20 Dec 2013

Repository Network Ireland (RNI) - TeachMeet Event Summary / 25th Oct. 2013

Guest post by Sarah Kelly, Dublin Business School

The newly formed Repository Network Ireland (RNI) – created by Aoife Lawton (HSE), Máire Caffrey (Teagasc) and Stephanie Ronan (Irish Marine Institute) – was borne from the founders’ experiences with getting their repositories harvested by the national institutional repository, RIAN. They found that there was a gap in knowledge and support for smaller institutional repositories that could benefit from the creation of a new networking forum where repository managers, librarians and information professionals could meet to share information. With this in mind, RNI extended an open invitation to their first ‘TeachMeet’ in the Long Room Hub (Trinity College Dublin) on the 25th of October.

After a welcome from the Director of the Long Room Hub, Dr. Jurgen Barkhoff, and a brief introduction by Máire Caffrey, the 7-minute presentations got underway.

The DRI is an interactive national repository for contemporary, historical, social and cultural data in Ireland. It provides a central hub for data from several Irish institutions, in order to link and preserve the data and make it more accessible. The DRI can also be used as an educational resource for students and the general public, supporting Open Access (to at least the metadata). Not only can the DRI preserve data, but it can also create policies and guidelines for best policy in the field of digitisation.

A major concern for the DRI is sustainability, particularly as the organisation relies on government funding through the HEA. Currently, funding has been secured until 2019, but a contingency plan is in progress for when funding ends. The DRI built the repository from the ground up through networking and community engagement, with a series of qualitative interviews with national institutions to gauge their approaches to digitisation. Reports and publications are available here.

Partnerships have been built internationally as well as nationally, with involvement in DARIAH, Europeana, Decipher, ALLEA and many others. The DRI and INSIGHT will be hosting the third plenary of the Research Data Alliance in Dublin in March 2014, which is a major international research data event. For more information on the resources the DRI provide, please see their website.

UCC’s Institutional Repository CORA was set up by the Library to house and showcase research undertaken in UCC. Previously, theses were submitted manually in bound print format and processed by the library, with reference access only. It was decided that the online submission of e-theses through CORA would provide greater visibility, access and impact. The pilot project for online submission of theses began in 2009, and has progressed to online-only submission in September 2013.

The project hit an unexpected delay in 2012, when the Academic Council rejected the mandate with a recommendation that an opt-out progress be incorporated. This may have been due to concerns about copyright and publication from certain disciplines in the university. In any case, building an opt-out process involved considerable customisation and the creation of two separate workflows.

For the opt-in process, the student registers with CORA – submits to supervisor – work is graded – sent to Graduate Studies Office – Approved – Sent to Library – Loaded up to CORA. The student uploads the abstract and thesis. Metadata is imported from CORA to the library catalogue. (CORA uses DSPACE as a platform, which uses Dublin Core for its metadata. The Library system uses MARC records).

In the opt-out system, only the abstract and metadata are submitted to the library, and the supervisor step is skipped.

So far, the system has been successful, and allows greater access to theses for students and researchers at UCC. Full text items on CORA are harvested by RIAN.

In this presentation, Aoife Lawton gave some helpful advice on setting up a repository in the unique form of a baking recipe!

The HSE’s repository LENUS was established to store health-related reports, research and publications in order to provide a centralised knowledge base for medical researchers and clinical practitioners. Ideally, to set up a good repository, you should have a team consisting of a repository manager, at least two qualified librarians on the project team, and a clinical champion to launch and promote the repository. Remember the SPARC method – Scholarly, Perpetual, Institutionally defined, Interoperable and Open Access. The project manager should establish a clear vision and mission statement, strategic plan and content criteria policy. The content should be organised to mimic that of RIAN’s, to make the harvesting procedure smoother. Marketing is also very important – being Web 2.0 enabled (e.g. having a Twitter account and using other social media) can help to promote the repository. Tools such as Google Analytics are very useful to measure the progress of the repository. Finally, check that the repository is serving its users well by conducting surveys or focus groups on occasion.

Joseph Greene’s presentation focussed mainly on how to join RIAN, and started with two simple statements: get your repository harvestable, then get RIAN to harvest you!

To get your repository harvestable, it is advisable to:
  1. Use a recognisable software package such as DSpace, Eprints, Fedora or Digital Commons
  2. Plan your collections – think about how they will be organised. Look at how RIAN is currently structure to get an idea of how you should organise your own repository to match up.
  3. Plan metadata fields and consistently apply them.
  4. Plan what data goes in, and how it is entered e.g. keywords
  5. Remember that RIAN only takes full text and scholarly material
  6. Create a list of RIAN fields and pair them with your own (can be literal or programmatic). Excel can be useful for this purpose. Full text instructions can be translated to programming language fairly easily.
  7. Build an OAI-PMH crosswalk called rian_dc. You can use basic Java for DSpace or Perl for EPrints.
  8. Once you have completed the crosswalk to make your fields match RIAN’s format, Enovation Services (the company hosting RIAN’s site) can create an institution page on RIAN and perform a test harvest to see if it worked. If everything is in order, a full harvest will follow.
To get RIAN to harvest you, you will need to contact the chair of the Irish University Association Librarian’s Group (currently John Cox of NUIG). Much needed help is at hand for RIAN new joiners from Joseph Greene (UCD), Sinead Keogh (UL) and Fran Callaghan (DCU). You can also consult Repositories Support Ireland on http://www.resupie.ie/moodle and join the mailing list for updates.

The Social Work department at CUH Temple Street was badly in need of a centralised, easy to access and easy to search repository to store research material and references. Unfortunately, they had no money to finance this, so the challenge was to find a way to set up a repository without any budget. Jane Burns volunteered to be the project manager, and recruited four Library and Information Studies volunteers to assist her. Work commenced on scoping and organising the material; not an easy task given the paper-based nature of the work. Classification schemes and file naming conventions were established. After some trial and error (often due to the old infrastructure of Temple Street), Zotero was identified as a suitable free resource. It had to be completely stand-alone due to privacy concerns, so there are strict limits on access to the Zotero system. Of necessity, it is limited to in-house access and sharing rather than full OA.

Despite having no budget, the team were able to create a fully functional in-house repository, with supporting documentation.

Yvonne Desmond of DIT encouraged us to ‘think outside the box’ and look at repositories as a way to engage students and faculty. The ARROW@DIT repository hosts a huge variety of material, including journals such as the Irish Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage and the Irish Journal of Academic Practice to name but two. Given that DIT has a strong culinary arts school, the Gastronomy Archive is a popular resource. DIT will be hosting the Dublin Gastronomy Symposium in 2014. Students are encouraged to publish their material on the repository as a step-up in their academic career, as well as being a means of preserving their work.

The focal point of the ARROW homepage is the Discipline Wheel – a bright and accessible icon designed to allow easy browsing of the collections on the repository. The sunwheel is intuitively designed, but is also accompanied by a YouTube tutorial to explain how to navigate it. A massive 613 disciplines are covered, divided into 10 main categories.

Gary Cullen represented the newly formed Connacht-Ulster Alliance, a strategic alliance between the Institutes of Technology in Letterkenny, Galway/Mayo and Sligo. Their ultimate goal is to be re-designated as a Technological University. A central repository will be part of this alliance, and Gary was hoping that the RNI TeachMeet would give him an opportunity to ask questions and seek advice on how to set up a repository from scratch.

St. Patrick’s College mainly concentrates on Education and the Humanities, so the material on the repository will consist mainly of publications and theses, and specialised projects in Art, Music, and the Irish Language (one example being a collection of photos of children’s school projects). In the initial stages of planning, a working group was set up with members of the Library, IT and Research. This group reports to a management committee within St. Patrick’s College. A staff survey was conducted to explore opinions on IRs. As was the case in UCC, staff voiced concerns about copyright and the impact on publication. There was a view that publishing on the repository could negatively impact small or societal publications. Quality control was also flagged as a potential issue. The survey highlighted varying levels of engagement and knowledge on the subject of repositories and OA.

After much consideration, St. Patrick’s College have opted for Discovery Garden, created by the University of Prince Edward Island's Robertson Library specifically for hosting institutional repositories. It’s an Islandora system, modelled on Fedora, Drupal front-ended, open-source and cloud-based.

When the repository is up and running, St. Patrick’s College are hoping to build in an e-submission policy for theses. To build the collection, there will be a retrospective call for staff publications. Existing staff publications must be collated and publishers contacted. This in itself is a time-consuming and difficult task, especially given the fact that not all Irish publications are on SHERPA/ROMEO and can be difficult to track down.

Niamh Brennan (TCD) spoke about how the material on your Institutional Repository can become visible not just nationally, but internationally. Institutions should make themselves aware of European collaborations such as OpenAIRE, which holds EU funded papers. No Irish institutions are on it as yet, but this will change soon. There is a procedure for making works OpenAIRE compliant – contact Niamh for more information. Another example of a European collaboration is PEER (Publishing and the Ecology of European Research). Trinity College’s TARA is a partner repository. Major academic publishing companies such as Elsevier, Springer, Wiley and Taylor Francis etc. have provided content. Interestingly, they found that it didn’t detract from their business but rather added to it.

Web analytics such as Google Analytics can be very useful to monitor traffic, and the results can be surprising. (the example given was the variety of countries accessing the book “Sin, Sheep and Scotsmen” by WE Vaughan!) It can be a powerful marketing tool to show lecturers how their work is reaching new and varied audiences. The impact of a repository can be far reaching, and it can have societal, economic and cultural influences.

Stephanie Ronan of the IMI offered some handy advice on joining RIAN based on recent experience.
- Team up with others with similar interests and goals : a buddy system provides much needed help and support
- Factor in a considerable amount of time to organise a meeting with the RIAN Steering Group
- Prepare for lots of tests and checks, particularly if developers are inexperienced
- Accumulate a budget for RIAN and OpenAIRE
- Run in-house if possible
- Note that the subject line isn’t mandatory in DSpace but is for RIAN. Take note of other mandatory fields on RIAN.

The TeachMeet finished with an open discussion in groups to talk about the aims and goals of the RNI.

- To combine expertise and support each other
- Build contacts
- Feed into National Policy
- Share information
- Create best practice
- Develop technical skills
- Provide practical support
- Increase marketing of IRs

In terms of technical skills, it might be useful to set up workshops or webinars on topics such as:
- Copyright
- Open Access Publishing
- Web Analytics / Google Analytics
- Ensuring repository fields match up to those on RIAN : Crosswalks.

The groups also discussed which type of forum might be suitable for the RNI – it would need to be private, but also allow conversations. Possibilities include the wiki, a LinkedIn group or maybe a Wordpress discussion forum. As regards the formality of the group, it was agreed that it should be formal enough to have assigned roles but not so formal as to be a society etc. Further meetings will take place in 2014, and not necessarily in Dublin, given the range of institutions present.

[Presentation slides available on RNI wiki]


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