Brief view from the Beyond the Repositories Fringe – Edinburgh 09

The Beyond the Repositories Fringe event at Edinburgh University was very enjoyable and it was good to see presentations from JISC repositories projects. Ben O’Steen and Sally Rumsey (Oxford University Research Archive) key note presentation on “where are repositories going” was particularly interesting that it talked about the change over time in our thinking about repositories in that we a no longer thinking of repositories as a “box” – “paper in and paper out” but that the thinking has moved to the “integration with other hard and soft systems” and it’s also a collaboration of all stakeholders e.g. librarians, information technologists, archive and record managers, faculty, and administrators etc rather than just one stakeholder. In terms of future development what I thought was also interesting was the idea of separating out the services and storage. In terms of the Repositories Search Project Paul Walk (UKOLN) had come to this conclusion within the project last year, in that he decided to decouple the search service from the harvested content to allow for other services to be able to call on the aggregation of UK repositories and these could also be alternative “on the fly” presentation services. Again in thinking about separating out the storage from the services – in previous meetings with JISC projects we have been thinking about how we can enhance the data that we have so that intelligent services can present the data in interesting and appropriate ways for the users without the developer having to reengineer the data before being able to develop the services on top. This work includes things like Dublin Core application profiles, persistent identifiers for objects and personal identifiers (names). Ben also talked about the relationship between “things” or named things as being very important for discovery and there is a move towards providing the information as Linked Data in RDF. The JISC RKBExplorer project demonstrated how it can present a unified view over many repositories linked to many other datasets, showing links between resources. The JISC dotAC project will be building on this.

Another reoccurring issue that came up at the workshop was the issue of making deposit easier – Julian Cheal’s (UKOLN) Repository Deposit Tool using Adobe Air was certainly interesting in that the interface was simple and easy to use. It has the potential to be enhanced with the auto look-up tools and take into account such things like the Scholarly Works Application Profile (SWAP)…but these would need further development. Single deposit in multiple repositories was also something the key note presentation bought up as an area for further development. Automation was another area that was mentioned to help speed up deposit. One of the discussion outputs of the Policy-making for Research Data in Repositories session came to the conclusion that mandating deposit was not seen as something that, in of itself, would increase deposit, but it was the ease and the use of the tools themselves that would change behaviour workflows. JISC is planning a show and tell deposit event on the 12th October 09 to identify deposit tools (and perhaps combinations of tools) that would clearly benefit repository users if they could be taken up easily and with confidence, and to plot a path for those tools toward widespread and sustainable take-up.

In the plenary session – Cliff Lynch spoke about the requirement for data repositories and the different requirements for storage and we should be looking at the repository as suit of services that exist as components of a larger eco system. He talked about the repository possibly becoming a computational environment. He also talked about name authority and important piece of the scholarly infrastructure – we need to connect repositories to new name management infrastructure – identity management, federated access management, author IDs… He talked about the importance of annotation in repositories and also preservation policies and for when you preserve, destruct, transform etc. Unfortunately I had to leave the conference before the end of the plenary to catch a flight, so I missed that last nuggets of his repository wisdom…

1 thought on “Brief view from the Beyond the Repositories Fringe – Edinburgh 09

  1. Pingback: Beyond the Repository Fringe: bref compte rendu « pintiniblog

Comments are closed.