Liveblogging from the final JISC repositories meeting!

Finally made it to Birmingham after a somewhat tortous trek across the East Midlands (Is there any group of people more addicted to pointless burbling than British”train managers”? – If so I do not wish to meet them!) Anyway, the JISC repositories and preservation programme has come to an end and this final meeting is designed to provide an opportunity to celebrate the work we’ve done and to network with a view to building on the work of the programme.

Started with a summary of the programme – It started as a rather single focussed programme trying to build up traditional text repositories  but has grown to include all sorts of e-learning activities, and mesh with other JISC programmes. Repositories are now central to the improvement of both learning’n’teaching and research. (Hmm, we’ll see!) 

We’re being told what the objectives of the meeting are. Day 1(Today) will principally be an ooportunity for project staff to network, share knowledge and experiences. Tomorrow we’ll focus on the impact and value that  repositories and preservation work can yield to institutions and the wider community. 

Meeting should provide a dedicated chance to focus on what has been achieved during the programme, but there are to be forums (fora?) where topics of interest will be discussed, and an “ideas room – where will repository bein5 years time, how can we increase content, what’s our killer content and so on.

Kevin Ashley – plenary


What JISC asked us all to do, isn’t necessarily identical with what people actually do. Inevitably we don’t all end up achieving exactly what we set out to achieve. And where has that left us. Well JISC wanted more repositories, and to enhance those that repositories,there need to be services to support repositories. There were also some projects fpcussed on exploiting repository content. JISC wanted to get to a position  where there was no excuse not to deposit in a repository – every institution should have one, or at least have access to a consortium. 

Then went through a list of all the enhancement  projects and what JISC thought they were doing,inviting us to squawk (out loud, not Twitter angrily) if they were wrong. What is noticeable is the wide variety of aims. Alot were about improved ingest, but many were also about influencing decision makers, controlled languages, blogging and twittering your deposits, registries of metadata schemas, text mining, using robots to managing deposit, developing application profiles, looking at significant properties . (Quite scary how many projects I wasn’t familiar with, having been involved this programme for 2 years!) 

There were also some “mad ideas” – Rapid Innovation was born this way. Take a little bit of money out of the budget, and pay for a very short project – one person, not much project management.Took two days to be agreed – and is now on a much bigger scale (As we know!) – Mr Cute, SNEEP and Fedorazon were all #jiscri projects. 

So what did we get. Certainly got lots of repositories, and services for doing stuff with them. They’re being used for more than research papers, and we’re building links with e-research, institutional admin, teaching and e-learning. There are also far more tools around metadata and preservation.  But we also have more research, better research, which has more impact. There is better teaching and learning, because it is much easier to find, and deploy usable content.  There are cheaper and better administrative processes, and there is much more linking to global services and networks (Open Access anyone?), and of course we are innovating. 

But here’s a thought. Most people visit about 6 websites a day. If somebody recommends a destination site then they’re saying it’s as least as good as Facebook, You Tube or whatever. But is Blackboard really that good. If they go there (they might have to to get a PowerPoint of a lecture) are they going to stay? How do we make our repository a place where people want to stay? That’s perhaps the next challenge  for us.


Battery fading! Back when I find a power socket!