Closing RSP

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This is the final blog posting for RSP, as we have now suspended activities with the end of our current funding period on 31st July 2013.

As the final post, it seems appropriate to review a little of what we have done. The Repositories Support Project (RSP) has been running since November 2006, funded by JISC as part of their strategic support for Open Access and repositories in UK Higher Education.

During this time the RSP has run 93 events and 7 residential schools, attended by over 1,500 delegates from 257 different organizations. The RSP has hosted 16 webinars for over 1,000 delegates, of which 270 were international from the USA, Ireland, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, Canada, Nigeria, Italy, Germany and other locations.

But of course our focus has been the UK. Within the UK, in addition to our face-to-face events, RSP staff have carried out nearly 100 consultancy visits to individual institutions; produced over 70 publications; maintained an active website, helpdesk and helpline; assisted UKCoRR, and taken the repository message out to stakeholders and policy makers in UK funding, research and Higher Education in committees, reports and conferences.

A large number of staff have worked under the RSP banner over the years: Mike Hopkins, Bill Hines, Stuart Lewis, Jackie Knowles, Chris Yates, Hannah Payne, Liz Lyon, Rachel Heery, Maureen Pennock, Steph Taylor, Michael Day, Pete Cliff, Les Carr, Steve Hitchcock, Stephen Pinfield, Gareth Johnson, Mary Robinson, Sophia Jones, Rob Ingram, Peter Millington, Jane Smith, Dominic Tate, Emily Nimmo, Willow Fuchs, Laurian Williamson, Nancy Pontika, Emma Kilkelly, Jackie Wickham and me, Bill Hubbard.

Our thanks to everyone and forgive me if I have missed anyone from the list!

Thanks also to all of the external speakers, authors, consultants and experts that have contributed to RSP events, publications and advice.

And of course, our thanks to JISC for funding the RSP over the years and their commitment and belief over the successive iterations of our activities; in particular to our JISC Programme Managers and others; Neil Jacobs, Amber Thomas, Andy MacGregor, David Flanders, Tom Franklin, Neil Grindley and Balviar Notay.

Since we started, the number of repositories in the UK has tripled and the growth of the open access environment has allowed all the recent policy developments. This growth is due to the hard work and dedication of the repository advocates and administrators in each institution and I trust that the RSP has been useful to you in your work.

As for the future – for repositories, certainly, the future is bright. The current moves with the RCUK policy and universities’ responses to this in balancing OA publishing and OA archiving; the eventual HEFCE policy towards repository access and REF 2020; the European initiative for OA to all funded work; Research Data Management and the promise of linking data to publications through – what else – the repository: all of these things mean that as a community we have significant work and significant gains to be made in the next few years.

For the RSP, its events, publications and the support service – who knows! We have amended the website to allow it to stand as a resource for repository support and made the publications, podcasts, and materials available for re-use as well as listing the events and making available, where we can, the associated presentations for your use.

As for direct support, there may be opportunities in the future if the community need is there for a support project. If you have individual needs, or need consultancy analysis and advice, then get in touch with us here at the CRC. The team here at the CRC in Nottingham will, of course, be continuing with other national and international projects and in providing SHERPA Services RoMEO, JULIET, OpenDOAR and FACT – so we will still be working with you.

On behalf of all of the RSP team, my thanks to all of you that have been in touch with us in the past few days with thanks for our work and good wishes for the team: it has been very rewarding to hear how we have been valued. For now, good luck with your repositories!

Bill

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Guest Post: A repository journey for the creative arts

This guest post is authored by Kim Coles, Information Assistant (Digital Collections), Royal Holloway, University of London. As announced last week, during October 2011 the RSP sponsored ten UK repository staff  ‘buddy visits’ as part of our Open Access Week initiative. Further information available from here. Kim visited University College Falmouth who are currently designing an institutional repository which will be connected to their online research community.

Theme: Archiving and presenting arts research outputs

In between two rather epic train journeys (across beautiful scenery) on Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th October, I visited the Tremough Campus of University College Falmouth (UCF) and Doreen Pinfold, Tom Readings and Tim Shear, who work in the Library and Technology Enhanced Learning Teams respectively. My original proposal was an investigation into new ways to archive arts research – thinking creatively about how the repository can work for and with researchers.

Why UCF?

The team are looking into ways of archiving arts research which is linked to the production process – in fact they have worked the research process into their planning so that the whole procedure becomes organic. They are designing an institutional repository which is connected to an online research community, the AIR Portal. This aids dialogue between researchers as well as these external users, and it is therefore easy to discuss and produce work within the AIR portal which will eventually be deposited into the repository with a single click as part of the production process.

This is a method of digital preservation which ‘makes official’ the research outputs. Where the Portal is a space for production, the repository will be a way of exhibiting what is produced via Open Access, whether this is a finalised product or a snapshot of the continuing research as it stood at one point in time.

This is a different and unique way to create and manage a repository, and so seemed the ideal choice for a visit.

So where is the repository?

UCF’s repository is not up and running, and so I had a lot of questions about how one goes about designing a repository from scratch.

I found it interesting that although the team want to design according to need, they are taking a very measured and structured approach. Currently they have the opportunity to compare current repository software for functionality; allowing them to choose the parts which are useful, suggest for development those which need improvement, and suggest new archiving ideas to their researchers.

Time can then be dedicated to producing something which encompasses the best of these areas and, crucially, will be backed up by good metadata standards and a sound technical base which can be adapted in the future. Then, they can trial a useable test version of the system to small groups from each school of study, to report back on. This feedback received, further work will need to be done in order to tailor the systems further, and this may happen multiple times before the finished system is released across the college.

The advantage of UCF’s measured design strategy is that they firstly do not confuse researchers with vastly different versions and functions, but also that they can provide consistent clear message about archiving throughout while at the same time producing a system which meets researchers’ needs.

Conclusion

In answer to my proposal questions, it is clear that the repository at UCF is/will be interactive, dynamic and tailored to the needs of their arts researchers.  But what struck me most about the team at UCF was not only their knowledge of the subject area, but their enthusiasm, interest and excitement about what they were producing. There are a lot of opportunities available and UCF seem very much open to them.

This is an attitude which I feel could especially useful to us at Royal Holloway as we move into a six-week promotional campaign to encourage engagement with our repository and CRIS. If we take constructive criticism and ideas as suggestions for improvement instead of complaints, then we could move forward and produce something applicable to our researchers’ needs. By constantly asking opinions but retaining a strong backbone, the repository can remain consistent in its aims while editing the manner in which it achieves them. Of course, we will need the support of out IT team to do this, but by returning to a ‘shared services’ approach we are able to discuss these ideas with those who have the technical know-how: vital for the development of our repository. This development could be as dramatic as a total overhaul and redesign, or as simple as offering to educate more and differently to tailor our approach as needed.

There’s a lot of food for thought here as it is, but I have to say, it was very difficult to cut this down to a readable length, so if there are any questions, please feel free to comment!
Lastly, though, I’d like to thank Doreen, Tim and Tom for their generosity and a really lovely visit to University College Falmouth.

Author: Kim Coles, Royal Holloway, University of London

The Glasgow School of Art and JISCrte

My next meeting with a JISCrte project partner took me to one of my favourite cities – Glasgow – where I met Robin Burgess, Research Information Manager at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA).

Mackintosh Library

Copyright © 2011 The Glasgow School of Art. All rights reserved. Image sourced from http://www.flickr.com/photos/glasgowschoolart/

The aim of this #jiscrte project is to enhance the interface of the research repository at The Glasgow School of Art, through the development of a new repository – RADAR (Research art design architecture Repository) – using EPrints.

GSA’s current research repository was developed in preparation for RAE2008 and is based on a FileMaker database.  Robin explained that the GSA research repository would be greatly enhanced through the application of EPrints, and some of the benefits include:

  • EPrints will be optimised for REF2014
  • Many of the UK arts institutes use EPrints – interoperability is key
  • Development of a user-friendly repository that can be tailored to the needs of GSA staff

Robin has presented on the challenges of building a repository and progress made thus far, have a look at his presentation at the Repository Fringe in August, available from here.

eNova and JISCrte

My next visit to a JISCrte project was to meet the eNova project manager Marie-Therese. The eNova project is led by the Visual Arts Data Service and project partners include the University for the Creative Arts and the University of the Arts London.

The eNova project aims to build on the innovative work of both the Kultivate and Kultur projects to ‘kulturise’ the MePrints profile page tool for the specific needs and behaviours of creative and visual arts researchers.

Two key areas of progress made thus far by the eNova project includes:

  • Producing a user needs requirement
  •  Customising MePrints in order to produce an enhanced tool for research profiles specifically aimed at the needs of arts researchers but applicable to the wider research repository community

The eNova project runs until 23rd December 2011 and project outputs (documents and reports) are all accessible from here.

At the end of the project eNova aim to make the enhanced MePrints profile tool available via the EPrints Bazaar to all users of the EPrints repository platform.

Follow Marie-Therese on Twitter MTG@KultivateProject, where she frequently tweets about #jiscrte

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