OUseful.Info, the blog…

Trying to find useful things to do with emerging technologies in open education


with 11 comments

OUseful.info is a blog in part about… things that I think may be useful in an higher education context, one day…

For more info on how I manage my online presence, see How OUseful.info operates.

OUseful.inof started pointing here in July 2008. Posts from the OUseful.info blog prior to that (that used to be hosted at http://blogs.open.ac.uk/Maths/ajh59) are all archived at http://ouseful.open.ac.uk/blogarchive; all links to the old blog should redirect there…


Tony Hirst is:

  • Lecturer in the Department of Communication and Systems at The Open University (0.8FTE),
  • data storyteller with the Open Knowledge Foundation School of Data (0.2FTE)
  • Visiting Senior Fellow in Networked Teaching and Learning at the University of Lincoln,
  • regular blogger at OUseful.info

With a background in electronics and artificial intelligence, he has authored on OU courses ranging from robotics to information skills, and most recently a course on computer game design and appreciation. He is passionate about open and lifelong education, and is actively involved in developing course models to support informal as well as formal education. As an open data advocate and self-proclaimed mashup artist, he gives regular workshop and conference presentations on how to create novel information services and find stories in data using freely available web tools and applications. (Workshop sessions available on: basic data wrangling skills; network visualisation with Gephi; simple data scraping; data cleaning with OpenRefine; writing charts with ggplot and RCharts.)

An Arcadia Fellow at the University Library, Cambridge in 2009, he spent many years berating academic libraries about the changing world of information around them.

Since posting a widely circulated map based visualisation of MPs’ travel expenses in Spring 2009, he has become increasingly interested in the practice of data journalism and the use of visualisation techniques as a way of making sense of complex data sets. His current focus of interest is on the development of robust, reliable and effective data related workflows for non-expert journalists and NGOs.

He co-founded getTheData.org, an open public data question and answer site and the public document consultation platform WriteToReply, which helped government departments and policy makers think differently about the nature of commentable documents as operational contributions to discussion and policy development in both those areas.

Tony HIrst, by John Naughton

Written by Tony Hirst

July 27, 2006 at 11:21 am

11 Responses

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  1. enjoy your new home!


    July 31, 2008 at 6:11 am

  2. Hi Tony,

    I noticed you mentioning Freebase and the BBC’s topics page (http://www.bbc.co.uk/topics/) on twitter a while ago, via twitter’s search. Are you still interested in Freebase? I’ll be visiting London shortly (Aug 16-24) and I’m interested in meeting up with people who are working with Freebase or interested in working with it. Drop me a line at kirrily@metaweb.com if you’d like to catch up.


    Kirrily Robert

    August 6, 2008 at 11:09 pm

  3. Hey, I like your blog, but I have to say – for those of us who didn’t regularly read your blog at it’s old home, this is a pretty unsatisfying “About” section!!

    I wanted to know more about you & the blog, not your previous address!


    March 4, 2009 at 2:53 am

  4. […] I’m aware of some experiments being done by Tony Hirst. In particular, experiments with Twitter sub-titled YouTube […]

  5. […] to the comments on Hirst’s blog, OUseful.info, (where he writes about “things that I think may be useful in an higher education context, […]

  6. […] Fringe in Edinburgh. Unsurprisingly openness was one of the key themes of this year’s event and Tony Hirst kicked off with a typically inspiring keynote on content liberation. Tony suggested that although […]

  7. […] following post is by Tony Hirst, who has been working with Rufus Pollock of the Open Knowledge to create http://GetTheData.org/, a […]

  8. […] A recent Open Knowledge Foundation blog post. Written by Tony Hirst, this post describes the new site GetTheData.org. From the site : GetTheData is a Q&A site […]

  9. […] Tony Hirst et Rufus Pollock de l’OKFN ont créé la plateforme http://GetTheData.org/ où vous trouverez toutes les questions et réponses que l’on peut se poser en matière d’opendata. […]

  10. […] to Paul Bradshaw I recently came across a post by Tony Hirst who has very helpfully provided an extraordinary lesson in the joys (and I do mean joys) of […]

  11. […] like to extend a really warm welcome to Tony Hirst, who’s joining the School of Data as a Data […]

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