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UCIAD (User Centric Integration of Activity Data) is a new 6 month JISC-funded project addressing the integration of activity data spread across various systems in an organization, and exploring how this integration can both benefit users and improve transparency in an organization.

Both research and commercial developments in the area of user activity data analysis have until now mostly focused on logging user visits to specific websites and systems, primarily in order to support recommendation, or to gather feedback data from users. However, data concerning a single user are generally fragmented across many different systems and logs, from website access logs to search data in different departments and as a result organizations typically are not able to maintain an integrated overview of the various activities of a given user, thus affecting their ability to provide optimal service to their users. Hence, a key tenet of the UCIAD project is that developing a coherent picture of the interactions between the user and the organization would be beneficial both to an organization and to its users.

Specifically, the objective of UCIAD is to provide the conceptual and computational foundations to support user-centric analyses of activity data, with the aim of producing results which can be customized for and deployed in different organizations. Ontologies represent semantic models of a particular domain, and can be used to annotate and integrate data from heterogeneous sources. The project will therefore investigate ontological models for the integration of user activity data, how such models can be used as a basis for a pluggable data framework aggregating user activity data, and how such an infrastructure can be used for the benefit of the users, providing meaningful (and exportable) overviews of their interaction with the organization.

The project, led and managed by Mathieu d’Aquin, will contribute to the current strand of research in KMi, which focuses on the use of semantic technologies to support online personal information management and is carried out by Dr d’Aquin and Salman Elahi. The solutions developed in the project will be tested on a number of Open University systems, in collaboration with the Open University’s communication services.

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