Embedding your digital repository.

Just for a change, we hosted one of the SUETR workshop events at Lincoln, and in spite of the weather we had a reasonably good turnout of about 15 people from across the sector.  (And, I have to say it was a nice change to go to one of these events and NOT have to drag myself out of bed at some unreasonable hour prior to trudging to some distant location!)

Anyway, the event started with a presentation from me about what we’d been doing with our repository at Lincoln – Modesty forbids that I review myself of course, but I’m hoping to try and make the talk as available as a podcast, which I will post just as soon as I’ve worked out how to do it.  But my theme was about the challenge of building and maintaining a dual purpose repository  (i.e. one that has both research papers and learning objects in it) – We started out trying to build a learning object repository that could handle research, and have ended up with a research repository that can handle learning objects.  I won’t bore you with those issues here, (I’ll bore you with them in the podcast instead!) but go on to the rest of the day.

Next we had Sally Rumsey from the University of Oxford who talked about using the repository to develop a global brand – Obviously Oxford already have quite a powerful brand, and they have taken a rather different approach to their repository. They base their repositories on Fedora which in fact as a sort of base database that can feed data to to a variety of repository interfaces. Sally, perhaps not surprisingly was very insistent on the importance of having good technical support. She admitted that as a librarian she had had no idea how far she could push the boundaries of what could be done when you started to work with a software developer.

In the afternoon we had presentations from Lucy Keating of Newcastle University who rather than talk about Newcastle’s repository gave us a thought provoking overview and raised a lot of questions about how we might persuade colleagues to start depositing their research into our repositories  by adding value to the content that was already in the repository. The final speaker was Mary Robinson from Nottingham, who has been working with the Repositories support team. I’ve run these together, not out of any disrespect to either speaker, both of whom were excellent, but because one of the things they talked about was the importance of ensuring that the data in your repository could be harvested by other services. There are a number of services such as OAISTER, ROAR, INTUTE and OPEN- DOAR that bring together data from multiple repositories, thus allowing repository users to search across repositories and indeed to allow repository managers to share knowledge about improving the infrastructure.

Interspersed through the presentations was a great deal of useful discussion about promoting repositories among colleagues, develop statistical analyses to show researchers who was accessing their work, how we could promote open access as a public good.

I’m afraid time and pressure of work has prevented this being a very long post, but I’d welcome additional comments from those who were present if they feel I’ve missed anything.