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The Repository Fringe 2009 (Part 3)

Posted by gazjjohnson on 5 August, 2009

Day 2 of the Fringe was more about discussions between the participants, formally and informally.

Round table discussion on impact of mandates
QMU, Edinburgh have had mandate in place Feb 2008.  Academics feel a push to research, and especial resistance to OA publishing have been encountered.   The discussions went around a lot of points in the hour including the fact that those with mandates are still reporting a low level of compliance with them (approx 25% at best) after a year.  The concept of whom should be chasing academics to comply, was felt by the room to be irrelevant – the most important role of the mandate is to affirm the institutions dedication to open access to research publications, and less a picture of attempting to garner 100% compliance.   

Round table discussion on data repositories
This was a little above my head but focused on questions of cost of storage, size of data, length of curation and even just what was suitable data to archive

Round table discussion on future of repositories
The focus in this session, looking 5 years ahead.  However, discussions quickly bogged down due to some vocal contributions focusing on the issues of the centralisation of author identification and copyright issues.  To be honest I felt that this discussion was somewhat blinkered byu the problems of the next few years, rather than really looking ahead to the situation 5 years hence. 

Implementing Open Data
This final session was given over to a presentation from US Copyright attorney looking at legal issues around open data and the concept of copyleft.  While it had its moments, it was a little difficult to reconcile a session on licensing of material in repositories with an open access ethos.

Overall.
So was the event worth the 8 hour journey there (and then back again?).  Yes for the most part.  I certainly got more out of the first day than I did the second.  Indeed I could have left at lunch on day 2 and not feel I’d missed anything critical.  It would have been nice to have a pre-event meet up the night before day 1, as I was left twiddling my thumbs in a hall of residence.  On the other hand the informal arrangements for the following evening of the conference while anarchic did make for an enjoyable evening of discussion.  The catering and venue was excellent, and the Wifi worked (eventually). 

Would I go next year?  Maybe if the programme was comparable.  I might hope for more discussion on day one and the presentations spread out across the two days.  All the same, a big thanks to the organisers for all their work.

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The Repository Fringe 2009 (Part 2)

Posted by gazjjohnson on 5 August, 2009

The second half of the first day of the Repository Fringe was given over to Pecha Kutcha sessions.  These are quick fire presentations which followed very strict rules of 20 slides with 20 secs a slide;   giving a maximum time of just under 7 minutes each.  Some of my notes on these sessions were.

 Session 1: Enhancing Repository Infrastructure Scotland
Couldn’t really follow this presentation.

Session 2 Les Carr, Repository Challenges
Researchers are not used to doing science in public.  Repositories need to offer effective and efficient service to all users.  ‘Pimp your research ride’ with repository output.  Repository services should provide a holistic service, but won’t do this alone – uses other resources.

Session 3 Guy McGarva, ShareGeo
ShareGeoa resource using DSpace which handles Geospactial data from people like OS and BGS.

Session 4 Richard Jones, (Symplectic repository tools)
Showed off the deposit tool and user interface for researchers – though the interface still looks very texty and slightly impentratble for the average for academic user in my view.  They’ve drawn in an integration with SHERPA/RoMEO showing the copyright colours for each article submitted.  The system pulls in (meta) data from archive and external archives.  SWORD and AtomPub are the way the two systems talk together.

Session  5 Julian Cheal, UKOLN (AdobeAir deposit)
How get data from academic to repositories – by capturing information at source, using Adobe Air SDK.  The idea brings web and desktop together.  AdobeAir is cross platform so it should work for most if not all researchers.  Julian pointed out that Ebay, Twitter, BBC iPlayer and advertising companies use it.  Academics want this sort of thing, a one button deposit almost.  He demonstrated a quick prototype built in AIR, based on Flickr up-loader – one button was deposit possible.  It uses Names Project for author ID and SWORD for interfacing.  He promoted a JISC event in October dealing with single deposit and all the various interfaces.  I would hope someone from the LRAPG with a more technical bent could get along to that event, as this possibilities of this interface were rich.

Session 6 Hannah Payne, (Welsh Repository Network)
Hannah talked about the RSP inititated WRN recently set up and the work they are doing.

Session 7 (University of Southampton)
A slightly different talk saw the Marketing Officer for Dept of Electronics and Computing describing repositories as telling stories.  Universities are more competitive at marketing themselves now than 20 years ago.  But she noted that most talk about research but don’t make use of the social media resources that exist that would generate a story with better legs (pulling together the project blogs, twitter feeds, other publicity) – giving more meat to the bones.  She suggested in time you could aggregate these resources to create stories automatically, though I wandered if that might have the unwanted impact of doing away for the need of a departmental marketing officer… 

Session 8 William Nixon, (Glasgow, Enrich project)
He talked about bringing disparate research systems (research, money, innovation products etc) together.  80% of traffic to their repository comes from Google and associated search services.  Key elements for success include good relationships across the institution and  underlying policies underneath everything they do.

Session 9 Jo Walsh (EDINA, Tools for linking and searching archives) 
She talked about Geoparser software to find geographic locations mentioned in text.

After lunch their was a presentation on Open Journal Software – an overview of the software that lets you make and run your own scholarly journal.

Enovation Solutions– Dspace Customisations
This company are working on changing the UI of Dspace to offer more interesting user experience.  The speaker talked about work with a repository (governmental), which replaced on old CMS with a document management plug in.  They standardised author names by linking to a find peopleroutine to a central personnel database.  They also standardised the keywords in the metadata descriptors.  They added a news WYSIWYG news editor and added additional content.  In many regards their work took the rather bland but functional vanilla DSpace installation into a more modern looking and more user friendly resource for administrators and users alike, simple but effective.  He gave a few examples of projects they’re working on, but couldn’t name the companies due to client confidentiality.  He commented that that the old looking interface of a repository can really put all stakeholders off using it.  The best news was that rather than offering this as a stand alone product or series of plugs ins, Enovation are trying to feed this into the main Dspace kernal (something I confirmed in discussions with a DSpace contact in New Zealand later that day).

 SWORD Deposit talk
A detailed level talk about a project for batch upload of data at Glasgow

Symplectic
Danial Hooke worked through the Symplectic interface which doesn’t look drastically different to when I saw it last year.  Nor did this session tell me anything especially new.

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The Repository Fringe 2009 (Part 1)

Posted by gazjjohnson on 5 August, 2009

Last week I went up to a two day conference in Edinburgh at the Information Forum.  Glancing at the delegate list it seemed that the majority of the participents were from Southampton University, UKOLN and EDINA and a bit thinner on the ground with actual repository managers.  Before the conference I anticipated an event filled with hyperbole and spectacle, though thin on practicality.  Thankfully I was wrong, and it was a throughly useful and iformative two days.

Opening
The opening speaker suggested that credit crunch is a driver for real change in scholarly publication habits, as libraries and publishers alike have to re-examine closely their financial situation with respect to journals.  Open access repositories or open access publishing become much more attractive considerations in this climate it was suggested.

 

Keynote (Sally Rumsey and Ben O’Steen) – Where are Repositories Going

Sally looked at the historical parallels with the Bodleian Library (in terms of storage and content) followed by catalogues (search).  Users of the libraries resources grew over time, and how they were served evolved jsut as much as how to collections were acquired, curated and accessed.  From this she said the lesson for repositories is one of patience, overtime they will grow just not overnight.  There is a realisation that they act as catalyst for change, and this moment of realisation can be as important as the change itself.  What we are beginning to see is the migration from simple single repository as storage, and they’re integration to other services (ala the REF and moves to embed within the RIS) and systems.  Therefore repositories are becoming a set of services.  Repository staff are catalysts for change within the institution, since they speak across and with people in all levels and sections of an institution. 

 Ben spoke about how the Internet can be viewed as a distributed repository, where services and storage should be separate; and in this way be robust – the loss/upgrade of one will not devastate.  Therefore Ben suggested looking at ways to make your IR work more like the Web does.  People search for things, elements of information, not the whole documents – not the packages they come in.  I didn’t 100% agree with this view point from what I know of Arts & Humanties researchers whom doubtless want the entirety of a document.  However, I can agree that it is a interesting point for STM researchers.

Sally moved on to say that policies should be driving everything that goes in and out of repositories; though many still lack real preservation policies.  Assured secure storage and permanent access needs to be well-managed.  This was a topic that came up again in discusions I had around the Fringe, and a potential area for IRs in the UK to think about practically in the future much more. 

The talk moved on to suggest that repository people are reinventing too many wheels; for example don’t get materials out of mainstream repos (e.g. Slidehare/Flckr etc) just link out to them. Sally showed a very complex diagram from Bill Hubbard of how a researcher now has to deal with funder mandates.  Current open access publishing models and options are too complex currently, but are likely to continue for some time.  Interestingly this had raised worries about versioning from academics and an increased need for automation (self-archiving) in order to deal with the levels of ingest.  She also mentioned that the Nature Publishing Group is now offering an automatic deposit service into subject repositories, and perhaps will also do this for IRs in the future. 

Ben talked about disproportionate feedback loops, like high scores in video games – they seem trivial but seem to satisfy far more than you’d expect.  In this way usage stats and reuse stats are major satisfiers for academics when they look at their papers in a repository; something I agree with in my experience here and at Nottingham.  He also said that increasingly there’s a need for access to the entirety of research output, since the research article is only summary of the whole body of work.  Thus data archiving becomes more critical as well as ensuring multiple objects across multiple repositories can be linked together readily. 

There was asuggestion that repos are currently in the trough of disillusionment in the hype cycle which means the move to steady productivity remains as of yet elusive. 

Finally the talk looked at three current crucial trends: (1) entering period of steady growth and change, (2) embedded withing a set of services at institution systems and (3) the need for unique name identification of authors.  Other areas of concenr include the need for continued collaboration with all research stakeholders and for the long term access to research 

 

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