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A few weeks back I attended the Open Repositories conference in Southampton, UK. I’ve written up a few of what I took to be the main themes to come out of the conference below.

I enjoyed the poster sessions, and also the RSP Repository Managers meeting on the Wednesday evening. Although I had to cut and run to catch a train home, it was a great opportunity to meet with other repository managers from around the world. I would have loved to stayed and caught up with a few more people, but will have to wait until the next UKCoRR meeting I guess.
So, my thoughts on the conference:

From my perspective, main themes to come from the conference included:

o Capturing material to place in repositories (how to be part of the researchers’ workflow, to the extent of actually developing systems for writing up research)

o Integration of repositories within other services such as personalised scholarly profiles.

o Collaborative tools, and functions for adding comments, tagging or annotations to repository items featured in a number of presentations, with interesting work being done by the Linnean Society.

o Usage based evaluations of research (specifically a report from the MESUR project at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, US) – investigation into whether usage statistics can provide similar metrics to citation statistics.

o Copyright issues for academic authors – what are the concerns, practical steps to address these (presentation by QUT Law Professor, Brian Fitzgerald).

o Open science and open data – particularly the technical aspects of extracting data from PDF documents such as e-theses.

Other reflections on the conference include thoughts from Pete Johnson, from Eduserve, Peter Murray-Rust has blogged a few of his thoughts, and added a postscript here, some notes from NoStuff here, some twittering here, and here.
Queue here for Portsmouth Ferry
Closure of the A36 out of Bath means diversion through the village of Hinton Charterhouse, where some clever soul is entertaining those of us stuck in the queues – the tiny blue sign says ‘Queue here for Portsmouth ferry’.. last week it was ‘Hinton Charterhouse – twinned with Detroit, motor city’. Very amusing..em>

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Apparently this isn’t as straightforward as the DSpace documentation might suggest, and further problems may arise when installing patches/plugins etc as most are designed with a PostgreSQL database in mind. This is a problem as it negates one of the main reasons for choosing DSpace, that of being able to use and feed back into community developments.

The web team are think-tanking this to work out a solution. We’d like to be able to extend our repository to also work with a publications database, so that’s an additional issue to take into consideration.

Any comments or suggestions appreciated..

Snapped at home – you can just about make out a pheasant strolling through the brambles.. This little guy has really been making himself at home around our place lately. Caught him strutting along the patio the other morning. I wouldn’t be bothered except pheasants are so pea-brained! As long as he doesn’t try any ‘why did the pheasant cross the road’ type stuff because pheasants don’t seem to be very successful at that…
Pheasant

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I’ve just read Richard Jones’ and Fereshteh Afshari’s research paper on their work developing an integrated repository at Imperial College in London. This is very much the direction we’re moving in, so it’s great to read about how they’ve developed their systems. They’re also DSpace users, with a personal information portal gathering research expertise and are working on tying the two together. Recommended reading, and many thanks to the authors for sharing their experiences.

ps. -5 celcius when we left the house this morning – weee!

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Okay, off to a steady start – over ten items in the repository. Hopefully more to come soon. I’ve got a spreadsheet of possible authors from Web of Science and BMC. I’m checking these against the PIP, our research expertise portal. On the side I’m contacting heads of research centres and institutes. The School of Management has a great list of research publications for their staff.
Ignore what you read – so far this part has been easier than the technical set up.

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You might think that an embargo function for items that can’t be made publicly available would be pretty standard in a digital library software – think publisher embargoes, theses embargoes, etc. All standard practice. Does an embargo function come built in with DSpace though? Not that I can see, and I can only find this information on Embargo on Bitstream V2 on the DSpace wiki. Very disappointing. I’m happy to be proved wrong, especially if it means there’s one less piece of code to tweak.

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The RSP team held a DSpace technical day here in Bath on Monday 12th November. It was a great chance to catch up with a few people from the RSP summer school from back in June, and to ask a few questions about DSpace. Interesting points
– There’s a patch for DSpace 1.4 (included in 1.5) for IP authentication – this would be really useful for UG dissertations or masters dissertations – could these be available on campus only?
– The number that displays beside a collection title showing the number of collection items – these are called ‘strengths’ (??!) Should be a simple matter of switching this on..
– Keep log files separately – probably a standard technical procedure – saves disk space in case of repeating errors
– It’s possible to preset ‘Bath’ as the institution for theses.
– Register with ROAR (done). Southampton peeps also wrote the irstats package – sounds good, particularly as it recognises robot/spider visits to a site..

Statues near Iford manor, not far from Bath
Statue near Iford Manor, near Bath – great walk between here and Farleigh Hungerford castle (remains of..!)

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Well I’ll be reporting live (almost) from the DSpace Technical Day the RSP are holding here on Monday 12 November. They’ll be running a basic session in the morning, and advanced tutorial in the morning, with a surgery running parallel, presumably where you can drop in to see Dr DSpace.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch hopefully we’re near the end for the submission form. Surely you can concatenate fields in DSpace into the identifier.citation field? Fingers crossed. I’m sure this is what Hasselt University did with their super-deluxe input form..

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