Posted by gazjjohnson on 29 July, 2008
Just got out of a presentation on Symplectic Content Management System, a data and knowledge management tool tied into the REF. Wasn’t something I was expecting to being today, but the big boss asked me to sub for my manager wearing my old repository hat. The demonstration we were taken through over the two hours is the config they’ve got over at Imperial College, and I was pleased to see it tied directly into their repository (along with various other functions).
In essence it seems to create personal REF pages for academics/researchers with minimal effort on their part; even allowing them to appoint people to sub for them in terms of content addition. It uses predefined routines to query specific databases (e.g. WoK) to populate it’s records; presenting the information to academics (or their substitutes) to ask “Is this yours?” before adding it to their on-line profile. It links through to full text or bib rec cords, as well as OA versions. I was quite impressed with the way it handled multiple name-authorities as well, knowing the great variance there is in published author names for the same individuals. In my experience this is something the repository community’s struggled with from time to time.
There’s even a module for it that works as a expertise database, allowing anyone who can access it (it could be entirely publicly viewable or gated) to locate personages with (for example) comparable research expertise to collaborate with, or to speak with authority to the media.
I was reasonably impressed with the system in terms of joining up various disparate campus data-driven systems, although perhaps I could have lived with the demo of the system perhaps being half the length. Various folks from the academic depts, research support and computing were there as well as we librarians, and doubtless we’ll hear more about developments on this front over the coming months.