JISC 2 year project, 9 months left. Aim: to capture experience of using e-infrastructure to support research, driven by research community viewpoint.
- Interviews, 1-to-1 and 1-to-team: user experience reports;
- thence, use cases: actually scenarios, based on fact not fantasy.
- Once critical mass of scenarios, Service Usage Models (SUMs).
Primarily research community, aim to raise awareness of how e-infrastructure can do things for them. Do need to make outputs applicable cross-domain. Also engagement at higher level with JISC/funding: SUMs feed into funding process. Project can serve as snapshot of takeup of e-infrastructure, now that that phase of deployment is wrapping up.
Mercedes has been full time RA doing e-framework writing since start of project. Others have come in later. Have been recruitment delays. Initial output was scoping study, core document (must read): methodology with critical evaluation, sample use cases from interviews, with reflections both from team and researchers. Tried and true methodology, used in other projects already. Their SUMs are higher level than some of the JISC SUMs.
Methodology challenge: establishing contact for interviewing. Not enough resources to embed into projects (as the anthropologists would prefer), so hour-long open-ended interviews. Discuss day in the life of their research. Do not ask what infrastructure they use. Establish points of connection between their research and the extant e-infrastructure services by elicitation. There is still much overlap between practitioners and developers, so still fuzzy in establishing that boundary.
e-infrastructure is broadly meant: not just e-science, but not as broad as just using Word either. Advanced networked IT is what they understand as e-infrastructure: the national Grid is archetypal such e-infrastructure: common, service-oriented. Much e-infrastructure is not yet services, still pilot oriented to a particular project.
Use cases: long version (prose) => short version (pictures). Have ensured they're aligned to each other. Given scenario, identify what is behind it at different levels. E.g. for grid SUMs, authentication is a separate, omnipresent level of functionality; so is job monitoring. Only some of the functions are used in any one scenario. Also translate requirements statement (GEMS-I: Grid enabling MIMAS services project) into business processes.
Used SUMs to compare systems: which service genres do they have in common, and what effort are they replicating. Very good summary paper which does so for GEMS-I, GEMEDA, MOSES.
In general: cogent --- I'd say compelling --- tie-in of business analysis to service usage models, anchoring one to the other, and an excellent model for getting stakeholder buy-in into the e-framework. I think they've got it exactly right.