How embedded and integrated is your repository?

Last Friday the Repositories Support Project (RSP) held the free event “How embedded and integrated is your repository” at the Nottingham Conference Centre. This was an end-of-project event that aimed to showcase and share with the repository community the results of six JISC-funded tasks that participated in the “JISC Repositories: take-up and embedding” (JISCrte) project.

Since I joined the RSP team this January, this event was both the first RSP event I attended and also the first where I had some small organizing responsibilities and I have to admit I really enjoyed every aspect of it!


To begin with, I was not aware of all the six projects and their details; EXPLORER (De Montfort University), Hydra (University of Hull), RADAR (Glasgow School of Art), MIRAGE (Middlesex University), NECTAR (University of Northampton) and eNova (led by the Visual Arts Data Service, the University of the Creative Arts, and the University of the Arts London) and I was impressed by how much these groups have achieved in such a short period of time, less than a year.

Throughout the whole day I felt that the repositories’ technical difficulties were a prominent topic for discussion. The speakers described how they were able to manage these obstacles and exchanged ideas and tips with the attendees. It is astonishing how little funding, technical and staff support some repositories’ managers have available, but how much they are able to carry out with the little sources they have- kudos to all of them!

There were also two guest presenters in the event, who are not related to the JISCrte projects, but their work is relevant to the general idea of embedding repositories. The first was the RSP Coordinator Jackie Wickham, who presented on the embedding repositories guide and assessment tool and William Nixon from the University of Glasgow, who discussed issues on embedding exemplar.


Despite of the previously snowy night and the cold weather, the event was well-attended. The day concluded with a group activity monitored by the RSP Open Access Adviser Laurian Williamson [email:], who was the coordinator of the six JISCrte projects and the event planner. In this breakout session the delegates reflected on some of the issues that were covered that day and they found useful. The topics that emerged were: the variety of ways advocating and marketing for the institutional repository; the difficulties met with the technical skills and reaching the PVC agenda; and, the importance of MePrints and the practice of embedding repositories.

All presentations can be found here.

Digging in and embedding your repository

Photograph by Einar Erici and made available by the Swedish National Heritage Board. Sourced from the Commons on Flickr.

How embedded and integrated is your repository? 

The JISC Repositories: take-up and embedding projects (JISCrte) are now complete and a free end of project event focusing on embedding and integration will take place at the Nottingham Conference Centre on the 10th February 2012.

The aim of the #jiscrte project was:

“ improve the institutional services that rely on the repository by enabling take-up of the lessons and benefits from the most successful repository applications, tools and good practice.”

 The six projects involved currently use different repository software platforms and     each project team explored different tools and repository applications.

 Project teams explored and worked on a variety of tools and applications, for example, enriching a medical image repository, improving a digital repository interface and making improvements and enhancements to the Hydra code, scoping and launching a brand new repository, using the KULTUR extension to feature non-text research outputs, ‘Kulturising’ a DSpace repository, updating advocacy guidance, and embedding institutional research repositories into the culture of arts researchers by enhancing the MePrints profile tool.

We have a packed and exciting programme for the day, all project managers will be presenting their project outputs, William Nixon, Digital Library Development Manager, University of Glasgow will be presenting on the embedding and integrating theme, and we will be calculating your ‘E’ factor – what is your embedding score?

Online booking, further details on #jiscrte and the embedding guide,  and the full programme is available here.

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

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.

‘Bringing a buzz to NECTAR’ JISCrte Project

NECTAR repository My next visit to a JISCrte project partner took me to the University of Northampton to meet Miggie, Research Support Specialist and manager of the University of Northampton’s open access institutional repository NECTAR (Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research).

NECTAR is a good example of a repository embedded within the research environment of its university and this JISCrte project aims to revitalize NECTAR by implementing a range of new tools, services and procedures and ensuring that NECTAR continues to support the needs of the University of Northampton.

Project progress thus far has been good and includes:

  • Increasing researcher engagement within Schools
  • Redesigning NECTAR to match university branding – embedding it visually within the new university website and branding
  • Initial work on the implementation of the Kultur EPrints Extension
  • Preparation for integration with EThOS

For further details on project progress have a look at Miggie’s presentation she delivered at the Repository Fringe 2011 event in August, available 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

Hydra in Hull

My next visit to a JISCrte project partner took me to the University of Hull where I met Chris and Richard, the project team working on Hydrangea in Hull (the Hydra demonstrator).

There is a wonderful statue of Philip Larkin (poet and former University of Hull librarian) at the Hull railway station, quite captivating and definitely worth viewing if you ever visit the area. Further information on Philip Larkin is available from the University of Hull archives, see here.

The current repository at the University of Hull is called eDocs  and the Hydra project is developing a new repository for digital materials,  see Hydra in Hull.

The University of Hull is one of the founding partner institutions of the Hydra multi-institutional collaboration and it is hoped that their new repository will facilitate the sharing (openly or on a restricted basis) and preservation of materials for the medium to long-term.

They are using Blacklight as their discovery interface, enabling a single-search interface of the library catalogue and the repository. Further details on Blacklight and Hydra can be found in the links below.

Useful links

  • Hydra in Hull project blog
  • Blacklight – a free and open source Ruby on Rails based discovery interface
  • Hydra Project – a community-driven project “one body, many heads” is part of their vision

If you are interested in exploring more on the open source DSpace software and Fedora framework for building digital repositories then why not register for a free online workshop? It will be held on Friday September 9, 10.00 – 11.00 UK time, further information is available from here.

A repository song

This was my first attendance at the Repository Fringe (#rfringe11) and as mentioned previously, I was there with the JISCrte portfolio of 6 projects, which featured in the programme on day 2 and delivered presentations on the progress and activities of their repositories take-up and embedding projects.

One of the JISCrte project partners, Robin Burgess from the Glasgow School of Art, delivered his presentation via the medium of…SONG. A link to Robin’s performance will shortly be available and I will make a link to it from this posting once it has been released! UPDATE 30/08/2011 – ‘Repository song’ is now available from here.

”]I thought this event was excellent and some of the innovative and interesting projects and initiatives really do require further exploration. Personally I found the following really interesting, and it was a new initiative to me:

FigShare – a permanent research data storage and sharing platform founded by Mark Hahnel. For use by researchers worldwide, FigShare aims to improve science and avoid duplication by encouraging all data to be shared, including negative results.

The stated ethos of FigShare is:

“Unless we as scientists publish all of our data, we will never achieve access to the sum of all scientific knowledge.”

All the event videos and presentations will shortly be made available by the event organisers, and I think they will be linked to from here.

JISCrte at Repository Fringe 2011

The JISC Repositories: take-up and embedding projects (JISCrte) will be presenting at the Repository Fringe 2011 in Edinburgh next week.

All six JISCrte projects will be providing an overview of their project progress and activities thus far.

JISCrte aims  to build on the investments already made in repository developments and improve repository services (consolidate and embed repositories with other institutional services and processes) and spread good practice more widely.

The six projects involved in this strand of work (projects run from February through December 2011) are:

  • Bringing a Buzz to Nectar – University of Northampton
  • EXPLORER – De Montfort University
  • eNova – led by the Visual Arts Data Service
  • Hydrangea in Hull – University of Hull
  • MIRAGE 2011 – Middlesex University
  • Enhancing a research repository – Glasgow School of Art

Further details of each project (including project plans) are available from here.

We look forward to seeing you and our session is on day 2 of the RepoFringe at 09.30 on Thursday 04th August.

JISCrte and De Montfort University Open Research Archive (DORA)

My second JISCrte visit was to the project partners at De Montfort University (DMU) where I met Beth and Alan who are working on the EXPLORER (Embedding eXisting & Propriatary Learning in an Open-source Repository to Evolve new Resources) project. It is hoped that EXPLORER will enable the enhancement and embedding of the DORA repository within the DMU research environment.

DORA uses DSpace open source software and two key areas of this project are:

  • Development and implementation of workflows and processes in order to embed DORA within the DMU research environment
  • Adaptation and integration of tools from other JISC projects – they are looking at an appropriate CERIF4REF tool and will investigate outputs from the KULTUR project to see if they are appropriate for DORA and displaying non-text items

You can follow project progress via the EXPLORER blog and twitter channel, all accessible from here.

JISCrte and a subject-based repository

As the newest member of the RSP team I have been spending some time visiting the six projects involved with the JISC Repositories: take-up and embedding strand of the JISC Information Environment 09-11 Programme.

Jackie blogged about these projects earlier in the year and I thought it would be useful if I provided some detail about each project visited and progress made thus far.

My first visit was to Middlesex University where I met Sharon and Jade, members of the project team working on MIRAGE (2011) – a subject-based repository of more than 100,000 medical images.

MIRAGE (Middlesex medical Image Repository with a CBIR ArchivinG Environment) aims to enrich the current repository with two key features:

  • a 3D viewer
  • a plug-in for uploading image queries

Feedback from their users indicated that the visualization of 3D images and uploading queries were essential for their needs and MIRAGE (2011) aims to integrate various types of textual metadata and ontology in addition to image data.

Further information on MIRAGE (2011) can be found here, this includes presentations, conference papers, and details of the open source software and tools used.

The project hashtag is #jiscrte and the MIRAGE project runs from February through November 2011.