24 Mar 2014

2014 LIR Seminar

This year’s LIR seminar revolved around the themes of Open Access and Open Source in Irish academic libraries. An eclectic mix of speakers addressed an equally eclectic mix of seminar attendees gathered in a lecture room at Trinity College Dublin, School of Nursing and Midwifery.

First up was Niamh Brennan who gave an interesting and engaging overview of Open Access initiatives within the wider European context. On reflection, this was my favourite and most valuable talk of the day (there’s another one which I will refer to later).

Niamh reminded us about the strident advances Open Access publishing has made over the years by going through Suber’s timeline of the Open Access Movement. I suppose J. Austen was appropriately quoted in this context: “The distance is nothing when one has a motive”.

The timeline operated as a prelude to the showcasing of current OA activities and relevant organisations in Europe and Ireland, some of which are highlighted below:

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) = an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC is involved in OA education, advocacy and incubation activities. The SPARC Open Access Newsletter & Forum will keep you up to date on OA news and analyses of the open access movement.

FOSTER (FACILITATE OPEN SCIENCE TRAINING FOR EUROPEAN RESEARCH) = a two year project which aims to set in place sustainable mechanisms for EU researchers to FOSTER OPEN SCIENCE in their daily workflow, thus supporting researchers optimising their research visibility and impact, the adoption of EU open access policies in line with the EU objectives on Responsible Research & Innovation.

PASTEUR40A (Open Access Policy Alignment Strategies for European Union Research) = aims to support the European Commission’s Recommendation to Member States of July 2012 that they develop and implement policies to ensure Open Access to all outputs from publicly-funded research.

Science Europe = is an association of European Research Funding Organisations (RFO) and Research Performing Organisations (RPO), based in Brussels (founded in Berlin, Oct. 2011).

euroCRIS =  euroCRIS is a not-for-profit organisation, dedicated to the development of Research Information Systems and their interoperability.

OpenAIRE = operates an electronic infrastructure for handling peer-reviewed articles as well as other important forms of publications (pre-prints or conference publications). This is achieved through  a portal that is the gateway to all user-level services offered by the e-Infrastructure established, including access (search and browse) to scientific publications and other value-added functionality (post authoring tools, monitoring tools through analysis of document and usage statistics).

DRIVER = is a multi-phase effort whose vision and primary objective is to establish a cohesive, pan-European infrastructure of Digital Repositories, offering sophisticated functionality services to both researchers and the general public.

Niamh emphasised the role of libraries to support researchers in their bids to securing research funding, as well as their role in archiving and making openly accessible research output.

Horizon 2020 got an extended, special mention in this regard, with a focus on the “Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020” (see in particular sections 29.2 - Open access to scientific publications, and 29.3 - Open access to research data).

On a more local footing, the Repository Network Ireland provides a support framework for Irish repository operators. Open Access Ireland provides information on Irish OA activities and advocates for open access publication in Ireland.

Next up came Jim Foran (IT Sligo) and Maeve McCauley (LIT) who spoke about their experiences in collaborating on the union repository, Connacht Ulster Alliance Repository (CUA) (the full presentation is available here).

Glenn Wearen spoke about the vast array of open source (& closed source) software packages used by HEAnet in support of their services. He noted that various considerations of whether open source is viable to HEAnet IT services come into play: 1) cost (support requirements of open sources vs. licence fees), 2) infrastructure requirements (on-site/off-site hosting), 3) open standards (integration of open protocols with commercial products), 4) maintenance standard of a given open source solution (is it widely deployed and well maintained). The full presentation can be accessed here.

Helen Fallon and Anne O’Brien talked about their experience in creating the Ken Saro-Wiwa Audio Archive, which was launched in November 2013. The archive represents a series of recorded interviews with various individuals (including Owens Wiwa, brother of Ken) close to the leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). The archive is hosted with Soundcloud.

Anne and Helen gave valuable advice on the creation of audio archives. The full presentation is available here.

Yvonne Desmond (DIT) spoke about portals in the context of open access. The function of the Digital Commons’ discipline wheel was explained. The wheel is a visual aggregator of full-text content from all DC IRs.

After lunch, Scott Wilson of OSS Watch spoke about decision making variables that “buyers” of free software should consider. Check out the resources section of their website for more details and tools. The site also hosts a section a list of open source software options for education institutions.

Niamh Walker-Headon provided us with an interesting Prezi about implementing and using Open Source software at ITT library. Her presentation will give you a good overview of successfully implemented OS packages + a host of links to OS resources.

David Kane from WIT showcased his home-made solution which simplifies the online submission of materials to their ePrints repository. See presentation here. His deposit helper is available on GitHub.

Padraic Stack and Hugh Murphy (NUIM) reflected on their experience of extending access to Teresa Deevy’s papers through a virtual exhibition space using Omeka. This was a most interesting talk as it highlighted not only the advantages of Omeka (easy setup-up, good range of plug-ins, Dublin Core extended, light-weight repository environment), but also its drawbacks (restricted number of themes to choose from, small developer community). Check the full presentation here.

Jennifer Collery (UCD) presented on her experience in setting up an OER plagiarism tutorial based on ITT’s version. The idea was to re-purpose and tweak something good already out there, rather than re-inventing the wheel. Check out her presentation and listed OER resources including Jorum, OER Commons, MERLOT and Wiki Educator among others.

The day finished with three lightening talks:
  1. Deirdre Judge / IADT. See presentation here. Her presentation covered extended open access to the physical library space.
  2. David Kane / WIT reflected on his experience of assembling a scanner using an open source blueprint. Total cost: 500 Euro. Capacity: 120 pages per minute.
  3. Michael Ladisch / UCD spoke about ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID). This is a most interesting proposition to the wider research and library community and well worth pursuing for your own institutional context.


  1. Alexander, Thanks for posting this and for all the links. Very helpful as I was not able to attend the seminar. Catherine Saborn, UCC

    1. You're most welcome; glad to hear that you find this helpful :-)