Launched on March 20 by the “data.southampton” team to “provide a hub for linked data in .ac.uk open data services”, and owned by the community of .ac.uk open data services, the site promises to “aggregate open data from UK academia”.
The term learning provider is used instead of “institution” or “university” because it links with the UK Register of Learning Providers.
What data is available on data.ac.uk
The site draws on data from the UK register of learning providers (UKRLP) – a useful resource in its own right which has been operating for almost 8 years.
The data includes information on over 25,000 learning providers. You can search by provider name (or part of it), postcode or town/city name.
It is meant to be a one-stop portal for use by government departments, agencies, learner and employers including HEFCE, HESA and Ucas.
Information is available on learning providers’ contact details such as legal address, website, and email address, and there is a link to relevant information by stakeholder agencies (organisations who deal with academic institutions).
Each provider has been verified against a recognised external source and has been allocated a UK Provider Reference Number (UKPRN). This is the unique identifier used to share information with the UKRLP partner agencies, and may be useful when merging datasets or identifying providers where only a UKPRN is given.
Data available on learning-provider.data.ac.uk
Data is available on the following groups and is a mix of authoritative (basic) and non-authoritative (augmented):
- Full list of UK Universities
- 1994 Group
- N8 Research Partnership
- Russell Group
- University Alliance
- White Rose University Consortium
Data formats available are .csv, .tsv and .rdf and the data is provided under a Creative Commons 0 licence, so can be re-used without payment.
UK university facilities and equipment open data
Data is available in .csv and .tsv format and there is a JSON-encoded file which provides the status of the data. JSON is a structured data format – you can use the free tool Google Refine to import JSON files and export as spreadsheets.
How comprehensive is the information on data.ac.uk?
There are only three learning providers who have information on equipment.data.ac.uk site so far: Loughborough University, University of Southampton and the University of Leeds. A number of other UK universities are apparently in the process of preparing their datasets and will be added in the next few months.
Learning providers are not forced to provide information on data.ac.uk so the completeness of the data collection in the future is still uncertain.
Data.ac.uk contains tools and information to make it easy and an attractive options for providers to sign up and add their data.
The webmaster is currently Christopher Gutteridge at the University of Southampton. Further information is available at Open Data Services.
Tony Hirst from the OU has also written a useful post on various sources for equipment.data.ac.uk.