Wednesday saw me make the long trek up to the top of the Lake District to Armathwaite Hall hotel and the RSP’s winter school. Like the summer school these are small, intimate gatherings of repository workers to share experiences and learn from one another. It’s all a little more focussed than your average conference and more akin to an OU summer school sort of thing. We’re expected to work, not just simply sit here and listen; although it would also be nice to wander the grounds or visit the spa…if there was just the time!
Day one kicked off with a tasty lunch before Jackie of the RSP opened proceedings (in place of Bill Hubbard who unfortunately had called off sick). Following an ice breaker (which involved a lot of movement and talking) we had the keynote from Salford University’s Vice-Chancellor Martin Hall. Martin is very switched on to the modern electronic communication environment (the first VC to tweet) and gave an impassioned overview of the importance of open access to the modern scholarly institution – underlined with the economic importance of it as much as the research world.
He suggested the future for repositories is increasingly going to be centralised and national level, and that local institutional repositories may in time go the way of the dinosaur. Although, this said he admitted this would take make years to arrange, and given the competitive nature of many institutions might be easier said than done.
It was great to hear a senior institutional manager who really understands the role of open access and repositories, and a great way to really kick the school off. After Martin the event went from the sublime to…well me. I was drafted in at the last minute to give a reflections of the summer school 2010 talk. I can’t claim it’s the most polished talk I’ve given, but seemed to go down well.
We had a short evening break, and then we moved into a debate between Green and Gold open access as the final route. Personally I still think the truth is a hybrid model, but it certainly was good to hear a former RSP member (Dominic Tate) debate with one of the newest (Emily Nimmo). Then we moved onto dinner and informal discussions.
And day two, looks even more packed.