Friday 10th Feb saw me attending this end of project event at the rather nice Nottingham Trent Conference centre. What follows are my notes from the day (typed whilst at the event) so apologies for any typos! My thanks to the RSP for facilitating the day.
Balviar Notay gave an overview of the JISCrte programme to start the day. There are a fair number of projects in this programme, but while I had heard of some of these projects I’d certainly not heard of all of them., Is that a flaw in the projects themselves – or perhaps promotion and awareness wasn’t a core part of their agenda. Certainly looking around the room today there are very few people present whom are not involved directly in these projects – a bit of an echo chamber/silo problem – or should they be all working closer with UKCoRR? Balviar did flag up the work of UK Repository Net+ project and it’s innovation zone, something that I think everyone in the UK repository community will be working with increasingly over the nest two years. RIO Extension – mapping the repository metadata requirements was flagged up; a project about which I went to a very interesting meeting on Weds with the RCUK, JISC and other people.
Next Marie-Therese Gramstadt was up next talking about eNova which worked on enhancing the MePrints tool. Interestingly this is an EPrints tool; once again in the UK DSpace repositories feel a bit outside the room. DSpace is the most popular repository platform in the world, but in the UK the Southampton based EPrints dominates the community. That is not to say that there are not lessons to take away from this, but they aren’t products that we can directly apply at Leicester.
Interestingly this MePrints appears to offer the functionality for individual researchers (a dashboard of sorts) that I would dearly love to introduce on LRA – essentially Staff Profile pages.
Next Beth Lunt from DMU talked about the EXPLORER project – starting off by talking to their academics and discovering that many of them were unaware of the repository (something I’ve found sadly familiar). The project then went on to bring about a number of developments for their DSpace repository – although adapting EPrints code isn’t possible as the two systems are not compatible at all. Part of the upgrade is to KULTERise the repository. DORA now has a UI that is much nicer than the out of the box DSpace. Bitstreams in DORA also now have thumb prints of the objects within them, hence you can even see the front page of the PDF.
Interestingly they have improved name authorities but in a way that sounds like it wouldn’t work with a CRIS like we have. This is a shame as standardising name authorities has long been a holy grail for the LRA. Indeed one of the things that is clear is that being linked to a CRIS brings with it new advantages in terms of population, but it also introduces considerable limitations in terms of how much development and customisation you can do with the repository. Given a lot of the projects that I’ve heard about today are talking about repos as single objects not as part of an integrated institutional information infrastructure; this is a bit of a concern.
After tea Jackie Wickham spoke about the RSP Embedding repositories guide and self assessment tool, stressing the importance of sharing the research with the world and raising the Universities’ profile globally. There are three main ways in which they looked at embedding repositories. The first one is where it acts as a publication database (e.g. where you don’t have a CRIS like IRIS), the second is like Leicester where a link with the CRIS exists and finally a third option where the repository is embedded as part of the CRIS (not a satellite system).
Richard Green spoke next about Hydra in Hull, a spin off from the Hydrangea demonstrator project. The plan was to use this to develop a successor to their Fedora based eDocs repository; which was enabled to be interactive with other systems. It was launched in Sept 2011 and other unis are taking up the use of the code. The codebase allows the,m to restrict access across multiple levels (so students, or local or academics or open access) – if unable to access you can’t see it.
William Nixon from Glasgow closed the morning off with an exemplar of embedding repositories with the Enlighten experience. Noted there’s always a gap between funding the projects and getting the outputs of projects embedded and taken up within repositories workflows. He stressed getting embedded is about getting stitched into the fabric of the institution culturally, technically and holistically. Embedding seems to be very much about working with administrators, academics, marketing, HR and researchers as a regular activity, not a one off. Having these relationships is crucial, because it means you are “in the room” when important decisions are made.
Once again William demonstrated a repository that has the author at it’s heart with their own pages, and the ability to retrieve information on their available publications and usage. Looking at Enlightened journey to being embedded it is easy to pick out the things we’ve done with LRA, but also the things we’re missing still – funding information, feeding profile pages and author disambiguation being key among them IMHO. William commented that no repository can be supremely successful with only library staff involved on a daily basis; and I can well appreciate that – though there is the daily challenge of getting/keeping other members of the institutions engaged and onboard.
After lunch Robin Burgess was sadly not appearing so no sing-a-long a presentation, but Laurian Williamson filled in talking about RADAR. No, not that radar but the project at the Glasgow School of Art.
“He” was followed by Xiaohong Gao talking about MIRAGE which focussed on archiving of 3D medical images, in two phases – creation to archiving and then from archiving to creation. This looks like a very interesting project, specially when you consider the potential not just for storing but locating and retrieving three dimensional data constructs from medicine and other disciplines; especially I’m thinking of Physics and Genetics.
Finally Miggie Pickton from Nectar came on to talk about her repository and embedding activity. She noted she’d made great strides in making the repository the definitive location for research outputs. One of the highlights of the improvements is to have the KULTURised version of the front page of the repository. Another key point was that policy is driven by research committee, not the library – for advocacy and academic buy in this is essential. Interestingly the VC for Northampton has offered the use of his University residence as a venue for the next Open Access week event – something I was awed by, such engagement from such a senior level is simply incredible.
The day finished with a breakout discussion session on embedding where we all exchanged our ideas and reflected on some of the points of the day.