Fabulous Frogs App: Splendid and Native’, which is an interactive AR tool for 7 – 11 year olds based around the Splendid Leaf Frog. Mapped to Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum in England and to the “responsible citizens” and “successful learners” capacities of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence, the app helps children to evaluate environmental issues and to use technology for learning independently. The app will help children to understand:
- Where the Splendid Leaf Frog lives
- The anatomy of frogs
- The frog life cycle, including quick quiz questions for each stage of the life cycle
Find out more
Mapping the Museum is a collaborative project, involving Gail Millin-Chalabi, Matt Ramirez and Tom Hart from Mimas, working alongside Adam Bland, Andrew Gray and Stephen Devine at The Manchester Museum.
10 March 2014
Augmented reality (AR) could make a real impact in higher education. By enhancing learning materials with 3D objects, digital media and overlaid virtual imagery – all available through smartphones and tables – AR can help students engage with learning materials in new ways. Our work in this area has already proven how this technology can help students to work with ancient manuscripts, enhance a geology field-trip by revealing hidden gems of data about the surrounding area, and bring museum artefacts to life by uncovering contextual information. But what about the future?
Our AR expert, Matt Ramirez, has shared his thoughts on the potential of this technology over at THE and our SCARLET project blog. And if this piques your interest, you can also find Matt in the Technology Garden at the Jisc Digital Festival in Birmingham this week.
7 January 2014
Our Landmap team have launched a new online course, which helps the geospatial community to understand Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards in the context of geoportals and mapping solutions.
Part of the Landmap Learning Zone, Introduction to OGC Standards consists of 10 units providing information and exercises on topics such as:
- OGC standards and geoportals
- Building a simple geoportal
- Viewing OGC services in geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing software
- Using KML
The course is ideal for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and begins at entry level for those who have little previous geospatial expertise but would like to know more for either their job, studies or research.
Why is this course needed?
Interoperability is essential to the sharing of spatial information, and applying universal standards across the sector allows different programs to exchange open geospatial data from various sources without compatibility issues. OGC plays a crucial role in how geospatial information is shared on a global scale, by providing open standard specifications which organisations can use to develop geospatial software and applications to provide real world solutions from mapping real estate to monitoring the changes in glacial extent.
The new course gives user the opportunity to explore OGC using a variety of open and proprietary platforms, demonstrating interoperability in a practical way. The course is aimed at anyone interested in learning more about OGC standards and can be accessed by all as it has been licensed using a Creative Commons (CC) attribution non-commercial share alike license.
The future for Landmap
Jisc funding for the Landmap service ceased at the end of December 2013. From 1 January 2014 – 31 July 2014, Landmap datasets and e-learning content will remain online but with no helpdesk support or updates of content. For undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations, we advise that that datasets are obtained before the 31 July 2014 as data availability cannot be guaranteed thereafter.
17 December 2013
Digital text books offer an active and engaging learning experience for students, accessible on a range of different devices.
We’ve contributed to the technical development of a free iBook, which uses interactive learning content to help undergraduate students develop prescribing skills and prepare for assessments.
Taking a collaborative approach
Working in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team from the Manchester Medical School, our Learning and Teaching Services Developer, Matt Ramirez, worked closely with subject specialists and academics to create and embed interactive content into the Prescribing Skills Handbook iBook series.
The development of the iBook has presented an exciting opportunity to engage with students across healthcare professions to augment their learning in a current, relevant and easily adaptable format. Drawing on his experience of developing online and mobile learning materials, Matt introduced videos, HTML5 widgets, 3D animations, self-assessment and links to useful apps.
Positive student feedback
The iBook is proving popular with students so far. One reviewer said:
Overall it is a very good resource, and has helped me, and will continue to help me even after I become a doctor. It is a must read for all medical students.”
With this positive feedback from students, we hope there is scope to use our skills and expertise for future collaboration projects around the development of digital books.
The development of the Prescribing Skills Handbook was led by Dr. Kurt Wilson from the Manchester Medical School, alongside a multi-disciplinary team including general practice physicians, hospital pharmacists, clinical pharmacologists and a Professor of Pharmaceutics.
The iBook is available for free on iTunes worldwide, and via the iBooks app on iPads.
9 December 2013
Institutional repositories are important research management tools that can give increased visibility to the outputs of the UK academic community.
Our IRUS-UK service is offering librarians and repository managers a simple way to measure the impact of these repositories by providing reliable and comparable usage statistics for all downloaded content. We’re delighted to welcome our 51st repository to the service.
50+ repositories and still growing
IRUS-UK started gathering data from five institutional repositories (IRs) back in 2012. The growth to 51 member repositories in just over one year demonstrates the need for a service like IRUS-UK – one that helps librarians and repository managers to see the impact of IRs and allow benchmarking at a national level.
Our success is, in part, due to the fact IRUS-UK is a true community service. By collecting and processing raw data on behalf of our participating repositories, we’re helping our members to interrogate, share and compare their statistics with IRs across the UK. And since we began we’ve recorded a total of more than 9 million downloads of over 160,000 items.
Statistics you can count on
IRUS-UK is responding to community demand for a service that makes it possible to compare like for like across different repositories. Although statistics were previously available through the various repository interfaces, without an agreed standard it was not possible to measure usage across a range of IRs accurately. By implementing the recently published PIRUS (Publisher and Institutional Repository Usage Statistics) Code of Practice, IRUS-UK now makes this possible for journal article content,
Published in October 2013 and implemented by IRUS-UK, the PIRUS Code of Practice provides a much-needed framework for the recording, exchange and interpretation of online usage statistics for individual full-text journal articles. Although this release of the code focuses on journal articles, its principles could eventually also be applied to the other types of content that are held in the UK’s repositories. IRUS-UK manager, Ross MacIntyre, says:
IRUS-UK is funded by Jisc and developed in collaboration with our partners at Cranfield University and Evidence Base.
17 October 2013
Students and researchers in Myanmar now have access to much needed online educational resources for the first time, thanks to the new eTekkatho digital library.
A new digital library of open educational resources
Developed through a unique partnership between Mimas, The University of Manchester and leading Myanmar higher education institutions, the e-Tekkatho library will create new opportunities for study and self-advancement.
Our plan was to give students and researchers in Myanmar access to the same kinds of educational resources that are routinely available elsewhere in the world, by providing a library of specially selected electronic educational resources across Myanmar’s fragmented and unreliable digital networks.
The first edition of eTekkatho covers human and physical geography, research methods, earth sciences and the environment, with supporting subjects of computer literacy, mathematics and English language.
From research papers on community forestry to earthquake maps and reference data from the World Bank, the e-library contains over 900 resources.
Helping young people towards a better future
We found a clear need for library resources in Myanmar. Here are just a couple of the comments of support we received:
And since we launched, responses to the site have been positive. Users have said:
Finding new technical solutions
Providing e-resources for universities with no websites, no email systems, and low bandwidth connectivity is a major challenge. Our eTekkatho team has developed a digital library that works in this low bandwidth, fragile Internet environment. Students can access the library in two ways:
- an online version designed to operate over a 25kbps connection.
- An offline version on local area networks (which we set up where none existed). We worked with librarians and IT support staff at the partner universities to set up eTekkatho hotspots, so that staff and students on campus can access the library wirelessly at broadband speed. These hotspots also include a mirror site of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Open Courseware, which contains the content of over 2,000 undergraduate and postgraduate MIT courses.
There is potential to develop this idea beyond Myanmar as the techniques and methods we’ve developed for e-Tekkatho could be used to transform academic library provision in other developing nations with delicate Internet infrastructures. The web version of eTekkatho library is English-language and access is unrestricted, so we hope that this may benefit the scholarly community in other developing countries.
We also hope that, with further funding, we will be able to extend e-Tekkatho to a whole range of academic disciplines.
e-Tekkatho (e-University) is funded by the Open Society Foundations (Burma project/South East Asia Initiative) and by the University of Manchester under its social responsibility remit.
If you would like to find out more about our work in this area, please get in touch.
11 October 2013
We’re delighted that our Archives Hub is representing the UK as the Country Manager for Archives Portal Europe – an initiative designed to share European archival heritage through a single online access point.
The APEx project is aiming to offer an easy way for researchers to access as much archival content from as many European institutions as possible. By contributing via the Archives Hub, we’ll be significantly boosting the number of UK repositories and institutions represented.
Jane Stevenson, Archives Hub Manager, says:
We have a head start as as we already have EAD descriptions from over 220 institutions across the UK, including universities and colleges, specialist archives and business archives. We hope that all of these institutions will eventually be represented in Archives Portal Europe, enabling UK archives to be connected to related archives across the continent.
Find out more about this project over at the APEx site.
12 September 2013
Libraries collect masses of data every day, from the number of books borrowed to the number of e-resource downloads. These datasets can help libraries to demonstrate value for money and develop new services for users, but their value is not always fully realised.
We’re developing a new online dashboard that will help libraries to exploit the possibilities of their data through the Library Analytics and Metrics Project (LAMP).
About the project
Working with Jisc and the University of Huddersfield, we’re creating a prototype shared data analytics service that will bring disparate datasets from six UK HE institutions together and visualise them in an attractive and meaningful way. Our premise is that, by bringing together data such as library resource use and student demographics into one easy to use dashboard, we can help libraries to make connections and insights that can inform strategy and highlight the role the library is playing in the success of the institution.
This new project is building on work from the University of Huddersfield in the Library Impact Data Project (LIDP), which demonstrated how entry, circulation and e-resource usage data could be used to illustrate statistically significant links between students’ library use and their academic attainment.
In the new LAMP dashboard, we’re using our data handling expertise to normalise data from six institutions, and adding a statistical analysis layer that allows us to identify trends and correlations across the institutions involved. This anonymised aggregated statistics data will then be opened up to the community through a LAMP API. If extended to more institutions in the future, this could help to provide insights into the overall effect of library resource provision on student attainment and research success across the UK.
What will the dashboard look like?
We envisage an interface where libraries will be able to log in and see graphs and visualisations of their own data alongside anonymised aggregated data (although they won’t see data from other individual institutions). We expect the interface to go through a few iterations as we work through the design and build process, but it could look something like this.
A community driven project
We know that there is a demand for LAMP. In 2012 we ran a community-wide survey that revealed overwhelming support for services that use analytics to:
- demonstrate the relationship between student attainment and resource/library usage
- demonstrate resource usage according to demographics
- provide recommendation functions for discovery services.
To make sure that LAMP really meets the needs of the UK HE community, we’re working closely with our Community Advisory and Planning Group, and consulting with stakeholders from a number of UK HE institutions to gather user requirements.
More data for the future?
Mimas already hosts a significant number of the UK’s research data and we’re looking at how this data could add value to the dashboard. In future phases of LAMP, we’ll be exploring how we could draw additional data from our JUSP, IRUS-UK, and Copac services, as well as other external sources such as KnowledgeBase+ and Edina’s OpenURL resolver. By presenting these datasets alongside an institution’s own data, we aim to provide an interface that makes it easy for institutions to see various aspects of use and resource provision alongside each other. This could lead to new insights about how library and university functions feed into each other.
If you’re interested to find out more, the LAMP team are blogging the full process over at jisclamp.mimas.ac.uk.
13 July 2013
UK Researchers now have online access to a major resource collection from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), thanks to Mimas and the UK Data Service.
The IMF eLibrary Text Collection contains over 10,000 documents on subjects such as macroeconomics, globalization, development, trade and aid, emerging markets, and poverty reduction.
Find out more at the UK Data Service.
13 May 2013
Those who rely on social and economic data now have a variety of online channels to learn more about the UK Data Service.
The newly formed service, which is supported by Mimas, is launching a new series of webinars, videos, case studies and social media channels. These will be of special interest to social scientists in all sectors including central and local government, charities, think tanks and the private sector.
Five free webinars provide basic training and advice on data available through the UK Data Service, how to find related documentation and guidance, and the essentials of a solid data management plan. An additional panel discussion will focus on the challenges and benefits of widening access to research data. Slides and recordings from each webinar will be available on the website following the event.
A series of online videos feature experts in UK social data telling personal stories of how they value the data and services provided by the UK Data Service. They include Glen Watson, Director General of the Office for National Statistics; David Walker, Advisor to the getstats campaign; Prof Fiona Devine, Head of the School of Social Sciences at University of Manchester; and Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the ESRC. All videos can be found on YouTube in addition to the UK Data Service website.
A library of 120 case studies provides insights into how data from the UK Data Service have been advancing research and building statistical literacy in the next generation of social scientists. All are in a search-and-browse interface that allows users to find case studies by data type and subject as well as keyword.
What is the UK Data Service?
We are a key partner in the UK Data Service, which provides a comprehensive online resource to support researchers, teachers and policymakers who depend on high-quality social and economic data. It provides a single point of access to more than 6,000 data collections including UK Census data, international macrodata, government-funded surveys, longitudinal studies, qualitative data and business microdata.
The UK Data Service is built on the shoulders of several long-standing data collections and services, integrating and replacing the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS), ESRC Census Programme, Secure Data Service and Survey Question Bank. Our Census Dissemination Unit and ESDS International Service are both now fully integrated into the new service.
Our UK Data Service Team at Mimas have played an integral part in the development of an exciting new interface for international macrodata – UKDS.Stat. The platform uses data warehousing technology from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to provide an enhanced user experience and new features such as animated time series charts, displaying data as choropleth maps and integrated metadata.
The development of UKDS.Stat has been made possible thanks to Mimas (via The University of Manchester) and the OECD signing a Memorandum of Understanding to collaboratively develop improved statistical systems as part of the OECD led Statistical Information System Collaboration Community (SIS-CC). This collaborative approach allows these SIS-CC member organisations to use established standards and modern technologies to significantly improve their data infrastructures and also to benefit from each other’s extensive experience.
Find out more
The UK Data Service was established by the ESRC in October 2012, and launched its website in March 2013. Our social and economic data experts at Mimas work in partnership with colleagues from the UK Data Archive (University of Essex); Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research (University of Manchester); School of Geography at University of Leeds; Geography and Environment at University of Southampton; and EDINA (University of Edinburgh).
If you’d like to find out more about this story, or if you have any comments or suggestions please get in touch
Collaboration & Partnership
We are always interested in new projects and new challenges. If you have a project you’d like to discuss with us, to explore how Mimas can open new doors to your data, then please get in touch.