Museums, Galleries, Collections

I gave a short presentation to our local museums and galleries service. I had fun exploring how data science could transform their work. We spoke through a few ideas including training ML models to transcribe handwritten records – particularly those of a single author. There are so many log books, diaries, journals etc which are ripe for study but the time / cost of manual transcription, even using volunteers means that most will never go through the process of transcription to text, to generating data including how entity extraction could be used to link references across items. This seems like an area ripe for innovation.

What is clear is that the constrained funding in the public sector is likely to hamper experimentation:  e.g.there is no budget for short term internships which means that demonstrating the value of innovative application of data science is all but impossible, and without that the ability to bid for bigger funding based on small demonstrators is curtailed.

Open Data

I also had a very positive conversation about moving open data on in Scotland, using the seven cities work to demonstrate good practice.


I took part in an industry feedback session for a new Graduate Apprenticeship in Data Science at RGU. This is an exciting new development and the course is well designed. One of the big challenges I foresee will be a lack of mentors in organisations who actually get Data Science and can support the student in the workplace.

Air Aberdeen

Our twentieth device came on stream – with more than a three week delay from registration to Lufdaten issuing sensor IDs. My monitoring script appeared to work and spotted that two devices went offline, and sent alerts to the hosts.

New Macbook

I took a leap and bought a new work laptop, sticking with Macbook but moving to a 15″ model and upping the processor, SDD and RAM. First impressions are positive – as you’d hope for the price(!) – but the Touchbar I could live without, and the keyboard is much noisier than the old model. The lack of ports was expected and I bought a third party port replicator for most situations, yet I’m sure to find a configuration that confounds it. Migration was a breeze, but I hadn’t expected to migrate the issues I had with Anaconda to the new machine. I still had to go through a full forced uninstall and reinstall which was a pain.


I’ve tried to steer clear of the B-word in these blog posts but it is impossible to do so fully. I’d been feeling quite agitated by it all, as are many others, I am sure. Then I heard on the PM programme on BBC Radio 4 that I am not alone. One antidote, if I can call it that, is the latest special edition of the New European featuring a 40,000 word Brexit diary from Will Self and illustrated by the always scatological Martin Rowson. Highly recommended.


Sticking with Orwell, I started reading the third of his novels in a row: The Clergyman’s Daughter. I’ve not had much time to get into it yet, so I will reserve judgement for now.

Weeknotes – 2019 – Wk 13
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