Archive for the ‘Repository Support Project’ Category

I had a quick trip up to the Wirral on Wednesday for the Repository Support Programme Summer School 2008. The event was held at Thornton Manor, a fabulous country pile built by Lord Leverhulme of the Sunlight soap empire. I was only at the summer school for Wednesday afternoon but the RSP team pulled their speed networking card again, and I learnt a lot about the state of other repositories just from five minutes of introduction and synopsis from other attendees.
I gave a quick presentation as the Graduate of last year’s summer school, but the*really* interesting talk came afterwards, when we were treated to a telling of Leverhulmes’ life and achievements. The speaker called Lever one of the most well known men of his time, a real mover and shaker, one of the first to take corporate responsibility for his employees.
Then, ironically yesterday when I returned to work, I had a paper to upload which had been sponsored by BBSRC and the Leverhulme Trust. So that sent me over to the Leverhulme Trust website. Of course I’ve heard of UniLever and we had Sunlight soap when I was knee high to a grasshopper, but I would never have thought there was such an amazing story behind it all..
The RSP Summer School continues today and tomorrow, and I’ll try to link to any blog posts I find on the event.
Thornton Manor


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After two long weekends in May, these five day work weeks in June are rough. June is looking busy though, with some big repository decisions coming up here, and then I’m out and about a couple of times. Next week, on the 12th June is the UKeIG Annual Seminar where I’m doing a session on Web 2.0 in academia : what works and why. I’ll put my slides on slideshare soon.
The week after, the RSP are holding their summer school again, this time in Thornton Manor in the Wirral.
I ranted about the beautiful location last year, at Dartington Hall near Totnes – someone is doing really well picking these summer school locations! After speaking with Stephanie yesterday, I think I’ll be giving a short ‘graduate’ talk.
Then, the week after that is the UC&R seminar at UWE on Web 2.0 (can’t find a link for this one at the moment).
Towards the Askenden Pub, Cambridgeshire
We were in Cambridge last week and stayed at a FarmStay in NE Essex called Rockells Farm – it’s a lovely spot, and for the fishing enthuasists, they have their own stocked lake.. We strolled to Arkesden for dinner at the Ax and Crosses – excellent food, get there early.

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Tomorrow it’s an early start on the train up to Nottingham for the UKCoRR meeting. The last meeting was in May – a really good day, where I wrote masses of notes (I wasn’t quite in post then, and everything was new) which was lucky because I’d left on the Sunday afternoon for a Monday meeting – note to self – travelling on a Sunday means over-running engineering works, cancelled services and lots of time to sit around train stations. Six hours it took me to get there from Bath. I stayed in the Jurys Inn – nice enough but clearly catering to the business crowd with expense accounts – £9.95 for breakfast. Ouch. I just couldn’t pay it on the principle, and maybe because we only get reimbursed a max of £5.00.
So tomorrow I’m up at the crack of dawn to try and get up to Nottingham before 10.30am when the meeting starts. Should be do-able. The event outline looks good again – I’ll write up a few notes here when I get back.
Otherwise, today I’m off to the maths department to chat with the mathematical biology crowd about self-archiving. Oh, and yesterday I spent over an hour with Clarissa going through the licences – she has a great attention to detail.

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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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The Repository Support Project has just advertised a suite of events for repository practitioners in the UK over the next few months. Topics for the Professional Briefing and Networking event series include: Repository developments; Metadata issues; Stakeholder roles & perceptions and more to be announced.
Additionally, here at Bath there will be a DSpace Technical day on November 12, 2007. This provides DSpace users a similar event to that held recently for ePrints, where there will be the opportunity to attend a DSpace Surgery and ask installation specific questions. Alongside this are basic and advanced tutorials. I’m really pleased to see the RSP getting these events up and running, and I’ve just discovered their website is becoming more fleshed out with information useful for repository start-ups.

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Last Thursday I met up with Steph (from the Repositories Support Project) in Loughborough to check out the University of Loughborough Institutional Repository. Originally I’d contacted them after reading articles written by Jo Barwick and placed in the repository. We met with Jeff and Kate, who explained how they’ve set up their repository installation and their experiences. Kate gave us a run through of depositing an item in their DSpace account – they’ve a completely mediated service. It was tremendously useful to see and well worth the three and a half hours each way on the train. I’d written about twenty questions, including the following (with answers):
Q. What kind of statistics do they collect?
A. They use Google Analytics at the moment but interested in the stats plug-in from DSpace (which reminds me – are DSpace stats counter compliant?)
Q. Does the repository interface with their Research Expertise database (our PIP)?
A. No, but potentially that’s where they’re going. I’d like to know if anyone has managed this?
Q. Have they ever had anyone make a copyright complaint, coming in from their Notice and Takedown Policy?
A. Nope.
Q. What is checked in the mediation stage?
A. The journal/publisher policies for self-archiving, the file, all metadata is input, LCSH info added, and their Creative Commons license page is added to the front of the pdf.
Q. How long to deposit an item?
A. About ten minutes if all is in order..
Q. Staffing?
A. Outlined in the docs by Jo Barwick – originally a Repository manager to set up, now two years later there is deposit support from their technical services department, systems support from their Library Systems people, and the repository management is part of a Support Services Librarian post.

It was great to actually look under the bonnet of their repository, thanks again to Jeff and Kate and Jo for writing up her experiences.
White cliffs along the Jurassic Coast near Poole, UK.
White cliffs along the coast near Poole and Swanage.. completely the wrong direction to Loughborough but nevermind. Jelly-knee material when you’re up near the edge looking over.

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WHAT DO WE WANT? *Immediate decisive action*

WHEN DO WE WANT IT? *Sometime quite soon I should think…*

It’s always the things you think are going to be straightforward that end up being riddled with detail and complexity. Choosing a software platform for the repository was a case in point.

It’s kind of like re-inventing the wheel. You know most institutions with a repository have been through this scenario. Having a quick reference guide comparing the software available would be fantastic – not just technical specifications but real selling points of one system over the other. This came up at the RSP summer school as a lot of people were in the same boat.

Just for the record, we found these documents to be really useful:

  • Technical evaluation of selected open source repository solutions on behalf of CPIT, New Zealand
  • Creating an Institutional Repository: LEADIRS Workbook from MIT and Cambridge Libraries
  • Notes from colleagues who had been through the same evaluation process were EXTREMELY helpful also (thanks D.)
  • At any rate, we short-listed EPrints and DSpace for comparison, as we wanted something ‘out of the box’, open source and with a good user community. Fedora would have offered a terrific solution, but unfortunately we ruled it out as we wanted something fast with minimal person-power to get it underway. I notice that some of the more mature repositories in Australia are moving to Fedora with various interface options, so something to keep an eye on.

    At the end of the day one of the key criteria that swayed our decision was integration with existing IT systems and expertise. Apparently we’re java based with better Oracle infrastructure and a SOAP web interface would map well to other applications (I feel like I’ve just started speaking another language..).

    The ideal solution would have been a platform with a robust user community (in the UK?), good integration with existing systems, and one to which the newly developed Scholarly Works Application Profile could be applied. I think we’ll need a FRBR based model as some point, particularly if we look at linking up datasets down the road.

    So we’ve chosen DSpace. I’d be really interested to see what kind of experiences other people had making this selection.
    Bath Spa
    A photo of the Baths to cheer things up.

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