Staff Development Festival

Leeds Met is a University of Festivals, we are often told, and the next fortnight will be the Staff Development Festival which will provide a unique opportunity to promote The Repository.  And I’m going Scuba diving, albeit in a swimming pool.

All the repository pieces are now in place and I intend to demo the search interface and the repository proper, presenting it as a semi-blank canvas that now needs to be painted upon by the University community.  I’ve already had some feedback from Jonathan Long, Director of the Carnegie Research Institute and a member of the consultancy group who would like a search to return formal Harvard references for each item emphasising that one of the reasons for setting up the repository is to increase the number of citations – the interface is just ‘out of the box’ at the moment and returning results in the manner of the IRISS interface – I’ll gather input over the next fortnight and Mike should be able to do some customisation when we have a clearer idea of what people want.  I might even have a go myself although, with no knowledge of php, I can’t make head nor tail of the site files, my web skills having stalled at basic HTML, CSS and (very basic) Java Script.  Mike has already added browse functionality which is, for the moment, based on faculty structure – I’ve set up a collection within intraLibrary for each faculty and it is these that Mike is using to generate the results although it should also be possible to use metadata fields – I think we will map DC ‘subject’ onto LOM ‘keyword’.  It might be tricky to incorporate numbers of records after browse links and I’m waiting to see what Mike has to say on this.

Anyway, for now, I have 5 citations per faculty which is adequate for initial demonstrations and I’m working on some full text content – several of the citations I’ve uploaded are RoMEO green/yellow so it’s just a matter of getting hold of author versions.

As for promotional material, I’ve ordered a big purple recoil stand similar to that for the Library and I’ve three info sheets to print up in quantity:

The Repository is an introduction to the project and to IRs specifying our dual remit for the Leeds Met repository.

Open Access: What’s in it for you? emphasises the evidence that OA increases citation (using a graph from Steve Lawrence’s seminal article Online or Invisible? (2001) which is a bit out of date but by far the clearest visual representation I have been able to find.)


Copyright presents a very simple flowchart of the (self)-archiving process.

I shall also try to put together a narrated presentation to run when I’m not there.  A couple of lap-tops and we’re away!

Incidentally, here is a link to the search interface:

(Currently only accessible from a Leeds Met IP)


Getting there, slowly but surely

The Repository is really starting to take shape; the search interface has now been installed on a development server (as discussed previously, we are using the IRISS SRU client) and is returning very satisfying results on my test content. Now we can start adding the extra functionality (browse, advanced search) – well Mike T can at any rate, and my more technically inclined colleagues – and then to customise the look and feel, though Mike has already added an enormous Leeds Met Rose!

Ongoing development of the interface will also feed into PERSoNA – in a meeting today with John and Mike, Wendy and I discussed one initial approach being to embed the search box/additional search functionality from the interface into a google app (feeding into Leeds Met’s developing partnership with Google) or some kind of generic plug-in or widget. I’ll try to expand on this at some point on PERSoNA News and ask for some pertinent blog input from John and Mike.

And I’ve uploaded my first research paper! A colleague in the library has a paper published in the Reference Services Review – which is a subsidiary of Emerald – and RoMEO green; Do Academic Enquiry Services Scare Students? (This link to the Emerald full text, not the author’s version in The Repository.)

At the moment I am very much focussed on the Staff Development Festival in September and have also been uploading citation information for demonstration purposes – I hope to use the Festival to encourage folk to supply full text copies of their research papers which can then be uploaded in line with publishers’ copyright transfer agreements and we can finally start building that representative body of content. I’ve set up a basic taxonomy within intraLibrary based on Leeds Met faculties and intend to upload 5-10 citations per faculty which I’m linking through to publishers’ abstract pages where possible. This should give us the opportunity to review metadata and get a preliminary idea of the workflow as well as illustrating to people why they might want to release copies of their work from behind subscription barriers (look, there can be links to your work all over the web but you can’t get any further than the abstract without a subscription fee.) The final choice of taxonomy should also be informed by demonstrations to academic staff – we already know that the steering group does not want to base it on faculties as the major organisational structure.

Mike has said that he can do some very preliminary customisation of the search interface before the festival to illustrate how the external browse functionality might work – this will be based on the taxonomies as they currently appear within intraLibrary and, given the short amount of time, will be for demonstration purposes only and probably won’t return dynamic results but should give people the opportunity to visualise the interface and comment on its development.

Holiday reading

A fortnight’s leave away from the repositorysphere I found takes some adjustment and though I didn’t go anywhere near cyberspace for 8 whole days I did need something to wean me off as the rain lashed against the Cornish countryside.

Wikinomics: How mass collaboration changes everything is an insightful read, much of which is relevant to repositories, EMERGE and JISC in general. Some of it isn’t; like Boeing building their jets collaboratively and a gold mining company putting their trade secrets into the public domain and apparently crowdsourcing for insights on where to sink their next shaft. It worked. Spectacularly. And I’m struggling to encourage comment on my blog but then I’m not offering thousands of dollars in prize money!

The link above is to the book on Amazon; since coming back online I’ve also been looking at the website

For the record, holiday reading also included the wonderful Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale and the slightly heavy going Headlong by Michael Frayn which I did enjoy in spite of my lack of knowledge of art history (my enjoyment was augmented, incidentally, by being able to easily access reproductions of the Dutch masterpieces mentioned on…the world wide web!)

Now about that prize money, where’s the project budget?