Two new toolkits to ‘Kultivate’ artistic research deposit

Guest Post by Marie-Therese Gramstadt, KULTIVATE Project Manager, VADS.

Funded through the JISC Information Environment programme 2009-11, the Kultivate project makes available two new toolkits for the UK Higher Education community: an advocacy for arts research toolkit aimed at repository managers; and a decision-making toolkit for artistic researchers. The Kultivate project has arisen out of the Kultur II Group, which consists of researchers and repository staff engaging with arts research deposit in institutional research repositories, and is led by the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS), a Research Centre of the University for the Creative Arts. Read more of this post

Umbrella 2011

University of Hertfordshire by phatcontroller

I will be presenting at Umbrella 2011 on “Research Repositories: the role of library staff in their management”. I’ll be referring to a survey which the RSP carried out last year on the role and skills of staff in UK repositories. I’ll also describe the role of the RSP, including its training events, and refer to UKCoRR. It will include some future gazing as to the role librarians might play to meet the ever growing demands of research data management.

Hope to see some of you there.

Attitudes to Open Access – survey update

You may remember that the RSP is encouraging UK repository staff tocarry out surveys of researchers in their institutions to gauge attitudes to open access and the repository. I blogged about this some weeks ago: Unlocking attitudes to open access. Currently there are 23 institutions who taking part in this which should create a substantial body of evidence. The first results came in this week from Sally Rumsey at the University of Oxford. We’ll be working over the summer to collate the responses and produce a report.

If you’ve been thinking about participating but haven’t got round to it, there’s still time to run it. We’ve extended the deadline for submitting results to the end of July. All the information you need to carry out the survey is here: Nationwide survey – Open Access and you can publicise it using our customisable poster/flyer Survey poster . Do contact me if you have any queries –

State of the Nation


Photo – State records NSW

State of the Nation – well at least the UK repository bit of it.  Repository staff find it helpful to have information about how others manage and deliver their research repositories and frequently ask questions of the Repositories Support Project or post questions to mailing lists. Questions such as What level of mediated deposit do you provide? and How many staff work on your repository? are common.

At the RSP, we are aiming to support this need by collating some key data about individual institutions. This week, we issued a survey to repository managers asking for information about their repositories, staffing, policies on such things as mediation, full text requirements, preservation etc. We’re also asking for details on how far the repository is integrated with other university systems, for example research management systems.

We’ll then publish the responses on the RSP website – it will be specific to institutions and will not be anonymous. The existingting RSP Wiki will house the data so that individuals will be able to update their own information in the future. It is hoped that it will become a valuable source of information provided by the community for the community and save people time asking similar questions on mailing lists.

The survey invitation was sent to individual institutions so if you think you should have received it and haven’t please do get in touch with us at

Data and documentation in the performing arts – event resources

I did a recent blog post on an event I attended in Glasgow on managing data and documentation in the performing arts. The presentations are now available. In addition, there are short video clips of interviews with the speakers which are worth checking out.

Metadata only records

Gerry Thomasen

This morning I read an interesting post by Stuart Shieber listing seven reasons why metadata only articles in your repository are a good thing: The importance of dark deposit.  Number 5 resonated with me as it mirrored a discussion I’d had recently with a repository manager. Metadata only allows a very simple message to be given to researchers: always deposit your postprint (i.e. author’s final, peer reviewed version) and if there’s a problem with copyright, we’ll only make the metadata open access. I’d been talking to Dominic Tate (he was the repository manager in question) and we agreed that the complexity of copyright is probably the biggest barrier to effective advocacy – it just gets too complicated. Most surveys indicate that researchers are in principle in favour of open access but the reality of repository content shows that many do nothing in practice. Alongside this, they worry about breaching copyright and see the library as the locus of expertise in this area. So perhaps a simple message (always deposit) which also takes away the worry about copyright infringement is a winning combination. A one line advocacy strategy? I’d be really interested to get comments from repository staff – do you already do this, does it work?

Unlocking attitudes to open access in the UK


The United Kingdom Council for Research Repositories and the Repositories Support Project invite repository and library staff in the UK to participate in a nationwide initiative to guage researcher’s attitudes to open access generally, funding for open access publishing and the institutional repository specifically.

We are asking you to carry out a standardised survey of researchers in your institution between April and June 2011. This is based on a survey carried out at the University of Huddersfield during Open Access week 2010 which revealed some interesting results. There are benefits for participating institutions such as raising the profile of the repository and also nationally in creating a body of evidence about the researchers’ attitudes.

All the information you need to participate, including the survey questions,  is here:  Nationwide survey – Open Access

JISC Repositories: takeup and embedding projects

Yesterday, I attended the start up meeting for this new tranche of JISC projects (more details below). The RSP will be coordinating the communication both between the projects and to the external community. The basic premise is that they will all “enable lessons and benefits from the most successful repository applications, tools and good practice” 

In the morning each project gave a brief introduction outlining their proposed areas of work. In the afternoon, William Nixon, described the work at the University of Glasgow and how far they have come over the last few years in integrating the repository into the culture and systems of the university. He listed criteria which might be used to judge whether you are embedded. He asked the question “Do you have an institutional repository or do you have a repository at your institution” (credited to Steve Hitchcock of Southampton University). I then led a group session to explore the best ways the projects could comminicate with the RSP and each other and also ideas for dissemination of the learning outcomes.

Read more of this post

“Managing performance data and documentation”

Photo by TheArches

This is the title of an event I attended yesterday at the University of Glasgow. Firstly some clarification – performance here means performance art not performance in the management context. The advertising blurb said: “Research in the live and performing arts produces interesting and varied types of documentation and data, including text, images, audio and video.  On Thursday 17 February, we will bring together researchers and performers working in the live and performing arts across the UK, to inspire and provide guidance for better management of these materials. “

It was a really useful and interesting day. I know I can tend to focus on science when thinking about research behaviour so it helped me to get a better insight into the areas of live and performing arts. I had a few questions at the outset:

What are the things to be stored?

What does re-use mean in this context?

What are the motivators and barriers for researchers in sharing “data”

All these questions were covered during the day so it was well worth the early start to fly to Glasgow!

Barry Smith (now retired and creator of the Live Art Archive) kicked off the morning with “10 stories”. I didn’t keep count but they were all entertaining and illuminating. He raised interesting issues about longevity and preservation and urged those with digital collections to do their utmost to increase usage as a high profile resource is more likely to be funded for the future – access as a preservation tool. From September, most of the Live Art Archive will be open access.

Stephen Gray from CAiRO (Curating Artistic Research Output) was on next. This project is about equipping researchers with the knowledge and tools to manage their data effectively. They are developing online training modules which look very impressive – really clear and relevant – and they will soon be available in Jorum. They are running a five day summer school to trial them. This is one for repository staff to keep their eye on. Also, they are looking for Case Studies about keeping (or even losing) data so do get in touch with them if you would like to contribute. Stephen answered one of my questions. In science the difference between research outputs and research data is clear. But in the performing and other creative arts, images, videos, audio etc can be the outputs and also the data. Does it really matter how we categorise them? – perhaps it’s a false distinction in this context. The important thing is good data management from the outset of a project or piece of work.

The morning concluded with an inspiring talk from theatre maker, Adrian Howells. Difficult to describe in words the beauty and challenge of his art. His one-to-one work is about contemporary intimacy in different settings. In the context of the meeting, he covered the recording and storage of his data but it was easy to get lost in the meaning of the art itself! His presentation gave a real insight into the motivations and barriers for artists in sharing their work digitally. As did talking to some of the delegates during breaks. In science, a barrier to sharing the data is the fear of lack of recognition, being pipped at the post or someone else making the big breakthrough first. Obviously recognition and attribution are critical for artists but sharing outputs is not a threat to this. A bigger issue was that of letting go of the work in an uncontrolled way – releasing the “baby”. What would people do with it?

After lunch, the focus was on support for researchers at the university (from Neil McDermott and Michael McCann), and although this was specific to the locality I found it useful to get more information about the types of data e.g. music-related.  Matt Barr from HATII outlined the technical support they could provide and the day was rounded off by Professor Andrew Prescott who spoke about the importance of preservation and described the work of the ArtsLab which is the research institute of the College of Arts.

The organisers plan to put the presentations online so I’ll post a link to these when they’re available.

Picture This! Workshop on image metadata

Readers of this blog may be interested in a workshop on image metadata which is being run as part of the Dev8D+ programme of events in London on 15th February. It’s billed as chance to work on real-life issues around image metadata, talk to developers, get their help in solving your problems and… get some real-life solutions!

It offers:

  • A chance to outline your problems to developers in a lightning talk
  • A chance to brief developers and help create practical solutions to use in your own work
  • A Developer Challenge that will run throughout Dev8D – 16th-17th Feb –  for the best solutions, plus mystery tokens and other prizes to encourage developers and reward their hard work
  • A chance to network with other practitioners working in the same area
  • Free lunch

What you need to do –

  • Log in to the Picture This! page on the Dev8D wiki, where you can outline the problems and issues you face, and ask for help before the workshop –
  • Come along on to the workshop and give a lightning talk outlining your problems and issues
  • Talk to developers about your problems, answer their questions, give them feedback
  • Work with developers on the day to create practical solutions

Booking form and programme can be found at –

Image: Steven Erat