Doing it Differently in Sheffield Cathedral

On Wednesday, 70 plus people from all over the UK came to an RSP event which showcased some interesting and different approaches to repository creation and management. Stephanie Taylor from UKOLN set the scene by outlining some themes in the development of repositories recently. She introduced the idea of the guerrilla repo – images of staff coming to work in fatigues and with Kalashnikovs! She cited the example of one repository manager who sat with a number of researchers to identify which pages on the university web site they visit most frequently with a view to placing repository links there.

Richard Davis from The University of London Computer Centre gave some background to the SNEEP project which developed social networking extensions for EPrints. He then went on to outline new projects such as the Merlin project which is developing a repository plug in using text mining to enhance searching. His final slide told us about the soon to be launched EPrints Bazaar which brings together a menu of all the available add ons, similar in concept to Apple’s App Store.

Xpert at the University of Nottingham is a repository of learning materials created entirely through RSS feeds. Pat Lockley, the developer, gave a lively presentation with five titles, free cakes and a totally religious theme! Stephanie Meece for University of Arts London provided a fascinating insight into the issues around handling research outputs from the art and design disciplines. Interestingly, artists need no persuading to deposit – they live in a world where self promotion is critical. However, the repository needs to ensure that its design and presentation of materials is top class and enhances their work.

After lunch, Jason Hoyt from Mendeley was given the brief of combating the post prandial stupor which he achieved in style with the message “we are going to change the world with a reference manager”. He gave us some background about Mendeley’s services and users and then focused on the JISC funded Direct User Repository Access (DURA) project. He is also very interested in what Mendeley can do to help information and knowledge workers stay relevant. Mendeley are conducting a survey and he invited people to e-mail him for the link Jason.hoyt@mendeley.com.

Joss Winn from the University of Lincoln then amazed us with the capability of Word Press and its plug ins to provide a medium for scholarly writing and communication. It’s well worth reading his blog on this. Using WordPress, blog posts can become chapters in a book and with the DigressIt plug in, you can allow comments at paragraph level. Joss also developed a means of depositing from WordPress into EPrints.

Sally Hanford then described how the University of Nottingham has used iTunesU to publish learning materials. She stressed the importance of high level buy in from senior management and also how it can be used effectively to showcase the institution’s outputs on a world stage.

Finally, Bill Hubbard, Head of the Centre for Research Communications, summarised the main themes of the day and spoke about repositories broadening, diversifying and deepening. He concluded with an interesting point that, in the open access world, we often attribute slow change to natural inertia and conservatism. However, we can learn from Mendeley that there is an appetite among academics for change and innovation in scholarly communications. 

You can find the programme for the day as well as the presentations here.

Images credit: Rob Ingram, RSP.

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About Jackie Wickham
I am based at the Centre for Research Communications at the University of Nottingham. I work on the JISC funded Repositories Support Project which supports the development and growth of the UK repositories network.

2 Responses to Doing it Differently in Sheffield Cathedral

  1. Pingback: Doing it differently… @ Evidence Base Blog

  2. Pingback: Things I learned from making my own E-book « anthologizr

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