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Posts Tagged ‘winter school’

RSP Winter School: Day 3

Posted by gazjjohnson on 14 February, 2011

You can read about Day 1 or Day 2 here.

See, it wasn't worth being there on a day like thisThe third and final day dawned a little grey, but there was little time to admire the scenery as we had to kick off before 9am in order to fit everything in.  The first session was from Ruth Murray-Wedster from Lucidus Consulting .  Ruth used to work for Intute, which was very noticeable as about half her opening section seemed to be an advert for the late and somewhat lamented service.  Thankfully the real meat of the session was a workshop, in small groups again, looking at metrics/KPIs and repositories.  As someone who keeps a fair amount of these (and whom will be working on them a lot this week) I was quite interested to see what other people are doing in this area.  In the workshop we looked at metrics we had been asked to keep by our stakeholders, those we felt offered an actual representative view of the repository activity and the challenges that prevent us from gathering some of these.

I suggested I would love to know how far people read through items in my repository, that something has been downloaded 500 times is one thing – but how far did they read? This is a stat that YouTube provides for your videos on the site, and is an excellent way to discover just how many of your viewers have engaged with the material.  In the same way the base metric of downloads tells me nothing about the interaction with the scholarly research; although short of locking the PDFs down to view only mode or the like on the LRA I’m unaware of how we’d measure this one.

I had a very interesting side discussion with Paul Stainthorp and Theo Andrews about our own use of Google Analytics, and just how deep we each delved (or didn’t) into the schmorgesborg of data that this provides.  Interestingly in many aspects each of our respective repositories seems to score similar values for, although the devil is very much in the details.  Our group agreed that many of the metrics that are demanded of us (last year’s SCONUL audit came in for particular criticism for being somewhat poorly thought out) are not especially representative of the level of impact or activity w.r.t. repositories; no doubt due to most of them being requested by those who were not familiar with the repository world’s working.  A definite need for those of us managing these resources to engage with these people more, or perhaps a lobbying/information role for both the RSP and UKCoRR.

After a break (and an advert for UKCoRR) we had the final two sessions of the morning.  Personally I would have reversed the order of these sessions as the final one from Amanda Hodgson on the Research Communications Strategy work from the CRC offered little content I’d not already gleaned from their website.  Perhaps when their work is more advanced this session might have more to offer.  However, the preceding session from Miggie Pickton (Northampton) on her project researching researchers through their data was more engaging.  Miggie even engaged us in a small workshop element as we looked at our own experiences, and tied in nicely to the sessions the previous day from Max and Mark.  it also tied into elements of digital preservation and curation, a topic no one talk had tackled but a recurrent theme in many.

Jackie brings the Winter School to a closeAnd so the Winter School came to a close.  It had been a highly valuable three days, in what can only be described as a first class venue (squeaking door aside), and a credit to Jackie and her team for putting it on.  My thanks to all the speakers and organisers!  At the very least I’ve taken away the thought that me and my team face a lot of the same challenges as other repository teams, even where their exact circumstances and working environments are different.  That alone brings a certain level of comfort.

What’s next? Well I’m hoping to read through the slides from the various speakers over the coming days again and perhaps pick up on one or two elements that I only half caught at the time, or that perhaps might spur me and my team on in our work in the coming year.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

RSP Winter School: Day 2

Posted by gazjjohnson on 14 February, 2011

(You can read about Day 1 here.)

Day two opened with lightly less overcast skies, and Jackie Wickham giving an overview of the work of the RSP; past and future.  This was followed by Max Wilkinson from the British Library talking about their Datasets Programme; which I was especially looking forward to hearing.  It was interesting to hear about an area, which by accord, most of the room wasn’t doing a great deal about practically.  That data sets are of a volume magnitudes greater than the publications that most repositories deal with is no surprise, and that most repository softwares are not especially great ay handling them wasn’t either.  I was hearted to hear that the BL are working in this area, and appear to be thinking about it at a national level.  I must confess that personally I’d expect that a national solution for data sets repository is more likely to be effective than a local one; but thinking that and seeing it happen are two very different things.

Me, watching Keith's talk - I kid you not!Then Prof Keith Jeffery from euroCRIS/STFC gave a talk which…well it was very information rich.  I described the talk afterwards as akin to the “last 30 minutes of 2001, only without a monolith”.  Keith was nominally talking about euroCRIS but this was almost submerged in the presentation that whipped past with terms half known and unknown.  There was certainly a worth in hearing someone as plugged in at the national level to STEM work as Keith; it was unfortunate that his talk wasn’t really pitched at a sufficiently practical level for those in the room.  I shall however, look forward to re-reading his slides (assuming the RSP shares them) at my leisure, over perhaps a day.

Next up was Mark Cox from King’s College talking about the Readiness4REF project.  Leicester has been slightly involved in this project, with respect to CERIF so some of what Mark ta;lked about was familiar to me.  I came out of this talk taking away the message that making sure your repository is CERIF compliant will make it faster, more effective and ready to interact with the wider community; which can only be a good thing.

Repository junction broker system outlinedAnd then he was followed by Theo Andrew from EDINA who presented what I can only describe as THE talk of the conference for me.  Theo outlined a world where a lot of work is repeated at different institutions, where three co-authors at different unis are each asked to make a deposit of a copy of their paper, with varying levels of success and engagement.  The Repository Junction project proposes to streamline this, so that when one academic deposits, the software seeks out the repositories of the other authors and punts the paper into their verification and deposit workflows.  William Nixon (Glasgow) refered to it as a killer app and to be frank I think if it works he won’t be proved wrong.  Theo’s only working with a limited number of institutions but the plans are to expand out to a larger group; and I like many in the room I can imagine would be only be too happy to be involved!  I’ll be following the project blog with interest.

After a delicious lunch (which made me glad I skipped breakfast) Balviar Notay from JISC spoke about the Take Up and Embedding Programme projects, which was I admit a bit of a blur of acronyms.  All the same some interesting work is going to be carried out under this banner.

She was followed by a workshop session fronted by Jackie Wickham and four willing helpers, which ran into the early evening.  Four facilitators (Miggie Pickton, Nicky Cashman, Jill Golightly and Rachel Proudfoot) moved around four groups and spent 30 minutes discussing issues related to their own projects, locals and experiences.  The small group format allowed for a more intimate level of discussion than might have been enjoyed in the whole group.  I must confess that the first couple of these sessions did little for me (other than further developing my sense that Glasgow has done so much that many of us will struggle to ever achieve their level of success!).  However, the sessions with Nicky and Rachel were much more suited to my personal interests and certainly clarified one or two ideas I’ve been having of late about the LRA and our future direction. 

The day’s sessions was followed by the conference dinner, and repository related discussions and exchanges which lasted long into the night (I lasted ’til around 11.30 but then had to call it a night). An intensive, packed day with a lot for me to reflect on and revisit now I’m back at Leicester.

(You can read about Day 3 here)

Posted in Service Delivery | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

RSP Winter School 2011: Day 1

Posted by gazjjohnson on 10 February, 2011

Amramthwaite Hall Hotel, Front LawnWednesday 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.

Martin speaksHe 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.

Oh tweets from the event are tagged #rspws11

And day two, looks even more packed.

Read about Day 2 and Day 3 here

Posted in Open Access, Staff training | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »