5 Minute Interview: Alexander Dutton

1:27 pm in interviews by m.guy

Alex Dutton presenting on Molly

Who are you?
I’m Alexander Dutton, a recent computer science graduate and software

Where do you work and what do you do?
I work within the Information Services team at the Oxford University
Computing Services. I’m mostly a Python/Django mobile web developer,
but dabble in data modelling and wrangling, and Java-based web services.

What are your main areas of interest?
I enjoy taking inelegant data sources and implementing a more user-friendly interface over the top. Indeed; this is one of the key ideas behind Mobile Oxford (http://m.ox.ac.uk/), our mobile-friendly information portal for staff and students of the University.

I’m also greatly interested in the semantic web and linked data, and am encouraged by how these concepts are being used by governments and other institutions to publish data efficiently.

Are you working on anything exciting?
We’ve recently open-sourced Mobile Oxford as the Molly Project (http://mollyproject.org/), and would love other institutions to get involved and join the community.

On the semantic web theme, I’m also involved in an initiative to open up some of the University’s data as open linked data at http://data.ox.ac.uk/. It’s still a work in progress, but watch this space!

Have you been to IWMW before?
First time, I’m afraid. Though I must admit to watching the webcast of some colleagues talking last year (http://iwmw.ukoln.ac.uk/iwmw2009/sessions/mcknight/).

What has been the best bit of IWMW so far?
I’ve particularly enjoyed the most technical aspects of the talks – especially Patrick Lauke’s talk about HTML 5 and Opera. I also really appreciated Chris Sexton’s talk and her figures for how much some sites have cost to develop!

What will you take away from attending IWMW?
I’ve already had some ideas from people about improving our services. In particularly, the event has made me realise that we really need to think hard about our unique selling points for Mobile Oxford, which I presented this morning in the plenary about the mobile web. There is still another day to go, and I’m hoping I am going to be able to find and get assimilated into a linked data community, as I know there are some people here. That would be really useful for me personally and professionally.