Category Archives: Dash

Disambiguating Dash and Merritt

What’s Dash? What’s Merritt? What’s the difference? After numerous questions about where things should go and what the differences are between our UC3 services, we got the hint that we are not communicating clearly.

Clearing things up

A group of us sat down and talked through different use cases and what wording we were using that was causing such confusion, and have come up with what we hope is a disambiguation of Dash versus Merritt. 

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Different intentions, different target users

While Dash and Merritt interact with each other at a technical level, they have different intentions and users should not be looking at these two services as a comparison. Dash is optimized for researchers and therefore its user interface, user experience, and metadata schema are optimized for use by individual researchers. Merritt is designed for use by institutional librarians, archivists, and curators.

Because of the different intended purposes, features, and users, UC3 does not recommend that Merritt be advertised to researchers on Research Data Management (RDM) sites or researcher-facing Library Guides.

Below are quick descriptions of each service that should clarify intentions and target users:

  • Dash is an open data publication platform for researchers. Self-service depositing of research data through Dash fulfills publisher, funder, and data management plan requirements regarding data sharing and preservation. When researchers publish their datasets through Dash, their datasets are issued a DOI to optimize citability, are publicly available for download and re-use under a CC BY 4.0 or CC-0 license, and are preserved in Merritt, California Digital Library’s preservation repository.  Dash is available to researchers at participating UC campuses, as well as researchers in Environmental and Earth Sciences through the DataONE network.
  • Merritt is a preservation repository for mediated deposits by UC organizations. We work with staff at UC libraries, archives, and departments to preserve digital assets and collections. Merritt offers bit-level preservation and replication with both public or private access. Merritt is also the preservation repository that preserves Dash-deposited data.

The cost of service vs. the cost of storage

California Digital Library does not charge individual users for the Dash or Merritt services. However, we do recharge your institution for the amount of storage used in Merritt (remember, Dash preserves data in Merritt) on an annual basis.  On most campuses, the Library fully subsidizes Dash storage costs, so there is no extra financial obligation to individual researchers depositing data into Dash.

Follow-up

If you have any questions about edge cases or would like to know any more details about the architecture of the Dash platform or Merritt repository, please get in touch at uc3@ucop.edu.

And while you’re here: check out Dash’s new features for uploading large data sets, and uploading directly from the cloud.

Cirrus-ly Convenient Uploading

That was a cloud pun! Following our release two weeks ago, the Dash team is thrilled to present our newest functionality: you may now upload files directly from Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive!

Let’s get you publishing (and citing and getting credit for your data):

  • Using the “upload from server” option, you may enter up to 1000 URLs (and up to 100gb per submission) by pasting in the sharing link from Box, Dropbox, or Google Drive.

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  •  Validate the files and your URLs will appear including the filename and size.

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  • Submit & download.
    • Box, Dropbox, and Google uploaded files will download the same as they were uploaded to the cloud
    • Google docs, sheets, or presentations will download as Microsoft Office word documents, excel spreadsheets, or powerpoint presentations.

We will be updating our help and FAQ pages this week to reflect our new features, but in the meantime please let us know if you have any questions or feedback. 

Manifesting Large and Bulk File Data Publications– Now A Reality!

The Dash team is excited to announce our June feature release: Large and Bulk File upload. Taking into consideration the need for large size and file numbers of datasets, as well as the practicality of server timeouts, we have developed a new feature that allows for up to 1,000 files or 100gb* of data to be published per DOI.

To accomplish this we are using a “manifest” workflow- which means that instead of uploading data directly from your computer, you may enter URLS for where your data are located (on a server or public site) for upload. Once uploaded, Dash will display the data in the same manner as direct upload. To reflect this new option for upload we have updated the Upload page to choose between uploading locally (from your computer) or via a server. Information about file size limits (2gb/file, 10gb total local or 1000 files any size up to 100gb*) are listed on this landing page.

Step 1: Enter URLs where data are located

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Step 2: Validated files will appear in Uploaded Files table with any other data files associated from current or former versions

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The benefit of using this workflow is that as a user you do not have to watch your screen for many hours as the data upload and instead your data will be uploaded in the back-end, without the involvement of your computer. This upload mechanism is also not limited to large file use- it can be an easy way to transfer your data directly from a server regardless of size.

A complication with this process is that you cannot upload local data and server-hosted data in the same version. Though this seems tricky- we would like to remind you that Dash supports versioning and after successful publication of the server uploaded data you could go back in and add local files (or vice versa).

While at the moment we do not allow for upload from Gdrive, Box, or Dropbox, we are investigating the sharing links necessary for integrating uploads from the cloud. If you have any feedback to make this feature, or any features more accessible or valuable for researchers please do get in touch. Happy Data Publishing!

Note: To utilize this feature and publish your datasets, your data will need to be hosted on a server. Many institutions, departments, and labs have servers used to host data and information (good examples across the UC campuses, MIT, University of Iowa, etc…). If you have any questions about servers on your campus or external resources, please utilize your campus librarians

*Size limits vary per institutional tenant- please check in with your UC Data Librarians if you have any questions

Announcing New Dash Features- April 2017

The Dash team is pleased to announce the release of our newest features. Taking in requests from users as well as standards in the field, we have now adapted the platform with the following releases: Private for Peer Review (Timed-Release of Data), ORCiD integration, email capture for corresponding authors, user friendly downloads, and a variety of search and view enhancements.

Private for Peer Review (Timed-Release of Data)

As mentioned in a previous post, this was formally referred to as embargoing data but we are releasing this feature in the context of keeping data private for the length of peer review. We have now implemented a feature to allow researchers to keep data private, for the purposes of peer review, for up to six months. If a researcher decides to use this option they will be given a private Reviewer URL that can be used by an external party to download the data.

This URL will redirect to the landing page with available data for download as soon as the data are public. If external parties have any questions or would like to request a download they will also now have the ability to reach the corresponding author.

Corresponding Author Email Capture & ORCiD Integration

Corresponding authors (and contributing authors) will now have the ability to enter their email address and ORCiD iD which will both appear on the landing page beneath author name. Just as article publications have, we believe Data Publications should have a corresponding author contact who can be reached with questions about the dataset.

User Friendly Downloads & Interface Improvements

What one uploads is what another may download. When choosing to download the data files, only the files uploaded by the corresponding author will be downloaded.

Some other fixes and features include:

  • the wording our our search filters and browse option
  • a checkbox at the file upload stage to ensure researchers are not uploading sensitive or identifying information 
  • explanatory information within the metadata submission for usage notes and related work
  • a preview of how large the dataset is on the download button

What’s up next?

  • Next Feature: large file upload and bulk file upload
  • Future Feature: a curation layer that will allow for administration capabilities

For more information or if you have any questions please check for updates on the @uc3cdl twitter feed, or get in touch at uc3@ucop.edu.

 

Embargoing the Term “Embargoes” Indefinitely

I’m two months into a position that lends part of its time to overseeing Dash, a Data Publication platform for the University of California. On my first day I was told that a big priority for Dash was to build out an embargo feature. Coming to the California Digital Library (CDL) from PLOS, an OA publisher with an OA Data Policy, I couldn’t understand why I would be leading endeavors to embargo data and not open it up- so I met this embargo directive with apprehension.

I began to acquaint myself with the campuses and a couple of weeks ago while at UCSF I presented the prototype for what this “embargo” feature would look like and I questioned why researchers wanted to close data on an open data platform. This is where it gets fun.

“Our researchers really just want a feature to keep their data private while their associated paper is under peer review. We see this frequently when people submit to PLOS”.

Yes, I had contributed to my own conflict.

While I laughed about how I was previously the person at PLOS convincing UC researchers to make their data public- I recognized that this would be an easy issue to clarify. And here we are.

Embargoes imply a negative connotation in the open community and I ask that moving forward we do not use this phrase to talk about keeping data private until an associated manuscript has been accepted. Let us call this “Private for Peer Review” or “Timed Release”, with a “Peer Review URL” that is available for sharing data during the peer review process as Dryad does.

  • Embargoes imply that data are being held private for reasons other than the peer review process.
  • Embargoes are not appropriate if you have a funder, publisher, or other mandate to open up your data.
  • Embargoes are not appropriate for sensitive data, as these data should not be held in a public repository (embargoed) unless this were through a data access committee and the repository had proper security.
  • Embargoes are not appropriate for open Data Publications.

To embargo your data for longer than the peer review process (or for other reasons) is to shield your data from being used, built off of, or validated. This is contrary to “Open” as a strategy to further scientific findings and scholarly communications.

Dash is implementing features that will allow researchers to choose, in line with what we believe is reasonable for peer review and revisions, a publication date up to six months after submission. If researchers choose to use this feature, they will be given a Peer Review URL that can be shared to download the data until the data are public. It is important to note though that while the data may be private during this time, the DOI for the data and associated metadata will be public and should be used for citation. These features will be for the use of Peer Review; we do not believe that data should be held private for a period of time on an open data publication platform for other reasons.

Opening up data, publishing data, and giving credit to data are all important in emphasizing that data are a credible and necessary piece of scholarly work. Dash and other repositories will allow for data to be private through peer review (with the intent to have data be public and accessible in the close future). However, my hope is that as the data revolution evolves, incentives to open up data sooner will become apparent. The first step is to check our vocab and limit the use of the term “embargo” to cases where data are being held private without an open data intention.

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We’re hiring a new Product Manager!

CDL is recruiting for a new Product Manager.  This position will oversee the product management and outreach activities for the Dash project and service, as well as offer research data management and digital preservation consulting for the UC community.

We are looking for an experienced professional with a full understanding of product/service development and production practices.  This position (officially titled “UC3 Service Manager, Dash”) will focus on the successful development, outreach, and adoption of the Dash service.  A complete revamp of the UI and technical architecture of Dash is nearing completion.  More detail about Dash is available here. A recent presentation on the project is also available here. Because this position will focus on continuous development of Dash, it requires an enthusiastic advocate for research data management best practices, open source community building, and digital curation skills development.

A successful candidate will advocate for the needs of our constituents and translate those needs into detailed enhancements of diverse scope, size, impact, and budget  This Dash Product Manager will have a large support network: the UC3 Director, other UC3 product managers, UC3 development team, other California Digital Library departments, plus the library/IT teams across the 10 UC campuses.  

Learn more and apply here.

What is Dash?

Dash is an open source, online data publication service that makes research data sharing easy.  While Dash gives the appearance of being a full-fledged data repository, it is actually a lightweight overlay layer that sits on top of, and freely interoperates with, standards-compliant repositories supporting common protocols for submission and harvesting.  UC3 has integrated Dash with its Merritt curation repository. The Dash system provides intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces for dataset submission, description, publication, and discovery.  Dash imposes minimal prescriptive eligibility and submission requirements, and automates and hides the mechanical details of DOI assignment, data packaging, and repository deposit from the user.  It features a streamlined, self-service user experience that can be integrated easily and unobtrusively into multifarious scholarly workflows.  

What is UC3?

This position is within the University of California Curation Center (UC3) at the California Digital Library (CDL), an administrative unit of the University of California Office of the President (UCOP).  UC3 works within CDL and across the 10 UC campuses to deliver leading-edge digital curation services.  We plan, create, maintain, enhance, and operate robust services responsive to the evolving needs of UC stakeholders.  UC3’s current initiatives include digital preservation, research data management, data publication, alternative metrics for usage and impact, and web archiving. Reporting to the UC3 Director, this position is responsible for managing the development and maintenance of the Dash service, including playing a key role in promoting  and setting the strategic direction for Dash. As a member of this dynamic team, a successful candidate will be asked to contribute to furthering our work advancing digital curation concepts across the UC community.  More information about UC3 can be found at http://www.cdlib.org/uc3.  

More information about this position can be found here.

Announcing The Dash Tool: Data Sharing Made Easy

We are pleased to announce the launch of Dash – a new self-service tool from the UC Curation Center (UC3) and partners that allows researchers to describe, upload, and share their research data. Dash helps researchers perform the following tasks:

  • Prepare data for curation by reviewing best practice guidance for the creation or acquisition of digital research data.
  • Select data for curation through local file browse or drag-and-drop operation.
  • Describe data in terms of the DataCite metadata schema.
  • Identify data with a persistent digital object identifier (DOI) for permanent citation and discovery.
  • Preserve, manage, and share data by uploading to a public Merritt repository collection.
  • Discover and retrieve data through faceted search and browse.

Who can use Dash?

There are multiple instances of the Dash tool that all have similar functions, look, and feel.  We took this approach because our UC campus partners were interested in their Dash tool having local branding (read more). It also allows us to create new Dash instances for projects or partnerships outside of the UC (e.g., DataONE Dash and our Site Descriptors project).

Researchers at UC Merced, UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, or UCOP can use their campus-specific Dash instance:

Other researchers can use DataONE Dash (oneshare.cdlib.org). This instance is available to anyone, free of charge. Use your Google credentials to deposit data.

Note: Data deposited into any Dash instance is visible throughout all of Dash. For example, if you are a UC Merced researcher and use dash.ucmerced.edu to deposit data, your dataset will appear in search results for individuals looking for data via any of the Dash instances, regardless of campus affiliation.

See the Users Guide to get started using Dash.

Stay connected to the Dash project:

Dash Origins

The Dash project began as DataShare, a collaboration among UC3, the University of California San Francisco Library and Center for Knowledge Management, and the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). CTSI is part of the Clinical and Translational Science Award program funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health (Grant Number UL1 TR000004).

Fontana del Nettuno

Sound the horns! Dash is live! “Fontana del Nettuno” by Sorin P. from Flickr.

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Dash Project Receives Funding!

We are happy to announce the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has funded our project to improve the user interface and functionality of our Dash tool! You can read the full grant text at http://escholarship.org/uc/item/2mw6v93b.

More about Dash

Dash is a University of California project to create a platform that allows researchers to easily describe, deposit and share their research data publicly. Currently the Dash platform is connected to the UC3 Merritt Digital Repository; however, we have plans to make the platform compatible with other repositories using protocols during our Sloan-funded work. The Dash project is open-source; read more on our GitHub site. We encourage community discussion and contribution via GitHub Issues.

Currently there are five instances of the Dash tool available:

We plan to launch the new DataONE Dash instance in two weeks; this tool will replace the existing DataUp tool and allow anyone to deposit data into the DataONE infrastructure via the ONEShare repository using their Google credentials. Along with the release of DataONE Dash, we will release Dash 1.1 for the live sites listed above. There will be improvements to the user interface and experience.

The Newly Funded Sloan Project

Problem Statement

Researchers are not archiving and sharing their data in sustainable ways. Often data sharing involves using commercially owned solutions, posting data on personal websites, or submitting data alongside articles as supplemental material. A better option for data archiving is community repositories, which are owned and operated by trusted organizations (i.e., institutional or disciplinary repositories). Although disciplinary repositories are often known and used by researchers in the relevant field, institutional repositories are less well known as a place to archive and share data.

Why aren’t researchers using institutional repositories?

First, the repositories are often not set up for self-service operation by individual researchers who wish to deposit a single dataset without assistance. Second, many (or perhaps most) institutional repositories were created with publications in mind, rather than datasets, which may in part account for their less-than-ideal functionality. Third, user interfaces for the repositories are often poorly designed and do not take into account the user’s experience (or inexperience) and expectations. Because more of our activities are conducted on the Internet, we are exposed to many high-quality, commercial-grade user interfaces in the course of a workday. Correspondingly, researchers have expectations for clean, simple interfaces that can be learned quickly, with minimal need for contacting repository administrators.

Our Solution

We propose to address the three issues above with Dash, a well-designed, user friendly data curation platform that can be layered on top of existing community repositories. Rather than creating a new repository or rebuilding community repositories from the ground up, Dash will provide a way for organizations to allow self-service deposit of datasets via a simple, intuitive interface that is designed with individual researchers in mind. Researchers will be able to document, preserve, and publicly share their own data with minimal support required from repository staff, as well as be able to find, retrieve, and reuse data made available by others.

Three Phases of Work

  1. Requirements gathering: Before the design process begins, we will build requirements for researchers via interviews and surveys
  2. Design work: Based on surveys and interviews with researchers (Phase 1), we will develop requirements for a researcher-focused user interface that is visually appealing and easy to use.
  3. Technical work: Dash will be an added-value data sharing platform that integrates with any repository that supports community protocols (e.g., SWORD (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit).

The dash is a critical component of any good ascii art. By reddit user Haleljacob

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New Project: Citing Physical Spaces

A few months ago, the UC3 group was contacted by some individuals interested in solving a problem: how should we reference field stations? Rob Plowes from University of Texas/Brackenridge Field Lab emailed us:

I am on a [National Academy of Sciences] panel reviewing aspects of field stations, and we have been discussing a need for data archiving. One idea proposed is for each field station to generate a simple document with a DOI reference to enable use in publications that make reference to the field station. Having this DOI document would enable a standardized citation that could be tracked by an online data aggregator.

We thought this was a great idea and started having a few conversations with other groups (LTER, NEON, etc.) about its feasibility. Fast forward to two weeks ago, when Plowes and Becca Fenwick of UC Merced presented our more fleshed out idea to the OBFS/NAML Joint Meeting in Woods Hole, MA. (OBFS: Organization of Biological Field Stations, and NAML: National Association of Marine Laboratories). The response was overwhelmingly positive, so we are proceeding with the idea in earnest here at the CDL.

The intent of this blog post is to gather feedback from the broader community about our idea, including our proposed metadata fields, our plans for implementation, and whether there are existing initiatives or groups that we should be aware of and/or partner with moving forward.

In a Nutshell

Problem: Tracking publications associated with a field station or site is difficult. There is no clear or standard way to cite field station descriptions.

Proposal: Create individual, citable “publications” with associated persistent identifiers for each field station (more generically called a “site”). Collect these Site Descriptors in the general use DataONE repository, ONEShare. The user interface will be a new instance of the existing UC3 Dash service (under development) with some modifications for Site Descriptors.

What we need from you: 

Moving forward: We plan on gathering community feedback for the next few months, with an eye towards completing a pilot version of the interface by February 2015. We will be ramping up Dash development over the next 12 months thanks to recent funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and this development work will include creating a more robust version of the Site Descriptors database.

Project Partners:

  • Rob Plowes, UT Austin/Brackenridge Field Lab
  • Mark Stromberg, UC Berkeley/UC Natural Reserve System
  • Kevin Browne, UC Natural Reserve System Information Manager
  • Becca Fenwick, UC Merced
  • UC3 group
  • DataONE organization

Lovers Point Laboratory (1930), which was later renamed Hopkins Marine Laboratory. From Calisphere, contributed by Monterey County Free Libraries.

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The Dash Partners Meeting

This past Thursday, 30 University of California system librarians, developers, and colleagues from nine of the ten campuses assembled at UCLA’s Charles E. Young Library for a discussion of the Dash service. If you weren’t aware, Dash is a University of California project to create a platform that allows researchers to easily describe, deposit and share their research data publicly. The group assembled to talk about the project’s progress and future plans. See the full agenda.

Introductions & Expectations

UC Curation Center (UC3) Director Trisha Cruse kicked off the meeting by asking attendees to introduce themselves and describe what they want to learn  during the meeting. Responses had the following themes:

  • Better understanding of what the Dash service is, how it works, and what it offers for researchers.
  • Participation ideas: how the campuses can work together as a group, and what that work looks like.
  • How we will prioritize development and work together as a cohesive group to determine the trajectory of the service.
  • An understanding of how the campuses are implementing Dash: how they plan to reach out to faculty, how the service should be talked about on the campus, what outreach might look like, how this service can fit into the overall research infrastructure, and campus rollout/adoption plans.
  • Future plans for the Dash service.

Overview of the Dash Service

The team then provided an overview of the Dash service, demonstrating how to log in, describe, and upload a dataset to Dash. Four campus instances of Dash went live (beta) on Tuesday 23 September, and campuses were provided with instructions on how to help test the new system. Stephen Abrams covered the technical infrastructure of the Dash service, describing the relationship between the Merritt repository, the EZID identifier service, the DataONE network, and each of the campus Dash instances (slides).

Yours truly followed with a description of DataONE Dash, a unique instance of the service that will replace the existing DataUp Tool (slides). This instance will be available to anyone with a Google login, and all data submitted to DataONE Dash will be in the ONEShare repository (a DataONE Member Node) and therefore discoverable in the DataONE system. Emily Lin of UC Merced pointed out that some UC Dash contributors might also want their datasets discoverable in DataONE; an enhancement was suggested that would allow UC Dash users to check a box, indicating they would like their work indexed by DataONE.

Stephen then discussed the cost model that is pending approval for Dash (slides). This model is based  on recovering the cost for storage only; there is no service fee for UC users. The model indicates that UC could provide researchers, staff, and graduate students 10 GB of storage in Dash for a total of $290,000/year for the entire system. Sharon Farb of UCLA suggested that we determine what storage solutions are already in place on the various campuses, and coordinate our efforts with those extant solutions. Colleagues from UCSF pointed out that budgets are tight for research labs, and charging for storage may be a significant hurdle for them to participate. We need they need a concrete answer regarding costs now – options may be for each campus to pay up front, or for the UC Office of the President pays for the system. Individual researcher charges would be the responsibility of each campus; CDL has no plans to take on that responsibility.

I followed Stephen with an overview of data governance in Dash (slides). Dash will offer only CC-BY for UC researchers; DataONE Dash will offer only CC-0. The existing DataShare system at UCSF (on which Dash is based) uses a contract (i.e., data use agreement), however this option will not be available moving forward since it inhibits data reuse and complicates Dash implementation. The decision to use CC-BY for Dash is based on conversations with UC General Counsel, which is currently undergoing evaluation of the UC Data Policy. The UC Regents technically own data produced by UC researchers, which complicates how licenses can be used in Dash.

Development Contributions

Marisa Strong then described how campuses can get involved in the development process. She identified the different components of the Dash service, which include three code lines (all in GitHub under an MIT license):

  1. dash-xtf, which houses the search and browse functionality;
  2. dash-ingest, the rails client for ingest to Merritt; and
  3. dash-harvester, a python script for harvesting metadata.

Instructions on how to contribute code are available on the Dash wiki, including how to set up a local test environment.

Matthew McKinley from UC Irvine then described their group’s development efforts in working on the Dash code lines to implement geospatial metadata fields. He described the process for forking the code, implementing the new feature in a local branch, then merging that branch back into the main code line via a pull request.

Plans for Development with Requested Funding

UC3 has submitted a proposal to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, requesting funds to continue development of the Dash service. If approved, the grant would fund one year of development focused on the following:

  • Streamlined and improved user interface / user experience
  • Development of embedded widgets for deposit and search functionality in Dash
  • Generalization of Dash protocols so can be layered on top of any repository
  • Expanded functions, including parsing spreadsheets for cleaning and best practices (similar to previous DataUp functionality)
  • Support for more metadata schemas, e.g., EML, FGDC

This work would happen in parallel with the existing Dash application, allowing continuous service while development is ongoing. Declan Fleming of UCSD asked whether UC3 efforts would be better spent using existing infrastructures and tools, such as Fedora. The UC3 team said that they would like to talk further about better possible approaches to the Dash system, and encouraged attendees to share ideas prior to the start of development efforts (if funded).

Dash Enhancements: Identification & Prioritization

The group went through the existing enhancements suggested for Dash, available on GitHub Issues. There were 18 existing enhancements, and the group then suggested an additional 51. Attendees then broke into three groups to prioritize the 69 enhancements for future development. Enhancements that floated to the top included:

  • embargoes (restricted access) for datasets
  • metrics/feedback for data depositors and users (e.g., dataset-level metrics)
  • integration with tools and software such as GitHub, ResearchGate, R, and eScholarship
  • improvements to metadata, including ORCID and Fundref integration

This exercise is only the beginning of the process; the UC3 group plans to tidy up the list and re-share with the group after the meeting for continued discussion. This process will be documented on GitHub and via the Dash listserv. Stay tuned!

Next Steps & Wrap-up

The meeting ended with a discussion about how the campuses would stay informed, what contributions each campus might make to Dash, and how the cross-campus partnership should take shape moving forward. Communication lines will include the Dash Facebook page, Twitter account (@UC3Dash), and the GitHub page. Trisha facilitated a final around-the-room, where attendees could share final thoughts. Common thoughts included excitement for the Dash service, meeting campus partners and hearing about development plans moving forward.

The UCLA campus as it appeared in 1929. Enrollment was 6,175. Contributed to Calisphere by UC Berkeley.

The UCLA campus as it appeared in 1929. Enrollment was 6,175. Contributed to Calisphere by UC Berkeley.